Another Country – Netflix in June

Another Country (1984)

Another Country is a 1984 British romantic historical drama written by Julian Mitchell, adapted from his play of the same name. Directed by Marek Kanievska, the film stars Rupert Everett and Colin Firth in his feature film debut.

Another Country is loosely based on the life of the spy and double agent Guy Burgess, Guy Bennett in the film. It explores his homosexuality and exposure to Marxism while examining the hypocrisy and snobbery of the English public school system.

Plot summary

The setting is a public school, modeled on Eton and Winchester, in the 1930s. Guy Bennett (Rupert Everett) and Tommy Judd (Colin Firth) are pupils and because they are both outsiders in their own ways, friends (Bennett is gay while Judd is a Marxist).

One day, a teacher walks in on Martineau (Philip Dupuy) and a boy from another house engaged in mutual masturbation. Martineau subsequently kills himself and teachers and the senior pupils try their hardest to keep the scandal away from parents and the outside world. The gay scandal, however, gives the army-obsessed house captain Fowler (Tristan Oliver) a welcome reason to scheme against Bennett. Fowler dislikes him and Judd and wants to stop Bennett from becoming a “God” – a school title for the two top prefects. Fowler is able to intercept a love letter from Bennett to James Harcourt (Cary Elwes). Bennett agrees to be punished with a whipping so as not to compromise Harcourt; whereas, on earlier occasions, he had avoided punishment by blackmailing the other “Lords” with the threat that he would reveal their own experiences with him.

Meanwhile, Judd is reluctant to become a prefect, since he feels that he cannot endorse a “system of oppression” such as this. He makes a memorable, bitter speech about how the boys oppressed by the system grow up to be the fathers who maintain it. Eventually, however, he agrees to become a prefect in order to prevent the hateful Fowler from becoming Head of House. This never comes about because Donald Devenish (Rupert Wainwright) agrees to stay at school and become a prefect if he is nominated to become a God instead of Bennett.

Devastated at the loss of his cherished dream of becoming a God, Bennett comes to realise that the British class system strongly relies on outward appearance and that to be openly gay is a severe hindrance to his intended career as a diplomat.

The film’s epilogue reports that he defected to Russia later in his life, after having been a spy for the Soviet Union. Judd died fighting in the Spanish Civil War.

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The Falling 2014

BBC

At the centre of the fainting epidemic are intense and clever Lydia Lamont (Maisie Williams) and admired and rebellious Abbie Mortimer (Florence Pugh), both 16 years old. They carve their initials into a majestic English oak tree by a magical pond and vow never to lose touch. But Lydia already feels that Abbie is drifting away from her and soon her fears are confirmed. Struggling to find solace within the volatile, strange atmosphere of the school and her troubled home-life, Lydia feels driven to discover what is really behind everything that seems wrong. As the fainting escalates Lydia confronts the authority figures around her: her self-absorbed mother, Eileen (Maxine Peake), the unbending and indomitable deputy head Miss Mantel (Greta Scacchi), and the enigmatic and powerful headmistress Miss Alvaro (Monica Dolan). Eventually Lydia’s actions force old secrets to rise to the surface and she finds herself faced with a truth that she never expected.

 

A Room with a View  1985

Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Room with a View 1985

Adapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala from the novel by E.M. Forster, A Room with a View is a shining example of Merchant-Ivory’s ability to achieve maximum quality and opulence at minimum cost. Set during the Edwardian Era, the film stars Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy Honeychurch, who like all proper young British ladies is compelled to tour Europe in the company of an older chaperone — in this instance, her spinster cousin Charlotte Bartlett (Maggie Smith). While in Italy, the ladies make the acquaintance of a wide variety of personalities; the most fascinating of their fellow tourists — at least in Lucy’s eyes — is free-spirited George Emerson (Julian Sands). Aware that her cousin is becoming too familiar with Emerson, Charlotte demands that Lucy return to England posthaste. Lucy complacently settles for the tiresomely traditional courtship of nerdish Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis) — and then Mr. Emerson moves into the neighborhood. Lucy now finds herself on the horns of a dilemma: Should she opt for a safe, proper marriage to Cecil, or the bohemian unpredictability of the charismatic Emerson? A winner of three Academy Awards, A Room with a View is not what one could call fast-moving, but fans of the Merchant-Ivory team will enjoy luxuriating in the film’s leisurely pace and stimulating cast of characters

Helena Bonham Carter, Julian Sands, Maggie Smith,

Post Edwardian 1907