A concise list of the films your simply gotta see.
This October, 243 films will be screened from 67 countries at 15 cinemas across the capital for the 2017 BFI London Film Festival (which is a lot of numbers to take in, right?). Bringing together a vibrant mix of homegrown and international talent, this year’s festival explores themes of social division, disability, immigration, gender equality and LGBTQ rights, which’ll no doubt make it one of the strongest seasons yet.
With tickets set to go on sale tomorrow – Thursday 14 September (grab yours here) – we figured it not a moment too soon to let you in on some of our favourites.
The Florida Project
Scoring both fame and widespread critical acclaim with his iPhone-shot Tangerine, Sean Baker returns with The Florida Project, a touching portrait of childhood innocence set against the backdrop of America’s failing economy. Living in a candy-floss-coloured long-stay motel a stone’s throw from Disneyland, the film follows Moonee, young mother Halley and a small group of American Dream castaways as they try to distract themselves from the humdrum day-to-day of life on the poverty line with pranks, tricks and juvenile hijinks.
(Friday 13 and Saturday 14 October)
Call Me By Your Name
From the director of This Is Love and A Bigger Splash, comes a powerfully moving story of first love, longing and same-sex desire. With an original score by Sufjan Stevens, Call Me By Your Name is as languorous and seductive as its North Italian setting. Based on André Aciman’s coming-of-age novel of the same name, Elio’s idyllic summer routine of reading, swimming, dancing and transcribing music is disrupted with the arrival of Oliver who joins the family at their grand palazzo to help study classical works of Greek and Roman sculpture. As this unwanted change to Elio’s routine gradually morphs into a life-changing queer awakening, Luca Guadagnino’s latest feature blossoms into a timeless love story about identity, jealousy and affirmation.
(Monday 9, Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 October)
The Shape Of Water
Set in the 60s, Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth follow up The Shape Of Water is steeped in B-movie sci-fi, Area 51 conspiracy theory and Cold War paranoia. Mute from birth, Elisa begins to form an attachment to a scaled, finned and gilled creature from the deep whilst working as a cleaner at a hidden US research laboratory. Blending sci-fi, horror and gothic-romance with spell-binding effect, Del Toro’s latest feature is a fanciful, supernatural love story about the importance of human connection.
(Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11 and Friday 15 October)
Channeling Hitchcock and De Palma, L’Amant Double offers a deliciously duplicitous tale of psychoanalysis and seduction. Based on Joyce Carol Oates’ Lives Of The Twins, the story follows Chloé, a former model who’s plagued by psychosomatic stomach pains, and her intense relationship with the enticing yet mysterious psychoanalyst who treats her. What starts as a whirlwind romance, soon spirals into an erotic thriller full of fetish, deceit and danger.
(Friday 6 and Sunday 8 October)
The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
Following their collaboration on his absurd, dark and satirical The Lobster Colin Farrell and director Yorgos Lanthimos team up once again for The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, a tragic, surreal and stylishly macabre morality tale about cause and effect. Having invited Martin, a friendless, fatherless teen into their home, Steven and Anna’s picture-perfect family rapidly begins to unravel, their clinically happy veneer cracking under the strain of their new malevolent interloper.
(Thursday 12, Friday 13 and Sunday 15 October)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
If you’re a fan of In Bruges and Seven Psychopath’s brand of pitch-black, comedic drama, you’ll love Martin McDonagh’s latest film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Fuelled by grief and outrage, the foul-mouthed, tough-as-nails Mildred Hayes is determined not to let the investigation into her daughter’s murder go quiet. By turns riotously funny and deeply sobering, Three Billboards is a celebration of a self-proclaimed “Nasty Woman” who remains defiant in the face of small-minded, small-town America.
(Sunday 15 October)
Drawing on his personal experiences with Paris’ ACT UP pressure group, Robin Campillo’s 120 BPM is a rousing, heart-breaking celebration of queer activism. Set in the height of Paris’ 1990s AIDS epidemic, the film follows introspective, HIV-negative Nathan as he gradually gets pulled deeper into the group’s agitating political demonstrations, direct action and protest rallies. Alongside David France’s seminal How To Survive A Plague, it’s an important call-to-arms for LGBTQ individuals looking to learn more about this history of their community.