British Film Festival

Following are capsule reviews of today’s screenings in the American Film Institute’s BritFest during the UK/LA ’88 Festival.


Monicas, 1 p.m & 6:45 p.m. A devastating, glue-your-eyes-to-the-screen experience--especially for those of Welsh ancestry, whose blood is guaranteed to boil. Writer-director Kark Francis follows a poor, cocky-but-naive young Welshman named Wil Thomas (Richard Lynch) into the British Army, which sends him to Northern Ireland. His dire fate there and his stubborn resistance to it are heart-wrenching and enraging. The key question Francis poses with such fierce and relentless logic is this: Why should a Welshman be caught up in the conflict of Northern Ireland?




Monicas, 3 p.m. & 8:45 p.m. Elizabeth MacLennan is splendid as fiery radical labor leader Bessie McQuigan--and so is Louise Beattie as the teen-age Bessie, but “Blood Red Roses” is a long-winded and doggedly conventional film about a highly unconventional woman, whose headstrong stance eventually becomes counterproductive in an increasingly technological society. There’s material here for a powerful contemporary saga of wide implications but it’s an opportunity missed despite an array of solid and engaging performances. Written and directed by John McGrath.