A Week of Culture

25 Mar

I’ve been a little quiet on my blog recently due to what has been a busy week of culture! We’ve just had the Bermuda International Film Festival – a week of independent and foreign language films. The opportunity to see international or “off-beat” films in London is frequent; so frequent that I’ve never actually been. Living in Bermuda has taught me how spoilt for choice I was growing up, and later working, in the Big Smoke of England. Ironically because it was on offer all the time, I never went at all. But now, as these cultural opportunities are harder to come by here on this small island, I’m embracing every one.

We’ve seen films in French and Arabic, stories set in South Africa and Lebanon, as well as interesting and thought-provoking tales from the USA, untarnished by Hollywood schmaltz. Some of the films have made me laugh, others – cry, and one made me squirm very uncomfortably in my seat. All of them have made me think.

I feel like I’ve just discovered I’ve only been reading one genre of book all of my life. Apart from the occasional French film, everything I’ve seen has been a “blockbuster”. I was vaguely aware that other films – probably more interesting ones – were out there, but it never occurred to me to seek them out.

I’d highly recommend every film we’ve seen:

Themba (South Africa) – a tale of a boy growing up in South Africa who wishes for two things: a career in football and for his father to return home. Despite his experiences of poverty, rape and HIV, the film is about hope, and it’s wonderful to watch. I’ve included the trailer below:

Barney’s Version (USA) – a journey through Barney’s life, swinging from hilarity to tragedy, captured beautifully and with Dustin Hoffman as a brilliant Barney’s dad.

Incendies (Canada) – twins travel from Canada to Lebanon to find their father and brother, and learn about their mother’s political and poignant life in the Middle East. I don’t know very much about filmmaking, but even I could see the cinematography was stunning; the use of a swimming pool to capture key moments in the characters’ journeys was incredibly powerful. This film was nominated for Best Foreign Feature Film in this year’s Oscars. The trailer is a great taster:

Trust (USA) – a harrowing tale of a teenage girl who meets a boy online… who turns out to be a 35 year old man. The family breakdown is horrible to watch but poignant to see. Directed by David Schwimmer (Ross from Friends!)

Somewhere (USA) – An intimate film directed by Sofia Coppola with Stephen Dorff as a film actor getting to know his daughter, and himself as a result.

If, like me, you’ve stuck to your comfort zone of the local Vue Cinema for your film fix, I’d really recommend venturing out to other places to see the wealth of incredible filmmaking that’s going on outside the studios of Hollywood and Pinewood. Or perhaps next time you get a DVD, just browse the International section first rather than making a beeline for the New Releases aisle. There may be some great stories there just waiting to be told.


One Response to “A Week of Culture”


  1. Kudos to BIFF!! « biff blog - 29 March, 2011

    […] or Affair! We do what we do for our filmmakers and audiences… Thrilled you enjoyed BIFF 2011. Read more on Dog or Affair Uncategorized ← BIFF 2011 Award Winners! LikeBe the first to like this […]

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