Best of British

On April 1st BFFS is hosting a 35mm screening of This Is England at Film Unit, one of Sheffield’s community cinemas. The  screening will be introduced by Warp Films Head and BFFS Patron Mark Herbert who will also take part in a Q&A after the screening, along with special guests.
Before the main feature we will also be screening two short, Paddy Considine’s Dog Altogether and Dr. Easy from film-making collective SHYNOLA.
This is very special evening to help BFFS raise funds for our charitable work, and we are honoured to be supported by Warp Films. You can find out more about the event here.

To mark the event we’re taking a look at a few of the best British films available on the BFFS Booking Scheme.

Brazil | Terry Gilliam | 1985 | UK | 132 min

Gilliam’s surreal, satirical adaptation of 1984 (an original title was 1984 and a 1/2) is one of the most iconic dystopian films ever made. Dreaming up an impressively macabre futuristic city Gilliam’s film is an extraordinary triumph. The unfortunate protagonist is Sam Lowry, a lowly office worker whose neighbour, Harry Buttle, is mistakenly arrested by the authorities who are seeking the terrorist Harry Tuttle. When Lowry tries to rectify the mistake by reporting it to the government he is quickly marked as a terrorist and enemy of the state – a far simpler solution in the eyes of the bureaucratic engine than it is to actually admit they made a mistake. Forced to go on the run Sam encounters a beautiful worker, Jill, the same woman he has been dreaming about for months.

Dreams of a Life | Carol Morley | 2011 | UK | 95 min

When the body of Joyce Vincent was found in her Central London apartment 3 years after she had died with the television still on, Carol Morley set out to investigate who Joyce was and how this could have happened. A startling documentary revealing the truth of isolation even within the busiest and most populated areas, Dreams of a Life is also a celebration of the life of a woman who had become forgotten, even by her friends. Her outstanding debts for electricity, rent and everything else were consistently deferred but it was three years before anyone attempted to find out why they weren’t being paid. Because it had been so long since she had died a cause of death couldn’t be determined so Morley seeks out ex lovers, colleagues and friends to try to determine how and why a 30 year old woman could die in Central London and no one notice.

The Full Monty | Peter Cattaneo | 1997 | UK, USA | 91 min

After losing his job due to the closure of the steel mill at which he worked Gaz resorts to stealing scrap metal and selling it on to earn a living. Even with his illegal trading he is struggling to keep up with child support payments for his son Tom, who lives with Gaz’s ex wife. After seeing a huge queue outside a touring performance of Chippendale’s striptease act Gaz decides to launch his own version and soon recruits a group of ex steel workers and other working class men to create a locals version. In a bid to publicise the event to a group of sceptical women Gaz inadvertendly promises that the men will go ‘The Full Monty’, much to the anger of his fellow performers.

My Name is Joe | Ken Loach | 1998 | UK, Spain, Italy, France, Germany | 105 min

Joe, a recovering alcoholic from one of Glasgow’s poorest neighbourhoods, meets a social worker named Sarah. Though Sarah has seen many men like Joe, who still makes his living on the wrong side of the law, she is slowly won over by him. The first time she visits his house he plays her classical music explaining he discovered it after stealing tapes from a shop to sell on, but since no one wanted to buy them he kept them. Joe is naturally kind-hearted but has grown up in an area where unemployed is rife and crime is one of the few options to make a living. His best friend, Liam, is in debt to a drug dealer and Joe insists on trying to help, even if it jeopardises his attempts at going straight. As with the best of Loach’s films My Name Is Joe is an honest, real look at both the struggles of life and the determination and spirit that keeps people going. Both Sarah and Joe are under no illusions as to the likelihood of a happy future together but nevertheless give it a shot. A heartfelt, impassioned and moving film that features one of Peter Mullan’s best performances; for which he was awarded Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival.

Notes on a Scandal | Richard Eyre | 2006 | UK | 92 min

Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett lead this Oscar nominated psychological thriller. Barbara (Dench), a veteran and wearied teacher lives alone and is viewed by many of her colleagues and students as a bitter old woman. The arrival of a new teacher, Sheba (Blanchett) breaks Barbara’s seclusion. At first Sheba becomes the main subject of Barbara’s disgruntled attacks which she diligently notes down in a diary. Yet Sheba’s honest charm slowly wins Barbara over, much to her resentment, and Barbara finds herself more and more dependent on Sheba’s friendship. By chance she discovers Sheba is having an affair with one of her students but rather than report it Barbara finds an opportunity for manipulation.  Justly lauded upon release Notes on a Scandal remains a gripping drama centred on tremendous performances from Dench and Blanchett.

A Touch of Class | Melvin Frank | 1973 | UK | 106 min

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An Oscar-winning romantic comedy A Touch of Class centres on Steve, a reasonably happily married man and his hapless affair with the recently divorced Vicki. Their initial liaison, while on holiday in Spain, is a comedy of blunders but on return to London they settle into a more functioning set-up. For a while they have the perfect love affair, uncomplicated and enjoyable until they both realise they are falling in love.

Wetherby | David Hare | 1985 | UK | 102 min

At a dinner party hosted by Jean (Vanessa Redgrave) , a somewhat withdrawn and lonely teacher – though she hides this as best as she can – one of the guests engages her attention by his enigmatic and singular personality. The following morning the same man turns up at her house unannounced  and commits suicide. Before the dinner Jean had never met the man before and assumed he was the guest of Marcia (Judi Dench) and Stanley (Ian Holm) but when she tries to find out more about him it turns out no one had ever seen him before. Her obsession with the man slowly unveils some dark truths lurking within the community as well as Jean’s own past. A masterful slow-burner, utterly gripping and an exemplary showcase of British acting talent.