Posts Tagged London Film Festival

#LFF Recommended: Evolution (Lucile Hadžihalilović)


As the festival goes on, its official competition has delivered a another strong contender for this year’s prize with Lucile Hadžihalilović’s beautifully disturbing second feature, ‘Evolution’.

Those who never saw Hadžihalilović’s 2004 debut, ‘Innocence’, are likely to find in her second work a total revelation. Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF Day 3: ‘A Bigger Splash’; ‘High-Rise’ and ‘The Invitation’


On the third day of the festival two of its most eagerly anticipated galas grabbed the headlines. The Love strand chose ‘A Bigger Splash’; a dark, abrasive relationships drama celebrating the pleasure of the senses with obscene abandon. The festival’s own one was Ben Wheatley’s ‘High-Rise’, a wild satire about social collapse. A rollercoaster of very diverse thrills suitably complemented with the frights provided by superior chiller ‘The Invitation’. Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF Day Two: ‘Trumbo’; ‘Lost In Munich’; ‘The Measure Of A Man’…


The second day of the London Film Festival brought Hollywood glamour to the red carpet with Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren and John Goodman in town for the European premiere of ‘Trumbo’, a glossy biopic about the screenplay writer who, jailed and blacklisted for refusing to testify in the infamous House Committee of un-American activities during the McCarthy era, later went to win two Oscars for ‘Roman Holiday’ and ‘The Brave One’ under pseudonym. The event also opened its official competition with Cary Fukunaga’s jaw-dropping child soldier film ‘Beast Of No Nation’. Elsewhere, the excellent Czech comedy,’Lost In Munich’ and the Cannes winner French social drama ‘The Measure of a Man’ stood up. Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF First Day: Jia Zhangke and Josh Mond Get Emotional


Apart from the opening gala of Suffragette, which monopolised a big part of the media attention, the first day of the festival brought us two remarkable works exploring the dramatic possibilities of the maternal-filial bond: one by acclaimed Chinese helmer Jia Zhangke, ‘Mountains May Depart’, and the second, ‘James White’, the directorial debut of American producer Josh Mond.

The Chinese auteur, one of the standout personalities in the programme, is also the subject of Walter Salles documentary ‘Jia Zhange; a guy from Fenyang.’ Both filmmakers imparted one of this year’s screen talks. Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF Suffragette (Sarah Gavron): Sisters Were Doing It For Themselves

Anne-Marie Duff (Violet) and Carey Mulligan (Maud) in SUFFRAGETTE

Anne-Marie Duff (Violet) and Carey Mulligan (Maud) in SUFFRAGETTE

As the Curtain rises on the 59th BFI London Film Festival, its opening gala couldn’t have captured the feeling of the times any better. Released right on time to support the ongoing debate about gender inequality within the film industry, as well as in our society as a whole; ‘Suffragette’ goes back to the beginning of the 20th century paying tribute to the movement for women’s right to vote.

A passion project for director Sarah Gavron, it took ten years to complete, hindered by what many perceived as the lack of commercial viability of an all-women endeavour. The final result is a solid, finely crafted, but rather conventional drama whose screenplay, penned by Abi Morgan (Shame; The Iron Lady), combines historical research with crowd pleasing elements. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sonic & Beyond: The Sounds Of The LFF

Photographer: Noah Greenberg

Photographer: Noah Greenberg

2015 has been the year when movies with pop music-related subjects have renewed their massive audience appeal. Some of the biggest success stories, from NWA’s biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’ to the record breaking Amy Winehouse documentary, were based on the biographies of iconic artists. The festival Sonic strand’s eclectic selection timely underlines the growing importance of that symbiotic relationship between those two creative fields.

The strand’s gala is the biopic of young Palestinian star Mohammad Assaf and his incredible road to success from his origins in Gaza to his ‘Arab idol’ victory. Directed by two-time Academy award nominee Hany Abu Hassad, ‘The Idol’ follows the steps of ‘Paradise Now’ and ‘Oman’ with what looks like a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Almost in the opposite end of the spectrum, thrill seekers will likely be pleased by Philippine punk artist Khavn De La Cruz’s latest feature ‘Ruined Heart: Another Love Story between a Criminal and A Whore’. Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF Recommended: The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson)


Guy Maddin’s latest experiment, ‘The Forbidden room’ is an astonishing tribute to the history of cinema executed with tremendous craft and originality. The multidisciplinary Canadian artist and his co-director and regular collaborator, Evan Johnson, who is responsible for the film’s awe-inspiring colour and visual effects, began conceiving it in parallel with their art project Seances, both shot publicly in two museums, Paris’ Centre Pompidou and Montreal’s Phi Centre.

‘Seances’ original idea involved the shooting of 100 short movies, remakes of lost films, but while being made, it shifted towards more original material, altogether to become an interactive internet project in which the audience will be able to combine those films at random, generating an unlimited number of permutations connected in surreal; dream-like and unexpected ways. Read the rest of this entry »

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BFI London Film Festival: Our Checklist


With the booking for BFI members beginning Today and for the rest of the public in a week, the 59th BFI London Film Festival makes once again every cinephile in town salivating at the prospect of another terrific and comprehensive showcase of the best cinema from around the globe.

A total of 238 fiction and documentary works, including its usual selection of recently restored Treasures, plus 182 live action and animated shorts will be showcased in venues across London. A series of Screen talks with filmmaker Todd Haynes, actor Saoirse Ronan, casting director Laura Rosenthal and filmmakers Jia Zhangke and Walter Salles, as well as other multidisciplinary collaborations between with such influential artists as Christopher Nolan or Tacita Dean will round up this year’s excellent programme, offering something for everyone, from a preview of the forthcoming award season’s big contenders, to the discovery of the freshest arthouse talent.

In case you need some help to decide what to watch, here’s our LFF preview checklist (roughly) in chronological order of presentation. Have a happy festival: Read the rest of this entry »

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Total Recall: Top 50 Best Films #LFF 2011

And after having a look at those works which somehow disappointed us, it’s time for a recap of the movies we enjoyed the most, compiled in an improvised Top 50. To choose amongs them wasn’t easy; even some of those already mentioned disappointments (The Deep Blue Sea; This Is Not My Place; Faust…), only felt as such because of the high hopes we had for them, and could have also been part of our selection.

A few notable titles had to remain bubbling under, from crowd-pleasers such as the over the top Swedish thriller ‘Headhunters’, adaptation of best-selling author Jo Nesbo’s tome about a human resources executive who finances his lavish lifestyle recurring to art forgery; epic catastrophe specialist Roland Emmerich surprising everyone by reinventing the story of Shakespeare and questioning whether the writer was the real author of his classic work in ‘Anonymous’; French auteur Robert Guédiguian returning to his habitual socialist reflections and troupe of actors with ‘The Snows Of Kilimanjaro’; in France too, ‘Early One Morning’ gave a glance at the life of a banker and the way the Financial industry manipulates and disposes of people; down the Pyrenees, the Spanish post -civil war tear-jerker ‘The Sleeping Voice’, conceived as a tribute to the women whose lives were the worst affected by the conflict; US indie ‘Terri’ told another story of dysfunctional kids mentored by the peculiar tutor of their high school, plus the directorial debut by British actor Dexter Fletcher ,‘Wild Bill’, revisiting the ever popular world of east London gangsters.

Another actor turned director, Austrian Karl Markovits, presented ‘Breathing’ – The films of his country were subject of one of the festival’s events – one of many promising first features. As well as American Braden King with its Armenian set drama ‘Here’; Italian Alice Rohrwacher’s ‘Corpo Celeste’, exploring the effects of religious myth and rituals in the mind of a young girl on the eve of her confirmation and Zuzana Liova’s solid family drama ‘The House’.

The Documentary field has also provided a wealth of fine work. The return of Jonathan Demme with ‘I’m Carolyn Parker’, which follows the struggle to get her home and life back of a victim of Hurricane Katrina. The Look at the bunch of outsiders populating ‘Darwin’, a nearly abandoned ex-mining town lost in the California desert or a deserved tribute to the eternal hope of British Pop, ‘Lawrence Of Belgravia’. On a more experimental note, the audio visual correspondence between J.L. Guerin and Jonas Mekas, a new instalment of the project that began with Victor Erice and Abbas Kiarostami, was also worth checking.

Our Top 50 movies of this year’s London Film Festival after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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Guess the Surprise Film @ The #LFF

Excitement is growing fast for the LFF’s hottest ticket, the traditional Surprise film has every film buff in the city trying to figure out what would the chosen one be. Twitter is buzzing with wild guesses, everything from ‘The Muppets’ reboot to David Fincher’s ‘Girl with The Dragon Tattoo’; Meryl Streep impersonating Margaret Thatcher in ‘The Iron Lady’ or Scorsese’s foray into 3D, ‘Hugo’. But none of them seem to be ready or even finished for the occasion. The following are our top 5 most likely choices:

Many people believe that Whit Stillman’s comeback ‘Damsels In Distress’, the well-received closing movie at the latest Venice festival, could be this year’s pick. But it may feel a bit too arty to please a large audience.

More feasible would be Moneyball, Bennett Miller’s second film with Brad Pitt as the peculiar manager of a baseball team, already a hit with critics and audiences in the States; this one, though, may be a bit too mainstream.

On the other side of the coin, the only hit at Cannes that was missing in this year’s program, Aki Kaurismaki’s Le Havre, could be a strong contender as it keeps its winning stride around the world, recently earning plaudits in Chicago.

An even stronger possibility is Bruce Robinson’s (Withnail & I) return with The Rum Diary, based in the Hunter S. Thompson novel about an American journalist going to Puerto Rico, starring Johnny Depp.

But if we had to bet, our money would be on ‘My Week With Marilyn’, a British production based on the relationship the Hollywood Icon had with Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) during the shooting of ‘he Prince & The Showgirl. Michelle Williams’ performance is collecting rave reviews and, on paper, sounds like it may have something for everyone.

Any other suggestions?

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London Film Festival Recap: Top 20 Hits (And Misses)

It has taken us three weeks, but we have finally put our thoughts in order and prepared a small recap of this year’s BFI London Film Festival. Even in these crisis-stricken times, the event, already in its 54th edition, has been a great success with record number of tickets sold for the nearly 200 titles on offer, the incredible diversity and quality of which often forced us to make some difficult choices in our daily coverage for the Blinkblog.

Beginning with those films we couldn’t watch due to program schedule conflicts; tube chaos and other unexpected obstacles, our most painful misses were this year’s Cannes Grand Jury Prix ‘OF GODS AND MEN’; the strong Oscar contender ‘THE KING’S SPEECH’ – boasting an acclaimed cast headed by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush- and the opening gala’s presentation of ‘NEVER LET ME GO’, based on the best seller by Kazuo Ishiguro.

We also missed two mega-productions: Olivier Assayas’ five hour account of the life of terrorist ‘CARLOS’ aka The Jackal and Raul Ruiz’s equally lengthy ‘MEMORIES OF LISBON’. ‘SUBMARINE’, the directorial debut of TV comedian Richard Ayoade’s from ‘The IT crowd’ and his British counterparts Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan teaming up again with Michael Winterbottom for ‘THE TRIP’ – conceived as a six part TV series for the BBC but also launched in feature film version during the festival.

Other standout titles from around the world were Takeshi Miike’s take on the tradition of the samurai in ’13 ASSASSINS’; the surreal Estonian submission for foreign language Oscar ‘THE TEMPTATION OF ST. TONY; Kristin Scott-Thomas new French drama, ‘IN YOUR HANDS’, and US comedian Will Ferrell’s going through a register change in the Raymond Carver inspired ‘EVERYTHING MUST GO’; all of them well received. As were a series of high profile documentaries including the festival’s award winner ‘ARMADILLO’; ‘CATFISH’; ‘THE PEDDLER’ and ‘WASTE LAND, highlights among an excellent international selection of documentary work .

All together they would have made a very different, if equally satisfying, viewing experience for us. We did manage, however, to see a large number of excellent pictures; some of the best this year has produced. A look at our favorites, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

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Roberawards At The London Film Festival

The BFI London Film Festival will open the gates of its 54th edition tomorrow. Mark Romanek’s ‘Never Let Me Go’, the adaptation of a best selling book by Kazuo Ishiguro, is the choice for the Opening Gala of an event that will come to a conclusion in October the 28th with the European premiere of Danny Boyle’s ‘127 Hours’.

During the fortnight in between nearly 200 carefully selected titles from all over the world including the latest works by such heavyweights as Mike Leigh; Julian Schnabel; Darren Aronofsky; Alejandro González Iñárritu; Ken Loach or Jean-Luc Godard will be shown to an eager audience, next to a selection of other festival’s winners; British; European and World cinema. There will also be room for more experimental propositions; classics recovered from the vaults; short films and animation. No movie buff will be left disappointed. The full program and booking details can be found at the LFF official website.

Since last year the event also holds its own awards. French prison drama ‘A Prophet’ was the first LFF best film winner. This year ‘127 Hours’; ‘Uncle Bonmee Who Can Recall His Former Lives’; ‘Another Year’; ‘Black Swan’ and ‘The King’s Speech’ are among the nominees. (Full shortlist here). Danny Boyle will also be presented with the BFI Fellowship award as a tribute to his whole career.

Roberawards will be covering the festival in collaboration with our friends at Blinkbox. For daily film reviews and news head to the Blinkbox’s blog, where you will get punctual updates. And watch out for our full recap at the end!

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