Current predictions suggest that the Edgar Street Grid’s Odeon multiplex won’t be opening at Easter after all, as ex-leader John Jarvis so confidently predicted a year ago. Which means that the Courtyard’s unchallenged role as Hereford’s premier film centre continues.
The 12th Borderlines Film Festival (28 February–16 March) promises to be the biggest yet, with more than 200 screenings of 78 movies (including four Best Picture Oscar-nominees) at 32 venues across Herefordshire, Shropshire and the Marches.
Star billing has to be given to 12 Years a Slave, not simply because it has no fewer than 18 screenings, but because it collected an impressive 10 Oscar nominations. Other star attractions are the long-awaited Inside Llewyn Davies from the Coen Brothers; Blue is the Warmest Colour; Captain Phillips; Nebraska; and Philomena. For jazz lovers, the documentary about the legendary New Orleans pianist James Booker, Bayou Maharajah is an absolute must.
Two rare French classics are on offer: Jean Cocteau’s Orphée and Jean-Luc Godard’s À Bout de Souffle. This restored 1960 crime thriller was Godard’s first feature-length film and was to become one of the cornerstones of the French nouvelle vague movement. It was also the incomparable Jean-Paul Belmondo’s first starring role (with the gamine Jean Seberg playing his girlfriend). Seven years later, Godard turned down an invitation to direct Bonnie and Clyde (starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway) and it seems more than coincidental that the two movies’ opening scenes—introducing the handsome young hoodlums—are so similar.
Another link between these two classic gangster movies is that Beatty tried (unsuccessfully) to persuade Warner to make Bonnie and Clyde in black-and-white; a medium that would have enhanced the horror of the final slo-mo ambush scene.
Last year the Independent’s film critic described Museum Hours as “a lesson in looking”, which admirably sums up this touching study of an art gallery guard’s seemingly tedious daily routine of sitting on a chair watching visitors study works of art, in Vienna’s famous Kunsthistoriches Museum. Nihilistic it may be, lacking any action, romance, or drama, but it will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about Bruegel.
Tickets can be booked online (www.borderlinesfilmfestival.org) or through the Borderlines box office: 01432 340555