For 6 of the Best, local filmmakers Stickleback Cinema have curated half a dozen examples of the finest movies made by UK Women complemented by Q&A’s with the filmmakers themselves over the entire weekend. Films are just £7 or £30 for a festival pass.
Couple in a Hole (dir: Tom Geens, 2015, cert 12A)
Forgive us for using this inane phrase but here is a film that does exactly what it says on the tin. A Scottish couple attempting to escape the trauma of their son’s death end up living in a hole in the Pyrenees. The death of a child is a psyche shredding experience and can engender all kinds of overblown irrationality. This irrationality is distilled to raw perfection in the performances of Paul Higgins and Kate Dickie as the grieving parents.
Fri 20 Jan 6pm (includes Q&A with producer Zorana Piggott)
The Levelling (dir: Hope Dickson Leach, 2016, cert TBC)
This assured debut feature from Hope Dickson Leach is a beautifully shot tale of a farming family’s struggle to cope with the catastrophic Somerset floods of 2014. Ellie Kendrick’s performance as veterinary student Clover Catto, called home from her studies after the suicide of her brother, is incredibly powerful. The crumbling farm mirrors the disintegrating family as grief and nature take their toll. Heavyweight and compelling drama.
Sat 21 Jan 1.45pm (includes Q&A with producer Rochel Robey)
Light Years (dir: Esther Campbell, 2015, cert 12A)
Another striking directorial debut this time from Esther Campbell with a dreamy and trancelike tale of a disparate family seeking a reconciliation of sorts, albeit briefly. Siblings trapped in the familial lethargy of matriarch Moira, played by Beth Orton (yes that one), seek answers both physical and philosophical. Newcomer Zamira Fuller excels as Rose whose steely will drags an emotionally tired family towards an uneasy resolution.
Sat 21 Jan 4pm (includes Q&A with director Esther May Campbell)
The Incident (dir: Jane Linfoot, 2015, cert 15)
Jane Linfoot’s debut feature pitches two social world’s together in a seemingly chance encounter between middle class have it all Joe, played by Tom Hughes, and underage teenage prostitute Lily, played by Tasha Connor. Joe risks the many material accoutrements of his privileged life by paying Lily for sex. There’s a certain satisfaction to be had in the undermining of Joe’s cosseted and blinkered life and the film raises important questions about exploitation. Ruta Gedmintas is notable as Joe’s wife who’s encumbered with the heaviest consequences of her husband’s actions.
Sat 21 Jan 7pm (includes Q&A with director Jane Linfoot)
Adult Life Skills (dir: Rachel Tunnard, 2016, cert 15)
Rachel Tunnard’s debut film is a whimsical comedy, but in a good way, that won the Nora Ephron prize for best female director at the esteemed Tribeca Film Festival. Our hero is the eccentric Anna, played with unassuming charm by Jodie Whittaker, who moves into her mother’s shed after the death of her brother. Amusing herself by making films with her fingers as the stars, Anna’s retreat from and reentry to the outside world is engagingly and hilariously told.
Sun 22 Jan 2pm
Prevenge (dir: Alice Lowe, 2016, cert 15)
For her debut feature Alice Lowe returns to the familiar territory of Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers, the hilariously pitch black comedy of caravaning and killing she co wrote with Steve Oram. In Prevenge a heavily pregnant Ruth, played by Lowe herself, goes on a rampaging spree of murderous violence guided by the unborn foetus inside her. The humour is so sludge thick black that you may possibly feel guilty for laughing and throughout there is a nagging dread at just what is going to happen come birth time. Not for the faint hearted but a homicidal joy for the rest of us.
Sun 22 Jan 4.30pm
The Mockingbird just gets better and better, along with the Electric and the mac, we’re so lucky in Birmingham to have three cinema’s committed to imaginative and leftfield screenings. Support your locals or be resigned to the moribund torpor of the mass-appeal multiplexes forever.
All screenings take place at the Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, B9 4AA Birmingham £7 per film or £30 festival pass Mockingbird
Published on: Sun 1 Jan 2017