Leslie Sheldon, the indefatigable director of Cheltenham International Film Festival, is putting on his first annual festival lecture at the Parabola Arts Centre of Cheltenham Ladies College on Tuesday October 4, which is next week, at 5.30pm.

He has kindly invited readers of this page or the newsletter to attend the talk, which is being given by Baroness Lola Young, a cross-bencher in the House of Lords since 2004. It is entitled Adding Colour: Diversity & British Cinema and is prompted by Black History Month.

Baroness Young started as a social worker, then became an actress in children’s TV, before becoming a local authority bureaucrat, a media studies lecturer, then a professor, then a cultural czar for the Greater London Authority, a judge of the Man Booker fiction Prize, a Royal Commissioner, a museum director and holder of numerous board memberships, an honorary degree and a university chancellorship. Oh, and an OBE. She has certainly had a busy few years.

I don’t agree with the notion of Black History (History is history), I don’t find identity politics helpful, I don’t agree with politicians being involved in the arts, I don’t believe in self-perpetuating trusts and charities, and I don’t believe in the House of Lords. Nonetheless I shall be attending the lecture and I am looking forward to a stimulating discussion.

If you would like to come, please download the invitation and bring it with you. The Parabola is a lovely venue and I am sure it will be an interesting event.

Here’s the invitation and here’s the link to download it:

Special offer

Meanwhile, Leslie’s other operation, the streaming service YourScreen, has launched a season of five new online films from Europe and Palestine. I haven’t had a chance to look at them yet, but will try to give them a once-over before I send out the normal newsletter this coming weekend. YourScreen’s page about them is here.

Leslie is offering readers of this site and the newsletter a 25 per cent discount off the published prices of the films. If you have used YouScreen before, you will know the process. Put the promo code FOJM into the box when prompted and the discount will be deducted from the standard £9.99.

I’d like to think the code stands for ‘Fans of Jean Marais’. Here he is in Jean Cocteau’s Orphée (1950).

Through the Looking Glass

I am not part of the YourScreen affiliate scheme and do not receive any rake-off from ticket sales. Consequently, I am free to say what I like about the films and, indeed, about the Black History Month lecture.

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