It is BAFTA season in London, voting for the first round of the British Academy Film Awards is now open and closes on 3 January 2017, from this a short list of nominees is decided. The Judges are all peers and notables from the film industry who have collected previous awards, although their decisions will clearly be subjective and personal,they judge under strict guidelines that prevent favouritism and complacency. The coveted Best Film award is likely to contain “Best” in many other categories such as Direction, Actor, Music, Screenplay, Cinematography. Sometimes the result is a surprise such as in 2012 when The Artist won seven awards, it was the first French film to win and unusually in black and white. Last year’s winner was “The Revenant” with five “Bests”.
The most profound film theme is the Holocaust, “Denial” is a factual account of a British court case whereby a Jewish university professor proves a so-called WWII historian wrong.HungarianLászló Nemes’s film debut “Son of Saul” .
Black and white of a different genre is a film theme this year that resonates with the reality today in America #BlackLivesMatter. Many films about Black issues are likely to be considered…“Fences” with Denzel Washington as an African-American father struggling with race relations and complex family loyalties in 1950’s US; “Moonlight” starring Trevante Rhodes a sexually confusedyoung man growing up in drug infested Miami has to decide who he really is; Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” is the cruel true story about a literate slave cum preacher in the antebellum South who orchestrated an uprising against white injustice. The movie “A United Kingdom” deserves a special mention and not just for its clever double entendre title; the actual story of Sir Seretse Khama the first President and founder of democratic Botswana, during his education in London Khama and Ruth Williams fell irrevocably in love at the time that Bechuanaland was a “British Protectorate”. Khama was the heir to the chiefdom of the royal Bamangwato tribe and their marriage provoked the most disgusting divisive racism from both sides. This film does not paint a pretty picture of British colonialism in Africa, it reveals lies and complicity in apartheid, shows British officials as condescending and deceitful. Still Seretse and Ruth muster the strength to fight for equality and independence and they win. The screenplay by Guy Hibbert allows Seretse some powerful speeches and it is gratifying that under president’s Khama’s leadership between 1966 and 1980 Botswana became the fastest growing economy in the world. Subsequently it is worth reading up on President Khama’s low tax, pro-market and anti-corruption policies that were so successful.
A second theme is the commentary of social conditions in American today, in their various ways “LalaLand”, “Captain Fantastic”, “Manchester at Sea” and “American Honey” all draw attention to dissatisfaction with the hardship of the status quo.
The most profound film theme is the Holocaust, “Denial” is a factual account of a British court case whereby a Jewish university professor proves a so-called WWII historian wrong.HungarianLászló Nemes’s film debut “Son of Saul” has already deserved many awards, a harrowing drama about Auschwitz in 1944, it is not for the faint hearted but during Hanukkah it might show solidarity to watch it.
Bafta’s red carpet event to announce the best of every category is on 12 February.