It’s time to party in Dinard

Black comedy chosen to open British film festival in France

by Richard Mowe

The Trouble With Jessica
The Trouble With Jessica

The black comedy The Trouble With Jessica will open the Dinard Festival du film britannique on France’s Emerald Coast close to St Malo on 27 September it was revealed in a programme announcement today.

The film, which deals with the events in the aftermath of a death at a dinner party, stars Shirley Henderson, Rufus Sewell, Olivia Williams, Indira Varma, Alan Tudyk, Anne Reid and Sylvester Groth. It will only be released in the UK on 23 November through Parkland Entertainment.

Jury president Catherine Frot
Jury president Catherine Frot Photo: © Renaud Joubert
The Festival in its 34th incarnation which is devoted to throwing the spotlight on British, Irish and Scottish cinema for French audiences, closes on 1 October with a screening of The Old Oak, which veteran director Ken Loach has avowed will be his final film. It tells of a downtrodden mining community in County Durham and its struggle to survive in a changing world. With its only local pub, The Old Oak, facing closure, its landlord becomes embroiled in controversy when he strikes up a friendship with a Syrian refugee.

Films vying for accolades in the Competition, to be discerned by a jury headed by French actress Catherine Frot, are The Effects Of Lying with ex-EastEnders star Ace Bhatti and former Holby City legend Laila Rouass playing a couple having a day from hell; Girl, written and directed by Adura Onashile in her feature debut which opened the Glasgow Film Festival earlier in the year and featuring French actress Déborah Lukumuena in the lead; and Silent Roar, Johnny Barrington’s feature debut about a young surfer coming to terms with his father’s death at sea which opened the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The remaining Competition entries comprise Silver Haze by Sacha Polak, described as “a compassionate working class drama” with Vicky Knight and Esme Creed-Miles and Scrapper, Charlotte Regan’s comedy drama with Harris Dickinson, Lola Campbell and Alan Uzun exploring a father-daughter bond.

The Festival’s artistic director Dominique Green suggests that the programme takes audiences "on a journey from Britain’s colonial past to its multicultural present. From the margins of society to worlds of wealth and privilege. From Inspirational tales of triumph to the long shadow of the 20th century wars… and beyond. If last year s selection asked the question 'Who do we think we are?' This year we can reply 'We are many different things'. Long may it continue”.

As already announced, a particular focus will be thrown on filmmaker Carol Morley and will screen her most recent film Typist Artist Pirate King as well as previous works Dreams Of A Life, Out of Blue, and The Falling. Green suggests that Morley’s quest has been to investigate the boundaries of society and social behaviour. She adds: “In conjunction with gifted actors, she has created an intriguing body of work which will be revealed to French audiences in Dinard. Awarded a Wellcome screenwriting fellowship in 2015, she discovered and extensively researched the life of Audrey Amiss in the charity’s archives. In keeping with her previous work Morley uses her talent to transform source material. Typist Artist Pirate King brings to prominence the life of an extraordinary, but neglected artist, and creates a story of great power with three dazzling performances.”

The festival will pay homage to author Martin Amis who died earlier this year, with screenings of The Zone of Interest, freely adapted from the novel of the same name by Jonathan Glazer while Carol Morley’s Out of Blue was adapted from his novel Night Train.

Other sections of the festival will see screenings of Molly Manning Walker’s How To Have Sex, Naqqash Khalid’s In Camera, the documentary Cannes Uncut, from Richard Blanshard and Roger Penny; an examination by French director Pierre Chassagnieux of Ken Loach’s life and works, Ken Loach: Le Vent de la Révolte and Mark Cousin’s essay on the master of suspense My Name Is Alfred Hitchcock.

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