In these chilly political times and as the heatwave dials down, perhaps we need the comfort blanket of cinema more than ever. Alluding to the relief, empowerment and compassion film can bring, the BFI’s Amanda Nevill reminded us that ‘art creates alternative realities’ as she announced the plethora of titles lovingly planted in the forthcoming London Film Festival.
With features and shorts from 77 countries, 50 debut directors and 38% of all works owning a female director or co-director, (up from last year’s 24%), the BFI have been on the grind to present hundreds of films that reflect the eclectic filmmaking talents and diverse identities of London’s rich and vibrant community.
Whetting our whistle with tantalising clips and trailers, here are the highlights that piqued our interest at this year’s program launch.
Opening the festival will be Steve Mcqueen’s anticipated follow up to 12 Years A Slave. Based on the 1983 TV series of the same name and fizzing with fierce female energy, this heist drama stars the tremendous Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson to name but a few. Be the first to watch at LFF, ahead of its November release.
Following Cannes glory, this heart-stirring drama from Caramel director Nadine Labaki, ploughs a thought-provoking tale following young Zain who’s suing his parents for bringing him into a world of woe. With outstanding performances and an unlikely tale of friendship and care between the two young leads, Capernaum is a moving story with hope at its heart.
Stan & Ollie
Famed comedians Laurel and Hardy are affectionately played by Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as they buckle up for a swan song tour in post-war Britain. Due for release early 2019, and directed by Jon S. Baird, Stan & Ollie promises to be a jolly good show with a plenty of heartstring tugs.
Woman At War
Declaring a one woman war, environmental activist Halla embarks upon Icelandic high jinx to save her home’s highlands. Smart, delightful and poignant, Benedikt Erlingsson’s follow up to Of Horses Of Men, is a unique, witty take on the world in decline.
A no-frills romp through 18th Century England, The Favourite looks to ruffle the feathers of stuffy monarch movies. Starring Olivia Coleman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, and from the director of The Lobster, expect a wry comedic take on Queen Anne’s ruddy reign. (released early 2019).
Out Of Blue
Beloved Brit Carol Morley is back with a noir crime drama placing Patricia Clarkson as the lead in one of the most exciting team-ups in the Special Presentations category. Based on Martin Amis’ book Night Train it provides another itch Morley loves to scratch – the untold stories of troubled anonymous souls.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Inspired by the book from one of the greatest American writers that ever was – James Baldwin, comes an adaptation from one of the most exciting film directors working now after his knockout Moonlight – Barry Jenkins. This Love strand gala is a story of love, injustice and racism in America.
London Film Festival begins 10 – 21st October. Public tickets on sale now from the BFI website.