Sunday, 17 October 2010

LFF5: George's girls

At the London Film Festival screening of his new film The American, director Anton Corbijn is flanked by actresses Thekla Reuten and Violante Placido. Fairly glamorous, even if George Clooney couldn't make it. The sunny weather on Sunday might have hindered ticket sales a bit, but crowds still gathered for some high-profile movies both at the NFT on the Southbank and at the Vue in Leicester Square, which seems to have been overwhelmed by the festival to the point where crowd flow is on the tipping point.

The Vue's packed lobby and late starts are exhausting for those of us who are there every day, but the general public is clearly enjoying the hubbub, as well as the chance to rub elbows with the stars. Every public screening I've attended has featured an introduction and Q&A with cast and/or crew, which is pretty cool. Here are some highlights from today and tomorrow...

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
dir-scr Apichatpong Weerasethakul; with Thanapat Saisaymar, Jenjira Pongpas 10/Thai ***
Stunning cinematography goes a long way to making this surreal, difficult film watchable. Although there are moments of vivid honesty and a continual stream of light comedy, the story is fairly impenetrable for Western audiences... MORE >

dir Errol Morris; with Joyce McKinney, Peter Tory 10/US *****
The events expertly, and entertainingly, chronicled in this documentary not only feature an outrageously twisty story, but they make a serious point about our tabloid culture and the monsters it creates. Or encourages. Errol Morris assembles this film with a sublime sense of style and lets the tale emerge as it goes, and where it's going is impossible to predict as it centres on a former beauty queen who became obsessed with a Mormon missionary and followed him to England, where she kidnapped him. Add in kinky sex and cloned dogs and this becomes one of the most jaw-droppingly outrageous, entertaining docs you've ever seen.

Africa United
dir Debs Gardner-Paterson; with Eriya Ndayambaje, Roger Nsengiyumva 10/UK ****
Even when this film begins to feel a little awkward, sheer energy keeps it afloat, both entertaining us with a lively adventure romp and vividly showing us the realities of life in Africa. While sometimes sentimental, it's refreshingly never preachy... MORE >

Happy Few
dir Antony Cordier; with Marina Fois, Elodie Bouchez 10/Fr ***
While keeping the tone completely naturalistic, this French drama takes a challenging look at a controversial subject. Even if breaking taboos seems to be the whole point of the film, it's compellingly shot and acted... MORE >

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