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Flatpack Festival is back!

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There’s not a lot I can do at the moment, as I’ve been struck down with the lurgy, but the good folk at Flatpack Festival have released their line-up and I’ve been having a look through it.

Returning for a ten-day festival of cinematic invention and audio-visual delights, #flatpack12 has yet another a great line-up this spring.  Running from 13-22 April 2018, Swedish witchcraft, animated sushi, teenage mermaids, silent trapeze and Shakespearean puppets are just a few of the delights.  And if that’s just a few of the selected highlights, then you know there’s going to be so much more creativity in store.

The twelfth annual edition of the festival, Flatpack has a over 100 events taking place in 20 venues in Birmingham, including screenings, performances, exhibitions and parties. This year includes a focus on 1968, the year Enoch Powell gave the infamous Rivers of Blood speech in Birmingham, but also a year which included a changing social tapestry, Black Sabbath, slum clearance and student protests.  With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Flatpack are launching My 68, which will follow on from the festival, gathering up some of the memories and images that emerge to create podcasts, art and publications.

There’s a whole host of great films and if my bank balance would allow I’d go to a lot more stuff, but I’ve picked a few of the events that immediately jumped out at me – there’s a bit of a strong female element running through some of the picks…

Marlina The Murderer in Four Acts  – Wednesday 18th April 2018, 8pm, The Electric Cinema

A feminist western directed by Mouly Surya, tells a female-driven journey of vengeance, empowerment and redemption, taking place amongst the barren beauty of Indonesia, and the country’s complex regional culture.

Jeune Femme  – Friday 20th April 2018, 8.40pm, The Electric Cinema

Described as France’s answer to Greta Gerwig, writer and director Léonor Serraille’s debut feature is brought to life by a predominantly female crew.  A furiously intense French comedy, Jeune Femme or “young woman”, tells the tragicomedy tale of Paula, who first erupts onto the screen head-butting the door of her ex-boyfriend’s house.

Rivers of Love – Saturday 21st April 2018, 1pm, MAC Birmingham

Hip-hop artist Juice Aleem and Sid Peacock’s Surge Orchestra collaborate on a new musical commission using Flatpack’s 1968 theme, creating Rivers of Love, a response to Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower – Sunday 22nd April 2018, 11am, MAC Birmingham

First offering from Studio Ghibli veterans Studio Ponoc, this animated tale continues the charm and Ghibli tropes.  Based on The Little Broomstick, Mary finds a mysterious flower that gives her the power to become a witch, but for only one night.

The Breadwinner – Sunday 22nd April 2018, 5pm, The Electric

A powerfully animated and sobering story of a young Afghan girl who dresses like a boy in order to support her family after her father is wrongfully arrested by the Taliban.

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