Brussels Philharmonic | Film Selection: a taste of Britain

Film Selection: a taste of Britain

The Brussels Philharmonic highlights British music with Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams. If you want to further explore typically British culture, this selection of films is an excellent starting point. From a quirky historical drama to an adorable bear... Discover below the film selection by journalist Robin Broos.

I, Daniel Blake (2016)

Director: Ken Loach

At the age of 87, director Ken Loach presented The Old Oak during the Film Fest Gent 2023. But I, Daniel Blake offers even more insight into his homeland. Daniel, a carpenter nearing retirement, faces health issues but is determined to continue his work. This film is a heartfelt drama portraying real people in relatable situations. It even won the Golden Palm at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

watch on Sooner
watch on Prime Video

Paddington (2014)

Director: Paul King

The British love Paddington, not the train station in central London, but the bear named after it. Created by author Michael Bond in 1958, Paddington is an English-speaking bear from Peru who ends up with the Brown family in Great Britain. After various TV series, there are two charming film adaptations. Paddington's impact was even seen during Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee in 2022 when she appeared in a video with the film version of Paddington, enjoying tea and marmalade sandwiches. After the Queen's passing, the people left bears and sandwiches in tribute outside the palace.

watch on Netflix

Billy Elliot (2000)

Director: Stephen Daldry

Despite what 80s dance films might suggest, dancing is not always an accepted form of expression for boys. In a British mining town during the 1984 miners' strike, Billy discovers his passion for ballet instead of boxing like his peers. He auditions for the Royal Ballet School in London but must keep it a secret from his father.

watch on Prime Video

Darkest Hour (2017)

Director: Joe Wright

War dramas are a staple of British cinema, and Darkest Hour focuses on the intrigues behind closed doors during Winston Churchill's early days as Prime Minister. He faces a difficult choice: make peace with Nazi Germany or fight for the nation's ideals and freedom. Gary Oldman delivers a remarkable performance as Churchill, attempting to alter world history.

watch on Netflix

Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)

Director: Terry Jones

When mentioning British cinema, you think about humor. And when mentioning British humor, there is Monty Python. Within the comedy genre, there is no film that can compare to the absurdity and complexity of this faux Jesus epic. It is safe to say that British comedy owes a lot to Terry Jones. Graham Chapman plays Brian Cohen from Nazareth, an ordinary man who is - for some unknown reason - mistaken for the Messiah, and so he travels to Rome with his gathered followers.

watch on Netflix

Love Actually (2003)

Director: Richard Curtis

No list of British films is complete without a romantic comedy. Love Actually weaves together various short love stories, featuring an impressive British cast, with talents such as Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley and Alan Rickman. Evidently, the star of romantic comedy's, Hugh Grant, is not to be forgotten in this list. It's cheesy in the best way, perfect for a cosy night in the sofa.

watch on Google Play
watch on Apple TV

The Favourite (2018)

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

While the British royal family has been the subject of grand and lavish period dramas, The Favourite stands out for its bizarre and insane take on the genre. Set in the 17th century, it follows Queen Anne, played by Olivia Colman, who won an Oscar for her performance. Her two courtiers, played by Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, compete for her favor, even through sexual favors. It's a level of extravagance you won't see coming.

watch on Disney+

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Elgar & Vaughan Williams · 02.12.2023 · Flagey

Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams: undoubtedly two of the most beloved and enduringly popular composers from the United Kingdom - and conductor Andrew Manze knows them like no other.

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podcast: Elgar Symphony no. 1

trombonist William Foster on Edward Elgar and his Symphony No. 1 in a brand-new episode of the Brussels Philharmonic Bucket List podcast

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A Taste of Britain in Brussels

the 'Great' in Brussels: traditional pubs, afternoon tea and fish & chips… explore our recommendations and fully immerse yourself in the British culture