56th BFI London Film Festival (10-21 Oct '12) // Words: Lauren Johnson-Ginn & Saam Das
The 56th BFI London Film Festival came to close recently, and now we've had a chance to reflect on the dozens of films we saw at the 2012 festival, we've put together a top ten of sorts/"best of the fest". Of course, with over 200 films on offer, we didn't catch everything but we strongly recommend the following films - many of which are on release in UK cinemas shortly, if not already - including the likes of 'Argo' and 'Rust & Bone'.
We've arranged our ten recommendations/highlights in alphabetical order but while we're recommending LFF films, you could do much worse than to check out the likes of 'Museum Hours', 'West Of Memphis', 'Antiviral', 'Laurence Anyways' and 'Beware Of Mr Baker'. Among many, many others.
'After Lucia' (UK release: TBC)
Exploring the relationship between a father and daughter, amid bullying and grief, 'After Lucia' won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes this year. Michel Franco's film is powerful, distressing and one of the most affecting films of the festival. Read full review of 'After Lucia' here.
'Argo' (UK release: 7 Nov '12)
Ben Affleck stars and directs this recreation of a quite unbelievable true story of a 1979 CIA operation to rescue six Americans following the siege of the US embassy in Tehran - having them pose as a film production crew. Smart and suspenseful, 'Argo' is equally adept with its humour - albeit with occasionally overreaching dialogue.
'Broken' (UK release: TBC)
Loosely based on Harper Lee’s classic 'To Kill A Mockingbird', Rufus Norris’ directorial debut 'Broken' is a touching drama that deals with the many heartbreaks of growing up. Cillian Murphy and Tim Roth feature but Eloise Laurence's startling turn will rightfully attract most of the attention. Read full review of 'Broken' here.
'Celeste & Jesse Forever' (UK release: 7 Dec '12)
An intelligent rom-com starring Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg, as a married couple drifting to the extent of divorce. Its genuinely funny moments are matched by a depth rarely seen in this genre of film.
'Frankenweenie' (UK release: 17 Oct '12)
The opening film of this 56th BFI London Film Festival, Tim Burton's latest feature is a loving homage to old school horror. Heartfelt and comedic, Burton's stop motion animation is clearly influenced by his past work - a return to form in more than one sense. Read full review of 'Frankenweenie' here.
'No' (UK release: 8 Feb '13)
Director Pablo Larraín delves into Chile's history, taking on the 1988 plebiscite to decide the future of General Pinochet's rule. Gael Garcia Bernal portrays an ad executive who leads the marketing campaign against Pinochet, working against his own employers, amid intimidatory tactics. 'No' is shot in an appropriately grainy fashion, and combines drama and comedy especially well.
'Robot & Frank' (UK release: 8 March '13)
Jake Schreir's debut feature is a touching meditation on old age, friendship and most of all, humanity. Frank Langella stars as the forgetful Frank, who is given a robot "butler" against his will. The duo unexpectedly begin to bond setting in motion an unconventional relationship comedy-drama, emboldened by the excellent soundtrack from Francis & The Lights.
'Rust & Bone' (UK release: 2 Nov '12)
Officially the "Best Film" of the 56th BFI London Film Festival, we wholeheartedly support the decision to award Jacques Audiard's melodramatic love story such an accolade. Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts combine as the central couple, as he (almost unwittingly) helps her recover from a life-changing accident. A brutal, emotional journey.
'Seven Psychopaths' (UK release: 5 Dec '12)
Martin McDonagh's follow up to the popular 'In Bruges' is very much a film about writing a film. But it matches its predecessor in terms of its stylistic mix of action, drama and hilarity - complete with a cast of the calibre of Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, and Christopher Walken. There are some mis-steps, most notably its twisted use of homophobic language, but 'Seven Psychopaths' is largely a joy to watch.
'Sightseers' (UK release: 30 Nov '12)
Rising British director Ben Wheatley's disturbing 'Kill List' still remains ingrained in the memory. His latest feature takes a more comedic turn while focussing on a murderous rural couple. Shocking, depraved, hilarious.
Find more info on the 56th BFI London Film Festival at bfi.org.uk/lff. All our coverage can be found here.