Lion premiere

Lion premiere

By Dr Ricky Ghosh Dastidar

 

The 60th BFI London Film Festival took place recently and as ever, there was a huge selection of films covering all genres from across the world. The big winners at this year’s festival were Certain Women; named Best Film, Raw; which took home the Best First Feature prize and Starless Dreams; which garnered the Best Documentary prize.

This year, the BFI Fellowship, regarded as the highest accolade the BFI can bestow was awarded to director Steve McQueen. Among McQueen’s films are the highly acclaimed 12 years a Slave, Hunger and Shame, and the award was presented to him by his long-term collaborator Michael Fassbender.

Each year, the festival continues to grow in stature and this was reflected by a record-breaking audience attendance of 184,700. In addition to the 380 features and shorts that were screened, there was also a Screen Talks strand, in which fans were able to see their favourite filmmakers discussing their work on stage. Some of this year’s participants included internationally renowned directors and actors such as Paul Verhoeven, Werner Herzog, Nicole Kidman & Dev Patel.

Below are some of the films that I saw at the London Film Festival.

A date for Mad Mary

A date for Mad Mary

A Date for Mad Mary

Irish kitchen-sink style comedy-drama. Well-written, with good performances all round.

Rating * * * *

Chasing Asylum

Powerful and thought-provoking documentary about the Australian government’s policy towards asylum seekers. Sadly, very one-sided.

Rating * * *

Lion

Heart-warming drama about an adopted young man in Australia (played by Dev Patel) who goes in search of his birth family in rural India.

Rating * * * *

Paterson

Slow-paced drama set in Paterson, New Jersey about a young bus driver named Paterson. Directed by Jim Jarmusch. Avoid at all costs.

Rating *  

Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea.

Highlight of the festival. The writing, direction and performances in this Massachusetts-set drama are all of the highest order, and Casey Affleck is sure to win the Best Actor Academy Award in 2017 for his efforts. Unmissable.

Rating * * * * *

The Bacchus lady

High-quality South Korean melodrama about an aging sex-worker. Daring, original, comedic and bittersweet.

Rating * * * *

Planetarium

An incomprehensible and meandering film set in 1930’s Paris and starring Natalie Portman and Lily-Rose Depp. Avoid.

Rating *

Into the Forest

Dull, formulaic horror film summarized by its title. Three people go into a forest…

Rating * *

La La Land

Flawlessly made musical directed by Damian Chazelle (Whiplash) about a young musician and actress falling in love in Hollywood. Perfect, if you enjoy watching musicals.

Rating * * * *

We Are X London Premiere

We Are X London Premiere

We are X

Fast-paced documentary about a Japanese glam-metal rock band named X Japan. A roller-coaster ride of a movie, and thoroughly enjoyable even for those unfamiliar with the music.

Rating * * * * *

Down Under

Badly-acted and unoriginal Australian comedy that fails to serve up any laughs.

Rating * *

Zoology

Russian film about a middle-aged woman who suddenly grows a tail and how it affects both her and the close-knit community around her. As bizarre as it sounds, but also imaginative, shocking and amusing.

Rating * * *

American Honey

American Honey

American Honey

Teen American drama reminiscent of the great counter-culture movies of the late sixties/early seventies such as Easy Rider, Two Lane Blacktop and Five Easy Pieces. Directed by British filmmaker Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank), it offers standout performances from newcomer Sasha Lane and Shia Lebeouf.

Rating * * * *