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Lillian Crawford

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Steve McQueen’s Mangrove to open the 64th BFI London Film Festival

The first of five films from the director’s Small Axe anthology will screen for free to audiences across the UK.

With the BFI London Film Festival set to move online for its 64th edition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a relief to know that won’t stop it from opening with a big hitter.

Steve McQueen, Oscar-winning director of 12 Years a Slave and Widows, was set to have quite the year, with his ‘Year 3’ photography project debuting at the Tate Britain and a major retrospective of his Turner Prize-winning video art at the Tate Modern. With that on hold, it’s great to see one of his new works, Mangrove, has been selected to open LFF.

The film boasts an incredible cast, including the 2019 recipient of the BAFTA Rising Star Award, Letitia Wright, as well as Shaun Parkes and Malachi Kirby. It’s set to premiere for free at the BFI Southbank, which reopens with a new season in September, and in cinemas across the UK on Wednesday 7 October.

It will be followed by 12 days of exciting new films screened in person and through an on demand virtual platform which will run throughout the festival. The full programme will be announced on Tuesday 8 September through an online launch.

Mangrove is part of an anthology drama entitled Small Axe, commissioned by the BBC. The film marks the 50th anniversary of the Mangrove Nine, a group of Black activists who clashed with London police during a protest march in 1970.

The trial that ensued made history as the first judicial acknowledgement of behaviour motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police. Incredibly timely and emotionally powerful, it’s an early sign that this LFF will be just as exciting as ever.

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

Published 24 Aug 2020

Tags: BFI London Film Festival Mangrove Steve MCQueen

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