25th Raindance Film Festival

25th Raindance Film Festival
25th Raindance Film Festival
September 20th – October 1st, 2017

by Joanna Orland

Celebrating its 25th year, the Raindance Film Festival remains the largest independent film festival in the UK. Taking place in the heart of London, the festival’s mission is to promote new independent films and emerging filmmakers from the UK and internationally, to a UK audience. Beyond screening films, Raindance also aims to provide a platform for cinematic discovery, discussion and learning.

Bringing an eclectic programme to London for 2017, the festival added a new VRX track for virtual reality and new media, showcasing the latest in this emerging sector. Alongside VR, the usual strands of features, shorts, web series and music videos were on display to rapturous audiences. Seminars, workshops, and most importantly parties were also prominent across the festival.

Our selection of reviews below:

Hello Again
Hello Again
Directed by Tom Gustafson
Starring Audra McDonald, Martha Plimpton, TR Knight, Rumer Willis, Sam Underwood and Cheyenne Jackson

La Ronde was originally a play written by Arthur Schnitzler first printed in 1900, examining sexual morals and classism through a series of encounters between character pairs. Having spawned a 1950 film and a theatrical style of the same name, the main idea of La Ronde is to portray different aspects of a character, in different situations, interacting with different characters; like a circle of two person scenes. Hello Again is a musical based on the play by Schnitzler, but with a twist… read more

I'm Not Here
I’m Not Here
Directed by Michelle Schumacher
Starring J.K. Simmons, Sebastian Stan, Maika Monroe, Mandy Moore, Max Greenfield and Iain Armitage

Steve is tormented by memories of his past. The demons that haunt him have driven him to the brink of suicide, as he wallows in his life’s trauma, mistakes and regrets. Ones he so desperately wishes he could fix.

We find present day Steve crying in emotional turmoil with a gun to his head. The film tells his story from three points in his life; present day played by J.K. Simmons, middle age by Sebastian Stan, and childhood by Iain Armitage, who has really made his mark this year in a variety of big productions (Big Little Lies, Our Souls at Night, Young Sheldon)… read more

Love is Thicker Than Water
Love is Thicker Than Water
Directed by Ate de Jong and Emily Harris
Starring Johnny Flynn, Lydia Wilson, Juliet Stevenson, Henry Goodman and Ellie Kendrick

A universal love story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl; Love is Thicker Than Water dilutes a classic tale in mind-numbing fashion. The romance between Arthur (Flynn) and Vida (Wilson) seems very superficial, as they spend the majority of the movie immersed in physical displays of affection. The real story lies within their families… read more

Oh Lucy!
Oh Lucy!
Directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi
Starring Shinobu Terajima, Kaho Minami, Josh Hartnett, Shioli Kutsuna and Koji Yakusho

Atsuko Hirayanagi first told the story of Oh Lucy! in her 2014 award-winning short film of the same name. Expanded into feature length, the film is a character study of a middle-aged, lonely Japanese woman. Setsuko (Terajima) is a character rarely seen fronting a film – a single, miserable, lonely woman with very little going on in her life, apart from a friendly relationship with her niece Mika. A relationship that Mika takes advantage of, and that Setsuko ends up destroying… read more

Interview: Josh Hartnett and Atsuko Hirayanagi discuss Oh Lucy!‘s themes, characters and the filmmaking process…read more

Penny Slinger: Out of the Shadows
Penny Slinger: Out Of The Shadows
Directed by Richard Kovitch
Starring Penny Slinger, Peter Whitehead, Jack Bond, Michael Bracewell and Jane And Louise

Penny Slinger’s visual art and performance grew out of the 1960s and 70s counterculture of Swinging London, and yet has remained largely overlooked in the historical documentation of the period. Richard Kovitch’s documentary Penny Slinger: Out of the Shadows begins to rectify this by enacting a deep and respectful survey of the startling, strange and alluring work Slinger produced across multiple art forms. With a fantastic soundtrack by Psychological Strategy Board, and editing that intriguingly echoes the collage aesthetic of Slinger’s visual artworks, the documentary feels both current and needed… read more

The Misandrists
The Misandrists
Directed by Bruce LaBruce
Starring Susanne Sachsse, Viva Ruiz, Kembra Pfahler, Caprice Crawford and Grete Gehrke

Bruce LaBruce, the Queercore pioneer of art-movie porn and porny art movies, directs this latest fantasy of heteronormative obliteration. It’s a follow-up of sorts to The Raspberry Reich from 2005, and tied through a subtle flashback to the simultaneously premiered short Ulrike’s Brain. All three films deal with a legacy of leftist sedition, particularly the Red Army Faction of Germany where The Misandrists drama plays out. Built on a highly-stylised narrative documenting the efforts of a band of lesbian-separatist insurrectionaries, it lands tonally somewhere between Russ Meyer and a hardcore Wes Anderson, with graphic sex, surgery and the deliberately stilted delivery of political theory… read more

You're Killing Me Susana
You’re Killing Me Susana (Me est├ís matando, Susana)
Directed by Roberto Sneider
Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Veronica Echegui, Ashley Grace and Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson

You’re Killing Me Susana is a light romantic comedy about a very flawed couple. From the start, it’s impossible to root for Eligio (Bernal) and Susana (Echegui), making it a bit tricky to invest any real emotion into their story. Luckily, Gael Garcia Bernal gives a wonderful performance which carries the entire film… read more


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