The Angels' Share opens 5th Panorama of the European Film

Soha Hesham, Friday 5 Oct 2012

Ken Loach’s comedy offering opens the 5th Panorama of the European Film

The Angels

The 5th Panorama of European Film (3-9 October), launched by Misr International Films (Youssef Chahine), inaugurated its activities, organised by producer and director Marianne Khoury, on Wednesday at Galaxy Cinema in Cairo.

European Union ambassador to Egypt James Moran was present at the inauguration and gave a brief speech applauding the efforts of Khoury in putting together such a promising programme of different European films.

The annual event has four sections this year; 'Fiction Film', the latest European award-winning films; ‘First Films’, which aims at screening the debut work of young international filmmakers followed by an open discussion between the audience and renowned directors; ‘Documentary Rendez-Vous’, screening recent interesting documentaries from Europe on various topics; and ‘Education and Cinema’, a programme of specially selected films for students of different ages.

Screenings take place at Galaxy Cinema on El-Manial Island and Stars Cinema in Heliopolis.

The opening film was 'The Angels' Share' by award-winning English director Ken Loach, known for his realism and his left-wing politics. The film was nominated for the Palme D’Or and won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

The Scottish film tackles social issues with a high sense of humour, coherent enough to keep the viewer in an optimistic state as Loach captures wide views, with portraits of blue skies and greenery.

The 101-minute film begins with a humorous scene. A drunk young man is walking along the edge of the platform of a train station, when a sound comes from the microphone warning him that a train is coming. Startled, he falls onto the railway track, drunk and looking for his glasses. He finally makes it to the platform a second before the train passes by.

Meanwhile, protagonist Robbie, played by Paul Brannigan in his debut appearance, is convicted of assault and sentenced to community service. There he meets the man from the first scene, Albert (Gary Maitland). They join a small group of others charged with similar offences.

The group's community service commences under the command of Harry (John Henshaw), a working class man who bonds with Robbie after witnessing him being brutally beaten in hospital by his girlfriend's uncles, while his girlfriend Leonie (Siobhan Reilly) gives birth to their son Luke.

Robbie and Harry head back to Harry's house, where Robbie gets cleaned up and they celebrate his fatherhood with a long-saved bottle of whiskey.

Harry, it turns out, is a connoisseur of single malt whiskey and he takes his group of lawbreakers – who carry out their public service by painting public buildings and cleaning up graveyards – on a special tour of a whiskey factory.

Here the instructor explains that for every cask of whiskey they open, around two per cent of the liquid evaporates in what is called the angels' share. It is revealed that Robbie has the talent and the nose for whiskey tasting, and whiskey collector Thaddeus (Roger Allam) hands him his card.

The film's climax comes as the unlikely group hatch a plan to steal several bottles of extremely valuable whiskey that is to be auctioned off soon, with unforeseen consequences.

Loach's direction displays the social pressures that are the causes of protagonist Robbie’s troubles, embodied in brutal fighting, drinking in public, and unemployment. Robbie is haunted by violence, but still hopes to be able to give his son a better life. The film combines warmth and humour with social realism in an up-beat example of Loach's style.


Tuesday 9 October, 9:30pm at Galaxy Cinema, 67 Abd El Aziz Al Saud St., El Manial

Tuesday 9 October, 1:00pm at City Stars Cinema, Omar Ibn El-Khattab Street, Nasr City

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