Get political with the BFI’s Who Can You Trust season, featuring a range of European thrillers focussing on the dark underworld of politics and power. 

In the 1970s, political crisis was afoot. The UK saw the Winter of Discontent, strikes and the coming of Margaret Thatcher amidst a punk rebellion, whilst on the continent, radical groups such as the Red Army Faction and the Red Brigades. It was through film that a number of creatives expressed their political discontent and exposed deep political turbulence under the water and bubbling away on the surface.

With a selection of European films curated by Manchester-based HOME, talks, and special guests, Thrillers in the 1970s will offer audiences across the country a unique glimpse at the political landscape of the turbulent decade as part of the BFI’s season of thrillers, Who Can You Trust? Participating cinemas include the London’s BFI Southbank, Bristol Watershed and the Glasgow Theatre amongst others.

Senior Visiting Curator: Film at HOME, Andy Willis, said:  “I am thrilled to be working with HOME on this major film season. Young people in the UK today, as they were in the 1970s, are becoming increasingly interested in political issues. The films in this season – designed for the most part with audiences in mind – reveal how popular film styles can be used to discuss a range of burning political issues of their, and indeed our own, time.

“Across the season we have films that engage with questions of prejudice, marginalisation and inequality, with issues around class and gender, as well as films that ask how best to change society and who can we can trust to do so for the better. “

The programme will open with Costa-Gavras’ French film Z (1969), winner of the 1970 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film about an investigation into the suspicious death of a left-leaning politician. Angela Winkler will also be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening of The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, a adaptation of Heinrich Böll’s novel that follows the burgeoning sensationalism of the tabloid press through the eyes of one of its victims.

Alongside the screenings will be a range of talks and events, including a discussion led by Andy Willis on the legacy of the 1970s political thriller, for which he will be joined by Berlin-based artist Declan Clark. Other talks include a discussion on the place of women in political thrillers and on the roots of Nordic Noir, as well as on Swiss-German actor Bruno Ganz.

Here’s a taster of what’s on:

States of Danger and Deceit: European Political Thrillers in the 1970s runs from 4 November at HOME