Films around Cheltenhamshire 25/6/22 to 1/7/22

Sensible previews by PW. Sarcastic asides by JM.

The Roses

It’s another varied week at The Roses in Tewkesbury, starting with The Drover’s Wife, an Australian ‘Western’ starring Leah Purcell, who also wrote and directed it. Molly Johnson (pictured) is heavily pregnant and trying to run the remote family farm and look after her family, while her husband works far away as a sheep drover. An escaped indigenous convict is discovered on her property and they slowly begin to earn each other’s trust.

[Adapted from a novel by Australian writer Henry Lawson (a man), it has been described by the Sydney Morning Herald as standing alongside The Nightingale as a film that ‘explores Australian history from a female perspective’. It’s 109 minutes long. As someone who watches films from a male perspective, I wish the diverse people in these festival-circuit films could earn each other’s trust a bit quicker. JM]

In complete contrast there is Bergman Island, directed by Mia Hansen-Love and starring Tim Roth, Vicky Krieps and Mia Wasikowska. Roth and Krieps play American filmmakers who retreat to the island on which Bergman made his most celebrated films in the hope of finding inspiration for their own films.

[Films about uninspired American film-makers leeching off the European greats: that’ll rescue the industry. JM]

I don’t think the Maltese cinema industry is huge, but Luzzu, directed by Alex Camilleri has emerged from it for international release. It is the story of a moral and cultural dilemma: should a young fisherman repair his traditional luzzu, a wooden fishing boat, or join in with black market fishing operations.

[How do you make a Maltese cross? Show his film on the British ‘cultural cinema’ circuit, for an audience of no-one. JM]

There is also a selection of short documentary films from the archives under the collective title: The Camera is Ours: Britain’s Women Documentary Makers. The films date from the 1930s to the 1960s and include pioneering women directors such as Marion Grierson and Ruby Grierson, sisters of the more famous John.

[This sounds interesting, but I’m also looking forward to The Picture is Wonky: Britain’s One-Legged Documentary Makers. JM]

The Guildhall

The Guildhall is showing All My Friends Hate Me, directed by Andrew Gaynord and starring Tom Stourton, Georgina Campbell and Christopher Fairbank. It’s billed as a comedy horror film, and is based around a reunion of college friends at a country estate. What, as they say, could possibly go wrong?

[Some reviews that don’t make me want to see it: ‘Despite the occasional lapse into Fast Show caricature, this Peter’s Friends-style drama really isn’t bad.’ Brian Viner, the Mail on Sunday. ‘It’s a clever film, and surprising, and compelling. Yet it is also an endurance test. You won’t regret seeing it, but you will be so glad when it’s over.’ Deborah Ross, the Spectator. ‘What we’re left with is a sort of Blairite middle-ground where punches are pulled and no one really comes in for too much flack. Where’s the fun in that?’ Tom Duggins, Cinevue. JM]

It’s also the Guildhall’s turn for Benediction this week.

The Sherborne

Jurassic World: Dominion until Friday and then Lightyear. I’m saying nothing, for once. (JM)

The Cineworlds

All of last week’s films in Cheltenham, plus Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. It’s described by reviews as ‘sex-positive and sexy’, which is presumably why it is being shown in the afternoons. Can’t have anything sexy in the evenings when young people might see it. We wouldn’t want them getting ideas. Emma Thompson plays a widow who decides she wants sex, whole sex and nothing but sex, so hires a male ‘sex-worker’. As no-one does, except in films. Anyway, they discover they like talking more than horizontal gymnastics. Old people are so cute, aren’t they? I might even risk my first outing to the horrid Filmodrome in months.

Also, on Thursday there’s a preview of Princess + Q&A. This is a documentary about that unfortunate young woman who used to be married to the Queen’s eldest son and was badly treated (although every story has at least two sides). It’s directed by a young bloke called Ed Perkins, who learnt his craft making documentaries about the making of some famous documentaries (Project Nim, Searching for Sugarman). Later he directed the notable Bare Knuckle Fight Club series for Channel 4. The producer of Princess, meanwhile, made Searching for Sugarman and Man on Wire, both well worth seeing.

Unfortunately, Cineworld’s website doesn’t tell us who the Q&A is with or how much it costs to attend. Marketing fail.

If I were to attend, my question to the filmmakers would be fairly straightforward. Why?

Poor Gloucester doesn’t even get Princess. It just has last week’s films, plus Em in her jim-jams. (JM)

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