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Phillip Bergson

Writing about Films and Festivals.


Film Critic, UK,Invited Member  of  The UK Critics' Circle

FIPRESCI abd the European Film Academy.

Visiting Lecturer, Prague Film School.


Winner of the  "Student Journalist of the Year" competition in the UK weekly New Statesman, as a Classics Scholar Phillip Bergson then founded the Oxford Film Festival and, on graduating, was selected by "The Sunday Times" as a 'New Critic' and in the same week began broadcasting on film for many BBC Radio programmes. A contributor to the "Times Literary Supplement", "TES",The Spectator,film critic on "The Sunday Standard", "Screen International",Variety, "Film Bulletin", "Film a Doba" inter alia, and on the FilmFestJOURNAL in Berlin and Screen Dailies at Cannes,he also worked for the "European Script Fund", has scripted shorts and features (that have been produced and released) and, fluent in eight-and-a-half languages, currently programmes and advises several international film festivals and is.Casting Consultant on several international features. At the National  Museum of Photography, Film and Television, in his native Yorkshire, he created the "Eurovisions" project, to promote classic and contemporary European cinema,which was inaugurated at the Cine Lumiere in London by His Excellency the President of Iceland.

Presenter and Programmer,London Turkish Film Week, December 2018

Co=programmer, 2nd London Turkish Film Week, April 2019

Artistic Director, 3rd London Turkish Film Week, planned for 1-7 June 2020.

As a FIPRESCI Jury Member

and a member of  International Juries at

Thessaloniki, Europa Cinema (Rimini), Munich Documentary, Manaki Brothers,Cine Jove (Valencia),Chicago, TIFF-ODA


Sunny Lund's Fantastic Film Festival

With a reputation as being Scandinavia's largest festival devoted to fantasy films, the 16th Fantastisk Filmfestival (23 September to 2 October,2010) in Lund, a lovely University city in the south of Sweden, was a notable success, and a memorable discovery for myself,  as a first-footing member of the International Jury alongside my colleague from London, the noted Gothophile Kim Newman and the lively Finno-Swedish critic Andrea Reuter.The historic venue- a sort of Swedish Oxford that apparently once belonged to Denmark-was aptly enough the birthplace of Max von Sydow(as he was later known)-sparkles with late-medieval monuments and a plethora of smart if pricy cafes and bars.The Hotel Concordia (where Strindberg may have worked, or perhaps wrote in an adjacent building) was most congenial and ,like all the young staff of the festival ,welcoming and efficient, cosmopolitan without being pretentious and effortlessly multi-lingual.It seemed appropriate for me to fly in and out via Copenhagen, which thanks to the recently completed spectacular bridge linking the two once-warring lands, is literally a short drive away.Lingua franca everywhere was English, with films sub-titled in English according to print sources though the festival has a strong international content and also is a host to the Melies d'Or competition with a separate,homegrown jury(Cia Edstrom from the Goteborg Festival,and critics Elin Larsson and Roger Wilson).New festival director Johan Barrander had assembled a wide variety of features and shorts,presented around the city to large and enthusiastic audiences.One revamped miniplex has retained its gorgeous art-deco designs in a sumptuous auditorium, perfect for a midnight matinee reprise of Luc Besson's period folly Adele Blanc-Sec(a rather over-the-top extravaganza based on the exploits of a comic-book heroine I never heard of),and well accommodating the Lund Film Academy's day-long session of lectures and panels on 'Constructing Narratives in Genre Films", to which I contributed some thoughts under the title "From Aristotle to Torture Porn", with the help of some judiciously selected clips from Psycho  and The Devils.(Apparently it was all filmed live on some webcam, so if you have courage enough and persistence you may be able to view it even now,somehow, somewhere).

Plenty of genres surfaced in our competition entries, but we swiftly and unanimously awarded the Syren for Best International Feature to The Loved Ones, sharply directed Down Under by Sean Byrne, with Xavier Samuel the handsome but hapless victim of an Australian high-school psychopathette and her deranged,doting daddy.Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist needed no plaudits from us, but Strigoi, was an accomplished curio, about Romanian proto-vampires, filmed in their land and language by the distinctly non-Romanian Faye Jackson. Perhaps unsurprisingly the Audience Award went to the festival's opener,Scott Pilgrim vs The World(Edgar Wright's earliier,larky Shaun of the Dead was also screened in a selection wryly styled Cruel Brittania(or so my isle is called in the otherwise excellently produced, elegant bi-lingual Festival Catalogue).

British talent displaced, or relocated, was also prized with the Silver Melies for Best European Feature going to Red,White and Blue, which although set in Texas is crisply directed by Simon Rumley with a ferocious central performance by Noah Taylor as a one man-massacrer.

A handful of directors attended to introduce their films and one of the most enterprising, though not screened  in my competition, was a strikingly photographed music-related drama set in motion by Glenn 3948.Belgian director Marc Goldstein has confected an original story set in a very slightly futuristic New York where piano maestros(Billy Boyd,a hobbit from Lord of the Rings,and Dominic Gould)clash for personal as well as professional reasons, and have the piano turned on them, as it were,by a small but deadly flying robot. Gerard Depardieu and Patrick Bauchau contribute spirited cameos, and much of the soundtrack is enlivened by Glenn Gould's legendary playing of Bach.

The 17th Lund Fantastisk Film Festival is planned for 22nd September to Ist October, 2011,and is certainly worth crossing any number of bridges to attend.

Phillip Bergson


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