Now in its second year, Derby Film Festival continues to grow in terms of programme, quality and attendance, whilst still retaining the same friendly atmosphere as before. The QUAD is a lovely venue with great staff and lovely food to boot. There were more previews this year, more classics and great films running throughout the ten days.
A few of the highlights included:
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
Shot in Southern California in magnificent black and white, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is indisputably the first Iranian Vampire Western. It’s beautiful in every sense. An art house Near Dark, in terms of the atmosphere. It’s offbeat, it’s unusual and it’s the best film I’ve seen so far this year.
A Royal Night Out
On VE Day, Prince Elizabeth and Margaret wanted to celebrate like everyone else, and despite the misgiving of the King and Queen, they’re allowed out. They soon slip their chaperones and an evening of high jinx ensues. It’s a feel-good film with serious undertones which is utterly enchanting.
Spring is an anomaly for a horror film. The relationship between the two leads has more chemistry, depth and realism than the vast majority of ‘romantic’ movies. Often reminiscent of Before Sunset, it’s a film with more drama than horror, bringing a refreshingly understated new take to monster movies.
All The President’s Men
Watergate was a high point for investigative journalism, and Alan J Pakula’s classic film really does bring the importance of that moment home. Starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, All The President’s Men remains one of the best films of the ’70s – a true pleasure to watch on a big screen.
The Tribe contains no verbal dialogue, no voiceover, no soundtrack and no explanation. Set in a deaf school in Kiev, the only communication is through sign language. It’s a brutal and vibrant film which re-writes the language of cinema through the power of body language.
Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid
I’m old enough to remember a time when Steve Martin was the biggest name in Hollywood. Dead Men Don’t Where Plaid is a satire of film noir which intersperses clips from classic films into the story. Whilst this mixing is not entirely successful, it’s a real hoot.
Derby Film Festival has cemented its place on the UK film festival calendar, with an outstanding dedication to quality programming. Roll on next year.