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London Film Festival 2020: Days 4 and 6

For the rest of my London Film Festival coverage, click here.

Am I starting to slow down on the coverage for the London Film Festival? Well, I have seen and written less over the past few days. However, I am a university student and I am trying to find the balance, as well as still covering some of the films for InSession Film. For days 4 and 6, I watched four feature films, even with the issues I had with the Kajillionaire screening. I will be talking about two of them here, with reviews of The Reason I Jump and Shirley appearing within the next week over at InSession Film. Whilst it may seem that less is getting watched now, I have a busy schedule coming up and I still want to highlight some short films (which I will be doing between Sunday and Monday, so stay tuned for that).

For now though, here are my quick reviews of Mangrove and Supernova, as part of the London Film Festival.

Mangrove (2020)

Mangrove

IMDB Link: Mangrove (2020)
Director: Steve McQueen
Writers: Steve McQueen, Alastair Siddons
Stars: Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes, Malachi Kirby

Synopsis: The first episode of the Small Axe series, Mangrove tells this true story of The Mangrove Nine, who clashed with London police in 1970. The trial that followed was the first judicial acknowledgment of behaviour motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police.

This is the year of trials on film. After my rave reviews for The Trial of the Chicago 7, this acts as a wonderful companion piece into what the Black Panthers were and the struggles that they had to go through as well. I would consider this as an episodic film just like the Sherlock miniseries is. The episode tells its own story and is contained in the runtime, but will most likely have so much more impact in the full series.

It takes a bit of set-up to get all of the characters connected and the story to move along, but what powerful performances. Letitia Wright and Shaun Parkes are the stand-outs, but the entire cast is passionate behind the project and it shows. This film is at its best in the courtroom, with so many individual sequences having impact and power, highlighting the systemic racism of the 60s and 70s.

Steve McQueen is one of the best directors and writers of this generation, and perhaps one of the few of the decade to deserve the Best Picture win that he got with 12 Years a Slave. He continually proves time and time again that he can take on these tough stories with hard-hitting messages and get the audience to feel for them and care. Make sure to seek this one out when it releases, as well as the rest of the Small Axe series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Supernova (2020)

Supernova

IMDB Link: Supernova (2020)
Director: Harry Macqueen
Writer: Harry Macqueen
Stars: Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci, Lori Campbell

Synopsis: Sam (Firth) and Tusker (Tucci) are traveling across England in their old RV to visit friends, family and places from their past. Since Tusker was diagnosed with dementia two years ago, their time together is the most important thing they have.

When the casting was announced, all of us were immediately hooked into this film without needing to know anything else. Little did we know that they would both give some of their best performances of all time here. I cannot pick which one was better of the two, because their performances are so dependent on each other. The story doesn’t work without either of them, and that also goes for their chemistry and performance.

What I really appreciated about this film was how human it felt. The relationship issues, whilst brought on by traumatic moments, feel real. The families they meet up with feel real, and the story is simple yet human. It made it so much easier to connect with these characters and that is what drives this film along with the performances.

It does take a while to get into the film and to know what is going on. This is a film that I feel would hit harder for me on a rewatch, simply knowing what the characters are going through and where they are in their lives. However, that does not take away from the fact that this film is a beautiful presentation of life and the ups and downs it has, whilst handling tough subject matters in a simple yet beautiful way. This is another recommend from me from the festival.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you had a chance to check out either film yet? Which one are you more excited to see? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section and let’s have a discussion.

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