Friday, 12 April 2013

Film: Bradford Film Festival: Something for all tastes... and hooray for Bollywood films

This week sees the opening of the 19th Bradford International Film Festival – and this year’s festival promises to be their biggest and most varied to date.

With the centenary celebrations of Indian film, the festival will be showing a series of films which highlight the history and legacy of Bollywood cinema, from the silent movie Raja Harishchandra (1913), to the hotly anticipated Mumbai’s King, which will be receiving its UK premiere. There will also be a talk on Indian film led by Bollywood expert Irna Qureshi.

Raja Harishchandra (1913)

The festival is not all about Bollywood, however. On the opening night, there will be a screening of one of the most anticipated films of the festival, Michael Winterbottom’s The Look of Love starring Steve Coogan and Anna Friel. Coogan plays Paul Raymond, the 'King of Soho' – a pornographer and nightclub owner who amassed a fortune of billions of pounds and became the richest man in England. The script was written by BAFTA award winner Matt Grenhalgh (Nowhere Boy, Control), who will be attending the screening at the National Media Museum.

As well as feature films, there will also be a series of carefully selected documentaries. The work of Bradford born filmmaker C. H. Wood will be shown during a one-off screening at Bradford Cathedral on April 17. The 90 minute film brings together historical footage of Bradford shot between 1897 and 1970, giving a rare glimpse into the city’s rich past.

There will also be screenings of avant-garde short films by the much vaunted filmmaker, Stan Brakhage. His highly-influential series of experimental shorts Dog Star Man (1961-4) will be shown, along with the flickering visual collage Moonlight (1963), and The Gardens of Earthly Delights (1961) which draws its inspiration from Hieronymus Bosch’s vision of the fall of man. Brakhage’s films are abstract and disturbing, and seek to explore film as a pure art form free from the confines of plot and character. These screenings are a fitting tribute to an American director who dedicated his creative life to his own singular vision.

Fans of contemporary Russian cinema will be glad to see a survey of the work of Aleksey Balabanov - a controversial and irreverent director. Films to be screened include the dark comedy Cargo 200 (2007) which tells the story of a feud between a psychotic police captain and an atheist university professor; the dark and violent A Stoker (2012); and the sardonic and philosophical crime drama Me Too (2012).

During the festival, veteran actor Sir Tom Courtenay will be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his role in The Dresser (1983), Sir Tom came to prominence in the 1960s for his roles in films including The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), Billy Liar (1963) and Dr. Zhivago (1965).

Comedian and broadcaster Adam Buxton (BBC Radio 6 Music, The Adam and Joe Show) will present his music video show BUG for the first time in Bradford. BUG began in 2007 as a series of shows at the British Film Institute, London, which aimed to showcase the creativity of music videos from across the globe. The highlights of these videos have been brought together in The Best of BUG: The Evolution of Music Video.

With a whole host of movie premieres, independent films and guest speakers, there is will something for everyone – whatever your taste.

Visit: Bradford International Film Festival
National Media Museum.

This article was originally published by Yorkshire Post.

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