Thursday, 11 October 2012

London Film Festival or when films come to Adam and not the other way around

Initially I didn't even plan attending this year's LFF. And then just by accident I decided to take a peek at the program. "...Wow," thought me, "I must have had a stroke or something. This year's selection is yet again pretty damn decent."

And so here it is, below is the list of films I have scheduled to watch during the upcoming two weeks of the festival madness:

11th Oct Thu 15:30 Wadjda VUE7
A female director shooting the film in its entirety in *Saudi Arabia*. It tells a very touching story about a young girl who wants to buy a bike. C'mon, can someone just give this lady (Haifaa Al Mansour) an Oscar already?

13th Oct Sat 14:45 West of Memphis VUE 7
I have not seen any of the Paradise Lost films, but according to the people who saw this doc, the film can be watched on its own just fine. And it got some amazing reviews when it premiered at Sundance earlier this year. So yeah, this one is a must.

14th Sun 15:15 Beyond the Hills CURZON MAYFAIR
It won the award for The Best Screenplay at this year's Cannes, but rumor has it that it should have won Palme d'Or. The stupid me missed it when it was showing in Cannes and now I am absolutely determined to make up for that mistake!

15th Oct Mon 15:00 Midnight's Children OWE2
I am curious how Salman Rushdie's prose will be treated on the big screen. I have my worries (the film didn't get great reviews in Toronto), but I am sure I will enjoy it regardless. Not to mention, it is very likely Rushdie himself will come out for a Q&A!

16th Oct Tue 12:30 I, Anna VUE5 
Truth be told I know very little about this London-set drama apart from the fact that two actors whom I admire very much, Charlotte Rampling and Gabriel Byrne, play the leads. So this is one of my "no spoilers" selections - I know that this will sound a bit tacky, but I find it purifying not to know anything about the film's plot ahead of watching it. It allows me to be a bit more objective about the film I suppose... No preconceived perceptions or hopes about its outcome. Besides maybe that I will be entertained.

16 Oct Tue 15:00 In the House OWE2
One reason and one reason only: FRANCOIS OZON.

16 Oct Tue 18:30 My Brother the Devil OWE1
Possibly this year's best British film. Dark and unsettling drama with strong homosexual undertones - at least that's what we are promised.

17th Oct Wed 12:30 Zaytoun OWE2/ 15:00 Fill the Void OWE2
I love Israeli cinema and LFF's choice of its representatives never disappoints. Last year it was The Footnote, few years before it was Eyes Wide Open and Ajami. Fill The Void's plot reminds a bit of My Father, My Lord, *but* it is directed by a woman and it focuses on the women's hardships in the ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem. Zaytoun's story focuses on the 1982 war with Lebanon - an event that was captured on film by Israeli directors many times. Who knows, perhaps it will surpass Waltz With Bashir? (...Nah, highly unlikely.)

18th Oct Thu 12:45 The Red and the Blue VUE7
The Italian Shortcuts? One can hope! Nonetheless, the synopsis seems intriguing.

18th Oct Thu 18:00 Caesar Must Die VUE5
Inmates at a high-security prison in Rome prepare for a public performance of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." Winner of the Golden Bear at this year's Berlinale (last year's winner A Separation ended up on my list of the best films of 2011) so my hopes are high!

19th Oct Fri 18:00 Our Children VUE5
*Allegedly* the most depressing film of the year. I'm in.

21st Oct Sun 18:00 After Lucia OWE2
It won the Un Certain Regard competition this year, and that is enough of a reason for me to queue for hours to watch this film. Some of my favourite films won UCR in the years past: Dogtooth, The Death of Mr Lazarescu to name a few. It is supposed to present the kind of cruelty that until now only Michael Haneke dared to show. And similarly to Beyond the Hills - I missed this film when it was showing in Cannes and need to make up for my error.

And now let's just mention some of the films that premier at LFF that I already had a chance to see:
Laurence Anyways: D+
Beasts of the Southern Wild: C
Amour: B
In Another Country: D+
Horses Of God: C+

Django Unchained aka The Hobbit's worst nightmare is on its way!

Wow... Looks like The Hobbit won't rule over the Christmas Box Office after all... I am a bit weary of Tarantino's unchanging obsession with the theme of revenge, but I have to say, this trailer gave me chills!