Today the full programme for the 57th BFI London Film Festival was announced, which runs in the city from 9th to 20th October, mainly in Leicester Square and the BFI’s home on Southbank, but also featuring screenings all over London.
Previously announced were the two Tom Hanks films bookending the festival, the first being the European premiere of Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips opening the festival on the 9th, based on the 2009 hijacking of the US container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. Tom Hanks also closes the festival, with another European premiere, the Walt Disney biopic, Saving Mr. Banks, directed by John Lee Hancock, focusing on the story behind bringing Mary Poppins to the big screening, also starring Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers, the author of the novel.
Also announced early was the American Express Gala, Amex being the main sponsor of the festival, which will be the UK premiere of Stephen Frears’ Philomena, starring Judi Dench in the title role of a woman in search of her long lost son. Steve Coogan, who co-wrote the film as well, stars as Martin Sixsmith, a political journalist who helps Philomena in her search, and eventually wrote the book the film is based on. The film just premiered at the Venice Film Festival.
There are 16 galas this year, excluding Opening and Closing night. Some of these are Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave which sees him teaming up with Michael Fassbender for a third time, and also starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Benedict Cumberbatch; the Coen Brothers’ latest, Inside Llewyn Davis; and Joseph Gordon Levitt’s directorial debut Don Jon, starring himself as a porn-addict. and Scarlett Johansson as his girlfriend, which will be this year’s Laugh Gala. Two films that screened at Cannes earlier this year are also getting Gala screenings, both which I am very excited about seeing. Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is The Warmest Colour is this year’s Love Gala, which won the Palme D’or in May, and Stranger By The Lake, directed by Alain Guiraudie.
Other films I’m really looking forward to seeing at this year’s LFF: Xavier Dolan’s latest Tom At The Farm, and The Lunchbox, directed by Ritesh Batra and starring Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, both which are screening as part of the Official Competiton. In First Feature Competiton, there is Kill Your Darlings, by John Krokidas, which sees Daniel Radcliffe play Allen Ginsberg. One of the many films that James Franco has made recently, As I Lay Dying, based on William Faulkner’s novel, Locke, starring Tom Hardy, which also premiered at Venice are also showing.
This is just a fraction of the 300 + line up at this year’s London Film Festival, and I’m sure there’s lots more there to be excited about. Check out the full programme on the LFF website.