BFI London Film Festival (10-21 Oct '12) // Words: Lauren Johnson-Ginn & Saam Das
The 56th BFI London Film Festival kicks off this week, Tim Burton's 'Frankenweenie' being the opening film on Wednesday evening. We're already knee-deep in the festival's press screenings, and will be bringing you reviews over the course of the festival (and beyond). Before all that however, here are our recommendations/top films to see during the London Film Festival.
We've arranged the list alphabetically - no favouritism, here. Except for obviously these being some of our favourite choices. With over 225 films at the LFF, there are others we'd like to recommend but you could do much worse than any of these choices. Limited tickets are still available for some of the screenings but act fast. Here are ten of our suggested films to watch at the LFF 2012.
Director Brandon Cronenberg follows in his father’s prestigious footsteps with his debut feature, 'Antiviral' - a disturbing sci-fi horror that examines the extremes of celebrity-obsessed culture. Apparently partly inspired by this innocuous Jimmy Kimmel interview, in which Sarah Michelle Gellar quips about infecting the audience with her cold, 'Antiviral' is set in a not-too-distant future in which fans can become intravenously connected with their idols by injecting modified celebrity diseases. Likely to make deliciously uncomfortable viewing.
'Beasts Of The Southern Wild'
One of the ten films in Official Competition for Best Film at the London Film Festival, 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild' has already won Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2012 and the Camera D'or at Cannes. Does it justify the hype? If you miss its UK premiere at the LFF then you can find out when it hits cinemas later this month.
Having worked extensively in theatre, director Rufus Norris makes the transition to the silver screen with 'Broken', the story of a precocious 11-year-old girl and the aftermath of her witnessing a violent attack near her home. Exploring themes of growing up and loss of innocence, 'Broken' showcases the promising talents of newcomer Eloise Laurence in the central role, with support from an eminent ensemble cast that includes Cillian Murphy and Tim Roth.
Seeing as the LFF has a Sonic Cinema strand this year, dedicated to music related films, we figured we'd have to mention something to do with the new section. This BUG Special event isn't actually in the Sonic strand (nor is it a film but these are mere technicalities) but Adam Buxton's show will examine take its usual format of examining music videos on stage in an irreverent manner, complete with special guests.
With a cast list that reads like a 'Harry Potter' reunion, this latest retelling of the classic Dickens novel from Mike Newell – BAFTA-winning director of 'Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire' and 'Four Weddings And A Funeral' – stars Helena Bonham Carter in the iconic role of Miss Havisham and Ralph Fiennes as the nefarious Magwitch. Whilst some may still have vivid recollections of the BBC’s adaptation of 'Great Expectations' shown on TV just last year, Newell will no doubt be hoping that this much-loved Victorian rags to riches tale still has plenty of mileage.
'Robot & Frank'
A touching film, set in the near future, starring Frank Langella as the forgetful Frank, an elderly man whose diminishing memory causes his son to invest in his own robot "butler" - against Frank's will. To call 'Robot & Frank' a relationship comedy-drama only tells some of the story - it is a heartwarming meditation on old age, friendship and above all, humanity. The tremendous soundtrack from Francis & The Lights is an added bonus.
'Rust And Bone'
2010's powerful crime drama 'A Prophet' received widespread critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film. 'Rust And Bone' is the follow up from French filmmaker Jacques Audiard and stars Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard in a unique love story marred by tragedy. Like 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild', 'Rust And Bone' is up for Best Film at the LFF this year.
Famed playwright Martin McDonagh's 2008 debut feature film 'In Bruges' managed to achieve both critical acclaim (including an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay) and cult status, and his newest feature 'Seven Psychopaths' is set to follow in its predecessor's footsteps. Another unconventional comedy, 'Seven Psychopaths' follows Colin Farrell's screenwriter who unintentionally finds himself in the deep end of the Los Angeles underworld - amongst the likes of Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson. Oh and Tom Waits.
Director Ben Wheatley demonstrated his talent for the macabre with 2011’s visceral horror 'Kill List' and he has applied said talent – to considerably different effect – in 'Sightseers', a tale of two loved-up holidaymakers who embark on an unlikely killing spree in the Midlands countryside. Described as a ‘pitch black comedy’, with Edgar Wright on executive producer duties, it promises plenty of bloodshed and off-beat humour.
'The We And I'
After the success of 'Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind' and 'The Science Of Sleep', director Michel Gondry returns with 'The We And The I' – a coming of age story that centres on a group of students on the final day of term at a high school in the Bronx, exploring the dynamics of their friendships and grievances. With a cast largely made up of non-professional actors, and much of the action taking place within the confines of a school bus, this looks to be a poignant and unusual adolescent comedy.
For more info and to purchase tickets to BFI London Film Festival 2012 events, go to bfi.org.uk/lff.