BFI 59th London Film Festival – Top Picks for 2015

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Next month sees the return of one of the UK’s most prolific film festival, The London Film Festival (LFF).  Taking place between 7 and 18 October, the festival will show over 230 films in more than 16 venues over the capital.

Showcasing an array of high-profile films, this year’s LFF will screen some of the early contenders in next year’s award season, as well as critically acclaimed offers from around the world.

Here are the choice picks of this year’s festival:

High-Rise

This long-awaited film adaptation, based on a novel by J.G. Ballard, will be one of the films with a gala screening during LFF 2015.  Directed by Kill List’s Ben Wheatley, the film sees Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons star in this satirical take on modern living.

The Assassin

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Awarded the Best Director prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsein delves into the martial arts genre for his latest feature in eight years.  The Transporter actress Shu Qi plays the eponymous assassin, who has to decide whether to kill the man she loves (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s Chang Chen) or break away from the world of assassins.

When Marnie Was There

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The final film to be made by Studio Ghibli before their hiatus, When Marnie was There is the second directorial feature for Hiromasa Yonebayashi (the first being The Secret World of Arriety).  The film revolves around the friendship between Anna and Marnie, which becomes distorted between dreams and real life.

Steve Jobs

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Directed by Danny Boyle, a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin with Michael Fassbender in the leading role, Steve Jobs is already a frontrunner for the 2016 Academy Awards.  Co-starring Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels and Seth Rogen, the film goes backstage behind three key Apple product launches, as Jobs (Fassbender) makes his mark as a creative pioneer.

Suffragette

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Brick Lane director Sarah Gavron directs an all-star cast, including Carey Mulligan, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson, Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham-Carter, in this drama about the UK feminist movement in the early 20th century.

Carol

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With Todd Haynes directing this adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel, Cate Blanchett is already creating early Best Actress buzz for her portrayal as Carol, whose embarks on a relationship with young shopgirl Theresa (Rooney Mara).  Breaking the rules on conventional relationships in the 1950s, Carol is an early contender for the forthcoming awards season.

The Lobster

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Awarded the Jury Prize at Cannes 2015, the latest feature by Dogtooth director Yorgos Lanthimos is set in a dystopian future, where singledom is banned.  Anyone who remains single is taken to The Hotel, and if they are not paired with anyone after 45 days, they will be turned into an animal.  Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz leads an ensemble cast in this unconventional love story.

Victoria

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Tipped as this year’s Birdman, Sebastian Schipper’s fourth film won six prizes at this year’s German Film Awards, including Best Film and Best Direction. Shot in one, continuous take, the film follows a young Spanish woman (Laia Costa) who is forced to collaborate in a bank robbery.

Black Mass

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Directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), this adaptation of Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill’s acclaimed book follows the criminal life of Jimmy ‘Whitey’ Bulger (Johnny Depp), one of the most notorious US gangsters, during the late 1970s and early 1980s.  The film co-stars Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch and Dakota Johnson.

Brooklyn

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Based on the Colin Tóibín 2009 novel, Nick Hornby writes the screenplay for this take on Irish immigration in the US during the 1950s.  Saoirse Ronan portrays young Ellis Lacey, who leaves her family for a fresh start in the US.  After overcoming her initial homesickness, she flourishes in her independent life, only for it to be unsettled by her past.




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