The 7th Belfast Film Festival kicked-off Thursday evening with what I’m sure proved to be a light-hearted, flute-filled romp with Kenneth Branagh’s interpretation of The Magic Flute. Since I’m not a big fan of mirth, I’m starting my festival experience tomorrow with the Spanish film noir Night of the Sunflowers and Peter Whitehead’s documentary of the titanic 1965 clash of Anglophone beat poets, Wholly Communion, washed down by another Whitehead contribution, Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London, which is billed as “a time-capsule from the London Psychedelic Underground,” All of these films are playing at the Queens Film Theatre, starting at 7:30 PM. Check the website for exact times. Those looking for their Friday fix of socially constructed fear can partake in the docudrama, The Road to Guantanamo at the Black Box, followed by a question and answer session with Northern Ireland’s favourite accused terrorist triad, The Tipton Three.
The film festival is a veritable cinematic cornucopia of seldom touched topics, offering a selection of films and documentaries highlighting diverse issues such as Alzheimer’s, Azerbaijan, authoritarianism, addiction, androgyny, abortion, aboriginal life, and Austrian artists. And that’s just the beginning of the alphabet. The film festival offers a mix of the acclaimed and the obscure. There’s something for everyone - our very own Jett Loe even makes a cameo appearance in the festival itinerary in the short film The Patrol on Saturday, March 31st as part of the Jameson Short Film Competition. I'll be writing about my choices of films for the festival, but if little-known Basque musical instruments and short documentaries aren't your cup of tea, check out the festival website for the many other options to meet all your viewing needs.
(Photo taken by Jett: Film Festival Revellers outside the Queens Film Theatre)