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Lillian Crawford

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Francis Lee’s Ammonite to close the 64th BFI London Film Festival

The British writer/director’s lesbian romance will cap off this year’s LFF on 17 October.

If you love a good period lesbian romance (who doesn’t?), the BFI London Film Festival has a hotly-anticipated treat for you. Following Monday’s announcement that Steve McQueen’s drama Mangrove will open the festival, we’re incredibly excited to reveal it will close with Francis Lee’s Ammonite.

His second feature following muddy gay drama, God’s Own Country, Lee’s follow-up ramps up the budget and turns back the clock to palaeontology in 1840s Lyme Regis. Titillating stuff. The film is led by Kate Winslet as palaeontologist Mary Anning and Saoirse Ronan as the younger Charlotte, who is suffering what her husband describes as ‘melancholia’.

In some ways it seems like classic art-house awards bait, following in the footsteps of Moonlight and Portrait of a Lady on Fire in its homoerotic coastal narrative. But in Lee’s capable hands and with the crème de la crème of British acting talent at the helm, it’s bound to be one of the year’s freshest features.

Ammonite also hopes to bring to light Anning’s contribution to the study of fossils, unappreciated in her own lifetime but posthumously recognised by the Royal Society as one of the most influential women in British scientific history. As with God’s Own Country, Lee seems committed to bringing the side-lined into the spotlight.

While Ammonite was selected for Cannes 2020, only to be cancelled due to COVID-19, it’s great that we’ll get to see this film at the BFI Southbank and in cinemas across the UK on Saturday 17 October ahead of general release in 2021.

With the LFF’s full 12-day programme still to be announced on Tuesday 8 September, who knows what other treasures the BFI has for us to discover.

For more info on this year’s LFF head to bfi.org.uk/lff

Published 26 Aug 2020

Tags: Ammonite BFI British cinema Francis Lee Kate Winslet London Film Festival Saoirse Ronan

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