Kristin Scott Thomas in 'Military Wives'
Kristin Scott Thomas in 'Military Wives'

The British are coming this month, for the annual Mostly British Film Festival in San Francisco. From February 13th to February 20th, the historic Vogue Theater will feature films from England and its former colonies — India, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa.

Opening night begins with a screening of Military Wives, the latest from director Peter Cattaneo. Starring Kristin Scott Thomas, the film is a crowd pleaser about army wives who form a choral group to improve morale while their husbands are serving in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, the 14th the Vogue Theater features three Valentine’s Day romances from the UK – Say My Name with Lisa Brenner and Jay Stern (a screwball comedy); Hampstead with Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson (a sweet romance); and Only You with Leia Costa and Josh O’Connor (a journey toward parenthood).

February 15th the spotlight is on Australia. Top End Wedding is a charming romantic comedy with Miranda Tapsell (from The Sapphires) and Gwilym Lee (from Bohemian Rhapsody). Baby Teeth is a touching family drama with Ben Mendelsohn, who is expected to appear in person. Hearts and Bones is a moving story which takes us into the world of photojournalist Daniel Fisher, played by Hugo Weaving (The Matrix).

The spotlight is on Ireland February 16th, beginning with The Man Who Wanted to Fly, a delightful documentary about bachelor farmer Bobby Coote from County Cavan in Ulster. Extra Ordinary also plays that evening, with Barry Ward and celebrated comedienne Maeve Higgins. The evening ends with The Delinquent Season, an examination of love, lust and family relationships starring two of Ireland’s most lauded actors – Cillian Murphy and Andrew Scott.

February 17th begins with Mark Jenkins’ debut drama, Bait, set in a Cornish fishing village. Martin Ward stars in that narrative, shot in black and white on 16mm film. The evening features Dancing The Invisible, a documentary tribute to Jill Bilcock and her remarkable skills as an influential film editor. Bilcock edited Moulin Rouge!, Road to Perdition, Strictly Ballroom and The Young Victoria, among others.

The centerpiece film showing at the Vogue on February 17th is Ordinary Love with Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville. Rounding out that evening is Around the Sun, a captivating movie featuring Cara Theobond and Gethin Anthony; screenwriter Jonathan Kiefer will be a guest that evening.

Flatland is a film from South Africa, directed by Jenna Bass, and will be shown on February 18th; it’s part contemporary western viewed through a female prism and part soap opera. Following Flatland will be Sorry We Missed You from director Ken Loach, his latest compassionate look at the struggling working class. Director Ben Wheatley provides lots of mordant humor in Happy New Year, Colin Burstead. Great fun to savor that humor, along with the performances of Sam Riley and Charles Dance.

Ophelia is the centerpiece film on February 19th, wherein director Claire McCarthy tells Ophelia’s story through female eyes for the first time. Revel in Shakespeare’s portrayal of first love as Star Wars heroine Daisy Ridley plays the title role. Naomi Watts plays Hamlet’s mother and Clive Owens is Hamlet’s uncle. The film will be introduced by KALW movie critic Peter Robinson.

Mrs. Lowry and Son shows earlier on February 19th, with Vanessa Redgrave and Timothy Spall. After Ophelia, the Vogue is showing Closing The Ring with Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer, in a sweeping romantic drama spanning 50 years.

Steve Coogan in 'Greed'
Steve Coogan as Sir Richard “Greedy” McCreadie in ‘Greed’. Photograph: Sony Pictures

Closing night is February 20th and the film being screened is Greed, from director Michael Winterbottom, which focuses on an exceedingly rich London fashion mogul who decides to throw himself a Romanesque birthday party on the island of Mykonos.

Jeanne Powell
Jeanne is a published poet and essayist. She holds degrees from Wayne State University and the University of San Francisco. Jeanne has taught in the CS, UB and OLLI programs at universities in the City. Her books in print include MY OWN SILENCE and WORD DANCING from Taurean Horn Press.