BFI London Film Festival Preview

- Advertisement -

The double bill I’m most looking forward to features Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Shannon, who I first saw in the brilliant Shotgun Stories (2007). Take Shelter is his second collaboration with writer/director Jeff Nichols and finds Shannon in dark territory again as a man whose psychological problems put him at odds with his small-town community.

Shannon also plays the husband of Linda Cardellini’s stressed-out combat veteran in Return, a film about the pressures of war on those left at home. The Missing Person showed that Shannon can temper his intensity with a wonderfully dry sense of humour and he definitely has the talent to be a leading man and not just an accomplished supporting player.

Michael Fassbender’s A Dangerous Method and Shame have already been reviewed during the recent Toronto International Film Festival, though I am keen to see to both them. Do we need to talk about Kevin, either? Lynne Ramsay’s adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s novel has already garnered great reviews from earlier screenings showing this year. Another Oscar for Tilda Swinton?

I must confess that I’m probably not going to make it to Madonna’s W.E. but here are a few other titles that will have my attention:

The Kid with a Bike (directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne)

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes earlier this year, this sounds like another gritty but highly affecting drama from the brilliant Belgians who made The Child.

Carnage (director Roman Polanski)

I saw Yazmina Reza’s play The God of Carnage – or rather I didn’t see it because I had someone’s big head stuck in my line of vision throughout the evening. So Polanski’s film about warring middle-class parents is now a must-see for me.  Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster head the cast.

Nobody Else But You (director Gérald Hustache-Mathieu)

The BFI brochure’s description begins “Neo-noir fun”, which was enough to sell it to me. Apparently it pays tribute to pulp thrillers and Marilyn Monroe. I can’t wait.

Otelo Burning (director Sara Blecher)

An apartheid-era coming-of-age-drama centred on a passion for surfing is an intriguing premise. When it comes to stories set in modern South Africa I hope this has more in common with Tsotsi than Clint Eastwood’s unbelievably overrated Invictus.

The Monk (director Dominik Moll)

Luis Buñuel co-wrote an earlier version of this Gothic tale starring Vincent Cassel as a monk who’s tested both by the supernatural and earthly desires. Moll made the hugely unsettling Lemming, so I’m expecting great things here.


– Susannah Straughan


  1. Christian says

    I think you got Andrea Riseborough to respond to your blog, but she is correct. The reviews that did not focus on Madonna as a person suggested that the film is actually pretty good. My friends who went to TIFF particularly loved it and a couple of them are somewhat of film nerds.

  2. Andrea says

    Look without prejudice!!!!!!!
    Madonna’s W.E. is much better then you think! Look it, and after have a opinion, possibly with out prejudice (but I think you’ll not have it).

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.