On Feb. 21, San Francisco’s ninth annual Mostly British Film Festival is hosting an extra special guest: 91-year-old British film editor Anne V. Coates, whose six-decade career credits include “Lawrence of Arabia,” for which she won an Oscar.
She’s slated to appear in conversation with film historian David Thomson at the Vogue Theatre, at a screening of “Murder on the Orient Express,” which is among the many films she edited. (She has quite a range, from “The Red Shoes” in 1949 to 2015’s “Fifty Shades of Grey,” with “The Elephant Man,” “What About Bob?,” “Striptease” and others in between.)
Running Feb. 16 through 23, the festival’s centerpiece film is “The Sense of an Ending,” an adaptation of English writer Julian Barnes’ elegant Booker Prize-winning novel, which critics called “a meditation on aging, memory and regret.” Screening Feb. 20, the film stars Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, Michelle Dockery and Emily Mortimer; director Ritesh Batra, who earned rave reviews for 2013’s “The Lunchbox,” will attend.
The Feb. 16 program is “Their Finest,” a romantic comedy by director Lone Scherfig (“An Education”). Starring Bill Nighy and Gemma Arterton, the movie is about a British film crew making propaganda films, trying to boost morale during World War II. Nighy will be interviewed by American Conservatory Theater Artistic Director Carey Perloff on opening night.
Not all of the films are British. Irish films are in the spotlight on Feb. 19: They include a coming-of-age drama “Twice Shy” in which young couple takes a road trip from rural Ireland to London; “Mammal,” a story of bereavement starring Rachel Griffiths as a woman who loses a son, then starts up a seemingly unlikely friendship with a homeless boy; and “Handsome Devil,” a breezy coming-of-age tale about Irish school kids.
Among the Australian films in the lineup is “Alex and Eve,” an adaptation of a hit stage play about a Greek Orthodox schoolteacher living in Sydney who falls for a Lebanese Muslim lawyer, screening Feb. 23, and, the closing night feature “The Daughter,” a family drama starring Geoffrey Rush loosely based on Henrik Ibsen’s “The Wild Duck.”
On Feb. 22, another highlight is “A Quiet Passion,” starring Cynthia Nixon — Miranda from “Sex and the City” — as American poet Emily Dickinson. The 2016 film by is by British director Terence Davies of “Distant Voices, Still Lives” fame.
Other offerings in the 26-film roster include British noir selections (Feb. 17) and a tribute to the Beatles (Feb. 18).
IF YOU GO
Mostly British Film Festival
Where: Vogue Theatre, 3290 Sacramento St., S.F.
When: Feb. 16-23
Tickets: $12.50 to $15 per program; $150 to $175 for pass
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