Schoolboy euphemisms aside, there are presumably worse predicaments to find yourself in than being bookended by Rachel Weisz. No sooner had the organisers of the London Film Festival announced that one of Weisz’s forthcoming films would open the proceedings, Fernando Meirelles' “360,” when Empire got word that the actress’ long-awaited lead performance in Terence Davies’ “The Deep Blue Sea” will close out the festival.
As is usually the case for the LFF, they’re cherry-picking the best of what’s on offer elsewhere. Both “360” and “The Deep Blue Sea” will premiere at Toronto in September, and the latter will also crop up at the San Sebastian International Film Festival the same month. An adaptation of the famous Terence Rattigan play (and not the Renny Harlin sharks-with-Alzheimer’s laff-fest) the film, which also stars Tom Hiddleston and Simon Russell Beale, tells the tale of a suicidal, adulterous woman who leaves her husband and shacks up with a boozy ex-Royal Air Force pilot.
Sandra Hebron, the inordinately popular and outgoing artistic director of the festival said: “It’s a great pleasure to be able to close the festival with this exquisite new feature from one of our most cherished directors. Terence Davies is a filmmaker who the BFI has supported from the very beginnings of his career, and in Terence Rattigan’s centenary year, this beautifully directed and acted film is the perfect closing night film.”
It’s the tale of two Terences. Director Davies is responsible for any number of British masterpieces: most recently “Of Time And The City” but also “The House of Mirth,” “The Long Day Closes,” “Distant Voices, Still Lives,” and his feted, largely autobiographical, trilogy dealing with growing up homosexual in working-class Liverpool. Meanwhile playwright Rattigan, whose career has undergone something of a re-evaluation in Britain in his 100th anniversary year, was himself no stranger to the film business, having penned a heap of screenplays in his time (most memorably “Brighton Rock,” but also the 1955 original “Deep Blue Sea” starring Vivien Leigh).
There are odd pockets of energy in the British film industry (“Kill List,” Steve McQueen’s forthcoming “Shame”) but they’re invariably counterbalanced by mind-blowingly arcane national embarrassments (ahem, “Swinging with the Finkels”) so to have the prestige accorded by “The Deep Blue Sea” -- and Hebron’s right, Davies got his break courtesy of the long-since-dead and justly mourned BFI Production Board – couldn’t come at a more welcome time.
The festival is set to run from October 12-27. We’ll be the ones handing out the “We Love You, Rachel Weisz!” and "Ter Davies Is Our Homeboy" tote bags.