No matter how many times BUFF ventures down to Soho to get entertained, the result is always the same. And no matter how you dress it up, January is almost invariably a month-long period of attrition, angst and apathy. So it seemed perfectly reasonable to expect a good time to be had when yours truly was invited down to Soho on a cold and wet Friday evening for a preview screening of ‘David is Dying’ – the debut feature-length drama penned, and produced by Stephen Lloyd Jackson and Andy Mundy-Castle. Needless to say, Friday nights in Soho rarely disappoint.
It has to be said that there’s nothing like watching a really, really good film ‘in secret’ so to speak. The sensation that one gets coming away from the screening and wanting to bang on about how transfixed they were by the whole experience – whether it be the acting, the writing, the direction, the lighting, choice of music etc. For most people, these attributes should be a given. The one thing that stood out after watching 2 hours of raw, unadulterated, mental torture – both beautifully told and shot – was the authenticity of the main character and the sense that BUFF was amongst friends with this tortured soul. The tortured soul in question is played by Lonyo (yes, that Lonyo) whose music can also be considered an acquired taste. As for Lonyo Engele the actor and the film tells the story of David Brown, a very confused and tormented man, haunted by his past, in which, as a boy he fell in love with his mother. She was a beautiful woman and a courtesan who entertained men for money. She eventually dies from a drug overdose in David’s arms. In his adult life, David finds a woman (Carla), who is identical in appearance to his mother. He falls deeply in love and plans to marry her. However, through an intense therapy session with his psychiatrist, we observe how David tirelessly attempts to control and possess Carla as a replacement for the love he so yearned for from his mother – cue the fireworks… One is reminded of similar experiences having recently seen Tyler Perry’s ‘For Colored Girls’ – a film which beautifully portrays its characters who all are ultimately f***ed up. Some people compare ‘Precious’ to ‘For Colored Girls’, ‘Precious’ is a better film. The labour of love that is ‘David is Dying’, though not quite in the same genre but very much geared at a female audience, is a quality film and carries more kudos in that although the plot is not entirely original, there is a freshness about it – and besides, the other 2 films are American and are based on adaptations.
Previous BUFF blogs have observed the strategy, flexibility, diversification, call it what you will, of musicians and performing artists making the seamless transfer over to cinema and to that you can add our man Lonyo to the list. Lonyo dominates the screen as does his impressive female lead Isaura Barbe-Brown and in keeping with recent BUFF screenings – think ‘Sus’ just last year – we truly have another british urban classic on our hands. Without wanting to pre-empt the choices of the BUFF viewing panel – September the 3rd can’t come soon enough!!!
One was reminded of ‘Sus’ recently when the nominations were announced for this year’s BAFTA’s. BUFF had high hopes of Barrie Keefe’s adapted stageplay making it onto the shortlist but alas, no cigar. Having seen Oscar-winning Danny Boyle’s latest, ‘127 Hours’, students of cinema will have noticed striking similarities if you’ve been fortunate to have watched both films – and yet ‘127 Hours’ is up for several BAFTA’s. And Sus? Well at least we have the network television premiere on the BBC to look forward to. And off the back of that, BUFF will be putting together a special programme featuring interviews with Clint Dyer, Ralph Brown, Anjela Lauren Smith, Rob Heath and Barrie Keefe. Watch this space for further details. BUFF can also announce that last year’s chosen online screenings which formed part of the festival – can now be seen in full via the BUFF website – many thanks to the filmmakers for their patience and support – it has been a while. That said, we’re delighted that audiences can now get a chance to see the depth and breadth of UK film talent that was on show at BUFF 2010 in addition to the other films that were showcased last September.
This time a year ago, ‘Precious’ was the most talked about film in the industry, the year before that it was ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. On both occasions the hype was justified and they both duly obliged to pick up some very big prizes. At the time of writing, BUFF has yet to watch ‘The King’s Speech’ – and from all accounts, the people behind this will be making a fair few more in the weeks and months ahead if the Golden Globes are to go by, the Golden Globes being the self-appointed indicator as to what wins the big prizes at the Oscars. We’re not quite at the end of January but already, the die is cast for the year ahead. BUFF predicts that Justin Timberlake will walk off with an Oscar for his part in ‘The Social Network’. The Social Network was a big winner at the Golden Globes though Colin Firth did pick up best actor.
One cannot complain being in the seasoned position of watching films both for business and pleasure and its’ going to be an interesting night on February the 27th. Just who will get what? Its going to be an interesting blog next month – so much to talk about, and that’s before we get around to passing comment on the Oscars of which BUFF has no vested interest, well not yet anyway. And if you must know, Lonyo (also known as Comme Ci Comme Ca) was a 2-step producer and MC. He had a hit in 2000 with the single, ‘Summer of Love’, which reached number eight in the UK Singles Chart. The follow up ‘Garage Girls’, released in April 2001, peaked at number 39. He later joined forces with fellow producer, Kevin McPherson and released a single record under the moniker of Bon Garçon, (‘Freek U’) in 2005. Whatever you’re watching this month, long may the passion continue…
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