NFTS Film Programmers Select The Best Of #LFF 2016


The London Film Festival came to an end last Sunday with the European premiere of Ben Wheatley’s trigger happy comedy Free Fire. Its more than 240 features have given shape to the strongest programme we have enjoyed in years. Which among other things means lots of great cinema is, hopefully, coming to a theatre near you.

The NFTS film programmers have been busy covering the LFF. Between us we have compiled the list of our Top 30 not-to-be-missed films of this edition. Results, as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF 2016: Conversation with Alice Lowe


After co-writing and co-starring in Ben Wheatley’s ‘Sightseers’, Alice Lowe steps into the director’s chair, establishing herself as the queen of psycho comedy with ‘Prevenge;’ an hilarious look at the horrors of “being enceinte” which, among other merits, adds the hormonal pregnant woman to the ever expanding serial killer canon. We met with her at a round table before the film’s London Film Festival premiere to talk about her own pregnancy as inspiration; the way society deals with women when they are expecting, feminism and the terrible lessons imparted by ‘The Apprentice.’

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#LFF 2016: Interview With Radu Jude


By focusing on stories of his country’s past in his two former films, Radu Jude stands out in Today’s Romanian cinema landscape. After the success of last year’s “Aferim!” his new film, “Scarred Hearts,” was presented in the Dare section of the 60th edition of the BFI London Film Festival. Set in a sanatorium for the wealthy in a Romanian seaside town in the thirties, it presents us with Emanuel, who suffers from spinal tuberculosis, leaving him in a cast recovering his torso and binding him to bed. Fighting the despair of illness with eccentricity and romance, he recites poetry or puts himself in awkward positions to pursue physical love. The film’s format and cinematography makes it a real aesthetic wonder, with a masterful use of light, colour and composition.
We met Radu Jude to ask him a few questions about the book adaptation, the visual style of the film, and the choice of Lucian Teodor Rus as the charming but doomed poet Emanuel.

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#LFF 2016: Essential Films (I)


The madness began. London’s annual date with the best cinema around the world, the BFI’s London Film Festival, kickstarted its 60th edition last Wednesday. From its opening gala ‘A United Kingdom‘, the crowd-pleasing story of an interracial royal marriage in the land that would become Botswana; until its closing night on October the 15th with Ben Wheatley’s hotly anticipated new thriller ‘Free Fire‘, over 245 features plus a large programme of shorts, talks and events will guarantee even the most demanding cinephiles a total immersion in pure cinematic joy.

We have all already heard about the standout films on show, from the hotly-tipped as future Oscar winner ‘La La Land, to Kenneth Lonergan’s acclaimed return ‘Manchester By The Sea‘. The toasts of Cannes ‘Toni Erdmann‘, Jim Jarmusch’s comeback ‘Paterson;’ Venice ‘The Woman who Left,’ ‘Arrival‘ and Sundance’s The Birth of a Nation‘ together with diverse strands to satisfy every specialist taste.

One more year, our blog will be reviewing our favourite films, looking for hidden gems and posting our discoveries. Follow us to get all the excitement straight from the event.

We kick start our coverage with our first selection of recommended titles from the ones we have already seen. The following is the first in a series of improvised Top 10s, beginning with titles that feature less prominently in the programme. If you miss them during the festival, keep an eye for their release and Have a great festival! Read the rest of this entry »

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The Sounds Of #LFF2016: Sonic Strand and Beyond


One more year the BFI London Film Festival arrives to its appointment with London cinephiles. From October the 5th until the 16h, over 240 features and a large programme of shorts and events will take place across our city. Roberawards will be bringing you all the excitement; reviewing the most awaited films of the season and scouting for hidden gems and surprises.

We kickstart our coverage with homemade video and audio playlists inspired by those films of interest for both music and cinema lovers. The Sonic Strand is the one that brings the two areas together. This year its ecclectic programme takes us around the globe, from Chicago in Spike Lee’s latest joing “Chi-raq” to an exploration through that treasure trove that is Today’s African music in “Fonko.” Interesting glances at Japanese glam metal musicians in “We Are X” or at the Israeli/Palestine hip-hop scene in music and politics-infused drama “Junction 48.”

Also featured are some accomplished documentary portraits. Among them, British new shoegaze band Wolf Alice in Michael Winterbottom’s “On The Road“; iconic rock photographer Mick Rock in “Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Manta of Rock“; Electronica maverick James Lavelle in “The Man From Mo’Wax;” the founder of a legendary LGBT nightclub in “Jewel’s Catch One” and Tinderstick’s frontman Stuart A. Staples co-directing with the man behind many of his band’s videos, David Reeves, “Minute Bodies: The Intimate Life of F. Percy Smith“, the story of the film pioneer.

Elsewhere, Damien Chazelle revitalises the classic musical in the winner of Toronto Film Festival’s coveted audience award “La La Land“; whereas the Treasures strand brings two restored gems of the genre: “King Of Jazz” featuring Bing Crosby and “You Were Never Lovelier” with Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth. We will witness R&B star Janelle Monáe’s big screen debut in the universally acclaimed “Moonlight“; Neneh Cherry teaming-up with Mark Cousins for the half documentary/half fiction film “Stockholm My Love; Israeli born, London Gay Men’s chorus member Sar in “Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?” and the dramatic murder of young jazz musician Lee Morgan in “I Called Him Morgan.

Among the festival’s excellent selection of events, LFF connects will launch the collaboration between experimental electronica producer Forest Swords and archited Liam Young in their Music meets Performance tour “In The Robot Skies,” filmed entirely by drones, plus DJ Yoda will link music and games through his show “DJ Yoda Goes To The Arcades: A History Of Gaming.”

A dazzling selection offering something for everyone. Check our LFF Sonic inspired spotify and video playlists here. Read the rest of this entry »

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Best Albums of 2016 Spotify Playlist

pjimage albums

Like we did with the tracks of the year, before we enter the busiest release season in the calendar roberawards has also compiled our favourite albums to date in a Spotify Playlist. Follow it to be automatically updated with any outstanding new releases until the end of 2016. This week, the beautifully sad new Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album has just been added.

We welcome suggestions on outstanding albums that may have fallen off our radar.


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Best Tracks Of 2016 Spotify Playlist


Due to new commitments and shortage of time we stopped our Top 40 favourite tracks weekly charts in February and we still won’t be bringing it back for the moment being, but we have been compiling the most interesting tracks of the year to date, and you can check them out in our brand new Spotify Playlist. Follow it and you will be automatically updated with any new faves released until the end of 2016. We miss the artist who gave their work exclusively to other platforms, notably Frank Ocean and Beyoncé, and some notable mixtape work such as the latest Erykah Badu, other than that everything that we’ve enjoyed is pretty much there.

Hope you enjoy the playlist too, and please let us know if we have missed something really good.


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Apitchatpong Goes Primitive in Tate Installation


Admirers of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s work have an opportunity to discover one of his most celebrated installations at Tate Modern. The underground tanks underneath the museum’s brand new building are host to his 2009 nine screen multi-platform project ‘Primitive’, based in the village of Nabua, next to the frontier between Laos and Thailand, in a zone violently occupied by the Thai Army from the 60s to the 80s in order to repress a potential communist insurrection among the farmers. As the conflict escalated, men escaped to hide in the jungle and only women and children remained in town. This situation revalidated its old nickname of “widow town” according to the legend of a female ghost who abducted any man who entered her realm. Sadly battered again by Thailand’s recent political turmoil, Nabua is revisited and turned into a male only place. The director collaborated with the farmers’ young descendents who, detached from the location’s myths and troubles, were set to imagine a new future by building a sort of spaceship in the jungle. Read the rest of this entry »

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PJ Harvey Live@ Field Day

pj harvey field day

Expectations were high for Polly Harvey’s only London gig this year. Her ninth album, ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’, carrying on the political direction the Dorset songwriter took with ‘Let England Shake’, moved its focus to international conflict zones such as Kosovo, Afghanistan and a housing project in Washington DC, becoming her first number one. Its ambitions are bigger in geographical as well as artistic scope. Recorded at Somerset House, it was conceived as an art project fans were allowed to witness. The travels through those troubled zones have also produced a poetry and photography book, ‘The Hollow Of The Hand’, in collaboration with Seamus Murphy.

After a weekend plagued by heavy showers Victoria Park was a giant mud field, but not even the gloomy day deterred her eager fans from enduring the downpours up to Field Day festival’s final hours to watch her headlining performance. Right before her appearance the stormy weather stopped and the audience was rewarded with a remarkable live show in mercifully dry conditions. Read the rest of this entry »


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Remainder pushes the boundaries of Psychological Thriller


Israeli video artist Omer Fast is known for installation works dealing with the psychology of trauma; the blurring of memory and the manipulation of time through the use of repetition, looping and reenactment. For his debut feature, premiered during last year’s London Film Festival, he has found a perfect literary match. Tom McCarthy’s third novel, ‘Remainder’, shares many of his habitual themes through the story a young man struggling to put his life together after a severe accident has left him suffering from amnesia.

Tom Sturridge gives a convincing performance as the emotionally detached, morally ambiguous victim, sustaining the film’s ambitious premise. We witness his trouble adapting to a disorienting reality that no longer makes sense and his lack of trust for those ones that suddenly reappear. Among them, a girlfriend and his best friend with whom he forms an oddly cold triangular bond whose nature is not entirely revealed. The intimacy of their relationships seems to be difficult to re-ignite. We follow the storyline as experienced by the protagonist trying to fit the pieces of his puzzling new situation, filmed by restricting the field of vision and using short focus to makes us share his narrow sense of perception. Extreme close-ups help visualize his inner turmoil. The sound design and the experimental electronica of Berlin musician Schneider ™, playing bodily rhythms such as heart beats and ear ringings, greatly enhance the claustrophobic atmosphere. Read the rest of this entry »

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Heart Of A Dog: Laurie Anderson meditation on loss

Heart of a dog

One of the highlights of last years LFF, where she came for one of the LFF Connects events for a conversation with Brian Eno about the links between film with performance arts and music; Laurie Anderson’s first feature film since 1986 the concert tour documentary ‘Home Of The Brave’ is a meditative essay on loss centered on her late rat terrier, Lolabelle. From the opening credits, the animation of a dream in which the artist gives birth and declares eternal love to her dog depicts the strong bond formed between owner and pet, almost as a replacement for parental affection. Anderson’s inquisitive mind was keen to understand the possibilities of the canine sensory world and her explorations shape an uplifting, full of humour tribute to her pooch that has continued with a series of concerts for a dog only audience. Among the memories of their time together, when Lolabelle went blind she was trained to play piano and perform at charity concerts for animal rights associations; recorded a Christmas song and even opened a Facebook account. Read the rest of this entry »

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Whitney Get No Woman


Whitney, the band formed two Smith Westerns members (one of them was also Unknown Music Orchestra) are this week’s #1 in our loop with ‘No Woman’, a sweet folk-rock number that could stand up proudly in any playlist next to Bon Iver or Woods.

Highest debut of the week is James Blake‘s magnificent comeback, followed by the latest from Junior Boys; Jeff Buckley covering The Smiths; Rhain; Purling Hiss; Kevin Gates; Beyoncé; Adam Green; Cat’s Eyes and Arca’s new collaboration with Shayne Oliver under the moniker Wench.

Check this week’s loop here: Read the rest of this entry »

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Smoking Cuban Cigars With WALL


New York’s coolest new band, WALL, hit the top of our loop with ‘Cuban Cigars’, a standout moment off their No Wave infused self-titled debut EP.

Highest debut of the week is a new song by Sound of 2016 Rober Award winners, Philadelphian rockers Sheer Mag. They are followed by new offerings from the likes of Dawn Richard​ ; Parquet Courts ; Animal Collective ; Porches ; Bunji Garlin; Drake ; Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and the notable collaboration between Aussie electronic producer Flume and Vince Staples.

Check this week loop in its brand new Top 20 format here: Read the rest of this entry »

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PJ Harvey Wheels Our Loop

pj harvey pic

PJ Harvey‘s spectacular comeback track ‘The Wheel’ rockets to our loop’s #1 this week, paving the way for one of the most anticipated albums of 2016, ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’.

Our chart’s format is changing. There will be less songs on it, but hopefully, will still contain a good selection of the best new music around. The highest entry this week is the first collaboration between Kanye West & Kendrick Lamar; followed by new tracks from Four Tet with Champion; Father John Misty; Archy Marshall; Kedr Livanskiy; Liime; Gun Outfit; Alice Cohen; Jessy Lanza; Whitey, the return of Iggy Pop and the Tortoise/Yo La Tengo connection.

Check it all out here Read the rest of this entry »

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