Wednesday, 4 October 2017

LFF: Inhale on day 1

The 61st BFI London Film Festival kicked off tonight with the UK premiere of Andy Serkis' directing debut Breathe (pictured above). I feel like I barely caught my breath in the one week between my trip to the Venice Film Festival and the start of press screenings for this festival. It's been an intense two and a half weeks, and now we have 12 days of even more! The trick isn't watching four films a day, it's finding the time to write about them and keep up to date on my work in general. And I'm too old to skip sleeping! Anyway, here are some highlights from today and tomorrow, including a couple of films I saw in Venice now linked to full reviews...

dir Andy Serkis; with Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy 17/UK ****
For his directing debut, Andy Serkis tells the true story of Robin Cavendish, a pioneer who sought independence for the disabled, including himself. With this subject matter, the film is obviously inspirational. But it's nade with splashes of colour and personality, dcatching the imagination to help redefine what it means to lead a fulfilling life. It's also finely shot by cinematographer Robert Richardson and beautifully acted by a sparky cast... FULL REVIEW >

Lean on Pete
dir-scr Andrew Haigh; with Charlie Plummer, Steve Buscemi 17/US ****.
There's an unusual depth of character to this finely crafted odyssey about a teen who hits the road in a last-gasp effort to find some hope. While there's plenty of potential for bleakness, writer-director Andrew Haigh instead infuses the film with warmth and honesty, facing the darkest moments head-on as the only way to get through them. It's an extraordinarily tough story told with a light touch that brings the viewer right into the journey... FULL REVIEW >

Brigsby Bear
dir Dave McCary; with Kyle Mooney, Matt Walsh 17/US ****
Like a fanboy-infused variation on Room, this darkly comical drama takes on a potent story about a young man rescued from a lifelong kidnapping. The clever script is very funny, keeping the audience laughing brittlely. And the film is also grappling with some rather intense issues in a meaningful way. This is a striking feature debut for director Dave McCary... FULL REVIEW >

Racer and the Jailbird
dir Michael R Roskam; with Matthias Schoenaerts, Adele Exarchopoulos 17/Bel ***.
Filmmaker Michael Roskam reteams once again with Matthias Schoenaerts for this personal drama set against the criminal scene in Belgium. More of an epic romance than a thriller, the film has plenty of emotional moments that draw the audience into the central romance. Although it's all perhaps a bit too dark for its own good, as the film runs out of hope before we're ready to give up on these people... FULL REVIEW >

The Cakemaker
dir-scr Ofir Raul Graizer; with Tim Kalkhof, Sarah Adler 17/Isr ***.
Warm and open, this Israeli-German drama takes a sensitive approach to a complex relationship. Writer-director Ofir Raul Graizer stirs in strong issues without ever losing sight of the internal journeys the characters are taking, and how their interaction helps them move forward. And with its low-key style, the film is beefed up with some powerfully resonant undercurrents... FULL REVIEW >

Roller Dreams
dir Kate Hickey; with James Lightning, Sara Messenger 17/Aus ***.
It may seem like a straightforward documentary about a specific time and place, but this film mixes its frankly awesome archival footage with both a moving narrative arc and powerfully resonant political themes. So it becomes much more than the story of a multi-ethnic community's nostalgia for a lost time. It's also darkly personal journey and a striking chronology of a city's shockingly racist history... FULL REVIEW >

~~~~~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~~
C R I T I C A L   W E E K
I've only had three non-festival films this past week, namely Denis Villeneuve's astonishing sequel Blade Runner 2049, Jessica Chastain in Aaron Sorkin's fast-talking true story Molly's Game, and Josh Hartnett in the true survival thriller 6 Below.

No comments: