Saturday, 23 December 2017

Documentaries at Keswick Film Festival

This year will be a bumper year for documentaries at KFF.

We have already announced Ai Weiwei’s remarkable Human Flow, the visual spectacle of Our Last Tango and Matt Glasby’s suggestion of The Work, however there are some other tremendous documentary screenings to look out for.

Our link with Keswick Peace and Human Rights Group continues and their selections for KFF will certainly give pause for thought. Demain provides a comprehensive look at ways in which activists, organizers and everyday citizens are trying to make the world a better, greener, more sustainable place and Open Bethlehem spans seven momentous years in the life of Bethlehem, revealing a city of astonishing beauty and political strife under occupation.

In Tawai – A Voice from the Forest, explorer Bruce Parry (The Tribe) travels the world living with indigenous peoples, delving deeper than ever on a journey into the heart of our collective human conscience.

Possibly our most challenging documentary of all is Trophy, a startling exploration of the evolving relationship between big-game hunting and wildlife conservation that will leave you debating what is right, what is wrong and what is necessary in order to save the great species of the world from extinction.

Be prepared to have your preconceptions challenged.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

A Tribute to John Hurt

That Good Night
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
Dylan Thomas' words provide the title and the theme to John Hurt's penultimate film and his last lead role. In That Good Night he plays a terminally ill writer struggling to come to terms with his own mortality (and with no intentions of going gentle into that good night), to rebuild the wreckage of his family and to die with some semblance of dignity.

Superbly supported by Charles Dance and Sofia Helin (The Bridge) That Good Night will be screened as a tribute to our much-missed and much-loved Patron.

"Hurt and Dance are great, between them they have some fabulous dialogue - conversations which are incredibly timely given the continued euthanasia debates in Australia and globally. Hurt has some wonderful soliloquies, not surprising given this is adapted from a stage play, and Dance is his perfect counterpart."  - Film Blerg

Monday, 11 December 2017

More Films From Around The World

Where do you belong? Where do your loyalties lie? Our films from the KFF 2018 programme explore those themes from places as far apart as the USA, Iceland, Scandinavia and Sicily and closer to home, northern France.

The Rider, an authentic and heart-rending film, is the story of Brady, a rodeo rider who just emerged from a coma and told he should not ride again. Horses are his life however and where does he go now? Decisions need to be made as to where Brady belongs.

Coming of age drama Heartstone asks the same sort of questions. A remote fishing village in Iceland. Teenage boys Thor and Christian experience a turbulent summer as one tries to win the heart of a girl while the other discovers new feelings toward his best friend.

In Sami Blood a 14-year-old girl belonging to the Sami people, a Scandinavian ethnic minority, is subjected to racism and eugenic scrutiny in the 1930s when she is removed from her family and sent to a state-run school that aims to re-educate her into Swedish culture. To which culture does she or should she belong?

Family pressures weigh heavily on Jeanne in A Woman’s Life, a tale of tormented love embedded in the restrictive social and moral codes of marriage and family in 19th century Normandy.

Then we have Sicilian Ghost Story, based on the true story of the kidnapping of a 12-year-old boy, held by the Mafia for 779 days in the hopes of silencing his informant father, the film focuses on Luna, a classmate with a crush, who refuses to sweep his disappearance under the rug and challenges the code of silence that prevails amongst the adults.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Far East Comes to Keswick

No film festival would be complete without a samurai sword epic and Blade of the Immortal, Takashi Miike’s 100th film, fits the bill perfectly. Based on a manga series it stars Takuya Kimura as Manji, a Shogunate era samurai, granted by a witch the dubious gift of eternal life. After meeting a young girl, orphaned by a group of master swordsmen, Manji wreaks vengeance on them through a series of stylised showdowns – brilliantly choreographed, outlandishly violent and sometimes brutally comic to boot. 

"Blade goes for the carotid while offering a classic look and a comic-book story. It's part Kurosawa, part 'X-Men', part 'Ichi the Killer'" - Washington Post

At the other extreme of Japanese cinema we have The Third Murder from KFF favourite Hirokazu Kore-eda. Maasharu Fukuyama (Like Father, Like Son) plays a famous defence attorney named Shigemori, who willingly takes the tough case of Misumi ,a man who murdered his boss. We know he did it. He’s confessed to doing it. There’s little mystery there. But the reason why he did it is important to his sentence.

"The Third Murder offers the satisfactions of a well-constructed suspense story, with twists that come from the characters of its principals, not plot contrivances" - Japan Times

Continuing our far eastern journey, we come to Mountains May Depart from China and directed by by Jia Zhangke. Set in 1999, 2014 and 2025, Mountains May Depart revolves mostly around its everyday heroine, Tao (Zhao Tao, Jia's muse on and offscreen), a woman caught somewhere between the dream and the reality of modern China.

"Jia’s languid style and exquisite framing complement his understated approach to the material, which opts for depth over melodrama. ...Mountains ... is grounded in Zhao’s delicate performance, a character caught between progress and tradition, her life running in place, each day blending into the next.” - San Francisco Chronicle

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Strictly amazing films

We are pleased to announce that we will be screening Our Last Tango at Rheged on Saturday 24th February. Not just for Strictly aficionados, Our Last Tango tells the life and love story of Argentina's most famous tango dancers Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes, who met as teenagers and danced together for nearly fifty years. Their story is told to a group of young tango dancers and choreographers from Buenos Aires, who transform their story of love, hatred and passion  into unforgettable tango-choreographies.

Visually stunning, this is the perfect film for Rheged!

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

More Festival Films

We have added some remarkable stories to the programme for KFF in February, both fictional and from real life:

Edie, starring Sheila Hancock and Kevin Guthrie (Dunkirk) is the story of an older lady’s desire to climb a mountain after a lifetime of bitterness and resentment. "Sheila Hancock delivers the performance of a lifetime, she's an absolute legend, who at 84 offers a strong reminder that age is but a number. Her delivery of humour, emotion and duress is impeccable." - Mike McGrail

A Fantastic Woman is Chile’s entry for the Foreign Language Oscar and winner of a Silver Bear at Berlin. A Fantastic Woman is a powerful and uplifting film that follows the story of Marina, a trans gender woman, who is treated with suspicion and prejudice after the death of her lover. "Daniela Vega carries the weight of the narrative on her shoulders, delivering a captivating and raw performance" - CineVue

Human Flow – Director Ai Weiwei has brought his artist’s eye to this immensely moving account of the global refugee crisis. The scale of Ai Weiwei’s film and the breadth of the problems he recounts makes this a natural choice for Rheged’s IMAX screen. "A stunning, provocative meditation on the state of a world" - Laura DeMarco

First Films for 2018 Festival

As the leaves turn and the nights draw in, it is of course, time to be thinking about Keswick Film Festival. The first films are booked and the festival passes are on sale at the Theatre by the Lake.

Already confirmed, we have award winners galore, striking documentaries and many films that you will only ever get to see in Cumbria by coming to the Festival! To whet your appetite, here is a sneak peek at a couple of the films we will be screening:

The Square – After the Handmaid’s Tale and Top of the Lake Elisabeth Moss is an actor at the very top of her game. Supported by Dominic West (The Wire) The Square is outlandishly funny and a biting social satire. Winner of the Palme D’Or at Cannes in 2017.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri – Coen Brothers’ favourite, Frances McDormand, stars alongside Woody Harrelson in Martin McDonagh’s follow up to In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. Winner of the People’s Choice Award at Toronto International Film Festival 2017

Many of you will remember Matt Glasby who came up to the Festival last year as one of our guest critics. On his recommendation we have The Work, described by Matthew Turner as "Fascinating and deeply moving, this fly-on- the-wall doc about Folsom Prison's unconventional group therapy program packs a powerful punch".

Thursday, 23 February 2017

2017 Audience Award Results

As ever, documentaries scored highly at KFF, with Life, Animated (92.1%) gaining the biggest overall score, closely followed by We Are Many (91.7%) and Paths of the Soul (87.7%).

Loving (84%) was voted the best dramatic film, with Manchester by the Sea (82.5%) and Tanna (81.1%) not far behind. There were over 1250 4* or 5* ratings for films at the Festival. As ever, though, the KFF audience bucked the trend as La La Land was given something of a thumbs down.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Festival Awards

We asked film critics Matt Glasby, Karen Krizanovich and Ali Catterall to nominate a film for the inaugural Keswick Film Festival's Critic's Award. On Saturday we showed Matt's choice of Son Of Saul, Karen's selection of Arrival and ended the night with Ali's late night screening of Raw. On Sunday Matt, Karen and Ali put forward their cases for their films, the audience vote was combined with Saturday's rating and we declared Arrival the winner.

The Osprey Short Film Awards also took place on Saturday and both the Judges Award and the Audience Award went to A Shepherd's Hand. This 5 minute film directed by Richard Berry and Jago Miller is based on a poem written by Geoff Cox following his attempt at the endurance run of the Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge.

Writer (and endurance runner) Geoff Cox with the Osprey prize certificates

We're still counting all the votes for the Audience Award for new films at the festival but should have the results soon.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Sunday At The Festival

Coming up today:

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Saturday At The Festival

Coming up today:

Friday, 17 February 2017

Friday At The Festival

Coming up today at the festival:

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

More Festival Guests

We are delighted to announce that Paul Murton will be joining us on the Sunday of the Festival. Paul directed How the Rich Avoid Tax, one of our screenings in partnership with Keswick Peace and Human Rights Group. Paul is an accomplished director with The Bill and Casualty amongst his credits and he appears in front of the camera in his travelogue series Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands.

Our second new guest is a little more wooden in its delivery – by kind permission of Nick Barton and the Windermere Jetty Museum Amazon will be stationed outside the Theatre by the Lake on Saturday morning, skull and crossbones fluttering. We may even have a real life Amazon in person, too!

Friday, 20 January 2017

Festival Fringe - Saturday 11th February

Keswick Film Festival kicks off with its own fringe event on Saturday 11th February with a special programme of 4 films at The Alhambra.

Designed as a community event, admission to each film will cost just one penny.
Why the entry fee of one penny? Well Keswick Film Festival is asking "A Penny for Your Thoughts" - the final 3 films that day have been chosen by top film critics Matt Glasby, Karen Krizanovich and Ali Catterall as their favourite films of all time. Their video introductions are on the website and by writing a short review, you could win tickets for a screening the following weekend.

Details of the competition are on the website.

KFF has always tried to put on a film for family audiences and this year it will be at the Fringe:

11.00am Kubo and the Two Strings, an animation that is getting rave reviews, with the voice of Kubo played by Art Parkinson – Rickon Stark in Game of Thrones.

Followed by our critics' choices:

2.00pm – Airplane! Non-stop gags and dubious taste in Karen Krizanovich's choice. Roger, Roger. Do we have clearance, Clarence?

4.00pm - If.... Matt Glasby has chosen this classic film set in a British public school, with Malcolm McDowell in his first big screen role – compare and contrast with The Browning Version at the Festival.

6.15 – Theatre of Blood Ali Catterall has chosen this comedy horror about murder in the Critics' Circle, starring Vincent Price, Diana Rigg and just about every other British actor from the 1970s that you could name

This is binge cinema at its best, nostalgia and a lot of laughs and we hope, in great company. To add to the experience and to keep you going throughout the afternoon, our friends at Woodstone Pizza will have slices sizzling hot and ready in the breaks in between films – just order in the foyer.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Greta Scacchi Comes To Keswick

We are thrilled to announce that Greta Scacchi will be our principal guest at the next February’s Keswick Film Festival!

Familiar to us all from the 2016 adaptation of War and Peace and fresh from the West End stage, where she appeared in The Kenneth Branagh Company's The Entertainer, Miss Scacchi will be presenting three of her most iconic films at the Festival - The Browning Version, from Carlisle born director Mike Figgis; White Mischief, the marvellous ensemble piece in which she co starred with Charles Dance and Joss Ackland and; Robert Altman’s The Player, surely one of the best films about Hollywood ever made.

She last appeared on screen at Keswick Film Festival in Ways to Live Forever, in 2012. That film and Alex Etel's appearance at the Alhambra were stand out moments from KFF's recent history.

Miss Scacchi's early appearances were opposite such greats as Laurence Olivier (The Ebony Tower) and James Mason (Doctor Fischer of Geneva) and she began her film career under the guidance of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory. Add Harrison Ford, Robert Altman and Gabriel Byrne to the mix and the opportunity to hear more about her career will be one of the highlights of the Festival.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Critical Acclaim

Our films for the new Critics' Award have been announced and they genuinely represent the quality and diversity of film making over the last year. Matt Glasby has selected Son of Saul, the rightful winner of the Academy Award in 2016; Karen Krizanovich has chosen Arrival which featured heavily in the best films of 2016 listings and Ali Catterall has gone for Raw which also made it on to those lists on the basis of a few previews and festival screenings.

If you have been lucky enough to catch one of these films or are looking forward to seeing them, join the conversation on Twitter using #KeswickFilm, Facebook or the film pages here on the website – the Critics' Award is all about your opinions.