Our patron’s latest film has divided those who give out the gongs in the film world. Unaccountably snubbed by the Academy Award and BAFTA members, it was nominated for the Palme D’Or and won Best Actor for Timothy Spall at Cannes and won Best Film and Best Actor at the London Critics’ Circle Awards. We have to say that we side with Cannes and the critics. It is a magnificent film, beautifully directed and filmed with a performance by Timothy Spall that betters anything he has done up to now and, by all accounts, is an accurate portrayal of the grumpy artist from humble origins who revolutionised painting. Spall famously took lessons for two years so that he could appear authentic when applying oil to canvas.
Peter Bradshaw describes the fim as ‘unhurried, discursive and mysterious’ and Spall’s performance showing ‘an artist not encumbered with cliched bohemian torment, but one who is confident and prosperous, eccentric yet forthright, and self-assured in company’. Turner’s personality is contradictory: in some ways brutal in his relationships with women but also capable of great tenderness with his father, movingly played by Paul Jesson, and with the partner of his later years, Sophia Booth, played by Marion Bailey, the partner of Mike Leigh’s later years. The viewer is invited to see the parallels between Turner and Leigh.
The film has been widely applauded for its cinematography, design and music and was nominated in four categories for these at both the Oscars and the BAFTAs.
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Venue: William Loveless Hall