The BFI London Film Festival (LFF) has always brought us an array of new and exciting films from all over the world, covering as many themes and movie genres you can think of. This year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the festival will be taking place virtually from 7 to 18 October. This means the 64th London Film Festival will be the first ever edition to be widely accessible wherever you are in the UK, with over 50 virtual premieres, free online events and cinema screenings across the land! Nice.
That’s not all, this year’s festival also has plenty of offerings for genre fans and we’ve broken down everything to look forward to right here…
First up is a classic! LFF shows iconic films as well as brand new films as part of its programme, and this year the organisers have picked an absolute gem! Peter Wollen’s Friendship’s Death follows Friendship (Swinton), who has been sent to Earth on a peace mission. Heading for MIT, she inadvertently lands in Amman, Jordan during the 1970 ‘Black September’ war and is ushered to safety by journalist Sullivan (Bill Paterson). Holed up in a hotel as the conflict rages outside, the pair enter into a series of fascinating conversations about mortality, technology and the nature of warfare. The screening will be followed by a special event exploring Wollen’s important legacy as a thinker, historian and practitioner.
When? From ntil 1
Natalia Meta’s The Intruder follows voice actress and singer, Inés, who has started to suffer from intense nightmares following a traumatic event. She’s not helped by the creepy sounds that appear on her voiceover recordings. One of her colleagues believes she could be carrying an ‘intruder’. Things only get stranger with the arrival of Inés’ overbearing mother (Cecilia Roth) and an encounter with a dangerously seductive pipe organ tuner (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart)…
Possessor is Brandon Cronenberg’s nightmarish follow-up to 2012’s Antiviral. This identity-swap thriller stars Andrea Riseborough as Tasya Vos, a psychic and possibly psychotic hitwoman-for-hire, who hijacks other people’s minds and manipulates them to into carrying out undetectable murder-suicides. A respectable wife and mother in her normal life, Tasya is the perfect undercover operative. That is until she encounters the unexpectedly stubborn Colin (Christopher Abbott), whose body she takes over as part of a plot to kill his media mogul father-in-law (Sean Bean).
When? Friday 16 October
Directed by Natalie Erika James, Relic follows Kay Kay (Emily Mortimer) and her daughter Sam who, after receiving word that her elderly mother has gone missing, return to their family home in the hope of uncovering clues to Edna’s disappearance. But as Kay searches the dilapidated house she left many years before, her mother mysteriously reappears, seemingly unable – or perhaps unwilling – to offer an explanation as to where she has been. As tensions grow between Kay and her daughter, Edna’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and volatile, causing fears that something more insidious might be at play…
When? From ntil
Rose: A Love Story
Directed by Jennifer Sheridan and starring Sophie Rundle, Matt Stokoe and Olive Gray, Rose is set in the remote woodland outskirts of a quiet town, where Rose and Sam live a back to basics existence, sheltered away from the prying eyes of society. Although entirely devoted to each other, they have to contend every day with the mysterious and deadly illness that plagues Rose’s life. But when the couple are forced to take in an uninvited guest, their solitude is unexpectedly interrupted, threatening to unleash the violent horror of Rose’s condition.
Directed by Josephine Decker, Shirley follows the life of legendary horror author Shirley Jackson. When we first meet Shirley (Elisabeth Moss) in the film, she’s soon to become America’s queen of horror fiction, but she seems to be no such thing; just a sad, drunken shut-in, married to a cheating English professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) and blocked as a writer. But with the arrival of Rose (Odessa Young) and her teaching-assistant husband Fred (Logan Lerman), Shirley reveals herself as a far crueller and more sophisticated creature, seducing the innocent girl into becoming her companion and accomplice in the new mystery novel she is writing. Read our review here.
First up for our festival picks for big and little kids is Soul. Jamie Foxx plays Joe Gardner, a music teacher who lives for his art. Just as his professional career is about to take off, a fateful mishap finds him embarking on an unexpected journey of self-discovery to The Great Before, an incredible place where new souls are born. Its all-star cast that includes Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs, Angela Bassett and Tina Fey.
Finally we have Wolfwalkers, which is set during the mid-17th century. The Irish city of Kilkenny is occupied by Cromwell’s forces when Robyn and her father arrive from England. His job is to hunt down the local wolves as part of a plan to ‘tame’ what Cromwell regards as a wild country. Meabh is a young wolfwalker; when she sleeps, her wolf form leaves her body and roams the land. She befriends Robyn, but that friendship is tested when the lives of the wolves and wolfwalkers are threatened by the invaders. Wolfwalkers is directed by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart.
When? Saturday 10 October 2020
There are plenty more offerings from this year’s London Film Festival – check out the entire programme here.
The 64th BFI London Film festival will take place from 7 to 18 October. Buy your tickets here.