The 56th BFI London Film Festival is very much in full flow now, with just a week to go. This is our third digest of mini-reviews from the 2012 festival, following our coverage of the likes of 'Frankenweenie' and 'Robot & Frank' to 'Ginger & Rosa' and 'The Hunt'. Here, we take on Cronenberg junior's 'Antiviral', Gael Garcia Bernal's Chiléan 1980s period piece 'No' and the understated melodrama of 'Sister'.
'Antiviral' (LFF screenings: Oct 15th, 21.00)
When your dad's legendary filmmaker David Cronenberg and you're following in his footsteps, some of his work is bound to make its way into your debut feature, intentionally or otherwise. Brandon Cronenberg's debut shows hints of the likes of 'eXistenZ' and his father's penchant for body horror.
As one of our potential highlights of the 56th BFI London Film Festival, 'Antiviral' perhaps falls a little short - labouring too much on the point of the inescapable cult of celebrity, as it presents its world where members of the public can be infected by celebrity-hosted diseases. A slow-paced but intriguing effort.
'No' (LFF screenings: Oct 15th, 20.30 + Oct 16th, 12.30)
Chile's 1988 plebiscite/referendum to decide whether they would allow their infamous leader General Pinochet to continue his non-democratic rule for another lengthy term was so pivotal to the country's history that it saw an incredible 97.5% voter turnout. For perspective, the voter turnout in the UK general election in 2010 was 65%.
Gael Garcia Bernal stars as an ad executive who leads the marketing campaign against Pinochet, working against his own employers, amid intimidatory tactics. 'No' is excellently shot in a retro fashion, befitting the time, a wise choice from director Pablo Larraín. A well balanced drama, that is not afraid of comedic touches, despite the importance of the subject matter.
'Sister' (LFF screenings: Oct 16th, 15.15)
Twelve year old Simon (the tremendous Kacey Mottet Klein) lives with his unreliable sister ('Mission Impossible 4' star Leá Seydoux) in a small apartment. Simon steals from the holidaying folk at the local ski resort to provide for the both of them, setting in motion an understated but affecting melodrama.
At times, Ursula Meier's second theatrical feature perversely resembles 'The Kid With A Bike' - a film I absolutely detested. However, the evocative mountainous setting and a stunning revelation which reframes the entire film pulls 'Sister' out of the mire. Arrives in UK cinemas on 26th October, read our full review here.
For more info and tickets to these 56th BFI London Film Festival screenings, visit bfi.org.uk/lff.