The BFI London Film Festival has announced the rest of its galas and sidebars on top of opening film Never Let Me Go and closing film 127 Hours. The festival has added a diverse roster of films ranging from the award-tipped The King’s Speech, with Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham-Carter to Darren Aronofsky’s rave reviewed Black Swan. Over 16 days the festival will screen a total of 197 features and 112 shorts, including 11 world, 23 international and 33 European premieres. The fest runs from October 13-28.
Julianne Moore, Colin Firth, Hilary Swank, Natalie Portman, Helena Bonham Carter, Naomie Harris, Julian Schnabel and Christy Turlington Burns will be coming to London to promote their movies.
GALAS & SPECIAL SCREENINGS
The King’s Speech, with Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter; Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, with Natalie Portman; Mike Leigh’s Another Year; Neds, directed by Peter Mullan; The Kids Are Alright, starring Julianne Moore and Annette Bening; and Cannes Palme D’Or winner, Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Other highlights include Conviction, starring Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell; Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Biutiful starring Javier Bardem; West Is West, the follow up to East is East; Xavier Beauvois’ Of Gods and Men; and Julian Schnabel’s Miral with Freida Pinto. In The First Grader an 84-year-old Kenyan finally starts school, and Africa United features a group of youngsters who trek across Africa to reach the World Cup.
FILM ON THE SQUARE
Anton Corbijn (Control) directs The American, starring George Clooney; Carlos is Olivier Assayas’s epic biopic of the infamous Venezuelan terrorist; Jean-Luc Godard continues to, ah, challenge cinemagoers with Film Socialisme; Robinson in Ruins marks the return of cult director Patrick Keiller, narrated by Vanessa Redgrave. Other highlights include Diego Luna’s directorial debut Abel; Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff with Michelle Williams and Paul Dano; Le Quattro Volte, a quasi-documentary set in an Italian village; Loose Cannons, an Italian coming-out comedy; and Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale a Finnish fantasy thriller about Father Christmas. The UK is represented by Ken Loach (Route Irish), Joanna Hogg (Archipelago), Richard Ayoade (Submarine) and Lucy Walker (Waste Land). Among the many internationally recognised filmmakers included are Jan Švankmajer (Surviving Life), Takashi Miike (13 Assassins) and John Sayles (Amigo).
NEW BRITISH CINEMA
Among the new UK films are several that deal with real life subjects. In The Arbor, Clio Barnard explores the legacy of writer Andrea Dunbar (whose works include Rita, Sue and Bob Too); Hannah Rothschild shadows British politician Peter Mandelson in Mandelson: The Real PM?; and Fire In Babylon celebrates the golden age of West Indian cricket. Festival alumni Kim Longinotto focuses on India in Pink Saris, while Turner Prize winner Gillian Wearing makes her feature debut with Self Made. Marc Evans’ Patagonia features pop star Duffy in her first acting role.
France is represented by a range of filmmakers, new and established. New discoveries screening include Katell Quillévéré (Love Like Poison), up-and-coming talents include award winning director Antony Cordier (Happy Few); Guillaume Canet, who brings his second feature after Tell No One, Little White Lies (featuring Marion Cotillard); and Catherine Breillat’s Venice entry The Sleeping Beauty. Screen icons featured in this year’s line-up include Isabelle Huppert (Special Treatment and Copacabana), Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Adjani (Mammuth) and Kristin Scott Thomas in Lola Doillon’s In Your Hands. Isabelle Czajka returns to the festival with Living On Love Alone, the follow up to her debut The Year After.
Highlights include Mysteries of Lisbon, a 4½ hour epic from Raúl Ruiz; Womb, an unusual love story starring Eva Green and Matt Smith (Doctor Who); dark parable My Joy; the surreal and hypnotic The Temptation of Saint Anthony; and road movie Silent Souls. The spotlight also falls on women directors including Pernille Fischer Christensen (A Family); Even the Rain, directed by Icíar Bollaín, written by long-term Ken Loach collaborator Paul Laverty, and starring Gael Garcia Bernal; Draquila – Italy Trembles by Sabina Guzzanti, an exposé of Silvio Berlusconi; and returning filmmaker Isabelle Stever (Blessed Events). German film Picco explores extreme violence in a youth prison.
Among a host of US indies are Spork, an unexpected take on the high school movie; Geoff Marslett’s unique animated film, Mars; Cold Weather, a spin on the crime genre; and The Taqwacores about Muslim punks in Upstate New York. Smash His Camera turns the camera on one of the original paparazzo, Ron Galella. Catfish raises issues around social media, while Lemmy is a portrait of the legendary Motorhead singer. Another revered musical subject features in Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields. The Tillman Story examines the controversy surrounding the death of the NFL player turned US soldier in Afghanistan.
This year’s Screen Talks feature directors Darren Aronofsky and Mark Romanek. Peter Mullan and Olivier Assayas will lead Masterclasses. Other highlights include music supervisor Randall Poster’s Film School of Rock; a forum about adapting books for the screen; and a special screening of Christy Turlington Burns’ directorial debut about maternal health, No Woman, No Cry. UK filmmakers will come together to discuss their work in “British Cinema: Breaking with Convention.”