Mark Kermodes’ BFI Player+ Film of the Week: Symptoms

The official British Palme d’Or entry at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival, Symptoms is a sophisticated modern gothic horror film exploring the themes of sexual repression and psychosis.

José Ramón Larraz’s dark and stylish film tells of a young woman (Lorna Heilbron) who is invited by her girlfriend (Angela Pleasence) to stay at her remote English country mansion. Events take a disturbing turn when a menacing groundkeeper (Peter Vaughan) interrupts their time together, and a woman’s body is found in the mansion’s lake.

Other than a limited theatrical release and a late-night screening on British television in the early 80s, Larraz’s film has slipped into obscurity, and the original negative was long thought lost, assuring it a place in the BFI’s ‘Most Wanted’ list. Following the rediscovery of the original negatives in 2014, the dark delights of Symptoms can finally be experienced again in this new restoration, undertaken by the Belgian Cinematek.

Symptoms is available on BFI Player+ here

Heartbreakingly beautiful yet uplifting, Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? is a politically edged exploration of family, faith and opposing cultures from Israeli sibling directors Tomer and Barak Heymann.

Saar is a gay man from a religious family in Israel. After being kicked out of his conservative kibbutz because of his sexual orientation, Saar flees to London where he enjoys a gay lifestyle denied to him in Israel. He lives the dream, but wakes up to a nightmare when he discovers that he has contracted HIV. When he breaks the news to his family, they struggle with fears and prejudices. With the support and warmth of Saar’s surrogate brothers – the London Gay Men’s Chorus – he begins a reconciliation process with his biological family in Israel.

Saar finds himself torn between the two worlds and must make a decision: should he return to Israel and embrace his family once more, or stay in London and live in exile forever. Saar and the rest of the London Gay Men’s Chorus provide a glorious soundtrack for this tender, honest and intimate film by acclaimed directors Barak Heymann and Tomer Heymann (‘Mr. Gaga’, ‘Paper Dolls’ and ‘I Shot My Love’). Shot over several years, this documentary is about the power of forgiveness and the power that home has, no matter how far we go.

Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? was supported by the BFI Film Fund and in Official Selection at BFI London Film Festival 2016.

Who’s Gonna Love Me Now is available on BFI Player, here.

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