Last week, the full programme for the 61ST London Film Festival was released.
The festival will run from October 4th-15th and will be host to almost 250 hundred films. As Film Editor here at Epigram, I thought it was my duty to trawl through all of these and bring attention to some of the films which look most promising. So here they are, in no particular order – my five hottest picks for the London Film Festival.
Blade of the Immortal
The 100th full-length feature from prolific Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike, director of 2010’s critically lauded 13 Assassins. Blade of the Immortal looks to be in a similar vein as 13 Assassins – both films are existential samurai tales set in feudal Japan, beautifully choreographed and endlessly bloody. Blade of the Immortal sees a samurai cursed with eternal life tasked with avenging a young girl whose parents have been murdered. This will be a must-see for anyone with a penchant for highly stylised fight sequences and swordplay a la Kill Bill. Miike will also giving a talk on Monday 9th at the Curzon Soho.
Screening at The Embankment Garden Cinema on October 8th-9th
— Arrow Films (@ArrowFilms) August 31, 2017
Here’s one that’s been on the horizon for a very long time, which is finally getting its UK premiere. Loving Vincent tells the story of Vincent van Gogh’s last days before his suicide at the age of 37. The animation style is what earns Loving Vincent a place on this list: it’s the first entirely painted feature-length film ever made. A collection of over 100 artists hand-painted 65,000 paintings, all in the impressionistic style of van Gogh, which have been used as individual frames of animation. It’s the story of one of Europe’s greatest artists, told through the medium of his art. Perhaps one of the greatest innovations in animation since 1995’s Toy Story.
Screening at the National Gallery on October 9th and at Haymarket Cinema on October 10th
You Were Never Really Here
Directed/written by Lynne Ramsay, You Were Never Really Here stars Joaquin Phoenix in a Cannes Festival-winning performance as a veteran-cum-hitman who is tasked with rescuing a U.S. Senator’s daughter who has been kidnapped by a child sex ring. Maybe not the most original premise, but the film’s focus seems to be more on the psychology of Phoenix as the lead rather than on the action itself. It is both visually and thematically dark and looks set to be a gripping, haunting thriller. Ramsay has also enlisted Johnny Greenwood to compose the score, a previous collaborator from her 2011 feature We Need to Talk About Kevin.
Screening at Odeon Leicester Square on October 14th-15th and at Rich Mix Cinema on October 15th
A touching alternative comedy directed by and starring SNL writers Dave McCary and Kyle Mooney respectively. The film centres around a kidnap victim who has been kept in a bunker for his entire life, with nothing to do but watch episodes of a children’s show from the 80s called Brigsby Bear. After suddenly escaping from his captor, Mooney’s character learns that his favourite show is no longer on the air, and so decides to create a new version of it himself. The film features Claire Danes, Greg Kinnear and Mark Hamill and promises to be poignant and uplifting.
Screening at Vue Leicester Square on October 4th, Odeon Leicester Square on October 5th and at Hackney Picturehouse on October 10th
Part human drama, part sci-fi, part horror and part comedy Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s latest film is a genre-defying story about two brothers (played by the directors themselves) who return home to the cult in which they were raised after they receive a cryptic message from them. The Endless looks set to bend the mind and pluck at the heartstrings, while remaining narratively gripping. The stills look visually stunning, with the film roaming between landscapes from lakes to arid deserts to the midwestern plains. It may be difficult to pin this film down, but it looks hugely promising.
Screening at Vue Leicester Square on October 10th, Rich Mix Cinema on October 11th and October 15th at Picturehouse Central
Will you be seeing any of these films? Let us know…