Posted Aug 30 2018

London 2018 Announces

We knew that Steve McQueen’s Widows was opening it. And we knew that Steve Coogan and John C Reilly’s Stan & Ollie was closing it. And we knew that Peter Jackson’s colourised WWI epic, They Shall Not Grow Old, was somewhere in the middle. But this morning the BFI London Film Festival 2018 announced its full line up in London’s Leicester Square. And what an impressive line up it is.

Leading the charge is chief sponsor American Express and their Gala screening of Yorgos Lanthimos’ highly anticipated The Favourite. Other Gala presentations include the Coens’ western anthology The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, Keira Knightley (also giving a Screen Talk) in Colette, Jason Reitman’s Gary Hart drama The Front Runner, Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake, Assassination Nation, Carell and Chalamet in Beautiful Boy, McCarthy and Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight follow up If Beale Street Could Talk, hankies at the ready Life Itself, Braveheart accents at the ready Outlaw King, Rosamund Pike with one good eye in A Private War, Jessie Buckley going large and country in Wild Rose, Ralph Fiennes directing the story of the young Nuryev in The White Crow, and, after many, many years of waiting, Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. (Hope it was worth the wait.)

Special Presentations include Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9, the controversial The Hate You Give, Mike Leigh’s epic Peterloo (which will actually premiere outside of London in Manchester), Carol Morley’s Out Of Blue with Patricia Clarkson, and the first two episodes of the latest Le Carre TV thriller The Little Drummer Girl, (from the people that brought you The Night Manager) with Florence Pugh and Michael Shannon.

The Festival organisers were eager to point out that 38% of the films they are screening this year are from female directors.

Lenny Abrahamson was also on hand to unveil those titles in official competition – he’s head of the judging panel – and the list included The Old Man & The Gun, Zhang Yimou’s Shadow, and Ben Wheatley’s latest, Happy New Year, Colin Burstead.

The First Feature Competition includes the likes of Brit family memoir Ray & Liz (a Black Country Roma perhaps?), the Scandi-noir of Holiday, and Paul Dano’s Wildfire.

As has been its way in recent years, the LFF is divided into a number of strands – Laugh, Love, Dare, Thrill and so forth, and first-look highlights include the Mr Rogers’ doc, Won’t You Be My Neighbour?, Maggie Gyllenhaal crossing boundaries in The Kindergarten Teacher, Juliette Binoche reteaming with Olivier Assayas for Non-Fiction, Adina Pintille’s provocative Golden Bear winner Touch Me Not, the sure to be enlightening doc The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From A Mythical Man, and British stand up Simon Amstell’s directing Benjamin, in which Colin Morgan stars as a filmmaker stressing out about debuting his new movie at the BFI London Film Festival. None more meta.

Other highlights from the 225 films on display include Bill Nighy in Sometimes Always Never, the Hooters-esque Support The Girls, the very funny looking New Zealand comedy The Breaker Uppers, Goddard’s The Image Book (to be shown on the BFI IMAX screen),  Guy Maddin’s homage to Vertigo, The Green Fog, Chloe Sevigny as Lizzie Borden in Lizzie, impressive looking Norwegian disaster movie The Quake, Joan Jett doc Bad Reputation, Ethan Hawke’s Blaze, the Frank Sidebottom doc Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story, Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records, restorations of Korda’s The Private Life of Henry VIII and John Carpenter’s The Fog (now that would be a great double bill!), or how about The Last Movie and My Little Chickadee – together at last? And yes, we’re barely scratching the surface.

Oh, and Alfonso Cuaron is also down to deliver a Screen Talk, with more to be added.

The BFI London Film Festival 2018 runs from October 10 – 21.

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