The capital’s biggest and best annual film jamberoo will be rolling into town on 5 October.
Already on the docket, announced as early, anticipatory treats, we have Amma Asante’s apartheid-era romance, A United Kingdom, kicking off the whole shebang, and then we have Ben Wheatley’s much-anticipated period shoot-’em-up Free Fire screening to mark the festival’s close. But what will be happening in the middle of it all? Well, all has been announced, but the first thing to say is that the “strand” gala screenings will take place at a new, purpose-build, 780-seat cinema on the Embankment, sensibly named the Embankment Gala Cinema. Which is exciting. But now, to the films…
First out of the gate is JA Bayona’s A Monster Calls, with Felicity Jones, Liam Neeson and newcomer Lewis MacDougall, who stars as a young boy experiencing baroque, gorgeously animated visions in reaction to his mother’s ailing physical state. Then there’s Denis Villeneuve’s pre-Blade Runner sci-fi amuse bouche, Arrival, starring Amy Adams as a gung-ho linguist out to make a connection with alien beings.
Elsewhere in the big gala stakes there’s Damien Chazelle’s La La Land (his follow-up to Whiplash) which, after its breathless reception at Venice, will no doubt sell out instantly, so get your ticket-buying finger limbered and ready. There’s the Sundance darling, Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan’s purportedly masterful follow-up to his definitely masterful Margaret. Nate Parker’s controversial The Birth of a Nation is in the mix, while Tom Ford is back, this time with his Nocturnal Animals, and Oliver Stone directs Joseph Gordon-Levitt (with some big accent work happening, if the trailer is to be believed, in Snowden.
As always, there is an unholy tonne of movies scheduled, so here are a couple of LWLies must-must-must sees: first and foremost, sell everything you own and more to secure a ticket for Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann, the German comedy epic set to become everyone’s new favourite movie; Jim Jarmusch returns on top form with his utterly charming paean to the artist inside us all, Paterson; Hermia & Helena is the latest from Shakespeare fanboy Matías Piñeiro; Robert Greene’s Kate Plays Christine is a delicious and troubling documentary which explores the divide between fiction and reality; and don’t miss the dark animated masterwork, My Life as a Courgette, which boasts an immaculate script by the great Céline Sciamma.
Elsewhere, we’re very much looking forward to seeing Gabe Klinger’s Porto, his fictional follow-up to an award-winning documentary on the friendship between Richard Linklater and James Benning. Nocturama, by Bertrand Bonello, has made a name for itself as a political hot potato, so we’re obviously keen to catch that one. And, of course, being Terrence Malick cheerleaders, we’re going to be front and centre for the screening of his new creation of existence sort-of-doc, Voyage of Time, narrated by Carol.
Elsewhere, the archive strand will be presenting a new restoration of Arthur Robison’s 1929 political drama, The Informer, which is set against the political ructions of a newly-independent Ireland in 1922. Marlon Brando’s labour-of-love western epic, One-Eyed-Jacks, will also be playing in its brand-spanking new restored form, as will Frederick Wiseman’s Hospital, a film which boasts quite possibly the greatest vomiting scene in the history of cinema. There are shorts programmes, panels, events, talks and red carpets by the hundred, details of which can be found on the London Film Festival website. As the festival draws closer, look out for more coverage on the must-see movies in the line-up.
The BFI London Film Festival runs from the 5 to 16 October, 2016. For full details of the line-up head to www.bfi.org.uk/lff
Published 1 Sep 2016
The writer/director’s Boston shoot ’em up will have its European premiere at the festival’s 60th edition.
Amma Asante’s Apartheid era period drama is set to open the 60th BFI London Film Festival.