British flicks hit San Francisco 

click to enlarge Love Me Till Monday
  • courtesy photo
  • “Love Me Till Monday,” a low-budget comedy about a young woman looking for “the one,” screens at the 2014 Mostly British Film Festival.
The Mostly British Film Festival opens Thursday, launching its sixth annual lineup of cinema from the United Kingdom and related countries. A total of 25 oldies, indies, documentaries and upcoming theatrical releases will screen at the Vogue Theatre over eight days, with Cupid figuring into the details.

Presented by the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation and the California Film Institute, the festival contains films from Britain, Ireland, Australia and India.

“Le Week-End” opens the fest. A long-married couple visits Paris in hopes of revitalizing their relationship in the drama directed by Roger Michell and starring Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan.

On Valentine’s Day, two romantic favorites — “Love Actually” and “Sliding Doors” — are on the bill, along with “Love Me Till Monday,” an indie set to open in the U.K. this spring.

The latter features a comic, down-to-earth depiction of the clunky and unglamorous ways 20-something Brits look for love. “A lost soul who lets life happen to her” is how Georgia Maguire, the film’s lead actress, describes her character, Becky, before her eventual awakening.

Producer Muireann Price describes the film as a low-budget triumph that resulted from a workshop in which character immersion and improvisation yielded three-dimensional characters.

“The film has had such a fantastic response from people our age, with so many going, ‘Oh, my God, that is my life!’” Price says, referring to previous festival screenings. “We made the film on such a shoestring budget that it’s incredible to think it’s going to be seen out of our home country.”

Sunday’s Noir night features the 1965 cold-war thriller “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.” KALW (91.7 FM) film critic Peter Robinson describes the adaptation of John le Carre’s novel, starring Richard Burton, as an “anti-Bond movie” and a “breakout” film noir, citing its gray look and absence of Hollywood-style car chases and femme fatales. The film is paired with 1984’s “The Hit,” an overlooked gem directed by Stephen Frears.

Additional highlights include an onstage interview with actor Michael York, accompanied by a screening of “England Made Me” on Saturday.

Documentaries include “The Spirit of ’45,” Ken Loach’s chronicle of the sweeping social change that transformed postwar Britain, on Saturday.

“What Richard Did,” an Irish drama about a teen who commits a life-shattering act, screens Tuesday, and Australia’s “Mystery Road,” about the investigation of the murder of an Aboriginal girl, screens Monday.

On Feb. 19, India’s offering “The Lunchbox,” in which an incident of mistaken identity results in an unexpected friendship, hits the screen. “Summer in February,” a fact-based artist-colony tale featuring a love triangle, closes the festival on Feb. 20.

The late and great Peter O’Toole is remembered Feb. 16 with a screening of “My Favorite Year,” an endearing comedy starring O’Toole as a swashbuckling lush of an actor (akin to Errol Flynn) who must battle his demons to make a comeback television appearance.


Mostly British Film Festival

Where: Vogue Theatre, 3290 Sacramento St., S.F.

When: Thursday through Feb. 20

Tickets: $10 to $12.50 per screening; $100 to $135 for pass

Contact: (415) 346-2288,

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Anita Katz

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