The Raindance Film Festival takes place in London next week, where we’ll see UK, European, and Worldwide premieres of a number of films from all over the world in a variety of genres and styles. Here’s our pick of the films in the running for the Best UK Film Award.
#1. Gregor – Dir. Mickey Down, Konrad Kay
This is a “black comedy where no lessons are learned”, according to the Raindance website, and from this trailer that looks like a statement that’s hard to disagree with. It also looks like it could make for a very funny film, one perhaps in the vein of “Trainspotting” or “The Rules Of Engagement”, a dark comedy (fearlessly and graphically) celebrating the exploits of its sordid characters. Fans of TV’s “Peep Show” and “The Inbetweeners” may recognise Matt King (Super-Hans) and Belinda Stewart-Wilson (Will’s Mum) respectively.
#2. Hinterland – Dir. Harry MacQueen
A more lyrical tone is taken in this mumblecore effort, which sees a man and one of his oldest friends taking a holiday together. The trailer prefers to show bits and pieces from the film instead of giving the plot a rundown (probably a good thing, mind), but this nevertheless looks like a slightly slower-paced, more gentle film, that will no doubt do well in the indie-crowd and maybe score some points with those looking for a break from more traditional narratives. Harry MacQueen wrote, directed and stars in the film, so there’s no doubt this will be a personal project.
#3. Down Dog – Dir. Andres Dussan
“Down Dog” is a comedy about a philandering womaniser who is lied to by his doctor (at the request of his ex-wife), and told that he only has a year to live, prompting him to clean his act up and to make contact with his teenage son. The trailers nails that homely, Nick Hornby vibe so fans of any of his work will want to check this out, but even if you are unfamiliar this looks like a witty, life-affirming film with a message; I’m calling it as a surefire crowd-pleaser.
#4. Keeping Rosy – Dir. Steve Reeves
More “Inbetweeners” alumni are found in this Hitchcockian-looking thriller about a woman named Charlotte who, in the midst of a rage, kills her foreign cleaner. Blake Harrison, who you may remember as the dim-witted Neil, plays the security guard who is in on Charlotte’s secret, and seems to taunt her cruelly for it. It looks like a genuinely creepy film, which fans of slowly-built dread and the slow-burn will want to look out for. Added to which, it’s always a delight to see an actor try something new, and Harrison doing menacing isn’t going to be something to miss.
#5. Luna – Dir. Dave McKean
It’s hard to know what to expect from this one, since the trailer alone seems to incorporate infant mortality, home-grown fantasy effects, a couple in the midst of a break-up and a blurring of the lines between what’s real and what isn’t. It’s been a troubled production (filming started in 2007), but that hasn’t stopped such classics as Eraserhead in the past; the film currently has a favourable 6.8 rating on IMDb, and is going to be shown at the SITGES and TIFF film festivals. We’re getting the impression that this is one for fans of cult cinema that’s hard to define.
#6. The Quiet Hour – Dir. Stéphanie Joalland
With perhaps the biggest star of all the films included here, (Dakota Blue Richards who played the lead character “Lyra” in “The Golden Compass”), this is a science-fiction/thriller about mankind surviving in the wake of an alien invasion, where the greatest threat might be mankind itself. The trailer for this one was gritty, almost horror-film-esque, and will surely earn Richards a new image as an actress unafraid of darker roles and more adult movies.
All in all, it looks like an excellent line-up for a festival with just the right amount of winners, oddballs and originals. More information about the films listed and other entries can be found here, and passes for the festival can be bought here.