The Philip French Annual Lecture offers a chance for a key figure in the film world to reflect on the qualities French stood for, to examine currents in film culture and the role of film critics. We are delighted to welcome writer and broadcaster Mark Kermode, a long-time admirer of French's film writing who had the exciting and daunting task of stepping into French’s shoes as lead film critic for The Observer, to give the second Philip French Memorial Lecture. Mark, who took over as chief Observer film critic in 2013, said: "Philip’s noble, erudite writing elevated film criticism to the level of art. His judgement was acute but always generous, his prose beautiful, his knowledge breathtaking. He was an inspiration to an entire generation of film critics, and was always wonderfully supportive of his colleagues; encouraging, wise and kind. He is irreplaceable."
Philip French (1933-2015) was Britain's foremost film critic: well-informed, widely-read, with a deep understanding of the practicalities of filmmaking, a taste for elaborate puns and legions of readers of his regular reviews in The Observer and essays in Sight and Sound.
French was educated at Bristol Grammar School, and his first job as a professional journalist was on the Bristol Evening Post. Bristol was important to him in developing his love for and knowledge about cinema and Bristol Festival of Ideas and Watershed are delighted to co-present this annual lecture devoted to his memory in association with The Observer.
This special event is the official launch of the 2nd edition of Cinema Rediscovered (27 - 30th July), a festival dedicated to the rediscovery of great films at the cinema, also home to The State of Things Film Critics Day bringing together established, aspiring and early career film critics to reflect on film criticism, both now and in the future.
In partnership with Bristol Festival of Ideas and the Observer.