Film

Bristol Radical Film Festival 2013

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Anthony Killick, one of the organisers of the Bristol Radical Film Festival (25 February - 3 March), writes about how the festival aims to promote politically engaged cinema

In 2012 the Bristol Radical Film Festival (BRFF) had a hugely successful debut year. Screening some of the most politically and socially engaged documentaries from around the world, the festival resulted from the collective efforts and resources of university lecturers, students, activist groups and charities within Bristol.

Midnight's Children

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Salman Rushdie's Booker prize winning novel, Midnight's Children, first published in 1981, was known as the "the book that was impossible to film". Unfortunately, this has in many ways been confirmed by Deepa Mehta's adaptation.

The usual criticism aimed at film adaptations, that they change or distort the book's story and message, cannot be applied here however. Rushdie himself painstakingly distilled his original 600-page tome into a screenplay for the film, as well as serving as its executive producer and providing voiceover.

Call me Kuchu

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Directors Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall


Release date: 2 November

This gripping new documentary follows a group of Ugandan LGBT activists as they campaign against an attempt to push an anti-homosexuality bill being pushed through the east African country's parliament in 2010 and 2011.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda. The new law would punish anyone who did not report LGBT people and would introduce the death penalty for "aggravated" homosexuality. The film focuses on campaigner David Kato, the first out gay man in Uganda, and chief organiser for the somewhat unfortunately named SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda).

BFI London Film Festival 2012: round up

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Frankenweenie, Great Expectations, Argo, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Midnight's Children, Ginger and Rosa, No, Amour, The Pervert's Guide to Ideology, The Central Park Five, Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, 7 Psychopaths, Sightseers.

Film festivals exist for two main reasons: to promote the cultural prominence of the cinematic arts and to push sales. Usually the two are bound up together and used as the reason to justify each other, although in any given festival the weighting will change. The London Film Festival is certainly aimed at the commercial end of things; but because of its dual role, and helped by how long it has been going and by its capital location, it angles itself principally in terms of prestige.

Hysteria

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Directed by Tanya Wexler, out now

Angela Carter once wrote an essay called "Alison's Giggle", which was about the changing representations of women's sexuality in literature. Alison was the carpenter's wife in Chaucer's The Miller's Tale, written at the end of the 14th century. She finds her husband repulsive and has taken another lover. She humiliates the older and rather ridiculous carpenter by tricking him into kissing her arse. "Tee hee, said she", Chaucer writes, showing Alison's glee as she returns to her lover.

The Travelling Players

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Directed by Theo Angelopoulos, available now on DVD and digital download

Theo Angelopoulos's 1975 film The Travelling Players is a very special film. It is set in Greece and tells the story of the struggles of Greek people in the 20th century, narrated by a group of travelling players who traverse Greek history and the Greek landscape. History in this depiction is not told by "great man" but by this group of players and the masses

On the Road

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Directed by Walter Salez, released on 12 October

Adapting literature into film is always a tricky task, but perhaps even more so when the book in question is known as the era-defining "voice of its generation". On the Road, first published in 1957, documents the real-life adventures of writer Jack Kerouac (known in the novel as Sal Paradise) and his wild friend Neal Cassady (Dean Moriarty) as they race around the US in search of adventure and epiphany.

Anna Karenina

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Keira Knightley plays the title role in the latest screen adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's 1877 novel, teaming up to form a third collaboration with Joe Wright, director of Pride & Prejudice and Atonement.

Set among the 19th century Russian aristocracy, this is the story of the beautiful and enigmatic socialite Anna who is in a loveless but highly respectable marriage with Karenin, a high-ranking government minister. Her encounter with Count Vronksy, a wealthy and charming cavalry officer, propels her into the role of tragic heroine as they embark on a destructive love affair.

Sing Your Song

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Director Susanne Rostock

Release date: 8 June

Sing Your Song traces the remarkable life of Harry Belafonte from his poverty-stricken childhood in Jamaica and Harlem, through his career as an international musical and acting sensation and multi-million record selling artist.

The Angels' Share

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Director Ken Loach
Release date: 1 June

I was briefly kettled by the French police as I attempted to get to the press showing of Ken Loach's new film The Angels' Share - unable to move as the police allowed a small and painfully slow trickle of the well-heeled and high-heeled to trip their way towards the famous red carpet.

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