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Mark's ten things not to miss at this year's Cornwall Film Festival

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 04, 2013

  • Film critic Mark Kermode will be giving a series of talks at the festival

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Critic and raconteur Mark Kermode has given his backing to this year's Cornwall Film Festival by choosing his top 10 movies and must-see events from the hundreds being screened over three days in Newquay next month.

Best known for his work on The Observer, The Culture Show and Radio Five Live, Mark will be taking part in the annual festival by giving a series of talks and also performing with his band at the screening of a silent film.

Cornwall Film Festival, which is now in its twelfth year, began life as a small, local affair in Falmouth and has since grown to offer a varied programme of the best British and international fiction and documentaries that have been screened at the most prestigious festivals around the world, from Berlin to Cannes, Venice to Toronto, Sundance to South By South West.

Based this year at the Lighthouse Cinema in Newquay, there will also be a chance to see the best new releases from Cornwall's thriving film industry.

By way of a taster, Mark Kermode has selected ten "must-see" movies and other events of the festival.

1. The Selfish Giant, directed by Clio Barnard, is inspired by Oscar Wilde's story of the same name and is a contemporary fable about two teenage boys who get caught up in the world of copper theft.

"It's by Clio Barnard, who made The Arbor, which I absolutely love and is a really extraordinary piece of work that all the critics embraced," said Mark. "So I'm really looking forward to seeing this."

2. Nobody's Daughter Haewon, directed by Hong Sangsoo, is a comic tale of relationships and betrayal.

"I really like this," said Mark. "It's a very affecting film, very well done. It is one of those films that seems to meander and wander slightly aimlessly, but it does so in a way that actually becomes very profound, moving, and very touching."

3. The Great Beauty, directed by Paolo Sorrentino, was part of the official selection at this year's Cannes Film Festival and is a portrait of today's Rome through the eyes of an aging writer who recollects his passionate, lost youth.

"Paolo Sorrentino is a very interesting filmmaker," said Mark. "And he's never made a film that wasn't great to look at. He's got an extraordinary visual eye. Some critics that I respect very much think that The Great Beauty is the best film of the year. I personally thought that it was visually fantastic, but that it needed to be reined in a little bit, because it's maybe a bit too full of ideas. However, I'm aware that I'm in the minority and it will be interesting to see what people at the festival think of it."

4. Blue Is The Warmest Colour, directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, won one of the most prestigious film prizes in the world, the Palme d'Or, at Cannes. A passionate love story between two girls, it has been talked about a lot for its ten-minute lesbian sex scene.

"The great thing about Cornwall Film Festival is that it enables people to see a film and then afterwards to talk about it," said Mark. "In that sense, it is different seeing a film in a festival environment. So it's great to be able to see films such as Blue Is The Warmest Colour at the festival, as it raises a lot of issues and will give people an opportunity to discuss them."

5. Sunshine On Leith, written by Stephen Greenhorn and directed by Dexter Fletcher, is a love story featuring music by The Proclaimers and starring Peter Mullan and Jane Horrocks. Greenhorn will introduce the film and talk about it afterwards.

"I love Sunshine On Leith," said Mark. "I know it's cheesy, but it's one of those films that has a jukebox soundtrack turned into a narrative. I beamed all the way through it, partly because Dexter Fletcher did a brilliant job with keeping its feet on the ground, and partly because Stephen Greenhorn did a really good job of finding his way through the narrative."

6. Leviathan, directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor, won this year's Michael Powell award for best British feature at the Edinburgh Film Festival. An experimental, dialogue-free documentary about a fishing trawler at work off the coast of Massachusetts, it was shot mostly at night with small waterproof cameras.

Joshua Rothkopf, of Time Out, said: "The directors don't pass judgement on the fishing industry, nor does the movie fall into the common trap of beautification. Rather, the attempt is to reach for something primordial – amazingly, the film often gets there."

7. The Broken Circle Breakdown, directed by Felix van Groeningen, is a romantic melodrama involving a tattoo shop owner and an atheist banjo player.

Gilda Williams, of Sight & Sound said: "Multiple rounds of strong drink followed by intense all-night conversation are the only worthy aftermath to this mind-blowing film."

8. The Rocket, directed by Kim Mordaunt, is set in Laos and based on a documentary about the country's never-ending bomb-clearance work.

Paul Byrnes, of Sydney Morning Herald, wrote: "It's an emotionally forceful film, hurtling towards the kind of conclusion that Western audiences want to see. Mordaunt sacrifices some reality for this but that's his right. He's aiming to go beyond art-house enthusiasm and the film deserves to do that."

9. Nigel Ashcroft: A Life In Film From Strawberry Fields To The Tree Of Life, is a 90-minute talk by the acclaimed editor, documentary producer and director. He will show extracts from his work, share his memories, and relate his experiences over 30 years. It will be followed by a Q&A session. And finally... and he makes no excuses for including it.

10. Mark Kermode In Conversation: Cinema Past-Cinema Future is a presentation by the UK's favourite and most outspoken film critic, who will be in conversation with Dr Dario Llinares of Falmouth University. Mark will reflect on what he sees as the key industrial, technological and artistic moments that have shaped film and film criticism, and what the future may hold for a medium in transition.

Cornwall Film Festival 2013 will run at the Lighthouse Cinema in Newquay from November 8-10. For full programme details, visit cornwallfilmfestival.com

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