British Film Festival 2023 Programme

Top: 'One Life'. Bottom: 'Wicked Little Letters'
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

This November, the 2023 Cunard British Film Festival, presented by Palace, will bring the finest British filmmaking, production and acting around the country.

There are many familiar faces in the programme including Anthony Hopkins, Timothy Spall, Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson in her final film.

Opening proceedings will be the premiere of ‘One Life’, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, direct from its World Premiere in Toronto. It’s based on a true, deeply moving story of kindness and compassion which was almost forgotten for 50 years. Sir Anthony delivers a remarkable performance as Sir Nicholas Winton, who helped rescue hundreds of children from Europe on the verge of World War II.

At the centre of this year’s British Film Festival is ‘The Critic’, a reimagining of Anthony Quinn’s novel ‘Curtain Call’ featuring an all-star cast.

Then, to bring it all to a close is the Australian Premiere of ‘Wicked Little Letters’, based on a true scandal of the 1920s. It stars Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley as neighbours, in a small town whose residents start receiving anonymous, expletive-laden letters.

Northern Comfort BFF2023
'Northern Comfort'

There’s plenty more to see as the festival unfolds, like Sir Michael Caine in what is rumoured to be his last film, ‘The Great Escaper’ as he and the late Glenda Jackson bring to life the true story of a war veteran who made global headlines when he escaped from his care home to join fellow war veterans on a beach day in Normandy to commemorate fallen comrades.

Plus there are films such as ‘The Old Oak’ from revered filmmaker Ken Loach, and Richard E Grant, Julie Delpy and Daryl McCormack in ‘The Lesson’. Marcus Markou, the director of ‘The Wife And Her House Husband’, will visit Sydney and Melbourne for a series of Q&A sessions too.

Festival favourite Timothy Spall leads a diverse ensemble in comedy ‘Northern Comfort’, following a group with a chronic fear of flying who are stranded in freezing Iceland. Bittersweet comedy ‘Sweet Sue’ from Leo Leigh focuses on Sue as she re-enters the dating scene. Black comedy ‘The Trouble With Jessica’ features Rufus Sewell and Olivia Williams and is about the dissolving relationship of two couples and the deadly behaviour of an unexpected dinner guest.

Dame Helen Mirren stars in ‘Caligula’ as part of the festival retrospective ‘Britain’s Finest Leading Ladies’.

Squaring The Circle BFF2023
'Squaring The Circle – The Story Of Hipgnosis'

Other retrospective highlights include ‘Howards End’, ‘The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie’, ‘The Remains Of The Day’, ‘Women In Love’, and ‘Morgan – A Suitable Case For Treatment’.

The Festival Special Presentation in 2023 is Ken Russell’s daring, risky, mad ‘Tommy’, in a stunning 4K restoration. There’s also a superb selection of documentaries in the 2023 line-up, including ‘My Name Is Alfred Hitchcock’, Jackie Stewart’, ‘Mad About The Boy’, and ‘Squaring The Circle – The Story Of Hipgnosis’.

“Cunard has a long-standing affiliation with the silver screen, with some of Hollywood’s biggest names having sailed in style with Cunard – from Charlie Chaplin to Meryl Streep,” Cunard Director Australia/New Zealand Katrina McAlpine says.

“As the first cruise line to host a film premiere on board with the launch of The Greatest Showman on Queen Mary 2, Cunard is passionate about the power of timeless storytelling and strives to create unparalleled and unforgettable moments for film lovers during the British Film Festival.”

Tickets are on sale now.

British Film Festival 2023 Tour Dates

1-29 November – Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas and Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas (Adelaide)
1-29 November – The Astor Theatre, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Kino Cinema and Pentridge Cinema (Melbourne)
1-29 November – Palace Central, Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona and Chauvel Cinema (Sydney)
1-29 November – Palace Raine Square, Luna on SX, Luna Leederville and Windsor Cinema (Perth)
2-29 November – Palace Barracks and Palace James Street (Brisbane)
2-29 November – Palace Electric Cinema (Canberra)
2-29 November – Palace Byron Bay

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