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London Film Festival Launched

Published by Eddie Billops

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The programme for the 55th BFI London Film Festival has been unveiled by Artistic Director Sandra Hebron. Running from the 12-27 October the LFF boasts an impressive line-up including new films by David Cronenberg, Terence Davies, the Dardenne brothers, Alexander Payne, and Steve McQueen. The LFF will mark the end of Hebron’s tenure as Artistic Director.

Galas and Special Screenings

Fernando Meirelles’ 360 written by Peter Morgan and starring Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law and Rachel Weisz opens the Festival. Weisz also stars in the Festival’s closing film, Terence Davies adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s play The Deep Blue Sea.

George Clooney stars and directs the political thriller The Ides of March co-starring Ryan Gosling. Clooney also stars in Alexander Payne’s The Descendents. Lynne Ramsey’s We Need to Talk About Kevin won huge acclaim at Cannes and is eagerly anticipated in the UK. Having previously adapted Thomas Hardy with Jude (1996), and The Claim (2000), Michael Winterbottom now turns ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ into Trishna.

Ralph Fiennes makes his directorial debut with Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. Madonna also makes her first film as a director and her take on the life of Wallis Simpson in W.E. should raise a few eyebrows. Michael Fassbender appears in two highly promising films. In David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method he plays Carl Jung opposite Viggo Mortensen’s Sigmund Freud. In Steve McQueen’s sure to be controversial Shame Fassbender plays a troubled sex addict.

The Dardenne brothers Cannes Grand Prix winner The Kid with the Bike, and Nanni Moretti’s ‘We Have a Pope,’ also get special screenings. Michel Hazanavicius pays tribute to the silent era with the lovely looking The Artist starring Jean Dujardin.

Films on the Square

Screening at the festival will be Roman Polanski’s Carnage, Gus Van Sant’s Restless, and Wernor Herzog’s Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life. Sean Penn plays an ageing rock star in Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must be the Place. Brit director Andrea Arnold gives us another take on Wuthering Heights. Snowtown from debut director Justin Kurzel recounts a notorious serial murder spree in Australia.

French Revolutions

Dominik Moll directs The Monk starring Vincent Cassel and Geraldine Chaplin. Chaplin also appears with Salma Hayek in Americano, the feature debut of actor Mathieu Demy. From the directorial team of Nicolas Klotz and Elisabeth Perceval, Low Life is a study of the trials facing French youth that has universal resonance whilst Laurent Achard provides a macabre touch in Last Screening. Among a number of French directors returning to the Festival are Mathieu Amalric with a modern adaptation of Corneille’s classic play, The Screen Illusion, Jean-Marc Moutout examining executive culture in Early One Morning and Mathieu Kassovitz directing himself in the provocative military drama Rebellion.

CINEMA EUROPA:

A diverse selection of filmmakers bring Europe into focus with films from countries including Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, Sweden, Austria, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Denmark, The Netherlands, Russia and Iceland, as well as Italy, Spain and Germany. Highlights include Benito Zambrano’s post-Spanish Civil War drama The Sleeping Voice; Iceland’s Rúnar Rúnarsson’s Volcano; Angelina Nikonova’s Twilight Portrait, a study in Russian institutional corruption, Andrea Molaioli’s Italian conspiratorial drama The Jewel, Ulrich Köhler’s Sleeping Sickness and the World Premiere of Hans Weingartner’s Hut in the Woods..

There are a number of outstanding directorial debuts which include Jonathan Cenzual Burley’s absurdist road movie, The Soul of Flies; Andrea Segre’s Li and the Poet and Marie Kreutzer’s The Fatherless. From Germany, the unique Dreileben project brings together Christian Petzold, Dominik Graf and Christoph Hochhäusler with three very different features that share an incidental starting point. Documentary features include Andrey Paounov’s The Boy Who Was a King and Whore’s Glory from Michael Glawogger.

WORLD CINEMA:

An extensive selection of the finest features and documentaries from across the globe includes new films from well known filmmakers and emerging voices. Highlights from the US include Natural Selection, the debut feature from Robbie Pickering that swept the board at this year’s SXSW Film Festival awards; Ken Kesey and The Merry Band of Pranksters’ trek across America is revisited in Magic Trip from directors Alison Ellwood and Alex Gibney; whilst a journey of a different kind features in Braden King’s Here, part road-movie, part love-story and part investigation of cinema itself.

Latin American cinema is well represented with Hard Labour, a blistering dissection of the class structure of Brazilian society from directors Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra. Karen Cries on the Bus, the debut feature from Colombia’s Gabriel Rojas Vera; Laura Citarella’s Ostende and Santiago Mitre’s The Student, both from Argentina.

The notable rise of ethnically Tibetan filmmaking is evidenced in Pema Tseden’s Old Dog and Sonthar Gyal’s The Sun-Beaten Path. Other East Asian highlights include Hong Sangsoo’s The Day He Arrives and Kim Kyung-Mook’s Stateless Things, both from South Korea; Jiang Wen’s Let the Bullets Fly, China’s highest-grossing film; Ann Hui’s A Simple Life, and Yuya Ishii’s Mitsuko Delivers. Indian cinema is represented this year by titles including Salim Ahamed’s Abu, Son of Adam, a rare and poignant tale of Muslim community life in Kerala; Gurvinder Singh’s Alms of the Blind Horse.

Talent Attending the Festival

Those expected to attend the LFF include Alexander Payne, Andrea Arnold, Bruno Dumont, David Cronenberg, Elisabeth Olsen, Fernando Meirelles, Freida Pinto, George Clooney, Harry Belafonte, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Lynne Ramsay, , Michael Fassbender, Michael Shannon, Michael Winterbottom, Ralph Fiennes, Terence Davies and Yorgos Lanthimos..

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