BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: Entertainment: Film
Front Page 
UK Politics 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Friday, 28 September, 2001, 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK
UK film entrances festival
Last Orders
Last Orders: 'Friendship in everyday life'
A low-budget British film that almost was not made because of funding problems, has entranced audiences at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Last Orders is based on Graham Swift's Booker Prize-winning novel and stars Michael Caine, Helen Mirren, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone and Tom Courtney.

Despite the stellar cast the film, directed by Australian Fred Schepisi, almost collapsed in the early stages.

Graham Swift
Swift won the Booker with Last Orders in 1996
"There were financial difficulties," producer Nik Powell told BBC News Online.

"One of our financiers ran into cashflow problems and I had to hastily arrange a rescue loan."


Last Orders tells the story of a group of elderly men who get together to take the ashes of an old friend to be scattered, as requested, off Margate.

The journey for the staunch Londoners proves quite eventful as they drink and reminisce, reviving memories and steely rivalries.

Director Fred Schepisi is best known for Six Degrees of Seperation and Roxanne, his version of the Cyrano de Bergerac story starring Steve Martin.

Michael Caine and Ray Winstone
Ray Winstone (r) plays Caine's scheming son
Powell said it is a faithful adaptation of the popular Graham Swift book and describes the casting alone as "exciting".

"It could have been a disaster, but it wasn't," he said.

But even as a longtime producer of independent films like Mona Lisa, The Crying Game and The Last September, he admited that the funding crisis was unusual.

"I've been making films for 20 years and I hadn't come across quite such a situation," he said.

But all the effort appears to have initially paid off, with hardened critics moved by the performances.

"The director told me the audience were in tears, though it is an unsentimental film about ordinary friendship in everyday life," says Powell.

There are reports that the film may be in the running for the prizes at the prestigious festival.

UK audiences will have to wait until the London Film Festival in November to see the film and a general UK release is planned for January.

See also:

21 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Last Orders for Sir Michael
16 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Arise Sir Michael Caine
18 May 99 | Entertainment
The battle for the Palme d'Or
27 Jul 01 | Film
Mirren takes on US box office
09 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Winstone's gangster wrap
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Film stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Film stories