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Six highlights of the 2017 British Film Festival

Alexa Sommerville

Hosted by Palace Electric, the Cunard British Film Festival is back for another year to showcase the most anticipated films from the land of tea and scones.

The 2017 program will feature a cast of new and familiar British talent across 26 specially selected films. From historical dramas to fun family adventures, spunky sci-fi rides to heartbreaking romantic tales alongside a selection of British food, drink, and music, there’s something for everyone.

If mystery and intrigue is your thing, the festival will also show Classic Clues – Solving a British Mystery, a six-film retrospective showcasing some of the best of the classic British mystery genre, including a four-film homage to Agatha Christie that’s not to be missed.

But if a little edge-of-your-seat suspense doesn’t tickle your fancy, here are a few of our other top picks.


Known as the infamous Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, Andy Serkis makes his directorial debut with the true story of polio-survivor and wheelchair-use pioneer Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) and his wife Diana (Claire Foy from Netflix hit The Crown). Straight from opening the 61st BFI London Film Festival, Breathe will make its Australian premiere to open this year’s festival.


In his first feature film in seven years, director John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Rabbit Hole) presents the love story of Enn, who falls for Zan (Elle Fanning), a member of a strange alien cult. Nicole Kidman also stars in this trippy sci-fi period piece.


This family adventure film featuring a cast of British talent will introduce Arthur Ransome’s 1974 book to a whole new generation. Follow the Swallow children as they sail around the picturesque Lake District and start a war with the rival Amazons.


Academy Award winners Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) and Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained) star as husband and wife in this tale of an artist who falls for a married woman whose portrait he is commissioned to paint during Tulip mania in 17th century Amsterdam. Cara Delevinge and Zach Galifinakis also star.


This perfectly fashioned documentary gives fashion acolytes unprecedented access into the world of celebrated shoe designer Manolo Blahnik. From British fashion journalist and director Michael Roberts, the doco features interviews from the likes of Anna Wintour, Rihanna and Karlie Kloss.


Jamie Bell (Fantastic Four) and Annette Bening (American Beauty) bring to life the memoir of actor Peter Turner, who in the early ‘80s took in his much older ex-girlfriend, legendary Hollywood star Gloria Grahame, after a health scare. Paul McGuigan, known for Wicker Park, Push and Victor Frankenstein, directs this sad love story.

the essentials 

What: The Cunard 2017 British Film Festival
When: Wednesday 25 October – Wednesday 15 November
Where: Palace Electric Cinema, 2 Phillip Law Street, NewActon
Find the full program and tickets via

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Alexa Sommerville

Canberra raised Alexa Sommerville has almost completed her Bachelor of Communication in Journalism degree. After five months on exchange in the UK, Alexa fell in love with solo travel and has mastered the art of daydreaming either about her next getaway or her next meal. She enjoys watching health documentaries, online shopping and old-school film photography, but not as much as she does annoying her mother by using every ingredient in the pantry to bake her latest healthy food obsession. Alexa hopes one day to be writing about traveling, or eating, or writing while she travels and eats. More about the Author