ID Fest begins
A quick reminder to all movie lovers in the Midlands.
Derby’s first film festival, ID Fest, launched last night at Derby QUAD, offering a fascinating twist on the usual festival experience in that everything is themed around the notion of identity. As announced at the launch, the intention is a biennial festival, each time tackling a different type of identity: for 2010, it’s the thorny question of English identity.
Over the next three days (Fri 26th – Sun 28th) they’re screening some of the greatest and/or more intriguing English movies ever made, from classics like Olivier’s Henry V and Get Carter, to modern hits like Control and Made in Dagenham, both of the latter including Q&As with their respective screenwriters. A side-project, ‘England From Above,’ tackles some of the many great English movies directed by foreigners, including Repulsion, Blow Up and Children of Men, the latter of which I’m introducing on Sunday night so please come along to that, at least!
Things kicked off last night with a panel discussion that brought together professors, film archivists and a bona fide English acting legend in David Morrissey. Put five people, plus a moderator, next to each other, and you’re never going to get any concrete answers about what it means to be English, but instead we got a suitably thought-provoking, freeform discussion about all aspects of national identity. There was enough food for thought to keep one feasting for months, with the panel demonstratig a refreshing humour, insight and candour throughout.
Subjects included (amongst other things) regional accents, racism, WW2 movies, whether the “English” are distinct from the “British,” and whether commercial movies can ever cope to represent the complexity of national life as well as television, theatre or literature.
This latter aspect provoked the only misstep of the night, as some idiot in the audience asked whether the remaking of English classics (specifically Morrissey’s TV classics Blackpool, State of Play and Red Riding) diluted English identity by using “more marketable actors.” Morrissey, with instinctive Scouse wit, quipped back, “Oh, ta very much for that,” and showed up the guy in the audience for the complete tool that he was for being so bloody stupid.
I’m not saying who that person was… but you can read between the lines, right? Suffice to say, he’s suitably ashamed of himself.
Apart from that, the evening was a resounding success, and in a strange way made me feel proud of being ‘English,’ without all those horrible far-right connotations getting in the way. Things culminated in a screening of The Third Man, the “greatest British movie of all time” (as voted by the BFI, anyway..). A proper review of that will appear here in due course.
In the meantime, get yourself down to Derby and enjoy some of England’s (or Britain’s, or wherever’s) greatest movies.