Welcome to the 19th Purbeck Film Festival, which this year has chosen the universal emotion of love as its theme. Love, as we know, can reveal itself in many forms: I love my dog, I love ice cream, I’m so in love with her, I love what you say, I love my country, I love my mum and so on and so forth. This diversity of uses and meanings combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to define consistently. Love is a major factor in bringing people together and keeping them together against the many trials and tribulations that they may meet. One might even say it helps the continuation of our species.
Although we take love for granted, it is sobering to realise that in 77 countries around the world it is still illegal to be gay, and in five it is punishable by death. Such facts emphasise that Love is a basic human right. Given that cinema is such an emotional medium, the theme of love has been used to help carry the complexities of human relationships in all its many manifestations. Sure love can be straight but it can also be queer, polyamorous, multi-cultural, young, old, philosophical, tragic, beautiful, strange, painful, comic, unrequited, enduring, tender and epic as well as sometimes creating a battlefield and a game of winners and losers.
Within the cinema of love there are a number of sub themes dealing, for example, with heart throbs, fairytale endings, forbidden love and its politics, digital love, screen chemistry, date movies and of course the screen kiss and its many meanings.
What would be your favourite date movie or what film might you associate with your partner? Mine was Sparticus and especially the end where Kirk is pinned to his cross and his wife, holding their baby, looks up from beneath. Who is your favourite heart-throb? What actor, male or female, evokes feelings of attraction and the illusion of a relationship. My two are Claudia Cardinale with the wild west as a backdrop in Once upon a Time in the West and George Clooney in anything. Do you have a favourite screen couple or a best screen kiss? Do you love your local cinema? What do you love about the Rex Cinema in Wareham? For me it is has charm of age, the comfort of friendship and the uniqueness of place.
The Festival programme this year holds over twenty love stories of differing shapes, sizes and emotions. At one end of our love scale we have Gone with the Wind, a great love story set against the epic sweep of history. It is one thing to see it on television but quite another to experience it on great projection at Pavilion Dance in Bournemouth. At the other end of the spectrum we will show Margarita with a Straw, an acting triumph and a film to fill you with hope about amazing women. It is a film about life altering events for the characters and for its audiences.
The following films are the ones the festival intends to show in its celebration of love. Tales of Hoffman, Christ Stopped at Eboli, Tosca, Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet, X and Y, Smiles of a Summer’s Night, Now Voyager, The Broken Circle Breakdown, A Man and a Woman, Love is Strange, Hiroshima Mon Amour, A Short Film About Love, He Loves Me He Loves Me Not, Duktar, A Little Death, Far from The Madding Crowd, Harold and Maud, Clouds of Sils Maria, 500 Days of Summer, Madame Bovary, Camille, Casablanca and others still to be chosen.