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Watching someone else’s revolution on the big screen is a strange experience. Frequently without preparation or context; separated by history, culture and subtitles, we find ourselves dispassionate, incidental observers.
A few days ago Britflicks found themselves sat in the reassuringly steep gallery at Regent Street Cinema, for a digitally restored print of “Z”, Costa-Gavras’ cinema verite classic. “Z” is unusual for todays’ audiences for many reasons. Describing historical events in 60’s Greece within the frame of political thriller, filmed in French featuring (decidedly non-Greek) players like Yves Montand and Jean-Louis Trintignant, “Z” sits somewhere between Pakula and Lument’s conspiracies, and Fellini’s socio-realist satire. This blend of cinematic influences and social commentary with a loosely focused story based on historical figures whose names have been changed to protect the filmmakers (the introduction proudly states that ‘any resemblance to real people is purely deliberate’) makes for an arresting and unusual experience.
At the time, Roger Ebert wrote: “...a film of our time. It is about how even moral victories are corrupted...Z is at the same time a political cry of rage and a brilliant suspense thriller. It even ends in a chase: Not through the streets but through a maze of facts, alibis and official corruption.” It’s there to remind us that now more then ever, cinema is necessary for its ability to shine a light on corruption and hypocrisy in our own time.
Kino Klassika, set up by UK actress Justine Waddell as an institution for the purposes of sharing and preservation of Russian cinema heritage, is also there to remind us that art and cinema continue to build bridges in spite of existing political exigencies (and remain all the more relevant because of them).
Ken Loach's LAND AND FREEDOM is screening 12th April, 2017
Klassika is currently half way through its ‘A World to Win’ season of revolutionary cinema from around the world. Cinefiles have a chance to sample key slices of history, culture and cinematic technique from different continents. Eg. “Danton”, (by the late, great Polish auteur Andrzej Wajda) fictionalises the life of a leading figure in the French Revolution (played by a young Gérard Depardieu).
Upcoming screenings include “Novecento”, for which Kino Klassika joins forces with Kino-Vino to bring you excellent cuisine to go with your 5 hour Bertolucci classic; as well as Eisenstein’s “Battleship Potemkin” (a must-see for any film student) screened with a live orchestra.
For more info on Kino Klassika visit their website
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THE PASS – Best of British
If there’s one thing us Brits do well, its film, and we’ve been doing it bloody well for over a century. British cinema has gone from strength to strength, from decade to decade with films that have received international acclaim, and has produced some of the most successful franchises of all time. To celebrate the release of compelling British drama THE PASS, which comes to DVD April 10th, we are taking a look at the very best of British cinema.
THE PASS (2016) Ben A. Williams
Booze, football and banter – it might not sound glamorous but it is quintessentially British, and that is what The Pass delivers. The film opens to a hotel room in Romania where Jason (Russell Tovey) and Ade (Arinzé Kene) are having a laugh, pushing each other around and then… kiss. What seems like a simple kiss at the time sends shockwaves through the next decade of their lives, as they separate onto vastly different paths. THE PASS originated on the UK’s West End as a play by the same name, with Russell Tovey, Nico Mirallegro and Lisa McGrillis reprising their roles from the stage to the screen.
THE PASS is released on DVD 10th April 2017.
THE KING’S SPEECH (2010) Tom Hooper
Perhaps one of the most decorated British films in history, The King’s Speech won a Golden Globe, four Academy Awards and seven BAFTAs. The film follows the true tale of King George VI who ascended to the throne of the British Monarchy after the sudden abdication of his brother. This truly emotive and masterful performance centers on the relationship between the new king and his speech therapist ahead of the King’s first broadcast announcement – declaring war on Nazi Germany.
The King's Speech [DVD]
THE FULL MONTY (1997) Peter Cattaneo
The once-successful steel mills of Sheffield have closed, and a group of unemployed former mill workers must rally together to raise money for ‘Gaz’ to pay off his child support obligations. A hilarious spectacle ensues with the group forming their own strip-tease act, and despite the film’s comedic nature, some serious subjects are touched upon such as working class culture, fathers’ rights and depression.
The Full Monty  [DVD]
SECRETS & LIES (1996) Mike Leigh
Marianne Jean-Baptiste stars as Hortense, a young black Londoner who was adopted as a baby and decides to pursue her birth mother – only to find out that she is white, working class and has a severely dysfunctional family! As a realistic, passionate and (at times) harsh performance it is of no surprise that Secrets & Lies won the ‘Palme d’Or’ at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, with a volley of other awards following suit. The film became one of the most notable works of British director Mike Leigh, who went on to direct the Golden Lion and Vera Drake and has become an affirmed name in British cinema.
Secrets & Lies [DVD] 
CALENDAR GIRLS (2003) Nigel Cole
Following the tragic loss of her husband to Leukemia, Annie Clarke (Julie Walters) and a small group of her Women’s Institute colleagues (including Chris Harper, played by the immensely talented Helen Mirren) decide to raise money for charity. How? By creating a nude calendar where the women pose in traditional WI activities – such as baking and knitting – which became a national and international hit! Poking fun at British modesty, the film is charming and hilarious, deserving of its British Comedy Award for sure.
Calendar Girls [DVD] 
PRIDE (2014) Matthew Warchus
Pride, the effortlessly warm film that tells the true story of how a group of gay activists came together to support the striking miners in the Eighties, is a story that might never have been told, but thankfully has been. The BAFTA-winning film immortalises the campaign by Lesbians and Gays Support The Miners. They raised over £22,000 for the impoverished Welsh mining community of Dulais, and formed deep and lasting friendships with the people affected by Margaret Thatcher's pit closures. Since Pride was released, the group has reconvened. You never know, there might be a sequel in the making!
Pride [DVD] (2014)
Rising star Stefan Boehm known for thrillers and TV drama, will soon be featuring in British crime movie DANGEROUS GAME. He is also set to co-produce a feature in April with the same production team behind DANGEROUS GAME.
DANGEROUS GAME is about Chris Rose an up and coming Essex footballer (Played by Calum Best, son of George Best) who achieves the dream of playing in the Premiere League. Unfortunately things don't go to plan and Chris gets embroiled into match fixing and the Russian Mafia.
In the film Stefan plays sharp Russian mob boss Alexei, alongside his on-screen brother Darren Day as Demetri.
Stefan Boehm on working with Darren Day "Working with Darren Day on a DANGEROUS GAME was a real pleasure as I watched him as Joseph in the west end as a youngster. We play Russian brothers so we had to work on our accents, looks, and characters to make sure we were believable as brothers, test audiences thought we were actually related so we must have done something right!"
Stefan appearded in BBC2 cold war spy thriller THE GAME, starring Tom Hughes (Victoria) Gemma Chan (Humans, Transformers) and Brian Cox (The Escapist, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, War & Peace).
Stefan said of his role: "I played MI5 Clerk Jim and had a wonderful moment with Brian Cox as the character Daddy in one scene and the overriding factor I took away was his ability to switch in and out of character on a dime and his emphasis on relaxing to get the best performances."
Frank Phoenix AKA The Messenger - The Return
Stefan's first foray into executive producing came on the London film noir crime thriller FRANK PHOENIX in which he also plays sharp, scheming detective, Dylan Johnson. It was filmed in five days which is almost unheard of for a feature and because of that captures a really unique energy. FRANK PHOENIX has just been submitted to Raindance, Byron Bay, LA Thriller, Moscow and London's own East End festival.
Stefan's now branching out into producing and is part of film production company Elevated Pictures alongside Ben Richards, Faisal Tazim and founder Adam Del Giudice who set up the company to produce his directorial debut, FURTHEST WITNESS.
Elevated Pictures has a slate of six, intelligent high concept films coming in the next few years. The first of which is expected to be human trafficking, revenge thriller, COYOTE later in 2017. Britflicks is sure to keep you posted!
Britflicks takes a first look at Luke White's horror BLOOD MONEY starring Ollie Barbieri (Skins, Anuvahood), Klariza Clayton (Skins, Harry Brown), and Scott Chambers, as well as debut performances from Sabrina Hansen and Nicholas Bourne.
Synopsis: After a botched art heist in France, a group of friends are left with a body on their hands and the gendarme hot on their trail. They hide the body and make plans to sell the painting and return home. But as they wait for the chance to escape from their secluded holiday home, they soon realise the body has gone missing. Paranoia and fear sets in and the friends begin to turn on each other. Soon it is clear there's a killer in the house and the group must figure out who is responsible before they all suffer the consequences.
This British film was produced by twin brothers Luke White and Ed White and with a screenplay by Emmy award winner Rosy Deacon (Shards). The film was shot over a period of two weeks on location in Normandy, France.
BLOOD MONEY is out now on VOD from iTunes and Vimeo
Follow BLOOD MONEY on Twitter and Facebook.
BLOOD MONEY is also available from Amazon US: http://a.co/2yNaDsP
On this year’s Britflicks must-see British Indie Films list we have something for everyone, drama, animation, thrillers, horror and comedy. UK films from old dogs like Ken Loach (I, Daniel Blake) to debut features from newcomers like, Joe Stephenson (Chicken), Stephen Fingleton (The Survivalist) and Helen Walsh (The Violators). Take a look and of course if you think we've missed some let us know in the comments box below.
The list is in no particular order so just enjoy and keep supporting Independent British Film!
I, DANIEL BLAKE - Directed By Ken Loach - UK
Loach’s film pulls no punches. it’s direct, outspoken and unsparing in its criticism of a callous welfare system.
Read the Britflicks I, Daniel Blake review here.
I, Daniel Blake [DVD] 
CHICKEN - Directed By Joe Stephenson - UK
Chicken is remarkably assured and powerful, Joe Stephenson behind the camera and Scott Chambers in front of it both have more than what it takes.
Read Britflicks' Chicken review here.
URBAN HYMN - Directed By Michael Caton-Jones - UK
You buy into their characters who wholeheartedly deliver their performances.
Read Britflicks' Urban Hymn review here.
ADULT LIFE SKILLS - Directed By Rachel Tunnard - UK
A quirky, witty and moving film about grief and identity.
Read Britflicks' Adult Life Skills review here.
EDDIE THE EAGLE - Directed By Dexter Fletcher - UK/GER/US
A really enjoyable, funny, feel-good and very well-made British film.
Read Britflicks' Eddie The Eagle review here.
ETHEL AND ERNEST - Directed By Roger Mainwood - UK
A social history of 20th century Britain seen through the prism of the everyday life of two decent, ordinary people.
Read Britflicks' Ethel And Ernest review here.
THE CHILDHOOD OF A LEADER - Directed By Brady Corbet - UK/France/Hungary
It ignores convention in ways that bring to mind the early Orson Welles of Citizen Kane.
Read Britflicks' the Childhood Of a Leader here.
THE PASSING (Yr Ymadawiad) - Directed By Gareth Bryn UK/CYMRU
For anyone who wants suspense, a visual feast, and just that little bit of dark, forbidden intensity.
Read Britflicks' review of The Passing here.
THE SURVIVALIST - Directed By Stephen Fingleton - UK
Every unsparing physical detail is uncomfortably convincing and realistic – there are no special effects. Shot in natural light, the images speak for themselves.
Read Britflicks' The Survivalist review here.
THE VIOLATORS - Directed By Helen Walsh - UK
Filmed with a bleak colour palette that’s enlivened by the bright colours of an amusement arcade and a fairground, The Violators is grimly realistic and authentic.
Read Britflicks' review here.
SUNSET SONG – Directed by Terence Davies - UK/ LUX
A young heroine who must endure the hardships of rural Scottish life, whilst the Great War looms ever closer.
REMAINDER - Directed By Omer Fast - UK/GER
A visually stunning mixture of mind-bending puzzle and stylish thriller.
CRUEL SUMMER - Directed By Phillip Escott - UK
Appropriately titled ‘Cruel’ Summer, this remarkable film is unrelenting throughout.
Read Briflicks' review here.
BREAKDOWN - Directed By Jonnie Malachi - UK
A professional Hitman (Craig Fairbrass) has to defend his family after falling out with his employer, played by the very suave James Cosmo.
THE GUV'NOR - Directed By Paul Van Carter - UK
THE GUV’NOR is not simply a documentary following the ups and downs of an East London cheeky-chap, it is also a fascinating study of the fragility and vulnerability of a man mainly associated with ferocity and violence and his position in society.
HALF WAY – Directed By Daisy-May Hudson - UK
A moving documentary portrait of the UK housing crisis told through the eyes of director Daisy-May Hudson whose family is affected.
KiDULTHOOD, AdULTHOOD and BrOTHERHOOD have all had an impact on the way that multiculturalism is portrayed in British cinema, carving out its own path in order to portray the struggles of growing up in urban areas. Noel Clarke’s iconic ‘Sam Peel’ may be an unusual protagonist to some, however for many, he proved to be an influential character for which a forgotten generation could identify with as they matured together over the ten year span of ThE HOOD TRILOGY.
To celebrate the release of BrOTHERHOOD on Blu-Ray & DVD December 26, we take a look at Sam Peel’s journey through the trilogy, and exactly how the he has played a key role in representing urban youth culture in an important, real and reflective way.
KiDULTHOOD (2006) directed by Menhaj Huda
We first see Sam in KiDULTHOOD, a young troubled antagonist, who has unfortunately become a Ladbroke Grove bully. When Trife and his friends come looking for revenge after Sam steals his Gameboy, Trife knocks Sam’s mum over after beating him up in his own home. We follow Sam as he faces moral struggles between sticking up for his family and trying to attain the respect he desires, and although the film ends with an accidental fatality, it is integral to the narrative that Sam must pay the price for what he did. KiDULTHOOD and the character of Sam Peel have been criticised for ‘glamorising’ violence, but others argue that the film is a cautionary tale and stands to help teens who, in reality face the same challenges, realise what will happen if they make poor choices, and in turn, helps a wider audience understand the bigger issues that develop in urban London.
AdULTHOOD (2008) directed by Noel Clarke
Six years on in AdULTHOOD, audiences find Sam leaving prison as a seemingly reformed man. However, with guilt still heavy on his shoulders and the knowledge that people are out to get him, Sam is conflicted over whether to return to his old life to find and stop who’s after him at any cost, or continue on the mature path he aimed for in prison. Young, proud and still teetering on naivety, Sam seeks out who wants him dead and runs in to Jay, the best friend of Trife. Sam is then faced with the ultimate choice, quickly realising that Jay is on the same path as he was six years ago, and decides instead to move forward. Following Sam in AdULTHOOD not only showcases a realistic tale of redemption, but also teaches audiences to not make the same mistake twice.
BrOTHERHOOD (2016) directed by Noel Clarke
Sam returns ten years later, with a family and a hardworking attitude. But after his family are threatened by a mob wanting to settle an old score, it soon becomes clear that his old street smarts are not enough. With past demons close at his heels, Sam is forced to delve back into the criminal underworld and rely on the help of past acquaintances, whilst fearing that the peaceful life that he fought for will always seem out of reach. Though he longs to leave his past behind, Sam must accept that violence has defined who he is, and in order to defeat his enemies, he must also conquer the part of himself that challenges him the most. Sam’s progression to the man at the end of BrOTHERHOOD brings awareness that there can be ways out of the stereotypes that people are sometimes born into.
BrOTHERHOOD COMES TO BLU-RAY & DVD 26 DECEMBER 2016.
Paul Herbert’s 19-minute short film is a dystopian fantasy set in the near future in a prison-like language school for adult foreigners in Britain. It’s a 1984-like vision, where education has been reduced to box-ticking for weekly multiple-choice tests that are designed to be so easy that they are always passed, and teachers don’t give the lessons themselves, but are relegated to being mere screen minders to the Big Brother-like onscreen teacher, the Autoprof.
Both teachers and pupils alike are dressed in colour-coded boilersuits and they inhabit a bare, sparsely furnished building (a bare set design by Anne Bourmane). In this grim world, Virgil (Tim Hayward) is the Winston Smith figure, the cowed English-language teacher struggling to hold onto his meagre zero-hours contract, in fear of unemployment as newspaper headlines say that education is being slashed.
Then two events shake up his dismal life. A flirty new pupil, his Julia figure, Marie (Laila Rose Bouromane), whose number is 101, arrives in his class wearing the wrong uniform, and their eyes meet; and he is faced with the dilemma of having to fail a student’s test paper for the first time or falsify the mark – or rather, in the language of the script, where fail is a non-word, to ‘unpass’ it, a teaching failure that would have serious consequences for him.
The director of the language school, Mangle (John Gannon) is suitably dictatorial. He keeps autocratic order through his shaven-headed, brutal enforcer Butch (Tommie Grabiec). There’s an atmosphere of menace, where dehumanised individuals, known by numbers not names, are crushed by an inflexible system. Though the setting is clinically white, expressionistic lighting at times enhances threatening situations or individuals.
Written and directed by Paul Herbert, THE ENGLISH LESSON is a well-thought-through fable of a future of austerity and its effect on education and employment, and where it could be taking us, but with its twist-in-the-tail ending, it's a future in which the power of human contact may still manage to find a way around repression.
The film won an award at Canada Shorts, the Canadian and International Short Film Festival, and was in Official Competition at the Bucharest ShortCut Cinefest in November. It premiered at Glasgow Blueprint short film festival in September.
Paul Herbert has written, directed and produced five original short narrative films: Autumn Drift (2014), Winter Will (2014), The Flight of Iro and Casper (2015), The English Lesson (2016) & Air Tax, which is in post-production. He is currently developing a sixth short film and writing a screenplay for a feature.
Britflicks' Joanna Ebuwa had the pleasure of visiting the set of WE STILL STEAL THE OLD WAY, meeting cast and crew, and seeing first-hand what goes on behind the scenes when making a British gangster film.
WE STILL STEAL THE OLD WAY is the sequel to the hugely successful British crime film WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY and is set for release in January 2017 courtesy of Platform Entertainment.
Ian Olgilvy (Richie Archer) showing he still has a glint in his eye on the set of We Still Steal The Old Way.
Featuring the original cast of loveable gangsters, Ian Ogilvy (Return of the Saint), Chris Ellison (The Bill) and Tony Denham (Vendetta), WE STILL STEAL THE OLD WAY sees the ageing criminal outfit carrying out a daring robbery, only to be caught in the midst of their heist. Sentenced to hard time in Britain's toughest prison, they encounter a nemesis from their past intent on settling an old score.
We Still Steal The Old Way director Sacha Bennett
New additions to the all-star cast include Billy Murray (the Call of Duty video game franchise), Patrick Bergin (Sleeping with the Enemy), Julian Glover (Game of Thrones, The Empire Strikes Back) and Vas Blackwood (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels).
Tony Denham (Butch) and Christopher Ellison (Roy) inbetween shots
Producer Jonathan Sothcott commented, "“WE STILL STEAL THE OLD WAY delivers everything the first one did but it’s a more performance driven movie. It’s much more intense for the guys because of this focused environment, more violent, it’s funnier, the Ogilvy one-liners are very much in attendance and just expect a nasty bastard of a film.
What makes this sequel really special though is the addition of Billy Murray as the villain. He's utterly, magnificently evil in the movie - he really is a brilliant villain and it's great to have such a fine actor back on screen”.
Blood splattering behind the scenes on set of WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY.
Ian Ogilvy, Tony Denham and Christopher Ellison taking a breather inbetween scenes on We Still Steal The Old Way.
Hereford Films’ recent productions also include BONDED BY BLOOD 2 and they are also developing a new series of Carry On comedy movies.
WE STILL STEAL THE OLD WAY - OFFICIAL TRAILER
WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY and is set for release in January 2017 courtesy of Platform Entertainment.
Also coming soon from Hereford Film - BONDED BY BLOOD 2
Pre-Order WE STILL STEAL THE OLD WAY for just £7.99
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PANIC: Sean Spencer's debut urban crime noir, starring David Gyasi and Pippa Nixon will be in UK Cinemas 18th November 2016, and on VOD 21st November 2016.
"Armed with only an Oyster card and a hammer"
Set and shot in East London using an Arri Alexa, PANIC is the story of music journalist Andrew Deeley (David Gyasi, Interstellar), a psychologically scarred, agoraphobic man who lives in a high-rise tower block.
Cut off from the world Andrew spends his evenings watching the neighbours and becoming infatuated with Kem (Yennis Cheung), a beautiful Chinese girl.
When Amy (Pippa Nixon), a married woman he meets online, witnesses Kem’s kidnapping, Deeley tries and fails to get the police involved. He is left with no choice but to try and find Kem himself, fighting his own anxieties as he strives to find someone whom the world is happy to forget.
Armed with only an Oyster card and a hammer, Deeley spirals into the heart of the Chinese Triad underworld.
PANIC is released in UK cinemas 18th November 2016, and on demand 21st November
PANIC is released in US Cinemas 11November 2016.
Follow Panic on twitter.
Britflicks recently had the pleasure of visiting the set of Nicholas Winters' latest film UNDERCOVER HOOLIGAN, starring Kris Johnson (Hooligan Legacy), Simon Cotton (Fall of the Krays), Ali Bastian (Strippers vs Werewolves), Sapphire Elia, Patrick Connolly, Munro Graham and Chris Simmons.
Following hot on the heels of HOOLIGAN LEGACY, Nicholas Winter's UNDERCOVER HOOLIGAN tells the story of Michael Clarke (Kris Johnson), who due to his brutally violent policing tactics finds himself on the wrong side of the law. He is then given a chance to redeem himself by going undercover to infiltrate the notorious London criminal enterprise of Terence Turner (Patrick Connolly), with the task of bringing the gang boss to justice.
Chief Inspector Hawkins (Tim Berrington) and Baker (Ali Bastian) watch on as Clarke struggles to keep his cover when he finds himself getting dragged deeper into a world of failed operations, people trafficking, murder and extortion.
Turner and his son Gavin (Simon Cotton) have their suspicions about the ex-copper but veteran mobster Griffith vouches for him. Clarke's headstrong attitude might see him bring the Turners to justice or his violent tendencies could jeopardise the police operation and his own life
UNDERCOVER HOOLIGAN is writen/directed by Nicholas Winter & produced by Lucinda Rhodes Thakrar and Jeet Thakrar.
UNDERCOVER HOOLIGAN on VOD 19 December and DVD Boxing Day 2016.
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