Preview - London Film Festival
With the 2016 BFI London Film Festival fast approaching, we at Coney’s Loft think it best that we alert you to some of the movers, shakers and brightest filmmakers of the 60th incarnation of the festival. The event takes place over 12 days (5th – 16th October) in the heart of the capital, complete with red carpet events, on-stage interviews and over 240 features. The wide variety of cinematic treats on offer confirm this is truly the UK’s premier celebration of the silver screen.
A United Kingdom – Dir. Amma Asante (5 October)
This year, A United Kingdom has been selected to open the London Film Festival, and what a fantastic way to set the bar highly; alongside the film receiving its European premiere in London, it also marks the first time that a black director has opened the festival, and only the fifth time a female director has done the same. Set in 1948, Amma Asante’s third feature is based on the bold love story between the King of Bechuanaland (now Botswana), Seretse Khama, and London law student Ruth Williams. David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike play the central couple, lending the film a real wealth of acting talent present in their 2014 films Selma and Gone Girl respectively. Keep an eye on this film, as it has the potential to be an early front runner this awards season.
American Honey – Dir. Andrea Arnold (7 October)
American Honey is 165 minutes long. That’s a long time to be sat with your eyes fixed to a screen. Luckily, it is brought to us by the same woman that directed Fish Tank, Wuthering Heights, and 2003’s short Wasp: Andrea Arnold. This gold-tinted road trip depicts the journey of Star – played by newcomer Sasha Lane – a teenager who leaves her home to travel America alongside Shia LaBeouf’s Jake and his vagabond troop. Shot by Arnold’s regular collaborator Robbie Ryan and allegedly cast by scouring car parks across the US, American Honey will hope to provide a gritty, volatile insight into the life of ‘mag crews’ who cross the country to sell magazine subscriptions. The film’s success at Cannes Film Festival this year suggests the film may be a dark horse once again here in London.
La La Land – Dir. Damien Chazelle (7 October)
19 seconds into the trailer for La La Land and Ryan Gosling’s warming, dulcet voice fills your ears. If that doesn’t make you want to see the movie already, I don’t know what will.
Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to his 2014 drumming odyssey Whiplash has taken a calmer, less bloody route to its predecessor. Following the story of Gosling’s struggling pianist and Emma Stone’s equally struggling actress charting entwined courses through present-day Los Angeles, Chazelle’s musical is being described as an ode to the golden age of Hollywood. Received well at its world premiere in Venice earlier this year and already sold out at the London Film Festival, La La Land promises to be a beautiful, carefree treat for all to enjoy.
Lovetrue – Dir. Alma Har’el (8 October)
Alma Har’el’s debut feature Bombay Beach is quite unlike any other film. Is it a documentary? Or is it something new entirely? All we know is that we are beyond excited to see what she makes of love – the topic of conversation in her second feature Lovetrue. Executive produced by Shia LaBeouf and featuring an original soundtrack by Flying Lotus, this film promises to investigate the notion of love through the stories of 3 real-life subjects. Mixing documentary footage with poetic recreations of her subjects’ memories, Har’el’s film has the potential to be another incredibly singular experience. If you are to see only one film at this festival, make sure it is Lovetrue.
Free Fire – Dir. Ben Wheatley (16 October)
In 2010, a film named Down Terrace hit cinema screens across the world. This tiny British crime film shot in just 8 days with a micro-budget of £6000 paved the way for Ben Wheatley to become one of the most unique British filmmakers of the 21st century. Now, almost 7 years later, his latest explosive offering Free Fire is set to close the largest film festival in Britain. When an illegal arms trade goes south, two rival gangs must shoot their way out of an abandoned warehouse to survive. Featuring a stellar cast (including last year’s Best Actress winner Brie Larson) and an executive producer in the shape of a certain Mr Scorsese, Wheatley cannot possibly fail in delivering an extraordinary ending to the festival, in manner that only he can.