The programme for the 54th BFI London Film Festival launched today by Artistic Director Sandra Hebron, showcases an array of highly anticipated films by both established and emerging talent from around the world. A Particularly strong feature this year is the selection of British films included the previously announced Opening and Closing Night Galas. Over 16 days the festival will screen a total of 197 features and 112 shorts, including 11 World, 23 International and 33 European premieres, many presented by cast members and filmmakers, alongside a stellar line-up of special events. The 54th BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express, will run from 13-28 October.
Galas & Special Screenings :
Opening the festival is Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go, starring Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield, whilst Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, starring James FRanco will close the festival, with key talent in attendance for both. In between are 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 All Right starring Julianne Moore and Annette Bening; and Cannes Palme D'Or winner, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Other highlights include Conviction, starring Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell; Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu'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. The Great White Silence, a BFI Archive restoration, is this year's Archive Gala, featuring a live performance of a new score by Simon Fisher Turner.
Film On The Square :
London's West End will see a selection of some of the strongest films of the year. Anton Corbijn (Control) presents The American, starring George Clooney; Carlos is Olivier Assayas's epic biopic of the infamous Venezuelan terrorist; Jean-Luc Godard continues to challenge cinemagoers with Film Socialisme; Robinson In Ruins marks Patrick Keiller's long awaited return, and is 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, an intriguing 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. Two of the festival's features set in Africa are A Screaming Man from Chad and Benda Bilili, a documentary about the meteroic rise of a band of street musicians from Congo. The UK is represented by Ken Loach (Route Irish), Joanna Hogg (Archipelago), Richard Ayoade (Submarine) and Lucy Walker (Waste Land). Amongst the many internationally renowned filmmakers are Jan Svankmajer (Surviving Life), Takashi Miike (13 Assassins) and John Sayles (Amigo).
New British Cinema :
Amongst the finest new films from the UK are several which 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 shadowed her subject for a crucial year in Mandelson : The Real PM?; and Fire In Babylon celebrates the golden age of West Indian Cricket. Festival alumni Kim Longinotto focusses on India in Pink Saris, whilst Turner Prize winner Gillian Wearing makes her feature debut with Self Made. Both add to the strong representation of women filmmakers this year. Carol Morley offers a resonant and involving character study with Edge; In Our Name is an urgent and provocative feature depicting the issues one soldier faces when she returns from war in Iraq; and Marc Evans' striking Patagonia features Duffy in her first acting role.
French Revolutions :
The French cinema scene is represented by a range of filmmakers, new and established. Amongst those whose films are screening are new discoveries such as Katell Quillevere (Love Like Poison), up and coming talents including 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 the established force that is Catharine Breillat (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.
Cinema Europa :
Celebrating the best in new cinema from mainland Europe, highlights include Mysteries of Lisbon, a four and a half hour epic from Raul Ruiz; Womb, an unusual love story starring Eva Green and Matt Smith; My Joy, a beautifully shot, dark parable; the surreal and hypnotic The Temptation Of St Tony; and Silent Souls, an almost mystical road movie. Here, the spotlight also falls on women directors including Pernille Fischer Christensen, whose film A Family picks up on a recurrent theme of families; Even The Rain, directed by Iciar Bollain, written by long term Ken Loach collaborator Paul Laverty, and starring Gael Garcia Bernal; Draquila - Italy Trembles by Sabina Guzzanti, a provocative expose of Silvio Berlusconi; and returning filmmaker Isabelle Stever (Blessed Events). More debate is provoked in Picco, the German film exploring the extreme violence experienced in a youth prison.
World Cinema :
From around the globe, a diverse selection of fiction features and documentaries are presented. Amongst a host of US indies are Spork, a wonderfully unexpected take on the high school movie; Geoff Marslett's unique animated film Mars, an inventive slice of slacker sci-fi; Cold Weather, a new 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 paparazzi, Ron Galella. Catfish raises unsettling issues around social media, whilst Lemmy is the definitive portrait of the legendary Motorhead singer and ultimate rock god. Another revered musical subject features in Strange Powers : Stephen Merritt And The Magnetic Fields. The Tillman Story examines the controversy surrounding the death of NFL player turned US soldier in Afghanistan. Other highlights from the rest of the world include Microphone, set in the exuberant underground music scene of the Egyptian capital; Autumn, about the conflict in Indian Kashmir; and Leap Year, the Mexico City set feature which won director Michael Rowe the Camera D'Or at Cannes. Amongst the many strong East Asian titles are Dear Doctor, the third feature from Japan's Miwa Nishikawa and Chang Tso-Chi's beautifully observed family piece, When Love Comes.
Treasures From The Archive :
Showcasing the best recent examples of conservation work, and provoking debate in equal measure, titles include digital restorations of Renoir's Boudu Saved From Drowning and David Lean's epic The Bridge On The River Kwai and the latest project from Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Foundation, Edward Yang's A Brighter Summer Day. Missing scenes, incorrect focus problems and technical difficulties have been difficult to overcome to bring back to the screen Pandora's Box, starring the iconic Louise Brooks and Mauritz Stiller's Gunnar Hedes Saga. Gritty pre-code films The Match King and The Mayor Of Hell with James Cagney are rediscovered, with light relief provided by screwball comedy Turnabout and endearing musical Sunny Side Up. Life in post-war London is captured in three short films restored by the BFI in Bow Bells And Waterloo Sunsets. Other welcome new restorations include the seminal Man With A Movie Camera and Manoel de Oliveira's Rite Of Spring, as well as the first feature-length gay documentary Word Is Out.
To complement the film screenings as ever there will be a full programme of inspiring and thought provoking events. 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 presented in association with Brightwide.com. The Festival has once again partnered with Time Out to bring a series of free events based around panel discussions with filmmakers. In a year noted for the wealth of films from the UK, filmmakers come together to discuss their work in British Cinema : Breaking with Convention.
Booking Information :
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday 27th September.
Telephone Bookings : 020 7928 3232 between 09:30 and 20:30.
Online : www.bfi.org.uk/lff
BFI members receive priority booking.
Tickets are also available to be purchased on the day from 30 minutes prior to the screening at Festival venues.