Friday, 18 October 2013

LFF 9: Facing the fans

As the final weekend of the 57th London Film Festival gets underway, a raft of glamorous red carpets and parties were held on Friday night. At the Peccadillo party, I chatted with the directors of Salvo, and the director and stars of Stranger by the Lake. Meanwhile in Leicester Square, Steve McQueen, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor smiled for the camera (above left) at the festival premiere of their film 12 Years a Slave, while Tom Hardy (above right) was on hand to sign autographs at the screening of his new one-man thriller Locke. All of those and two others are among my highlights of the day, including an amazing archival restoration that was performed last night with a live orchestral accompaniment...

12 Years a Slave 
dir Steve McQueen; with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender 13/US ****. 
Based on a chilling true story, this film is much more than an account of slavery in America: it's an exploration of the human urge to control and enslave people. And with fearlessly intense performances and director McQueen's artful eye, we are immersed in the story completely... FULL REVIEW >

dir Steven Knight; with Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman 13/UK *** 
Essentially a one man show, this pseudo-thriller explores the fallout from a single moment of weakness as our hero tries to salvage his marriage, family and career. The pushy set-up is a little hard to believe, but the film is held together by a terrific performance from Hardy as an essentially good guy who has reached his personal Armageddon... FULL REVIEW >

Stranger by the Lake 
dir Alain Guiraudie; with Pierre Deladonchamps, Christophe Paou 13/Fr ****. 
What starts out as a subtle drama exploring male sexuality quietly shifts into a Hitchcockian thriller, with big questions about the tension between lust and morality. Set in a gay cruising site at a naturist beach, the film isn't for the faint of heart. But its themes are bigger than the controversial setting... FULL REVIEW >

dir Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza; with Saleh Bakri, Sara Serraiocco 13/It ***. 
With almost no dialog to speak of, this gritty Italian thriller is relentlessly artful, using strikingly skilful photography and a vividly detailed sound mix to tell a story about a heartless young man who has a sudden pang of conscience... FULL REVIEW >

Gone Too Far!
dir Destiny Ekaragha; with Malachi Kirby, OC Ukeje 13/UK ***.
With a strong blast of local humour, this comedy captures the ethnic mix of a South London community using riotous slapstick, knowing dialog and rather nutty characters. It's far too silly to have a proper kick to it, but it's bright and cheeky, and the script touches on some big issues without ever getting heavy about them... [review coming soon]

The Epic of Everest 
dir Captain John Noel with George Mallory, Andrew Irvine 24/UK 1h27 ***** 
In documenting the third expedition up Everest, filmmaker Noel demonstrates a staggering amount of stamina as well as groundbreaking technical and artistic skills. Watching this 1924 film is a mystical experience, revealing the big mountain in ways no one as ever done since. And this digital restoration makes it essential viewing... FULL REVIEW >

No comments: