The BFI London Film Festival draws ever closer and the excitement is building towards its inevitable crescendo when Suffragette hits Leicester Square on 8th October to open the festival for its 59th year. PopOptiq will of course be there to cover all the different films and events on offer to sate even the most ravenous cine-maniac.
As a taste of things to come, John McEntee has already brought you his excellent list of top ten films to check out this year but with a programme bursting with so many amazing films and filmmaking talent, we would be remiss if we didn’t offer up yet another ten films that just might slip under the radar to become some of the best of the fest:
Kurt Russell stars in this genre mash-up as a man leading a posse in the Wild West to rescue some hapless townsfolk from a tribe of cannibals. Not much is known about this film but being described as a mix between John Ford and Wes Craven and with Russell starring in his first Western since Tombstone (and leading up to his appearance in Tarantino’s own The Hateful Eight at Christmas), Bone Tomahawk should be a sure-fire cult hit.
Already causing headlines in director Maya Newell’s native Australia, this documentary follows the lives of four kids whose parents happen to be gay. This film looks to be a fascinating and insightful look at what to some is a hot button issue as it deals with marriage equality and the concept of what constitutes a traditional “family.” Films like Gayby Baby are essential to finding the human connections that sometimes get lost in the layers or prejudice and rhetoric.
Ryuzo and his Seven Henchmen
Writer/director/actor/comedian/politician/game show host Takeshi Kitano directs this comedy about a group of retired Yakuza who get the band back together to get revenge on a younger rival; think Ocean’s Eleven meets Space Cowboys by way of Seven Samurai. Fans of the filmmaker’s work will most likely find his sense of very dry humour more present than his penchant for sudden acts of extreme violence, but one can be reassured that with Kitano at the helm, this will be one very entertaining romp.
Mountains May Depart
After last year’s superb A Touch of Sin, Jia Zhangke assembles another portmanteau film about the way society can shape the lives of those who live within it. However this time he follows a group of friends, over three different time periods, starting at the dawn of the 21st century and ending in Australia a decade from now. Zhangke’s ability to capture fascinating and believable characters through his eye for beautiful imagery will make Mountains May Depart a must see.
A new Paolo Sorrentino film is always a reason to celebrate, but while reviews of Youth suggest it doesn’t quite match the splendour of The Great Beauty or the intensity of Il Divo, the mere prospect of watching Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel wander around a convalescence home is too good to pass up. Pair these titanic actors with Sorrentino’s intricate visual aesthetic and there will be a lot to adore about this latest effort from a true master.
Eva Husson’s debut feature about oversexed kids starting their own orgy club has been likened to the films of Larry Clark for its explicit depictions of sex, but where Clark approaches the subject (and aesthetic) of naked nubile youngsters through a male gaze, Husson shows us teenage sexuality from a female perspective and looks to be focusing on the psychological ramifications and the damage caused by boys and girls engaging in adult behaviours that they may not be old enough to handle.
Beasts of No Nation
Fresh off the success of True Detective’s first season, Cary Fukunaga brings his new feature into official competition. Starring Idris Elba and focusing on the plight of child soldiers in Africa, Beasts of No Nation looks to be a blistering portrayal of humanity taken to its most horrifying extremes by a visionary filmmaker.
Another film in competition this year, Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s second feature about a strange island populated by women and young boys and the surreal mystery at its centre is apparently a “boy’s own adventure” with Lovecraftian undertones. Combining naturalism with austerity in its look and tone, this coming-of-age drama is set to be an intense, eye-opening experience.
Jacques Audiard’s latest won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and could not be timelier as it essays a Sri Lankan man’s journey to Paris under a false identity in order to escape a war zone, but his problems fitting in seem to push him back into the world he thought he left behind. Addressing the plight of refugees and seeming to echo the current migrant crisis, Dheepan will undoubtedly be one of the great dramas this year.
Cemetery of Splendour
Former Palme d’Or winner, Apichatpong Weerasethakul brings his latest, Cemetery of Splendour, to the official competition. The film chronicles the epidemic of a sleeping sickness amongst a group of soldiers with the stricken being haunted by spirits who cause them hallucinations. Weerasethakul looks to be focusing on the societal and cultural issues of his native Thailand and his love of unconventional narrative structure and supernatural elements will no doubt be in on display in full force.