The BFI London Film Festival is the UK’s premier showcase of the best new cinema from around the world. With a wide array of World, European and UK premieres, this year the festival boasts a line-up which contains a truly breathtaking range of films from some of the most exciting and innovative film-makers. With a total of 246 features and 128 shorts, there’s something for everyone. The 61st BFI London Film Festival takes place in cinemas across the capital between 4-15 October.
With a dizzying variety of films on offer, it can be a little overwhelming. We’ve picked a few recommendations out which might tickle your fancy:
BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Early 1990s. With AIDS having already claimed countless lives for nearly ten years, Act Up-Paris activists multiply actions to fight general indifference. Nathan, a newcomer to the group, has his world shaken up by Sean, a radical militant.
Blade of the Immortal
Manji, a highly skilled samurai, becomes cursed with immortality after a legendary battle. Haunted by the brutal murder of his sister, Manji knows that only fighting evil will regain his soul. He promises to help a young girl named Rin avenge her parents, who were killed by a group of master swordsmen led by ruthless warrior Anotsu. The mission will change Manji in ways he could never imagine.
The Drummer and the Keeper
The Drummer and the Keeper tells the story of the unlikely friendship formed between two young men; Gabriel, a reckless young drummer with bipolar disorder, who revels in rejecting society’s rules and Christopher, a 17-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome, who yearns to fit in. This heart-warming story shows the strength of the human bond in the face of adversity.
The Florida Project
Set on a stretch of highway just outside the imagined utopia of Disney World, The Florida Project follows six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her rebellious mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) over the course of a single summer. The two live week to week at “The Magic Castle,” a budget motel managed by Bobby (Willem Dafoe), whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness and compassion.
I Am Not a Witch
After a minor incident in her village, nine-year-old Shula is exiled to a travelling witch camp where she is told that if she tries to escape she will be transformed into a white goat. As she navigates through her new life, she must decide whether to accept her fate or risk the consequences of seeking freedom.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Steven (Colin Farrell), an eminent cardiothoracic surgeon is married to Anna (Nicole Kidman), a respected ophthalmologist. They are well off and live a happy and healthy family life with their two children.
Steven has formed a friendship with Martin (Barry Keoghan), a fatherless 16-year-old boy whom he has taken under his wing. Things take a sinister turn when Steven introduces Martin to his family, gradually throwing their world into turmoil and forcing Steven to make a shocking sacrifice or run the risk of losing everything.
Zhenya and Boris are going through a vicious divorce marked by resentment, frustration and recriminations. Already embarking on new lives, each with a new partner, they are impatient to start again, to turn the page – even if it means threatening to abandon their 12-year-old son Alyosha. Until, after witnessing one of their fights, Alyosha disappears.
Based on a true story, The Rider stars breakout Brady Jandreau as a once rising star of the rodeo circuit warned that his competition days are over after a tragic riding accident. Back home, Brady finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no longer do what gives him a sense of purpose: to ride and compete. In an attempt to regain control of his fate, Brady undertakes a search for new identity and tries to redefine his idea of what it means to be a man in the heartland of America.
The Shape of Water
From master story teller, Guillermo del Toro, comes The Shape of Water – an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a darkly comedic drama from Martin McDonagh. After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, commissioning three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), the town’s revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing’s law enforcement is only exacerbated.
Zama, an officer of the Spanish Crown born in South America, waits for a letter from the King granting him a transfer from the town in which he is stagnating, to a better place.
His situation is delicate. He must ensure that nothing overshadows his transfer. He is forced to accept submissively every task entrusted to him by successive Governors who come and go as he stays behind. The years go by and the letter from the King never arrives. When Zama notices everything is lost, he joins a party of soldiers that go after a dangerous bandit.
To find out more and purchase tickets, visit the BFI’s website.