London Film Festival, this year celebrating its 56th anniversary, is a 12-day extravaganza (Oct 10th-21st) that gives you (yes, its open to the public) the opportunity to see a compelling selection of new international film months ahead of their release.
Having hinted at a shakeup, the festival’s new director Clare Stewart has extracted a selection of works that span of the industry’s entire spectrum. The roll call includes established Hollywood names along side a generous dose of new talent. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find arthouse and experimental works, restored old classics, short films and cults – all interspersed with talks, debates and master classes from some of the industry’s biggest figures.
To fuel further excitement, Stewart has divided the festival into ‘Competitions’, each with a crowned winner at the end. ‘Debate’, ‘Thrill’, ‘Laugh’, ‘Love’, Dare’ are but a few…. Thus confirming – whatever your taste at the talkies, they’ll be something to satisfy you.
Where is it?
Most screenings take place in the BFI Southbank and the Vue West End. However, keep a watchful eye out for shows in cinemas further afield, from the Ciné Lumière in Kensington to the Hackney Picturehouse, and all screens in between.
Highlights so far… (to name but a few)
The opening night of LFF in Leicester Square saw Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie leave a wake of silenced viewers in its path. Burton’s ‘best and most personal film yet’, deals with a schoolboy in the post-war American suburbs. A semi autobiographical piece and Burton’s first animation, Frankenweenie is a hypnotic kid’s movie which playfully dances on the line between the entertaining and the deeply chilling. Released in cinemas this month – a must see!
2012 LFF sees British arthouse connoisseur Sally Potter return to our screens with Ginger and Rosa. Set in London during the early 60s, Potter’s earnest and moralizing piece handles the relationship between two teenage best friends whose priorities conflict. Whilst thirteen year old Ginger marches to ban the bomb, Rosa is more concerned with her next squeeze, namely, Ginger’s father. Whilst a girlish drama with a splash of political comment sounds like an odd cocktail, what champions here is in fact Potter’s medley of mesmerizing captured movements that portray a raw and unflinching friendship.
Revived and restored from the archives, every year LFF dusts off – and pays tribute to – some of the world’s finest classics. He may not be your go-to man on a Saturday night in, but a spoonful of Shakespeare is good for the soul. If you’re looking to embark on your Shakespearean maiden voyage, hope aboard Lawrence Olivier’s 1955 masterpiece Richard. The director’s work sees an exploration of King Richard III’s blood stained ascent to the English throne. Worried you wont understand/enjoy it? Don’t; you’ll at least be entertained by the remarkable study of pure cruelty. Side note – if you’d rather see Shakespeare on the stage, Stephen Fry’s performance in Twelfth Night currently running at The Globe is well worth a visit.
What to look out for:
Helena Bonham Carter taking on the role she was arguably born to play: Dikens’ Miss Havesham of Great Expectations. The remake of the canonical work will conclude the festival on the night of the 21st in what is sure to be an explosive end to 12 days of enthralling international film.
This is a guest post by Venetia Scott-DalgleishGoogle+