Thursday, 29 October 2009

LFF16: That's a wrap

For the closing night of the 53rd London Film Festival, the glitterati took to the Leicester Square red carpet in droves at the world premiere of Nowhere Boy. The charge was led by the film's director and star, Sam Taylor-Wood and Aaron Johnson (pictured), and virtually the entire cast was on hand along with all of London's celebrity community it seems, from Joe Wright to Alison Goldfrapp.

Meanwhile, the awards have been handed out, and the winners are...
  • Film: A Prophet
  • Documentary: Defamation
  • British Newcomer: screenwriter Jack Thorne (The Scouting Book for Boys)
  • First Feature: Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani (Ajami)
  • BFI Fellowships: John Hurt (44 Inch Chest/The Limits of Control), Souleymane Cisse (Tell Me Who You Are)
The winners (left to right): Yaron Shani, A Prophet star Tahar Rahim, John Hurt, Jack Thorne, Defamation director Yoav Shamir and Souleymane Cisse.

And finally, here are three film highlights from the last day of the festival...

Nowhere Boy
dir Sam Taylor-Wood; with Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas 09/UK *****
With a plot that's scruffy and chaotic, and remarkably like real life, this biopic of a couple of years in the life of the teen John Lennon (Johnson) is thoroughly engaging on several levels. Not only is it an entertaining film, packed with lively characters and astonishing events, but it also shines a light on a little-known chapter in the life of a young man who had no idea he would go on to change the world. And for a directing debut, it's also a remarkably well-made film, shot with skill and unafraid to go into some very dark places. And if Scott Thomas' role as Lennon's aunt and guardian feels a little one-note, there are some terrific moments later on, and the entire cast is seriously strong.

Don't Worry About Me
dir David Morrissey; with James Brough, Helen Elizabeth o9/UK ***
For his feature directing debut, Morrissey returns to his hometown Liverpool to adapt the stage play by costars Brough and Elizabeth. The result is an interesting story, but it's very difficult to engage with ... REVIEW >

dir Patrice Chereau; with Romain Duris, Charlotte Gainsbourg 09/Fr ***
Adeptly capturing a sense of urban angst, this film follows a very angry young man (Duris) whose world seems to be collapsing around him - although he doesn't think anything is remotely his fault. The problem, really, is why he has any friends at all, since the only thing he does is grump and moan about everyone else. Meanwhile, a stranger is stalking him, vandalising his flat and professing his undying love. Chereau is a very good filmmaker, and he gets the moody tone exactly right, but it's also intensely close-up yet enigmatic . So it's difficult to feel any sympathy for anyone. And even though it's constantly watchable, it feels like a relief when the film ends.

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