Andy Serkis’ period drama has been chosen to kick off this year’s festival.
The 61st BFI London Film Festival will kick off on Wednesday 4 October with the European premiere of Breathe. Directed by Andy Serkis, the film is based on the true story of Robin Cavendish, a prominent campaigner for the disabled during the middle part of the 20th century who was left paralysed by polio while on a trip to Africa.
Andrew Garfield steps into the lead role alongside The Crown’s Claire Foy as Cavendish’s wife, Diana. It’s being pitched as a heartwarming tale of young love and human endurance, and sounds like a fitting curtain-raiser for the most prestigious event on the UK film calendar.
LFF director Clare Stewart has said of the film’s opening slot selection: “We are proud to be opening the 61st BFI London Film Festival with a film that is a beacon for remarkable British talent: the directorial debut of Andy Serkis, compelling performances from a stellar cast led by Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, and a story of universal resonance that is also deeply personal for producer Jonathan Cavendish.
“Breathe is not only an inspirational love story, it is also a film about two truly indomitable spirits who defy the odds and the sceptics to pave the way for change.”
The 61st BFI London Film Festival runs 4-15 October, 2017. The full Festival programme will be announced on Thursday 31 August. Breathe is release nationwide on 27 October.
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This year’s bumper line-up boasts 114 films directed or co-directed by women.
Short films such as Women in Industry and Playing with Fire are a fascinating time capsule of postwar Britain.