Gay rugby drama among offerings at Cunard British Film Festival

The full program for the Cunard British Film Festival has been unveiled, with a forbidden queer romance among the stellar selections at this year’s event.

Written by London-based Australian Adam Silver, In From The Side focuses on the passionate chaos of an adulterous affair between two members of a fictional South London gay rugby club and reveals the many different games that people play.

The festival marks its tenth anniversary this year, and will deliver a number of exclusive premieres of highly anticipated films in addition to a fabulous selection of dramas, documentaries and comedies, the majority of which are screening for the first time in Australia.

Opening the festival nationally on 19 October (18 October in Adelaide) is the premiere of Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris, a whimsical tale based on the popular novel.

Starring the fabulous Lesley Melville as the titular Mrs. Harris, it follows her adventures as she embarks on a journey through Parisian high fashion.

Two Centrepiece Premieres exclusive to the festival are The Banshees of Inisherin, a twisted tale of friendship gone awry from the makers of In Bruges starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson and Empire of Light, a love letter to cinema from director Sam Mendes showcasing a blossoming romance taking place in a beautiful old cinema on the south coast of England in the 1980s.

Closing the festival is the premiere of the new film from Shekhar Kapur What’s Love Got To Do With It?, starring Lily James, Emma Thompson and Shazad Latif. A cross-cultural romantic comedy, it follows a filmmaker who decides to document her best friend’s journey toward arranged marriage.

Based on the true story of the discovery of King Richard III’s remains beneath a Leicester car park, The Lost King is a witty drama starring Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan and follows the quest of amateur historian Philippa Langley who is initially dismissed by scholars and academics.

Also based on real events, Rogue Agent tells the chilling true story of Robert Freegard (played by James Norton), a conman posing as an undercover MI5 agent, who kidnaps countless victims amidst a high-stakes manhunt.

The directorial debut from British-Australian Frances O’Connor Emily is a haunting drama of desire and creativity in 19th Century England depicting the brief life of Wuthering Heights author Emily Brontë. Another period set drama, The Road Dance, takes place in a village in the Outer Scottish Hebrides. When the men are conscripted for WWI, a road dance to send off the soldiers turns the life of local girl Kristy upside down.

Festival favourite Bill Nighy stars in Living, a touching tale of a terminally ill man searching for meaning in 1950s London that will inspire and enthral with a wonderful performance from Nighy. The screenplay was adapted by Kazuo Ishiguro, based on the 1952 classic Akira Kurosawa film.

Joyride stars Olivia Colman as Joy, who sets out to give away her newborn baby and is unexpectedly joined by a cheeky 12-year-old boy as the odd couple go on a trip of self-discovery.

The festival also feautres a curated celebration of 007 himself, James Bond, contemporary and documentary selections, British comedies and so much more.

Cunard British Film Festival runs from 19 October – 16 November at Palace Raine Square, Lune Leederville, Luna on SX and Windsor. For more info, head to

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