On Wednesday evening, the 8th annual British & Irish Film Season (BIFS) in Luxembourg was at Kinepolis-Kirchberg for the screening of the world premier of Toy Gun and only the 4th public screening of The Marker.
Promoted as a John Hannah double bill, with the actor starring in both, the evening was a busy one for all involved. Screening room #3 was without a seat left by the time producer Jesus Gonzales had thanked a number of people and organisations for their support to get their Luxembourg-Belgium co-production realised, and Marco Serafini, director, who introduced the film.
Based on a novel, Toy Gun is a fun and gritty dark comedy about a meek young man (Ruggero) who impulsively robs a bank to prove to his ex-wife that he is courageous and masculine. A police investigation engulfs everyone except our unassuming hero. Through a set of hilarious coincidences, he gets away with the robbery, while corrupt bank officials take the fall for what looks like an inside job. Fargo meets The Big Lebowski, as Ruggero discovers a crime world of loan sharks and thugs.
During the post-screening Q&A, Hana Sofia Lopes said how much she enjoyed working where she grew up, and with international actors, while Luke Allen-Gale delighted the audience with references to the Grund, etc., and how his time here is littered with great memories. He confessed that he ended up having to buy a round of crémant for everyone after his phone rang during shooting - needless to say, this was the first and last time this happened...
The film also starred John Hannah, Federico Castelluccio, Julian Sands, Claire Johnston, Julian Nest and many more, with many of the cast and crew in attendance. Gast Waltzing wrote the score for the film.
The audience reaction was very positive indeed, and the film is expected to go on general release in Luxembourg sometime soon, as part of a series of packages covering various territories.
Second up on Wednesday evening was The Marker, also starring John Hannah, this time alongside Frederick Schmidt and Ana Ularu in a gritty crime thriller set in the Birmindham underworld. Director Justin Edgar was over for the screening and revealed to the audience that this film was very different from his previous work which is normally comedy drama.
The storyline is a tale of redemption where the protagonist, upon release from prison for killing a woman, seeks to find and help her daughter. He is wracked by guilt with his victim appearing in hallucinations. He then starts to unravel the seedy world of grooming linked with children's homes in his efforts to find the girl who has just turned 16...
Next up for the BIFS, on Thursday evening at the Cinémathèque at 20:00, is Modern Life is Rubbish, with producer Dominic Norris in attendance.
For full details, see www.bifilmseason.lu