5:00 PM, 20th May, 2017
A man narrowly escapes death from a shipwreck and is washed onto the shores of a tropical island. He’s resourceful enough to attempt to escape, more than once, but a large, soulful-eyed red turtle seems determined to stop him. And then…
I need to warn you that the ‘and then’ is something rather horrible, which will taste very sour when it occurs. It’s a testament to how wonderful the film is that; not only does it fully recover from this sour moment; it transforms the moment into something breathtaking and uplifting. By the end you won’t regret having stuck it out. I’m pretty sure this will even be true of any children there may be in the audience. But – well, caveat emptor. Just know they will face a rough moment.
You’ll also be amazed at how much story the film manages to tell, and how crystal-clear it all is, without there being a single word of dialogue. Given the film is a collaboration between Studio Ghibli in Japan, additional studios in France and Belgium, and a Dutch-English animator, it probably made sense to remove language from the equation. The look is also a unique mix of elements you might recognise from Japan and Europe, with vistas both serene and alarming, and a colour palette chosen so as to make the red of that turtle look like the loveliest colour on Earth.
7:00 PM, 20th May, 2017
PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE HIGH COMMISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA
The British Empire was forged by trials and tribulations. The fact that its influence is still amongst us is no mean feat; with the monarchy, language, system of parliament and Commonwealth Games among many common threads that tie all her colonies together. A United Kingdom, based on a true story, is an example of one of the many uprisings made by individual territories against their oppressive and exploitative English rulers.
This well-made film shows the fight for independence for Bechuanaland, now Botswana, by its future king (Oyelowo). His ascendance to the throne is stymied by his love for his white wife (Pike), whom he meets while studying in London in the 1940s. The union and his future rule with her by his side is opposed by all parties – government and family. The seeping of apartheid from neighbouring South Africa, an asset on many fronts to the English, adds to the political tension of an interracial marriage at the highest family tier of Bechuanaland.
Pike was in a similarly sympathetic role in another true story, Made in Dagenham, about equal pay for women in the workplace. This film too explores issues around tolerance and unity. Can love conquer all? Watch this and see.