The Plymouth Film Festival returned to Plymouth Arts Centre for it’s most successful year yet – Ben Cherry reviews the weekend and the screenings he attended in the second installment of a three part blog!
I went to the vast majority of the showings on the Saturday, but firstly I wanted to check out the Best of Plymouth Film Festival screening (this screening was a compilation of PFF Directors favourites from previous years). Prior to the screening starting I overheard some people commenting on their hangovers from the Opening Night party the evening before at The Rumpus Cosy. From the pictures I’ve seen and other comments during the weekend, it was a good and well attended night.
The quality of the films for this showing again was outstanding. My favourite film was The Fly, directed by Olly Williams and was a big winner at last year’s Film Festival. At first I wasn’t too sure. When the lead character was spending a considerable amount of time trying to kill a fly, I was getting bad memories of that famously polarizing Breaking Bad episode. However when the car was falling to bits as a result of this fly it became very entertaining and there were good reactions from the audience. In the end I thoroughly enjoyed it and I will definitely not be trying out toothpicks anytime soon. There were some other great films in that showing, Timothy was an inventive horror film which I found quite disturbing, and Cowboy Ben continued the theme of tragi-comedies.
Next up for me was The Dysfunctional Families category. Out of all the films it seemed A Six and Two Threes, directed by Andy Berriman was the most popular film and rightly so. A funny but modest film, with the show stolen by young actor Shane Teasdale. He was incredibly natural as the very chatty and foul mouthed Mackenzie. I felt that the plot wasn’t too important and it was the growing friendship between Mackenzie and the older and more middle class Andrew Dawson (played by Sean Taylor) that was the true heart of the film. Special mention goes to The Falling-esque Wild Flesh and the amusing Je Suis En Chaire which I also very much enjoyed.
The last category of films on the Saturday was ‘Supernatural’. The cinema was absolutely packed with a great communal atmosphere. As with the vast majority of the screenings, the first film was particularly strong. Boris in the Forest, directed by Robert Hackett follows an enthusiastic American tourist who decides to visit the birthplace of horror icon Boris Karloff which has since become a run-down kebab shop. The film starred Mac Macdonald as the geeky American who starred in some pretty high profile films back in the day, namely Tim Burton’s Batman and The Fifth Element. The film was very funny and I felt it was an ode to the culture of fandom and to the fans that go through so much effort just to get closer to their (usually deceased) idols.
There were a lot of good films in this category, Circles was brilliant as was Eyes Wide Open, which made me question whether it was a real documentary or not. It did encapsulate the extreme conspiracy theorists in all their infamy though.
However my personal favourite was the mini-documentary Take Their Love, directed by Emma Goude. It was filmed in Newton Abbot and follows a community of spiritual church goers. It was an odd film but the story of Sean Bennellick who lost two children in a house fire was quite moving. It looked like attending this church helped him through his grief, regardless of whether you believe the clairvoyants or not. It was hard to believe a church like that would be about 40 minutes away from Plymouth and admittedly it did remind me of The Wicker Man. But I did find it eye opening and one of the best aspects about the Festival is that it exposes you to a variety of different subjects, cultures, ideologies and communities.
Check back tomorrow for the final installment of Ben’s review – and if you missed Part 1 you can read it here.