Annal: 1985 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Film

Results of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award in the year 1985.

Film:The Killing Fields

The Killing Fields

Roland Joffé

This harrowing but rewarding 1984 drama concerns the real-life relationship between New York Times reporter Sidney Schanberg and his Cambodian assistant Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor), the latter left at the mercy of the Khmer Rouge after Schanberg—who chose to stay after American evacuation but was booted out—failed to get him safe passage. Filmmaker Roland Joffé, previously a documentarist, made his feature debut with this account of Dith’s rocky survival in the ensuing madness of the Khmer Rouge’s genocidal campaign. The script of The Killing Fields spends some time with Schanberg’s feelings of guilt after the fact, but most of the movie is a shattering re-creation of hell on Earth. The late Haing S. Ngor—a real-life doctor who had never acted before and who lived through the events depicted by Joffé—is outstanding, and he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Oscars also went to cinematographer Chris Menges and editor Jim Clark. —Tom Keogh

Film:The Dresser

The Dresser

Peter Yates

It’s life in the Theater with a capital T in this film adaptation of the London and Broadway hit by Ronald Harwood. Though we see other people, the film is really a duet between Sir (Albert Finney), an aging actor-manager who runs his own theater company, and Norman (Tom Courtenay), his dresser, who gets him into costume and, ultimately, into shape to go onstage each night. Sir is on his last legs; Norman is alternately his cheerleader, his parent, and his whipping boy—whatever it takes to get Sir up to performance level each night. Finney perfectly…

Film:Paris, Texas

Paris, Texas

Wim Wenders

Something like a perfect artistic union is achieved in the major components of Paris, Texas: the twang of Ry Cooder’s guitar, the lonely light of Robbie Muller’s camera, the craggy landscape of Harry Dean Stanton’s face. In his greatest role, longtime character actor Stanton plays a man brought back to his old life after wandering in the desert (or somewhere) for four years. He has a 7-year-old son to get to know, and his wife has gone missing. The material is much in the wanderlust spirit of director Wim Wenders, working from a script by Sam Shepard and…

Film:A Private Function

A Private Function

Malcolm Mowbray

The story takes place in post World War II England with wartime food rationing still in place. A couple of days before the coronation of Elizabeth II, and a group of businessmen want to impress their local government by giving a big party. Unfortunately, the contraband pig raised for the event is stolen.

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