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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Four Must-See Films at the MINI British Film Festival 2019

This year, you can catch a moving drama from a former Palme d'Or winner, a thrilling documentary on post-Soviet Russia and more.
By Sarah Ward
October 31, 2019
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Four Must-See Films at the MINI British Film Festival 2019

This year, you can catch a moving drama from a former Palme d'Or winner, a thrilling documentary on post-Soviet Russia and more.
By Sarah Ward
October 31, 2019
  shares

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Thirty films, four weeks and more famous faces than you can dream of — that's what to expect from this year's MINI British Film Festival. Reading through the fest's lineup is like scrolling through a who's who of English talent, with Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen, Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Kristin Scott Thomas, Bill Nighy, Keira Knightley, Timothy Spall, Peter Capaldi, Gwendoline Christie, Kate Beckinsale, Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones and even Liam Gallagher all set to grace Brisbane cinema screens between October 30–November 24.

While Kristin Scott Thomas will lead the way in war-set opening night drama Military Wives, legends Mirren and McKellen will help close out the festival in thriller The Good Liar. Meanwhile, outspoken Oasis frontman gets the documentary treatment in Liam Gallagher: As It Was, and The Theory of Everything's Redmayne and Jones reunite for a high-flying adventure in The Aeronauts. The list goes on — and if you're already feeling spoiled for choice, we're here to help by picking out our four must-see highlights.

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SORRY WE MISSED YOU

When Ken Loach won the Cannes Film Festival's coveted Palme d'Or for 2016's I, Daniel Blake, he did so with a moving social-realist drama that exposed the cruelty underpinning a standard facet of British life. That's the veteran director's speciality, so it should come as no surprise that his latest film follows in the same footsteps — or that it's just as astute and stirring. Swapping government benefits for the gig economy, Sorry We Missed You follows ex-construction worker Ricky (Kris Hitchen) as he leaps into the courier business, thinking that'll provide security for his family's future. Instead, he discovers the gruelling reality of impossible targets, zero benefits, uncaring corporations, spiralling debts and working around the clock. Shot with Loach's usual naturalistic eye, this timely and topical movie proves as impassioned and infuriating as its stellar predecessor.

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A GUIDE TO SECOND DATE SEX

George MacKay is one of Britain's rising acting talents, with standout roles in For Those In Peril, Pride, Captain Fantastic, and 11.22.63 to prove it. Soon, he'll be seen in the upcoming Australian drama True History of the Kelly Gang — playing Ned Kelly, no less — but before that, he's jumping into the romantic comedy realm. In A Guide to Second Date Sex, MacKay plays Ryan. On his second date with Laura (Alexandra Roach), he knows that they have plenty in common; however, they're both still feeling more than a little awkward. First-time director Rachel Hirons adapted this screenplay from her own hit Edinburgh Fringe Festival play. Embracing, unpacking and subverting all the usual dating and rom-com tropes, this is classic British comedy territory.

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CITIZEN K

From the collapse of enormous corporations to huge political sex scandals and CIA-sanctioned torture, Alex Gibney has chronicled the big stories of the past two decades. Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, Julian Assange's Wikileaks, Lance Armstrong's doping ban and the Church of Scientology have all fallen into his purview as well, with the American documentarian amassing quite the hard-hitting resume. With Citizen K, he dives into a topic he was bound to cover: Vladimir Putin's Russia, the country's murky political realm and the fate awaiting anyone who speaks out against the powerful president. Focusing on Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Citizen K tracks the Russian businessman's journey from wealthy oligarch to prisoner to "the Kremlin's leading critic-in-exile". As the most fascinating tales are, it's the kind of story that has to be seen to be believed.

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FARMING

How does a Briton with Nigerian ancestry end up in a white supremacist gang? That's the tale that Farming tells. The title refers to a practice common in the 60s, 70s and 80s when babies were fostered out to white parents in the hopes that they'd receive a better upbringing. In Enitan's (Damson Idris) case, growing up in Tilbury leaves him questioning his identity, feeling like an outcast with both his foster family and his natural family, and seeking approval from the hateful skinheads who openly taunt, bully, beat and condemn him. It's a confronting and compelling story, especially given that it's based on the life of actor-turned-writer and director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje — who has featured in everything from Oz, Lost and Game of Thrones to The Bourne Identity, Thor: The Dark World and Suicide Squad over the past two decades.

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The MINI British Film Festival will take place at Brisbane's Palace Barracks and Palace James Street from October 30–November 24. For more information, visit the festival website.

Published on October 31, 2019 by Sarah Ward

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