Sunday, March 22, 2020

Flare online: Good Grief

So, to the first post of this year's Flare, cancelled to all in person, but happening in various forms online. I do not have access to the BFI player where many films are screening, but I do have the limited screeners available to press online, from which I shall be selecting.

The first feature viewed was My Fiona, an impressive debut from writer-director Kelly Walker. Tackling the thorny subject of grief and surviving, My Fiona picks a delicate path through denial, bad object choices, staying put and moving on with great élan. Jane has to pick up the pieces when her business partner Fiona takes her own life. When she takes on caring responsibilities for Fiona's son Bailey to relieve the burden on Fiona's widow Gemma, it leads to drama and a lot of unresolved feelings coming to the surface. Oh, my.

If it loses a bit in the last 15 minutes, that only shows how well the preceding 85 has been presented. I had a giant "Oh, No!" moment about half-way through, which I will decline to reveal. But it's a big 'un. The leads, Jeanette Maus and Corbin Reid, are outstanding and the boy is super cute, displaying his own anguish and anger at the departure of his mother in an understandable way. I quite liked how Walker dropped in bits of dry humour throughout, without it coming off as glib.

I have also viewed several shorts, the outstanding find of which is Fawzia Mirza's I Know Her, a hilariously relatable 3 minutes of pillow talk which features another big reveal which I must keep scrum about. Awkward does not cover it. Mirza was the lead and writer in Signature Move three years ago at Flare, but I have not seen any of her previous directorial work.

Do catch Five Films for Freedom before it ends on the 29th. My favourite is the short doc, When Pride Came to Town, which pits a small-town Norwegian LGBT community against Christian conservatives who don't want Pride to come to town. Oh, to be a fly on the wall when the filmmakers interviewed the committed Christian who admitted she once liked women and even looked like a boy (!) but then realised what she really needed was Jesus. Awks.

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