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LFF 17_ Brochure high res

OFFICIAL COMPETITION SAT 7* MON 9 20:15 EMBANKMENT 14:15 EMBANKMENT THE GUARDIANS LES GARDIENNES 30 * BSL BRITISH THU 5 FRI 6 20:45 EMBANKMENT 14:00 EMBANKMENT LEAN ON PETE Ravishing and doleful in equal measure, Andrew Haigh’s fourth feature is a resplendent portrait of a lonely neglected boy on a quest for home. While Haigh continues to make exciting, unexpected choices of material – Lean on Pete is adapted from Willy Vlautin’s acclaimed novel about a Huckleberry Finn-esque journey across America’s sparse Northwest – this shares DNA with his last two features, skilfully making intimate emotional journeys epic, and the personal universal. 15-year-old Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer) has rarely stayed in the same place for more than a year. Having been left by his mother as a child, he lives with his father who loves him but doesn’t understand just how much Charley craves and needs stability (not to mention food). He longingly remembers his aunt, who fell out with her brother. But her whereabouts are unknown. Taking a part-time job with a cantankerous and not entirely on the up-andup horse trainer (Steve Buscemi), he forms a deep bond with nearly-knackered horse Lean on Pete. Charlie Plummer is soulfully good in the lead role – his talks to the horse providing a tender and insightful interior monologue. We knew it already, but Lean on Pete once again confirms Haigh’s versatility and cements his reputation as one of the great cinematic storytellers of his generation. Tricia Tuttle Dir-Scr Andrew Haigh. Prod Tristan Goligher. With Charlie Plummer, Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny. UK 2017. 121min. UK Distribution Curzon Artificial Eye Dir Xavier Beauvois. Prod Sylvie Pialat, Benoit Quainon. Scr Xavier Beauvois, Frédérique Moreau, Marie-Julie Maille. With Nathalie Baye, Laura Smet, Iris Bry. France-Switzerland 2017. 114min. Sales Pathé International Xavier Beauvois reveals the heroic struggles of women on the rural home front in First World War France, in a gripping, terrifically acted ensemble drama. With Of Gods and Men (LFF2010), erstwhile enfant terrible director Xavier Beauvois came of age as a powerful storyteller in a classic French tradition. He explores that mode further with a film that rediscovers a 1924 novel by the once-celebrated Ernest Pérochon. The ‘gardiennes’ of the title are the women who roll up their sleeves to take charge of the land when war breaks out. Nathalie Baye, in the role of a lifetime, is utterly commanding as Hortense, the matriarch who will do anything to ensure that family and farm survive, as the men of the family make intermittent returns from the front, and the arrival of American troops brings its own unrest. Caroline Champetier’s magnificent landscape photography brings an elemental touch to the realism, while a superb support cast mixes known names (notably Baye’s real-life daughter Laura Smet) and non-professionals, including terrific 78-year-old debut actor Gilbert Bonneau. Another revelation is radiant newcomer Iris Bry, who plays Francine, her personal drama carrying an emotional heft that gives The Guardians the intensity of French-style Thomas Hardy. Jonathan Romney Support Film Forever bfi.org.uk/join


LFF 17_ Brochure high res
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