The 10th to 21st October. Mark the dates for what will be an exciting near two week celebration of the best of film from around the world. The 56th BFI London Film Festival will bestow over 300 films, including 111 shorts, across the usual cineplexes and four new ones across London town.
On the official website Clare Stewart, BFI Head of Exhibition and Festival Director, brings a wonderful introduction to the event in what is now officially a modern Olympic city. She writes, “Whether you’re a film aficionado diving straight in or a moviegoer coming to the Festival for the first time – this year’s programme is bursting with films and events that will entertain, confront and delight you. We kick-start the Festival with the European Premiere of Frankenweenie, the gloriously crafted, stop-motion 3D animation from Tim Burton, and close our twelve-day celebration of film with the European Premiere of Mike Newell’s visually ravishing adaptation of Great Expectations. Among our highly anticipated Galas is the World Premiere of Crossfire Hurricane, a documentary celebrating the extraordinary 50-year journey of The Rolling Stones. For the first time this year our Opening Night Gala and our American Express Gala will screen simultaneously across the UK – beaming our red-carpet arrivals and filmmaker introductions into more cinemas for more people to enjoy.”
“The new 12-day duration of the Festival will give a concentrated burst of film across more boroughs of London than ever before. The important cinema-going axis between the major Leicester Square cinemas (Odeon West End, Vue West End, Odeon Leicester Square and Empire) and BFI Southbank will be maintained and the Festival’s reach is extended into four new regional London cinemas: the Hackney Picturehouse, the Renoir in Bloomsbury, Screen on the Green in Islington, and Rich Mix in Shoreditch. We continue to screen at the ICA and expand our use of Curzon Mayfair, the Ritzy in Brixton, and Cine Lumière, Kensington, which will all screen films for the full duration of the Festival.”
There are so many wonderful films to choose from that even providing highlights will be too much however Cult Hub has scanned through the list and the following seem extremely promising.
Under the Treasures category the mega stand out feature is of course David Lean’s iconic film – Lawrence of Arabia. A film that can only be appreciated in the cinema and defines what it means to be ‘cinematic’. Peter O’Toole has never been so dashing and the sand dunes will remain beautifully romantic.
The Gala category showcases some lovely gems including Ben Affleck’s third directorial outing in Argo – a true story about a CIA agent masquerading as a film producer in order to land into Iran and free six Americans trapped in an embassy. Problem is the year – 1979 and Iran is reaching a critical breaking point in its revolution.
Opening the festival is Frankenweenie – a new stop-motion 3D animation from Tim Burton. Inspired by the Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a young boy brings his dog Sparky back to life after meeting a tragic end.
Mike Newell ends the festival with the European premier of his lavish adaption of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. A story about a young boy who grows up as an apprentice to a blacksmith but soon inherits a small fortune allowing him to escape a working class life and becomes a gentleman.
Hyde Park on Hudson is not only an anticipated film because it was directed by Roger Michell but also because we’ll see the return of the fantastic Bill Murray as Franklin D Roosevelt who has a secret love with his distant cousin and is centered around the royal visit of King George and Queen Elizabeth to New York in 1939.
The Best Film Award category has some delicious films including Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie’s celebrated novel about India post independence from the British Empire. Directed by the Elements Trilogy creator – Deepa Mehta with the screenplay written by Rushdie himself.
Director-Screenwriter Martin McDonagh teams up with his In Bruges star Colin Farrell again for this comedy-crime caper Seven Psychopaths about a group of dog kidnappers who get mixed up with a crime boss after they mistaken take his dog.
Love, Marilyn in the Love category is a wonderful documentary about the American icon that is Marilyn Monroe. The film contains archive footage, home-movies and photographs with performative readings by fellow movie stars including Elizabeth Banks, Glenn Close and Uma Thurman. It promises to reveal the depth and frailty of her intelligence, as well as the degree to which she was the architect of her own success.
For the full list of films and events – check on the BFI website right here.