06th Oct2016

BFI London Film Festival has started (Film)

by timbaros

bfi-london-film-festival-2016This year’s BFI London Film Festival looks to be one of the best in recent memory. The schedule is loaded with lots of must-see films by A-list filmmakers and A-list stars.

Here’s just a small selection of what’s on offer:

20151102-_auk0605_h_color-1mgThe Opening Night Gala on Wednesday October 5th is ‘A United Kingdom.’ David Oyelowo plays Sir Seretse Kharma, an African president who marries a white English woman – it’s a postwar relationship that shocked two continents. Rosamund Pike plays the English woman; the film is directed by Amma Asante (‘Belle’).

‘King Cobra’ is definitely one of the most scandalous films shown at the festival. A young man travels to Los Angeles at the urging of a sleazy gay porn producer (Christian Slater) to be his next star. A parallel story has James Franco as another gay porn producer who is in a relationship with his young male star. There’s lots of skin in this film which is based on the real life story of former gay porn star Brent Corrigan.

A film getting lots of excellent buzz is ‘Moonlight.’ It takes place in Miami in the 1980’s and focuses on one man’s journey through three stages of his life. He’s black and gay, and we witness key moments that made him the man he is. Compelling, with excellent performances all around. Naomie Harris plays his crack-addicted mother.

‘The 13th’ is a documentary that uses archival footage and contemporary interviews to discuss what the American constitution’s 13th amendment means to people of color in this day and age of Black Lives Matter.

la_la_land_dancingExpect ‘La La Land’ to garner lots of acclaim during next year’s awards season. It’s Director Damien Chazelle’s (‘Whiplash’) bitter-sweet love letter to Los Angeles and the golden era of Hollywood musicals, bringing together an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and a struggling musician (Ryan Gosling).

‘Manchester by the Sea’ has Casey Affleck giving an indelible performance as Lee, a man whose sparse existence is suddenly ruptured when the death of his brother Joe forces him to return to the hometown he abandoned years ago. Also stars Michelle Williams.

Lupita Nyong'o and Madina Nalwanga star in the triumphant true story QUEEN OF KATWE, directed by Mira Nair.

Lupita Nyong’o and Madina Nalwanga star in the triumphant true story QUEEN OF KATWE, directed by Mira Nair.

‘The Queen of Katwe’ is based on the true story of young Ugandan chess champion Phiona Mutesi. Despite being unable to read or write, she has a natural aptitude for strategic thinking. Starring Lupita Nyong’o and introducing Madina Nalwanga as Mutesi.

Science fiction film ‘Arrival’ has Amy Adams, alongside scientist Jeremy Renner, as a linguistics professor who is brought into the government to decipher the language when a group of extra-terrestrials make contact. Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario).

‘London Town’ is set in 1979 when a bright-eyed teenager attempts to juggle too many responsibilities and falls for a confident punk and together they experience the music scene that’s a whole new world to them.

Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) plays a man who was orphaned in India and brought up by adoptive parents in Australia in ‘Lion.’ He soon discovers the truth about his origins. It’s a real-life story on the life of Saroo Brierly; Nicole Kidman plays his adoptive mother and Rooney Mara plays his girlfriend.

What would happen if a famous and well-known footballer was gay? Well, in ‘The Pass,’ two aspiring Premier League footballers (Russell Tovey and Arinzé Kene) share a passionate night while sharing a hotel room right before a big game, a night which profoundly impacts Tovey’s characters life. Hard-hitting stuff with great performances.

Wonderkind director Xavier Dolan (Lawrence Anyways) presents his latest film ‘It’s Only the End of the World.’ A terminally ill writer returns home to break the news of his debilitating condition to his estranged family. It’s lots of sadness and sorrow – typical of a Dolan movie. With Marion Cottilard.

50805_AA_4609_v2F Academy Award nominee Amy Adams stars as Susan Morrow in writer/director Tom Ford’s romantic thriller NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, a Universal Pictures International release. Credit: Merrick Morton/Universal Pictures International

Tom Ford presents his second film (the first was the well-received ‘A Single Man’) with ‘Nocturnal Animals.’ One of the festivals must-see films, the film focuses on Susan (Amy Adams), a glamorous and accomplished Los Angeles gallery director whose current marriage appears to be unravelling, and who fuels her insomnia by reading the manuscript of a disturbing novel – written and sent to her by her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal). Expect lots of lush scenery and fabulous costumes. With Aaron Taylor-Johnson.



Oliver Stone directs and Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in ‘Snowden,’ a supercharged political thriller about Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who leaked classified information from the United States National Security Agency in 2013. This film is a dramatic recreation of ‘Citizen Four’ – the documentary about reporter Laura Poitras (played by Melissa Leo) and journalist Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Pinto) and their many meetings with Snowden.

The Closing Night gala, on Sunday October 16th, is Ben Wheatley’s ‘Free Fire’ (he directed last year’s poorly received ‘High Rise’). It’s the tale of gangsters and guns set in Boston in the 1970’s. A top level cast includes Cillian Murphy and recent Best Actress Oscar winner Brie Larson.

The 60th BFI London Film Festival will screen a total of 193 fiction and 52 documentary features, including 18 World Premieres, 8 International Premieres, and 39 European Premieres. There will also be screenings of 144 short films, including documentary, live action and animated works.

Taking place over 12 days, the Festival’s screenings are at venues across the capital, from the West End cinemas – Vue West End and the iconic Odeon Leicester Square; central London venues – BFI Southbank, BFI IMAX, Picturehouse Central, the ICA, Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho, Haymarket, Prince Charles Cinema and Ciné Lumière; and local cinemas – the Ritzy in Brixton, Hackney Picturehouse and Curzon Chelsea. Festival visitors will be able to enjoy a brand new cinema experience with Competition and Strand Galas presented at the new Embankment Garden Cinema, in the beautiful Victoria Embankment Gardens.
Stars so far confirmed to walk on the red carpet include: Oyelowo, Pike, Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson (A Monster Calls), Casey Affleck, Adams, Tovey, Nyong’o, Renner, Kidman, Patel, Ford and Taylor-Johnson, and Cotillard.
Festival Information & Ticket Booking:

Telephone Bookings: 020 7928 3232 between 10:00 – 20:30
Online: www.bfi.org.uk/lff

In person: BFI Southbank Office: 11:00 – 20:30


23rd Aug2014

Two Days, One Night (Deux Jours, Une Nuit) – Film

by timbaros

images-234Marion Cotillard plays Sandra in Two Days, One Night (Deux Jours, Une Nuit), about a woman who is about to lose her job, and who also suffers from depression.

Sandra has two days and one night (a weekend) to convince her work colleagues to sacrifice their bonuses so that she can keep her job at a solar panel company called Solwal. If this wasn’t enough, Sandra has previously been hospitalized for depression but still suffers from it. She has a hard time coping with life in general, but with the anxiety of losing her job and perhaps losing home and going back into social housing, Sandra’s depression accelerates over the course of the weekend.
Two Days, One Night starts out with Sandra and her co-worker Juliette (Catherine Salée) convincing their manager Mr. Dumont (Baptiste Sornin) to allow a secret ballot of the company’s employees whether they are willing to forego their EUR1000 bonuses to allow Sandra to keep her job as her colleagues had previously voted for a staff reduction and her redundancy in exchange for a bonus. He agrees that on the following Monday morning the workers can vote in a secret ballot for either them to receive their bonuses and have Sandra go or for her to keep her job. There are 16 employees and Sandra needs to convince 9 of them to vote in her favor (and to forego their bonuses). So Sandra, with the help of her dedicated and loving husband Manu (Fabrizio Rongione), travels around town to her co-workers homes to try to convince them to vote for her. But she faces an uphill battle as co-worker Jean-Marc (Olivier Gourmet) has been spreading rumours to the rest of the employees saying that if she weren’t the one to go then they would be. So it’s up to Sandra to win them over, however, for some of the employees the bonus is desperately needed for them to pay bills, their rent – some of in dire financial straits.
Sandra has two children, but she has a hard time dealing with the job situation, and life in general. She gets so depressed that at times she just breaks down, and she even feels like going to bed at 7pm. But she’s got a fight on her hands that weekend and she’s got to convince her co-workers to vote in her favor. One co-worker, however, needs the bonus for a new patio, while another won’t vote in her favor because he just doens’t like her, or another who happens to be the only breadwinner in the household. Then there are those co-workers who support her, and it’s them and the scenes between them and Sandra that we hope will encourage her to continue lobbying for her job and to help her in her depressed state.
Cotillard give a spectacular performance. Her acting is emotional and physical – her character is struggling and having a hard time of life and we can see this pain in Cotillard’s facial expression, the sadness in her eyes, and even when she crosses the street – her body language is not that of a confident woman. And when she breaks down, whether in her car or in the company of her husband at home, Cotillard is far from glamorous, and then at the end of the film, she has to make a decision that would affect someone else’s life, we continue cheering for her.
In one scene Cotillard’s character says: “I am nothing”, and we can quite understand where she is coming from, even after Sandra attempts suicide in one scene by trying to overdose on her antidepressant pills. Rongione as her husband Manu is strong as well. Even though him and Sandra haven’t had sex in 4 months, he conveys his love for her and supports her and even strongly encourages her to fight for her job. Written and Directed by brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, they have produced a film where one can feel the urgency of time in which Sandra has to accomplish something so humiliating over the course of a weekend, something she’s never done before. There is no holding back on the main character – Sandra is depressed and the filmmakers do a good job of bringing this to the screen. But the film is Cottilards, expect her name to be coming up in lots of envelopes during awards season. Two Days, One Night is French with English subtitles.