Love may not be in the air, but it will be on the screen when the Mostly British Film Festival plays the Vogue theater February 13-20, showcasing 25 classic and new films from the UK, Ireland, Australia and India.
The festival opens with “Le Weekend” a comedic drama starring Oscar winner Jim Broadbent as an Englishman who takes his wife to Paris to reignite their stalled marriage. The closing night film, “Summer in February,” features Dan Stevens, fresh from his lead role in “Downton Abbey,” as part of a love triangle in a bohemian artists’ colony in pre-World War I Cornwall.
Valentine’s Day is devoted exclusively to romantic fare, kicking off with “Love Me Till Morning,” a tale of love among 20-something year olds that proved a sold-out hit at the London Film Festival. “Love Actually” which has become a cult favorite on the home entertainment market in the decade since it’s release, follows love affairs portrayed by an A-list cast including Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and Liam Neeson. Rounding out the evening is the 1998 hidden gem “Sliding Doors,” starring Gwyneth Paltrow with a credible British accent as a London single caught between two romances.
On Feb. 15 the festival will pay tribute to Michael York, a 50-year acting veteran who besides his famous roles in “Cabaret,” “Logan’s Run” and “The Three Musketeers” managed to straddle disparate generations by appearing in both the “Austin Powers” movies and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” He will be at thte Vobue for an onstage conversation with Ruthe Stein and a screening of “England Made Me” (1973), in which he gives one of his favorite performances as an ambitious Englishman trying to better himself in pre-World War II Europe.
The festival’s popular British Noir night returns on Feb.16. KALW film critic Peter Robinson has selected “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” (1965) starring Richard Burton as a defector from British intelligence and the little known marvelous noir “The Hit” with Terrence Stamp as a Cockney snitch hiding out in Spain.
The first Indian film shown at the festival is the winning romance “Lunchbox” on Feb 19 starring the elegant Indian actor Irrfan Khan (police inspector in “Slumdog Millionaire” and the adult Pi in “Life of Pi”) as a depressed bureaucrat in Mumbai who carries on an epistolary relationship with a woman who makes his lunch.
Other highlights among the new slate of films: “What Richard Did,” the sad tale of a Dublin teenager that swept the Irish Academy Awards including winning best picture; “Look of Love” starring Steve Coogan as the British Hugh Hefner; “Nicky’s Family,” a touching documentary about an Englishman who saved the lives of more than 650 Czech and Slovak children before the outbreak of World War II; and “Byzantium” in which “Interview with a Vampire” director Neil Jordan revisits the blood-sucking population, casting Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton as vampires who terrorize an English seaside town.
On February 18-20, the Rafael theater in San Rafael will show three films selected from the festival.
Tickets for the Vogue are available at the theater box office or at www.mostlybritish.org