Presented by Palace, the British Film Festival will screen from 10 November in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Byron Bay at reduced capacity and late November in Melbourne, when restrictions permit.
The British Film Festival celebrates the finest filmmakers and acting talent British cinema has to offer and the 2020 program features some of the most anticipated films of the year – from powerful true stories and literary adaptations to biographies and documentaries.
The festival opens with a riotous re-imagining of Noël Coward’s classic comedy BLITHE SPIRIT. This version (directed by Edward Hall) stars Dan Stevens, Isla Fisher, Dame Judi Dench, and Leslie Mann, and updates the 1945 film directed by David Lean, which featured Rex Harrison and Margaret Rutherford.
World War II features heavily with three films set in the era screening at the Festival. A discovery at a school for the daughters of the Nazi elite leads to a series of deadly events in the true story SIX MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT starring Eddie Izzard and Dame Judi Dench. A gripping historical drama inspired by true stories, A CALL TO SPY follows a new British spy agency at the dawn of the conflict, ordered by Churchill to recruit and train women as spies. And SUMMERLAND, a romantic drama stars Gemma Arterton as an English woman who opens her heart to an evacuee in a touching story of love and friendship.
Among the other Festival highlights are:
AMMONITE from writer/director Francis Lee. Having just debuted in the UK to rave reviews, the film, set in 1840s England stars Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan as a paleontology pioneer and a young woman and the story of their forbidden love.
Keira Knightley and Jessie Buckley star in the charming and farcical comedy MISBEHAVIOUR, the true story of how feminist protesters who disrupted the 1970 Miss World beauty competition in London.
From its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival, dramatic thriller THE NEST featuring Jude Law and Carrie Coon, sees life for the British entrepreneur and his American family begin to take a twisted turn after moving into an English country manor.
The Festival includes three retrospective screenings, all screened in stunning 4K restorations. Celebrating their 40th anniversary are THE ELEPHANT MAN, an unforgettable story of dignity and survival; and classic cult sci-fi adventure FLASH GORDON, adapted by Lorenzo Semple Jr and Michael Allin from the 1930s comic-strip serial and with a soundtrack composed, performed and produced by Queen. And it’s the 65th anniversary of the classic comedy The Ladykillers. The film follows five men who rent a London flat pretending to be classical musicians, while planning a daring robbery.
The British Film Festival presented by Palace screens in the following locations:
Sydney: 10 – 29 Nov, Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinemas, Palace Central
Canberra: 10 – 29 Nov, Palace Electric Cinemas
Melbourne: *November dates TBA, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Kino Cinemas, The Astor Theatre
Brisbane: 10 – 29 Nov, Palace Barracks and Palace James Street
Adelaide: 10 – 29 Nov, Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas
Perth: 10 – 29 Nov, Palace Raine Square, Luna on SX, Leederville and Windsor
Byron Bay: 10 – 29 Nov, Palace Byron Bay
* The 2020 British Film Festival dates for Melbourne will be confirmed as soon as cinemas can safely re-open.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Italian Film Festival 2020 – movie feature
- German Film Festival 2019 – preview
- British Film Festival 2017 – movie feature
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television