Mark Kermode’s BFI+ Player Film of the Week – Love and Death on Long Island

Richard Kwietnioski (Owning Mahony) directs this satirical comedy-drama about fame, obsession, and illusion starring acting great and BFI Fellow, the late John Hurt. Giles (Hurt) is a widower who loves the cinema, but one day stumbles upon a film very much out of his purview – Hotpants College II, starring Ronnie Bostock (Jason Priestley). Giles finds himself infatuated with Ronnie, researching his career, life, and even his hometown. Giles decides to track down Ronnie in Long Island City in an attempt to meet the young actor. Kwietnioski’s film is a perceptive and biting comedy with doses of darkness and discomfort, yet still attuned to the facets of human desire in its careful portrayal of Giles.

Hurt (The Elephant Man, Midnight Express), best known for his grave and dramatic performances, finds the humour and heart of Giles– he never alienates the audience from the character, but rather helps us understand his longing and confusion. It’s an astonishing performance with equal parts of comedy and pathos.

Love and Death on Long Island is available on BFI Player+, here.

Love and Death on Long is available in the following BFI Player+ Collections:

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The Light Between Oceans has also been added to the player.

Following Blue Valentine (2010) and The Place Beyond the Pines (2013), filmmaker Derek Cianfrance adapts M.L. Stedman’s novel in this sweeping romance.

Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander star as a Western Australian couple who long for a child – and get their wish when they rescue a baby from a drifting boat offshore. A family seems to be finally forming, until Isabel (Vikander) suspects a local woman (Hannah) might be the mother of their child. Cianfrance recognizes the majestic scope of the romance and period, but focuses in on the central relationship with an eye for unique and startling human emotion in this piercing drama.

In competition at the 2016 Venice International Film Festival, The Light Between the Oceans is Cianfrance’s biggest project to date. Employing talent ranging from Adam Arkapaw’s cinematography to Alexandre Desplat’s beautiful score, Cianfrance has scored with a daring, moving romance.

Light Between Oceans is available on BFI Player, here.