Preview: Ten Films To Watch At The BFI London Film Festival 2015

on Tuesday, October 06, 2015
BFI London Film Festival (7-18 Oct '15) // Words: Lauren Johnson-Ginn & Saam Das

The BFI London Film Festival returns to its familiar surroundings this week, and we have ten of our most anticipated films to share with you. Read more of our thoughts and click on the film titles below for further information, and find out about last minute ticket availability via the BFI website.

Patricia Highsmith’s highly praised 1952 novel 'The Price Of Salt' is adapted in 'Carol', a post-war love story that explores the relationship between a married woman (Cate Blanchett) and a department store sales assistant (Rooney Mara). With two intense leads and a lush Manhattan backdrop, this looks to be a highly charged and visually sumptuous film.

The Maccabees have grown to become one of the biggest bands in the UK, moving from their Brighton beginnings to a South London base along the way. So it's somewhat appropriate that their big screen debut focusses on the local community, as well as the band's creative process as they recorded their most recent album, 'Marks To Prove It'.

Malala Yousafzai's story is a well known one - a teenage champion of women's rights to education in Pakistan, she was shot in the head by the Taliban, before recovering in Britain, and gaining a Nobel Peace Prize. Davis Guggenheim's life-affirming documentary captures Malala's upbringing and less well-trodden current familial situation, with wonderful animated flourishes interspersed throughout the film.

Rising British director Ben Wheatley adapts JG Ballard's 1975 novel 'High Rise', with the ever-magnetic Tom Hiddleston in its lead role. Thus far there have been no trailers, and just one image released from the film, but the sheer force of the film's participants (who include Jeremy Irons and composer Clint Mansell) mean that this is one of the most widely anticipated films of this year's Festival.

An all-star cast unites under director Yorgos Lanthimos ('Dogtooth') in this very Kafka-esque-sounding outing. Set in a ‘near-future’ dystopia, it depicts a bleak reality where being single is illegal and those who fly solo are incarcerated in a hotel for 45 days, until they find a mate. Starring Colin Farrell, Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman, Léa Seydoux (and more), let’s hope the story lives up to the casting.

Louis Theroux has investigated a range of bizarre and questionable organisations over his career – now he turns his characteristic brand of mild-mannered interrogation to the shadowy Church of Scientology. Theroux heads to the Church’s headquarters in Los Angeles in search of answers, and no doubt there’ll be plenty of wry observations and dry wit along the way.

Former SNL stalwart Kristen Wiig is an established comedy talent, but she now seems to be crafting a pretty interesting career in more ‘serious’ film. Following an excellent turn as a substance-addled but well-meaning mum in 'Diary Of A Teenage Girl' earlier this year, she now joins actor-director Sebastián Silva in this intriguing story about a gay couple attempting a surrogate pregnancy under threat of deportation.

Lance Armstrong's hero to zero story transcended cycling - unfortunately, in a particularly negative manner. The increasingly impressive Ben Foster portrays Armstrong in 'Philomena' director Stephen Frears' take on the tale, which looks set to capture the inherent melodrama of the cyclist's rise and fall.

An iconic figure in the technology industry and beyond, it's no surprise that the late Steve Jobs has already had his life committed to the big screen - 2013's 'Jobs' received mixed reviews. The latest biopic sees Michael Fassbender take the titular role, while the prospect of director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin combining has warranted its place as the Festival's Closing Gala.

Apparently there are fewer than 102 sworn virgins in the world: referring to women belonging to remote Albanian highlander tribes, who vow life-long celibacy and choose to live their lives as men. Alba Rohrwacher takes the lead role as Hana/Mark, in this drama of self-discovery and independence at odds with tradition.

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