For the Britannica program, four films have been selected in order to showcase the peculiarities of the British film industry and British culture in general: The Trip to Italy (dir. Michael Winterbottom), Sixteen (dir. Rob Brown), Wreckers (dir. Dictynna Hood), and What We Did on Our Holiday (dir. Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin).
Despite the fact that many British actors and film directors work successfully for Hollywood companies, their national cinema still embodies its own unique nature and groundbreaking spirit. The work of Derek Jarman, Peter Greenaway, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach prove that films from a small island are capable of competing with high-budget blockbusters in international cinemas.
These four new films from directors belonging to a younger generation also prove this, as you can see for yourself by attending screenings of the Britannica program. The screenings will take place at the Velikan Park Cinema on October 1st-4th.For the Britannica program, we have tried to select films that continue the traditions of Ealing and Hammer studios, of Michael Powell and Tony Richardson, of Derek Jarman and Peter Greenaway, of Ken Loach and Mike Leigh. These are all very different traditions, but all of them bear the invisible stamp of Britishness. Let’s hope the viewers will witness this stamp in new works from Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin (What We Did on Our Holiday), Dictynna Hood (Wreckers), Michael Winterbottom (The Trip to Italy) and Rob Brown (Sixteen).
Alexey Medvedv, program curator, and Anastasiya Spirenkova, program coordinator
The programme features an effervescent culinary road movie in The Trip to Italy from acclaimed director Michael Winterbottom. A sequel to the TV show The Trip (2011), Steve Coogan and popular comic Rob Brydon star as themselves, following the path of Byron and Shelley, as they embark on a trip to savour food in six provincial Italian eateries from Liguria to Capri. Their conversations during the trip combine the stand-up and mumblecore genres and are sure to whet an audience’s appetite.
Sixteen by Rob Brown is a film about the inability to overcome the consequences of the violence one has lived through. Having escaped the hell of war-torn Africa, 16-year-old Jumah faces the threat of violent reprisal in a supposedly trouble-free Britain after accidentally witnessing a murder. The sense of social criticism and intensity, developed in Bloody Sunday and This is England, are present in the precise contemporary composition of every shot in this film. Finance came from a crowd-funding campaign after the project’s screenplay won a pitching competition at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2011. After the film was shown at festivals in Karlovy Vary and London, critics praised the acting skills of Roger Nsengiyumva, who is just 15 year old, and the film in general, despite its low budget and very short shooting schedule of just 18 days.
A film of a completely different kind is Wreckers by Dictynna Hood – this is a disturbing psychological drama about a young couple living in a village, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the main character. Pipe dreams of a happy future dissolve in conflicts the woman has with her husband over his younger brother suffering from somnambulism. Little by little, details of their childhood come to light and the couple’s life, idyllic at first sight, is put under strain as they struggle to accept a new reality.
What we did on our holiday by Guy Jenkin is like the American Little Miss Sunshine with British accents. A big family sets out on a trip to Scotland to celebrate the grandfather’s birthday, but eventually family secrets are revealed thanks to the prankish curiosity of the young children. This high-quality family film has a little of everything – tears, smiles and good-natured enlightenment. Its British humor and “Dr. Who” star David Tennant assure the film’s success with the public.