The 55th edition of the BFI London Film Festival will be the last with Sandra Hebron as artistic director. Hebron, who had seen attendances increase during every year of her reign, elected not to throw her hat into the ring for a new position after the BFI merged the artistic director roles of its cinema operation and the LFF.
Fernando Meirelles’ 360 will open this year’s festival after debuting at Toronto last month. Starring Rachel Weisz, Jude Law and Ben Foster, it reflects on globalisation and class as an extension of Arthur Schnitzler’s controversial play, La Ronde for the 21st century. With Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen) providing the screenplay, all the ingredients are in place for an awards season campaign at the end of the year. Meirelles (City of God) opened the 2005 edition of the LFF with his The Constant Gardener.
There are 13 world premieres including new features from Hans Weingartner (Edukators), Marc Evans & Amr Salama. Tinge Krishnan’s Junkhearts, starring Eddie Marsan, is amongst a number of debut films already attracting a buzz ahead of their first screenings. Krishnan won a BAFTA for her short, Shadowscan.
Many high-profile titles arrive from Venice & Toronto including Alexsandr Sokurov’s Golden Lion winner, Faust alongside George Clooney’s The Ides Of March, Alexander Payne’s The Descendents & Roman Polanski’s Carnage. There is strong UK interest with screenings of Steve McQueen’s Shame & Andrea Arnold’s screen adaptation of Emily Bronte’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights, both shown in competition at Venice.
Cannes’ Grand Prix joint winners, The Kid With The Bike & Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) will receive their UK premieres alongside Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin, which received a warm reception from critics but left Cannes empty handed.
There is also a high-profile screening of Jeff Nichols’ buzz second feature, Take Shelter, which recently won the best international feature at Zurich Film Festival after bagging the top awards at the Cannes Critics’ Week and Deauville.
The programme is consistent with LFF’s reputation for screening ‘the best of other festivals’ notwithstanding that both Cannes’ Palme d’Or & Berlin’s Golden Bear winners received UK theatrical releases this summer and denied it high-profile gala screenings for these titles.
Terence Davies will close the festival with The Deep Blue Sea, an adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s controversial 1950’s play of the same name. It also premiered at Toronto and provides a timely reminder of the destructive nature of prejudicial judgements in all their forms.
D: Nirpal Bhogal
Bhogal’s debut feature looks at the impact of gang culture on women, a subject that the wider media sometimes overlooks.
How To Re-Establish A Vodka Empire (UK)
D: Daniel Edelstyn
A potentially intriguing documentary where the recently discovered journals of Edelstyn’s grandmother lead him on a trail to pre-Bolshevik revolution Ukraine and an attempt to re-establish his family’s former vodka distillery.
Hunky Dory (UK)
D: Marc Evans
The Tempest has already inspired an interesting mix of filmic responses including Derek Jarman’s absurdist camp interpretation, which culminated in Elisabeth Welch breaking into song with a wonderful rendition of Stormy Weather. Evans (Patagonia) has gone one stage further with his new coming-of-age comedy drama, Hunky Dory where teenagers perform a musical version of the Bard’s final play. Starring up-and-coming star, Aneurin Barnard, it is set during Britain’s 1976 heatwave and draws on classic songs from David Bowie, Lou Reed and many others from the period.
D: Dictynna Hood (aka D.R Hood)
Siblings’ secrets destabilise a new marriage set in a picturesque village that gradually appears more sinister.
The Somnambulists UK)
D: Richard Jobson
Jonson’s keenly awaited semi-documentary sets testimonies of service personal in Bastra against poetic, possibly Jarman style, images in an attempt to look between the cracks at undiscovered aspects of the Iraqi war.
Lawrence Of Belgravia (UK)
D: Paul Kelly
Kelly’s documentary on the former lead singer of cult band, Felt is already attracting a buzz for its portrayal of failed ambition and everlasting hope of success.
D: Tinge Krishnan
The debut feature from the maker of the BAFTA winning short, Shadowscan sees Eddie Marsan lead an impressive cast in an a drama depicting urban crisis.
Strawberry Fields (UK)
D: Frances Lea
Rivalry between sisters provides the pretext for an examination of gender issues from a female perspective.
The First Born (UK)
D: Miles Mander
A world premiere of the BFI’s restoration of Mander’s 1928 British silent, which includes the reinstatement of previously lost footage. Made for Gainsborough studios, it stars Mander alongside Madeleine Carroll and depicts gross hypocrisy amongst the upper classes. Mander co-wrote the screenplay with Alfred Hitchcock’s wife, Alma Reville.
Dreams Of A Life (UK)
D: Carol Morley
An investigation into the mysterious Joyce Vincent, whose dead body remained undetected in her London Flat for three years. Morley sets out to piece together her identity and understand why she slipped from society so completely.
An Da Union: From The Steppes To The City (UK)
D: Tim Pearce, Sophie Lascelles & Marx Tiley
An intimate look at An Da Union, who keep alive the music of ancient Mongal tribes, at a time when globalisation threatens the traditions of their local communities.
D: Amr Salama
Salama’s second feature depicts the real life story of a HIV infected woman’s courageous fight against prejudice and ignorance on a huge scale. Acclaimed actress, Hend Sabry stars in the title role.
Hut In The Woods (Germany)
D: Hans Weingartner
A key player in the German New Wave of the last decade, Weingartner (Edukators) returns with a portrayal of the stigma associated with mental illness and the complications of escaping mainstream society with an alternative lifestyle.buy dapoxetine paypaldapoxetine cheapwalmart cialis pricegeneric cialis tadalafilcost of cialis without insurancecialis cost walmart