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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

British Film Festival 2020

Featuring a tender romance starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law's latest thriller, and 20 other new and classic English movies.
By Sarah Ward
October 22, 2020
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British Film Festival 2020

Featuring a tender romance starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law's latest thriller, and 20 other new and classic English movies.
By Sarah Ward
October 22, 2020
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Of all the country-specific film festivals that reach Sydney's big screens each year, the British Film Festival might have the weakest reason to exist. Rather than showcasing flicks from a particular part of the world that viewers probably won't get the chance to see in cinemas otherwise, it screens a number of movies that are destined for a bigger release — and a heap of films with very well-known stars, too. But if you want to spend a few weeks immersed in the latest and greatest that UK cinema has to offer, all at once, it's definitely the event for you. And, in 2020 as it does every year, it features a jam-packed lineup.

Hitting Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinemas and Palace Central from Tuesday, November 10–Sunday, November 29, this year's BFF boasts one of the most anticipated movies of 2020: Ammonite, the Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan-starring romance set in 1840s England, as directed by God's Own Country's Frances Lee. The tender tale only premiered overseas in September, so it's coming to Australia rather quickly — and yes, it's already garnering awards buzz.

From the 22-film lineup, other highlights include Misbehaviour, in which Keira Knightley helps recreate the true story of feminist protesters at the 1970 Miss World competition in London; thriller The Nest, with Jude Law playing a British entrepreneur who moves his American family to an English country manor; and Summerland, a World War II-set romantic drama led by Gemma Arterton. There's also opening night's Blithe Spirit, based on the Noël Coward's comedy and starring Dan Stevens, Isla Fisher, Judi Dench and Leslie Mann — plus folk-horror thriller Fanny Lye Deliver'd, about a woman in 17th-century Shropshire whose unhappy marriage gets a shake up by a younger couple on the run.

The British Film Festival also looks back at British greats gone by, so expect to check out 80s sci-fi flick Flash Gordon, and watch Sir Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers in The Ladykillers for its 65th anniversary. Something extra special: a 40th anniversary screening of David Lynch's The Elephant Man, which earned him the first of his three Oscar nominations for Best Director, and is a movie that everyone genuinely needs to see at least once.

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