The Must-See Films At This Year’s BFI London Film Festival
New del Toro, new Considine and a new look at Suspiria - the BFI London Film Festival 2017 is about to blow every other fest right out of the water.
Every year for film fans in London, Christmas seems to come early. The middle two-weeks in October to be precise. And 2017 is certainly no different, with the BFI once again hijacking the city’s brightest and boldest cinema venues, from 4th-15th October, for the annual London Film Festival; the jewel in the crown of the European festival circuit. Well, not really, but it is a chance for Londoners to dive into a whole bunch of the most exciting, and (mostly) critically-acclaimed releases before awards season really kicks off.
To put things in perspective a little bit – last year’s LFF saw both Moonlight and La La Land fighting it out with Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, and just about every other mainline prestige release that’s popped up so far this year. Not to mention cult hits like Alice Lowe’s Prevenge and Gareth Tunley’s total mind-bender The Ghoul. The ticket prices might be a tad steeper than usual, but for the festival vibes and previews alone it’s well worth every penny.
Being the kind-hearted souls we are here over at Walloh, we even thought we’d save you some time and cherry-pick a few of the most exciting new releases at this year’s fest too. The full programme is well worth a good read though if you have the man-hours.
The Shape of Water (dir. Guillermo del Toro)
You might recognise del Toro’s name from the likes of Pacific Rim, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy or most recently, the stupidly delectable Tom Hiddleston swooner Crimson Peak, but we can almost guarantee you’ve never seen him like this. The undisputed king of the modern monster movie, del Toro is heading back to his artier roots with this one, blending old-school fairy-tale with subtly dark creature-feature, in a 60s set story of a woman who falls in love with a sea-monster. Reviews out of Venice where the film premiered are already pretty insane too, so be sure to chase this one down for sure.
Ingrid Goes West (dir. Matt Spicer)
A big winner at this year’s Sundance, and already making waves across the pond, Ingrid Goes West stars Aubrey Plaza in peak mad-eye mode, as a social media stalker who hunts down her favourite Instagram star (Elizabeth Olsen), and muscles her way into her life. It’s a totally off-beat comedy about the internet generation, and with Plaza leading the charge, we just know it’s gonna be memorable.
Suspiria [4K Restoration] (dir. Dario Argento)
This one’s cheating a little bit since Suspiria actually came out way back in 1977. But if for whatever reason, you’ve never seen Italian horror master Dario Argento’s pure insanity on the big screen, this is an absolute must. Restored last year in 4K, to the point where it almost looks like it could’ve been shot yesterday, this old-school chiller about a coven of witches in a ballet school is still every bit as freaky as it was 40 years ago.
Journeyman (dir. Paddy Considine)
Returning to the director’s chair after his BAFTA-winning debut feature Tyrannosaur (one of the bleakest but most beautifully realised British dramas in recent memory), Paddy Considine is a name you’ll definitely have seen before. Popping up as an actor in everything from Hot Fuzz to last year’s The Girl With All The Gifts, he also stars in his second self-penned drama, about a boxer trying desperately to piece his family back together after a serious head injury. And with new Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker by his side for the duration, you can bet your lucky stars this one will be flying close to BAFTA-territory once again, if not beyond.
Smear (dir. Kate Herron)
Another odd one, since Smear is actually a 5-minute short playing in the Gits and Shiggles showcase but trust us when we tell you that this is well worth going out of your way to see. You might recognise director Kate Herron’s name from a whole bunch of other projects that’ve already put her on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list (the Idris Elba-starring series Five By Five, acclaimed short Healey’s House, the list goes on), but Smear might well be her most cleverly put-together to date. The story of a young woman going for her first smear test, only to find a terrifying tentacled monster living inside her vagina, it’ll likely be the most bonkers thing you see all festival, and will definitely help you get in on the ground floor for when Herron makes it big any day now.
Another short worth hunting down: BAFTA-nominee Charlotte Regan’s latest short Fry Up is guaranteed to be another big one, playing in the Heading For That Adult Crash showcase.
It goes without saying though that these are just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to this year’s LFF. Also on the bill are (deep breath): Lynne Ramsay’s guaranteed critical fave You Were Never Really Here, Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s crowd-pleaser Ghost Stories, S. Craig Zahler’s Vince Vaughn starrer Brawl in Cell Block 99 and Japanese auteur Takashi Miike’s 100th film, the absolutely face-melter of a period action epic, Blade of the Immortal. And trust me when I tell you that I could very happily keep listing movies here all day.
So here’s to another great year at the LFF, and whether it’s your first or thirtieth time attending, keep an eye on Walloh for all the latest screening updates and recommendations for the fest!
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