Movies: Mostly British Film Festival

Mostly British Film Festival

In retirement, we have discovered so many new adventures and opportunities are available to us.  It helps living in a world class city with lots of diversity and activities of all kinds.  It’s a huge bonus to enjoy the only Mediterranean climate in the US.

San Francisco is blessed with almost countless film festivals.  You name a genre or affinity, there is probably an annual film festival in San Francisco or the Bay Area.

With almost nothing new released until after the Oscars this Sunday, we decided to check out the Mostly British Film Festival showing 33 films, some old, some new during one week in February.

We selected a few that captured our interest and share them now with you.  Some are available on pay per view from time to time.  Others are available occasionally from streaming sources.

We hope you enjoy the few reviewed below.


Moon Dogs

This story is set mostly in the Shetland Islands, Scotland where two stepbrothers find themselves competing for the affections of a worldly Irish singer while on the road to Glasgow.

What struck us the most was the fearless honesty, the brash humor, the raw drama and the beautiful charisma these young actors generate.  It’s beautifully filmed and the first film by Welsh writer/director/punk musician Philip John.  If you want a reminder what it felt like to be young again, this is your opportunity.

The acting is excellent.  Irish actress Tara Lee plays the primary love interest.  Christy O’Donnell plays a stepbrother.  Jack Parry Jones plays the other stepbrother.  Claire Cage plays the mom and Geoffrey Newland plays the dad.  Another dozen plus actors fill out the cast.

The film is not rated in the US.  It’s listed as Art House & International, Comedy, Drama.  The run time is 1 hour, 33 minutes.  It was the winner of the 2016 Newport Beach Film Festival.



Wow!  Talk about a reminder of great epic film making…this one debuted in 1998.  It announced Cate Blanchett as a star.  It was set in history when the United Kingdom struggled with being a Protestant country versus a Catholic country.

The film is both visually stunning, produced with extraordinary sets and exceptional costumes.  It’s a classic.  Our viewing was like watching it on day one.  Headliner performances in addition to Ms. Blanchett include Geoffrey Rush, Richard Attenborough, John Gielgud, Daniel Craig, Jamie Forman and an additional 40 actors.

Just for history sake:  It’s set in 1554.  Elizabeth is the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who was imprisoned by her half sister Queen Mary when she was 16.  She was swept to the throne as Queen of England at the age of 23.

It was then rated R for violence and sexuality.  It’s listed as a Drama with a run time of 124 minutes.  It’s not really appropriate for youngsters.

Think about downloading this for a long flight or a reminder of some great film making not so long ago.


Tell it to the Bees

This film is based on the 2009 novel by the same name.  It’s set in a 1950’s Scotland rural town.  It’s more than a bit heavy handed.  So much so the production is focused on the principle themes and metaphors from the novel.

It was pretty obvious the production wanted to cram as much “subject” material as possible.  Lesbian romance, bewildered children, outraged family members, and widespread community disapproval…  Just about everyone accept the neighborhood bees who seemed to unilaterally approve the conduct with vigor.

The excellent acting included Anna Paquin, Holliday Grainger, Emun Elliott, Steven Robertson, Lauren Lyle, Gregory Selkirk and Kate Dickie.

The film is not rated.  Be advised, there are several scenes including sex and nudity, mild profanity and some violence and gore.  We feel this film is not appropriate for children.

This film is noted as a Drama/Romance with a run time of 1 hour 46 minutes.


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