Returning this year for its ninth well-mannered sojourn at the Vogue Theatre, the Mostly British Film Festival offers a mix of stiff-upper-lip historical dramas and harder-hitting contemporary stories. That describes the fest’s core offering of new and recent movies from the Isles, Ireland and Australia; its annual spotlight of vintage classics is a good deal quirkier. There’s Neil Jordan’s beautifully directed crime/love story Mona Lisa (featuring Bob Hoskins’ unforgettable turn), a couple silent treasures (Anthony Asquith’s engrossing love triangle Underground and the breathtaking documentary Epic of Everest) and a Beatles reunion (the Fab Three of A Hard Day’s Night, Backbeat and Nowhere Boy).
Mostly British (running Feb. 16–23; full details here) is most valuable, however, as the local venue for a favorite actress or director’s latest work, especially if the film lacks the commercial elements (stars, guns, happy ending) that generally lead to a U.S. theatrical release. Terence Davies, a uniquely sensitive director with a talent for stunning compositions that convey his characters’ unexpressed emotions, directs Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson in A Quiet Passion (Wednesday, Feb. 22). The wonderful Rachel Griffiths plays a grieving mother who befriends a homeless lad in the Irish drama Mammal (Sunday, Feb. 19), while the sublime Timothy Spall portrays a depressed widower who bonds with runaway Juno Temple in Away (Tuesday, Feb. 21).
For a more unsettling buddy picture, check out up-and-comer Michael Lennox’s noirish feature debut A Patch of Fog (Friday, Feb. 17). The best part, possibly? The marvelous British crime novelist Tony Broadbent (The Smoke) is slated to introduce the film.