The Party, the eighth feature film from talented director Sally Potter, had its UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. A fiercely sharp, stripped-back 71 minutes of witty, blacker-than-coal comedy and political quips, the film focuses on an intimate soiree in the London home of cabinet politician Janet who has just been appointed shadow health minister. Unfolding in real time in black and white, a host of guests, played by an all-star cast, arrive one by one while announcements and revelations soon spill out of reserved conversation into farcical mayhem. Kristin Scott Thomas leads as Janet but the strength of the performances (filmed over just 12 days) is an ensemble effort with Timothy Spall as her distant husband Bill, Patricia Clarkson as her nihilist friend Jenny and Bruno Kranz as barmy humanist husband Gottfried. Cherry Jones is post-menopausal Martha, an old friend of Bill’s, there along with her pregnant partner played by Emily Mortimer, and Cillian Murphy has a lot of fun with a constantly sweating, fidgeting, expensively suited finance man, Tom. Impeccably executed and laugh-out-loud funny, the film roots out an array of human insecurities from ageing to fidelity and clashes of ideals and ideas (the Brexit result emerged during filming) with class and panache.

We were lucky enough to grab some time with Potter herself and a collection of her all-star cast. The director explained why she wanted to make the film, the joy of working with such an incredibly talented case and the fun they had on set.

The sultry-toned Cherry Jones spoke with fervour about the intensity of filming the movie in just 12 days and how she approached her lesbian, feminist character Martha.

Timothy Spall gave us an insight into the political aspect of the film and his experience of working with the brilliant Sally Potter.

Bruno Ganz talked about what drew him to the script and what kind of comedy the film really is.

By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 11th October 2017.
Videos: Marta Starczynowska

The Party had its UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on 10th October 2017. Read our review here.

Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2017 coverage here.

For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.