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East End Film Festival 2014: Preview | reviews, news & interviews

East End Film Festival 2014: Preview

East End Film Festival 2014: Preview

Film, debate and controversy in the heart of the East End

Eric Cantona and Fabienne Babe in the sleazy and seductive 'You and the Night'

Sprawling over the East End of London for the next thirteen days and boasting an illuminating line-up of new voices, retrospectives and debate in its 13th year, the East End Film Festival ensures no cinematic rock is left unturned with its bold programming choices.

Monte Hellman’s controversial Cockfighter gets a rare outing at Red Gallery, a grand Masonic Temple is home to a weekend of macabre cinema and the opening night gala proves the festival’s dedication to championing filmmakers they believe in with the world premiere of Ross Clarke’s first feature, New Orleans-set drama, Dermaphoria.

Assisted in its endeavours by a successful Kickstarter campaign, which illustrates that the enthusiasm and support for their work goes both ways, this marks EEFF’s first outing as an independent festival. A celebration of community, creativity, diversity and DIY spirit is proudly emblazoned on their eclectic programme this year. Here are TAD's picks of a great bunch:

You and the Night

Eric Cantona gamely struts his stuff and reveals his package alongside a melancholy Niels Schnieder (the object of affection from Xavier Dolan’s Heartbeats) in Yann Gonzalez’s sexy and surreal French Breakfast Club type affair, which bestows its characters with anonymous monikers – the teen, the stud, the slut – who gather for an orgy but instead find intimacy in sharing their secret vices. It also features a fiesty cameo from Beatrice Dalle. Primed to be the next big name in gay cinema and taking influence from both Gregg Araki and Jean Rollin, Gonzalez blends sexual fantasy and existential crisis to create a curious, sleazy and seductive playground.


Ben Whishaw stars in one of the most enriching and endearing dramas of the year from newcomer Hong Khau, who picks apart loneliness, longing and displacement in this heartfelt debut.  A grieving mother and boyfriend have to learn to put their differences aside to get to grips with the loss of a loved one. As they battle their way through misunderstanding - the mother only able to speak Chinese, an interpreter their only way of communication - we witness their long journey to acceptance. Lilting gently lulls you into the lives of two stubborn characters whilst skilfully conveying a sense of loss through flashbacks, daydreams and snapshots. Set for release in the UK in August.

Blue Caprice

Blue Caprice whisks us back to events leading up to the three-week sniper spree, known as the "Beltway sniper" attacks, in Washington, D.C. back in 2002 which left seventeen people dead. Some may remember the media coverage of these seemingly random acts of violence, with warnings to D.C. residents to stay at home, and a crippling fear creeping over the community. Over ten-years later, first-time director Alexandre Moors tackles the motivations behind the attacks and suffuses the retaliatory history of violence in the US with the tragedies in a film that's compelling and confronting.

La Distancia

Weird and wonderful experimental cinema which is pleasing to the eye and good for the soul, La Distancia is described as “a near-remake of Tarkovsky’s Stalker, only with more jokes” and is pre-occupied with similar themes of alienation and nuclear disaster. A trio of dwarves are sent on a mission to find a mysterious object, meanwhile a love story between a Japanese speaking bin and a chimney plays out.  The saturated grey landscape shots are an enticingly bleak palette for this oddity full of cryptic clues, one of them including a worker who eats Yoko Ono lunch meat. You may be left scratching your head by the end but it’s worth going the distance for this strange artistic endeavour from Sergio Caballero.


Icelandic director Ragnar Bragason tells the touching tale of a family left in statis after the tragic loss of their son in a farming accident. 12-year-old Hera, now an only child, ensconces herself in the Death Metal music her brother adored in her grief and in a bid to overcome her sadness, yet we find her years later as a grown woman stuck in her family home and afraid to move forward. Bragason’s examination of a crisis of faith, grief and female arrested development makes for a probing, moving and uplifting trinity, and features a killer soundtrack.

Ben Whishaw stars in one of the most enriching and endearing dramas of the year

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