55th London Film Festival Preview opinion

The BFI today announced the line-up for next month’s 55th London Film Festival and it contains the usual mix of intriguing independent oddities, inspiring foreign-language experiments and tasty Academy Awards fodder. It doesn’t have the slew of world premieres festivals such as Berlin, Cannes, or Venice have but it does give the public an opportunity to see a wide range of films, some in advance of their general release and some - often very, very good ones - that won’t win a release in this country at all.

David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method and Roman Polanski’s Carnage, with a superb cast including Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz, can surely not fail to entertain. Of the releases just around the corner, George Clooney’s Ides of March, We Need to Talk About Kevin, starring Tilda Swinton, and Take Shelter, with Jessica Chastain and Michael Shannon, should all be safe bets. Dogtooth’s Giorgos Lanthimos returns with Alps, the directors of the wonderful Persepolis bring us Chicken with Plums, Footnote sounds great and Headhunters looks like a blast. Sundance Film Festival winners Like Crazy and Martha Marcy May Marlene as well as Cannes’ Un certain Regard Award winner Stopped on Track all have strong credentials.

It must be said that the festival never fails to throw up pleasant surprises from less chartered waters. At the very top of the list of excitement, though, are The Descendants, written and directed by Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, Election and the mighty Sideways), and Shame, starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan (what a combination!) and directed by Steve McQueen who, with Fassbender, brought us Hunger, a highlight from the 2008 film festival.

Bookings will open soon for the great event that will take place at numerous venues around London between the 12th and 27th October.

7th Sep 2011