The BFI London Film Festival enters its first weekend today. Under new Director and Head of Exhibitions at the British Film Institute, Clare Stewart, the programme has been redrafted from previous years to make the world of new, up and coming film more open to as wide an audience as possible. Sectioned by theme – Love, Debate, Dare, Thrill, Laugh, Cult, Journey, Sonic, Family, Shorts, Experimenta, Treasures – this year’s event has introduced new award competitions. In addition to the already established Official Competition and Documentary awards, there are now prizes for best first feature and best newcomer.
So what’s deserved of your attention, in this most culturally active of autumns? Top of the list must be Amour, the new film by double-Palme d’Or winner Michael Haneke. Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts make an excellent love affair-friendship-business partnership in Rust & Bone, the latest film by A Prophet director Jacques Audiard, adapted from the short stories of Canadian writer Craig Davidson, and Bill Murray makes a laudable turn as FDR in Hyde Park on Hudson.
If you’re looking for something a bit less mainstream, a new documentary by first time Russian director Andrey Gryazev goes into the world of guerrilla art terrorists Voina (think Exit Through the Gift Shop meets Gimme Shelter). Comedy-horror-drama-romance abounds in Korean portmanteau film Doomsday Book, exploring the end of the world with zombies, Buddhism and giant billiard ball asteroids. Eat Sleep Die and Helter Skelter are pounding techno music dramas of girls living on the edge of the world: small town Sweden and J Pop Tokyo respectively. Time will tell whether the BFI London Film Festival can live up to its heights of previous years, but audiences are expected to be near sell out. Grab your tickets while you can, reviews will pour in next week…Have a good weekend…
The BFI London Film Festival runs until 21 October at various London venues.