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The British Film Festival is launched, not with red carpets, strobe lights and sashaying stiletto wearing long legged lovelies with clouds of hair, but sedately with lots of local Brits and plenty of film friends who support the Palace Electric festivals. The British High Commissioner Meena Rawlings officially launched the festival doing a quick scoot between two cinemas, then settling in with her two lovely daughters, Natasha and Abby for giggles and gasps during the opening night film Youth.
“Metaphors” said Deb Kingsland, filmmaker and Stronger than Fiction Festival Director, that’s what it’s all about. I’d commented that some of it was ridiculous, but had laughed a lot, enjoyed the incredulity of the whole shebang and promised never to end up in a Swiss spa resort wrapped in a toweling robe and hair towel, lusting after a bearded mountain climbing guide seemingly ready to yodel at any opportunity.
And while the famous “youth is wasted on the young” springs to mind variously attributed to George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde, the movie is a vehicle for the talents of Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel, one of British cinema's loveliest ladies Rachel Weisz – who just happens to be married to Daniel Craig – and a cameo from Jane Fonda. And what a cameo it is. She is a feisty broad with a fine turn of phrase, later in the movie seen in a meltdown on a plane with a bevy of stewardesses trying to calm her down. Then the wig falls off and the façade is revealed. Magnificent metaphor moment!
But there’s so much more in this festival with a comprehensive collection of new movies, a festival retrospective of a century of British romance that includes A Town Like Alice, Two for the Road, Women in Love, and plenty of reasons to make time to grab the popcorn, a Schweppes summer cocktail to sip, and find time to relax at Palace Cinemas.
The Festival continues until 18 November with more program information at britishfilmfestival.com.au