Barnes Film Festival 2021 – Opening Night

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Against all odds from most recent lockdowns, we had the honor to open this new edition of the festival in person! (I’m now going to tone down my excitement otherwise I will jinx the rest of the week.) Olympic Studios was packed for the night despite weather conditions, and tickets for the screening of Limbo were sold out. We were so thrilled to have the chance to welcome our loyal audience to this upcoming week of celebration of cinema through talks, screenings, Q&As, workshops and many more events!

After Barnes Film Festival founder Sam Cullis’ talk for the opening of the festival, A Love Letter To The Big Screen aired again for those who missed Daniel Battsek and Charlotte MacLeod interviewing Edgar Wright and Tom Holland. In the meantime, the BFF team behind the scenes of the festival was interviewed by our amazing Social Media Coordinator Iveta! After my legs stopped shaking from that anxiety, I could finally get back into the real world to chronicle this wonderful night filled with fun, education, entertainment and love for film.

It was time for Will Poulter’s interview, which, in case you missed it, you can still watch here. Live from his hotel room in Wales, where he’s filming his most current project, Poulter and Charlotte MacLeod discussed his upbringing and links with Barnes and the festival, his cinematic career, and issues of racism around his character on Detroit and within the inadequate and exclusive education systems, which he has been vocal about on social media.

At 8:45pm, everyone gathered inside the cinema theatre for the screening of Limbo (2021).

The film, about a group of refugees from Ghana, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Syria who find themselves living together in an island in Scotland (read: the middle of nowhere) while waiting for their asylum papers, has an incredibly dramatic storyline, at times tragic, with frequent comedic moments that left the whole audience laugh throughout entire scenes. It depicted the realism of life, the way human beings experience happiness and moments of relief even in the most disheartening of situations. Whether it’s because of the only source of entertainment is the classical music blasted by the postman, or whether it’s watching Friends over and over again, we are designed to find support and relief in others, however bad our situation may be. All can be encapsulated with the eternal saying: sometimes, you just have to laugh.

Having this film made me feel all nuances of emotion, from hysteric laughter to sobbing in tears at the end of the film, it was definitely not the easiest task to collect myself to listen to the Q&A with director Ben Sharrock. Through my still-teary eyes and through the cinema screen, Sharrock walked us through his cinematic career and his inspirations behind Limbo, to the experience of working with his partner and the comedic side of such a dramatic narrative, as well as the political side of the events portrayed in the film.

This event-packed Opening Night is only the beginning of a plethora of events for cinema and storytelling lovers of all ages! You can have a look at the main events of the festival here, or alternatively, on the Barnes Film Festival Homepage to explore the amazing talks, screenings and workshops happening this week!

by Emma Carleschi

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