Wednesday, 7 October 2020

LFF: Power to the people

The 64th BFI London Film Festival kicked off today with a flurry of sold-out screenings around the country for Steve McQueen's film Mangrove. I tried to get a cinema ticket, but they were gone within minutes, which meant I watched the film in an online virtual press screening, the way I'll see all of the festival's movies. Which kind of removes even the slightest sense of this being a festival. There's also no printed programme, no press credential, no parties. Basically it's a two week web-based movie glut. But these are some of the best films of the year, so it's worth the effort. Here are some highlights...

dir Steve McQueen; with Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes 20/UK *****
This British drama recounts the first legal case that acknowledged racial bias in the London police force. With his fine artistic eye, Steve McQueen assembles this in period style, taking an everyday kitchen-sink approach that feels like a vintage soap opera, complete with flashes of sharp wit and dark emotion. This story is urgent and involving, moving at a quick pace as it follows engaging people through a jaw-dropping trial... FULL REVIEW >


dir-scr Miranda July; with Evan Rachel Wood, Gina Rodriguez 20/US ***.
Another absurdly offbeat comedy from Miranda July, this wilfully wacky movie centres on a family of dysfunctional crooks who pull one tiny hustle after another. The plot defiantly refuses to travel in expected directions. And amid the nuttiness, this becomes a remarkably sensitive coming-of-age for a 26-year-old who is only just beginning to understand who she might actually be. This is a bold, bonkers movie with a warm, beating heart... FULL REVIEW >


dir-scr Talya Lavie; Avigail Harari, Ran Danker 20/Isr ***.
Set over one long night, this Israeli romantic-comedy superbly navigates a range of earthy emotions as a couple faces the first hours of their marriage. It's an entertaining, surprising film, shifting from funny to thoughtful as it explores issues of relationships and interconnections from a variety of resonant angles. The plot meanders and is sometimes a bit too pointed, but it's both engaging and provocative.

NB. My anchor page for the LFF is HERE and reviews will appear in between these daily blog entries.

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