The bard heads south! by Patrick Hurley

British Screen Festival 2016

This year’s 19th festival of the best of British cinema will be showing 30 films over 10 days giving you the chance to experience a mix of classic movies and pre-release features as well as "hommages" to directors Michael Radford and Derek Jarman among others.

The main focus of this year’s festival will be a retrospective of Shakespeare on film to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. This will highlight a dozen films from a range of directors including Kenneth Branagh (Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V), Laurence Olivier (Hamlet), Orson Welles (Falstaff) all in the presence of specially invited British and French guests including actors, directors, critics, academics. As we go to press we can confirm contributions from Philippe Pilard (film historian and Shakespeare on screen specialist), Alexis Hunot (film animation) and in the pipeline guest appearances from directors Michael Radford and Terence Davies plus actors Tom Wilkinson and Barry Ward.


As if this wasn’t enough for film fans, two stand-out events will provide music and film evenings. One evening brings together Derek Jarman’s film The Angelic Conversation with an actor on stage reading Shakespearean sonnets accompanied by two musicians; another evening offers a ciné- concert of live music bringing to life BFI-restored silent versions of Shakespeare, a reel (ouch!) stroll through the archives...


In among all these Bardfest goodies the Festival even finds time to programme two special ‘hommages’ to directors Derek Jarman (The Tempest, The Angelic Conversation) and Michael Radford (Another Time, Another Place, 1984, The Merchant of Venice). And as if this was not enough, the latest Brit films such as Burn, Burn, Burn (Chania Button), By Ourselves (Andrew Koetting), Sunset Song (Terence Davies), Dough (John Goldschmidt) will be given first outings in Nîmes.


Over these 19 years the British Screen Festival has become a well- respected showcase of all that’s great in British cinema and the city of Nîmes has taken it to its heart. Three venues host the events: the Sémaphore cinema, the Carré d’art and the Théâtre Liger. As the French say: "À ne pas manquer", not to be missed!