Our Preview of the 56th BFI London Film Festival

September is our favourite month of the year and you are probably wondering why, it is the time when the British Film Institute announces the London Film Festival Programme. This is slightly different as the BFI has made a few changes to the festival. There is a new Festival Director and BFI Head of Exhibition: Clare Stewart, who replaced the fabulous Artistic Director of  BFI LFF Sandra Hebron. Also the booking system has been changed which we are not sure about, I guess we will have to find out for ourselves if it was worth changing! This year’s festival lineup is impressive, albeit shorter than last year. Tim Burton’s new animated fantasy Frankenweenie will open the London Film Festival and Great Expectations by Mike Newell, starring Helena Bonhan Carter and Ralph Fiennes, will close the festival. Clare Stewart commented on her first Closing Night choice as Festival Director: “Visually ravishing and rippling with immediacy, this new adaptation of the classic novel, directed by Mike Newell provides a fitting conclusion to both the 56th BFI London Film Festival and London’s bicentenary celebrations of the life and work of Charles Dickens. David Nicholls’ splendid script has an acute respect for the complexities of Dickens’ original text and gives plenty of scope to the film’s rising stars – Jeremy Irvine (Pip) and Holliday Grainger (Estella) – along with some of the UK’s finest acting talent, including compelling performances from Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch and Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham.”


We were lucky enough to get tickets to the members’ preview of the festival. Clare Stewart introduced highlights of the festival to us where we got to see a few short film clips. The festival consists of sixteen main categories: Galas, Competitions, Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic, Events & Exhibitions, Family, Shorts, Experimenta, Treasures and Education & Industry. After the introduction we went through the festival programme and picked our favourites. From 30 films we had to cut to 24 then to 14 and then back to 24, it was difficult to choose from so many great films! Our top 20 to watch at the festival are: Argo, Amour, Rust and Bone, The Hunt, Wasteland, Hyde Park On Hudson, No, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Seven Psychopaths, End of Watch, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Children of Sarajevo, Beyond The Hills, Zaytoun, The Summit, Fill The Void, Horses Of God, My Brother The Devil, Lore, Blood, Broken, My German Friend, Wish You Were Here and Song for Marion. Knowing us we will probably see more films if time allows us.

We hope that many of you will choose to join us at the film festival and it is definitely worth attending. For more information go to the BFI website.


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