Just back from serving on the ‘Fantastique Film’ jury at Strasbourg’s film festival, Mark talks about the joys of judging, and his favourite film at the festival, Dogs Don’t Wear Pants – a Finnish film about grief and dominatrices.
Next he asks fellow critic Peter Bradshaw his recommendations for the London Film Festival, which are Monos (soundtrack by Mica Levy), Sarah Gavron’s Rocks, and the closing film, Scorsese’s The Irishman. Peter’s book, The Films That Made Me… has just been released and Mark takes Peter to task on films on which their opinions differ: Synecdoche New York, The Twilight Saga and Antichrist, and they bond over their shared loves We Need to Talk About Kevin and Silent Running.
Then Mark welcomes Syrian journalist Waad Al-Kateab, whose must-see film about living in a war zone For Sama, shot during the five-year siege of Aleppo, deeply affected him.Next, writer-director of Good Posture Dolly Wells (also known for Doll & Em, Can You Ever Forgive Me? and 45 Years), and its star Emily Mortimer (also in Mary Poppins Returns, Lars and the Real Girl) talk about their work, their life-long friendship, and their Guilty Pleasures: Dirty Dancing and Calamity Jane.Jason Isaacs takes the stage and talks about the importance of making films that highlight how people come together, and that there is more that unites us than divides us – of which his current release Hotel Mumbai is one example – before riffing hilariously on the joy of being “A Chameleon of Accents”, turning his hand to Russian, American, Scottish and Devonian in films like Harry Potter, The Death of Stalin, Armageddon and Event Horizon. The latter 1997 film’s plot is a dead ringer for current Brad Pitt vehicle Ad Astra, of whom Jason has some tales to tell.We close the show with a tribute to Ken Russell’s Tommy, which is part of the BFI’s season of musicals that starts this autumn.
I produced last night’s show from a wheelchair – fingers crossed my ankle breaks have healed, and the cast can come off this week! – and with ace assistance from the indispensable Eddie Charles and Sophie Kendrick.