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BFI London Film Festival 2017

Week 2

Monday the 9th

Call Me by Your Name

Image Source: Getty Images

The second week at this year’s festival kicked off with a string of Monday screenings, culminating in the ‘Mayor’s Gala’ for Luca Guadagnino’s poised LGBT coming-of-age drama ‘Call Me by Your Name’; a story set during a 1980s summer in small-town northern Italy, where a teenager forms a fraternal relationship which develops into something much deeper with a graduate student/researcher, who comes to spend the season with his family of academic intellectuals.

Guadagnino was joined on the Leicester Square red carpet by his stars Timothee Chalamet, Armie Hammer and Esther Garrel, ‘Call Me by Your Name’ is out in UK cinemas on the 27th of October and on the 24th of November in the US, check out our review here.

Call Me By Your Name press conference (courtesy of GetIntoFilm)

 

 

Thoroughbreds

Image Source: Getty Images

The second Monday at the LFF this year also brought an in-competition screening of playwright-turned-director Cory Finley’s assured debut feature ‘Thoroughbreds’; the story of two well-to-do suburban Connecticut teens who rekindle a childhood friendship and bond over their daring personalities and outsider characters, leading to a dark plan to solve their familial issues which quickly gets out of hand. Finley was joined on the red carpet by his young stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke as well as producer Andrew Duncan,‘Thoroughbreds’ is out in UK and US cinemas on the 8th of March 2018.

Cory Finley on Thoroughbreds at the LFF (courtesy of HeyUGuys)

 

 

Let the Corpses Tan

Image Source: Kino Lorber

London was also witness to the return if pure exploitation cinema to the 21st century on Monday, as the directing team of Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani brought a screening of their visually arresting and outrageously violent French standoff crime/thriller ‘Let the Corpses Tan’, a visceral, lurid and bizarre story following the gruesome fortunes of the criminal and civilian guests at an abandoned French coastal hamlet in the 70s, as the police come knockin’ and allegiances go out the window. ‘Let the Corpses Tan’ is out in on the 18th of October in France, with no UK or US dates yet, you can see our review here.

Let the Corpses Tan trailer (courtesy of AMERteaser)

 

 

Person to Person

Image Source: Magnolia Pictures

American actor-turned-director Dustin Guy Defa also made an impact on the second Monday at the LFF as his idiosyncratic urbanite comedy ‘Person to Person’ got an out-of-competition screening; a light-hearted story of human connection in modern times, following the fortunes of disparate New Yorkers over the course of a day, as they try to balance careers and relationships with their own neuroses and personal aspirations. ‘Person to Person’ is out now in the US, with no UK date yet.

Person to Person trailer (courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

 

 

Tuesday the 10th

The Shape of Water

Image Source: Getty Images

Tuesday in week two of this year’s festival brought a gala screening for one of the most anticipated films at this year’s festival, Guillermo del Toro’s latest unique and beguiling fantasy concoction ‘The Shape of Water’—a ‘Beauty & the Beast’ style fairy-tale about boundless love, set in the backdrop of the cold war where a mute cleaner at a top secret lab develops a deep bond with their latest experiment—a fantastical water-dwelling creature.

Del Toro graced the Leicester square along with just one of the film’s stars Richard Jenkins, producer J Miles Dale and composer Alexandre Desplat,‘The Shape of Water’ is out on the 8th of December in the US and on 16th of February 2018 in the UK.

Guillermo del Toro on The Shape of Water at the LFF (courtesy of HeyUGuys)

 

 

A Fantastic Woman

Image Source: Getty Images

The BFI’s LGBT initiative ‘Flare’ showcased one of its films on Tuesday with a special presentation of Sebastián Lelio’s Chilean drama ‘A Fantastic Woman’. The story of a singer, waitress and trans woman who tragically loses her lover, only to go through the indignities of explaining the circumstances and justifying their relationship to his family and the authorities—but does so with gritty determination and grace. ‘A Fantastic Woman’ is out on the 17th of November in the US and on the 2nd of March 2018 in the UK.

Daniela Vega on A Fantastic Woman at the LFF (courtesy of HeyUGuys)

 

 

The Party

Image Source: Getty Images

Tuesday also saw an opportunity for writer/director Sally Potter to get a last minute promotional push for her latest film, as the LFF hosted the British premiere of monochrome ideological farce and satirical black comedy/drama ‘The Party’—set in a London flat where a group of middle-class British liberals assemble to celebrate a political appointment, only for this civilised gathering to descend into tragedy when backstabbing and barbed ideologies bubble up. Potter brought along her stars Timothy Spall, Cillian Murphy, Kristin Scott Thomas, Cherry Jones and Bruno Ganz to tread the red carpet, for a film which is out now in UK cinemas.

The Party trailer (courtesy of Picturehouse)

 

 

Wednesday the 11th

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Image Source: Getty Images

The second Wednesday’s screenings culminated with the gala presentation and European premiere of director Paul McGuigan’s biographical period drama and unlikely romance ‘Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’—the extraordinary true love story between aspiring young British actor Peter Turner and ageing ‘Golden Era’ Hollywood star Gloria Grahame, a romance that would span an ocean during the late 70s and early 80s and end in poignant and unlikely fashion on the humble streets of Liverpool.

McGuigan was joined by his stars Annette Bening and Jamie Bell on the Leicester Square red carpet, ‘Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’ is out on the 17th of November in the UK and on the 29th of December in the US, you can see our review here.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool at the LFF (Courtesy of BFI)

 

 

Foxtrot

Image Source: Bord Cadre Films

Wednesday also signalled an Israeli presence at the LFF, in the form of a gala screening for Samuel Maoz’s tragic yet quirky family drama ‘Foxtrot’—a tale of two intersecting stories; one centred around family’s struggle to come to terms with perturbing news about their son’s military service, the other revolving around his slightly surreal and sobering experiences while stationed at an isolated desert checkpoint. ‘Foxtrot’ is out on the 2nd of March 2018 in the US, with no UK date yet.

Foxtrot trailer (courtesy of TIFF Trailers)

 

 

Good Manners

Image Source: Imovision

Brazilian cinema showcased the health of its creativity on Wednesday with an in-competition screening for perhaps the most bizarre and unique film of this year’s festival, a feat in itself, as UK audiences were treated to Juliana Rojas & Marco Dutra’s dark Brazilian social fairy-tale and subversive creature horror ‘Good Manners’. A story which follows the fate of a struggling maid and live-in nanny for a young and affluent São Paulo single mom, whose relationship with her boss develops into something unexpected, only for some dark and bizarre behaviour to uncover an even darker secret which changes the direction of her life forever. ‘Good Manners’ has no current release dates.

Good Manners trailer (courtesy of IndieWire)

 

 

Brawl in Cell Block 99

Image Source: Getty Images

After making an impact with his unique cannibal horror Western ‘Bone Tomahawk’ last year, writer/director S. Craig Zahler returned to the LFF and brought his star Vince Vaughn and producers S. Dallas Sonnier and Jack Heller for a screening of their ultra-violent prison thriller ‘Brawl in Cell Block 99’—a tale revolving around a tough and stoic ex-boxer who falls on hard times and takes to drug smuggling to stay afloat, only to end up in the big house and get caught up in all-out prison warfare. ‘Brawl in Cell Block 99’ is out now in the US and on the 20th of October in the UK, you can see our review here.

Brawl in Cell Block 99 trailer (courtesy of Zero Media)

 

 

Thursday the 12th

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Image Source: Getty Images

Thursday’s proceedings were topped off by one of the more unique films at this year’s LFF, as as writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos returned to the Leicester Square red carpet for a gala screening of his latest singular deadpan concoction ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’. A bizarre tale of revenge and retribution centred around a successful heart surgeon and family man, who is drawn into the world of a troubled young patient . . . with sinister consequences.

Lanthimos was accompanied by his stars Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Barry Keoghan and Raffey Cassidy, ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ is out on limited release in the US on the 20th of October and on the 3rd of November in the UK, you can see our LFF review here.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer at the LFF (Courtesy of BFI)

 

 

Angels Wear White

Image Source: Getty Images

Chinese cinema also made its presence felt on Thursday, as writer/director Vivian Qu brought her troubling critique of contemporary Chinese culture to the LFF for an in-competition screening of ‘Angels Wear White’; a story revolving around a schoolgirl who is sexually assaulted by an influential man, a reluctant teenage witness and the seaside town which bends over backwards to cover up the crime. ‘Angels Wear White’ has no current release dates.

 

 

Sicilian Ghost Story

Image Source: Indigo Film

The LFF also got a tasty morsel of Italian cinema on Thursday with a screening of Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza’s dark realist fairy-tale ‘Sicilian Ghost Story’—a semi-metaphysical tale of unbounded forbidden young love, set in the backdrop of Mafia child abduction and based on a sobering true story. ‘Sicilian Ghost Story’ is out now in Italy, with no UK date yet, you can see our LFF review here.

Sicilian Ghost Story trailer (courtesy of The Match Factory)

 

 

Journeyman

Image Source: Getty Images

Thursday also saw another example of the LFF’s focus on disability this year as star and director Paddy Considine brought along a large cast—including his principal co-star Jodie Whittaker—for a screening of their boxing-based drama ‘Journeyman’; the story of a boxing veteran and middleweight champion who suffers a catastrophic brain injury and is forced to effectively re-start his life, with huge emotional implications for his wife and infant daughter . . . and the people around them. ‘Journeyman’ is out on the 16th of February 2018 in UK cinemas.

 

 

Friday the 13th

Downsizing

Image Source: Getty Images

The start of the final weekend at this year’s LFF was crowned by a gala screening of ‘Downsizing’, as writer/director Alexander Payne adds a sci-fi environmentalist twist to his signature quirky dramedy sensibilities. The film is set in a world where scientists have found the solution to overpopulation and its effects on the planet, shrinking people down to 5-inches tall—but when an honest man volunteers for the irreversible procedure and a shot at a new life, he soon realises that even this micro-society can’t escape the problems of humanity.

Payne brought along stars Hong Chau and Christoph Waltz as well as producer Mark Johnson to tread the red carpet, ‘Downsizing’ is out on the 22nd of December in the US and on the 19th of January 2018 in the UK. You can check out our LFF review here.

Downsizing at the LFF (courtesy of BFI)

 

 

The Florida Project

Image Source: Altitude Film

The LFF got their third dose of Sean Baker in the last five years on Friday, as one of the most exciting American indie filmmakers brought his latest unique meditation on the American underclass to the festival with a gala screening of ‘The Florida Project’. A gritty and hilarious mix of brazen behaviour and childish wonderment, set the in the seedy live-in motels in the shadow of the Disney Empire and seen through the eyes of an adorably boisterous six-year-old girl, her unruly young mother and the lives that revolve around them. ‘The Florida Project’ is out now on limited release in the US and on the 10th of November in the UK, you can see our LFF review here.

The Florida Project trailer (courtesy of A24)

 

 

On Chesil Beach

Image Source: Getty Images

Friday also saw a gala screening for another period drama revolving around Saoirse Ronan and adapted for the screen by the writer of the original material himself, as the Irish star joined writer Ian McEwan and director Dominic Cooke plus the rest of the cast for a screening of their subtle drama bout unspoken emotion ‘On Chesil Beach’. A melancholy drama centred around a young newlywed British couple in the 1960s who struggle with physical connection in emotional silence. ‘On Chesil Beach’ is out on the 19th of January 2018 in the UK.

Saoirse Ronan On Chesil Beach at the LFF (courtesy of TheUpcoming)

 

 

Saturday the 14th

You Were Never Really Here

Image Source: Getty Images

The penultimate day at this year’s eventful LFF saw British director Lynne Ramsay return to the festival with her first feature in six years, as she was joined by her star Joaquin Phoenix for a gala screening and UK premiere of their disturbing drama and muscular thriller ‘You Were Never Really Here’.

An adaptation of a Jonathan Ames novella centred on a troubled brutal enforcer and private investigator, whose latest case tracking down a missing girl takes him down a deep and dark rabbit hole of abuse and perversion . . . and the untouchables who indulge in it. ‘You Were Never Really Here’ is out on the 23 February 2018 in the US, with no UK date yet.

You Were Never Really Here at the BFF (Courtesy of BFI)

 

 

Nico, 1988

Image Source: Vivo Film

Saturday also saw a screening for Susanna Nicchiarelli’s Italo-Belgian biographical drama ‘Nico, 1988’; the later-life story of 60s psychedelic singer-songwriter and Warhol superstar Nico, living the quiet life and struggling with personal demons, only to rekindle her musical flame with an 80s European tour. ‘Nico, 1988’ is out in Italy, with no UK date yet.

Nico, 1988 trailer (courtesy Celluloid Dreams)

 

 

Zama

Image Source: Getty Images

The final Saturday at the LFF also brought a South American flavour to the screenings as Argentinian writer/director Lucrecia Martel brought her reflective and slightly surreal Spanish colonialism drama ‘Zama’—an adaptation of the Antonio Di Benedetto novel set in a small Spanish colony in the Americas, where a minor officer struggles with the moral and existential decline of the locals and imperialists, as he longs for a transfer to the city where his family live . . . which seems painfully out of reach. ‘Zama‘ is out now in Argentina, with no UK relase date yet.

Zama trailer (courtesy Rei Cine)

 

 

Sunday the 15th

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Image Source: Getty Images

The honour of closing this year’s festival on Sunday went to Martin McDonagh, as the hometown writer/director brought along much of his cast for a big closing night gala screening of his latest unique and quirky dark comedy/drama ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’—a socially reflective modern day Southern tale centred around an irrepressible small town mother, who takes on local law enforcement (and much of the community) when they fail to solve the case of her daughter’s brutal murder.

McDonagh was joined on the Leicester Square red carpet by his stars Peter Dinklage, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Sandy Martin, Clarke Peters, Frances McDormand and Kathryn Newton, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is out on the 10th of November in the US and on the 12th of January 2018 in the UK, you can see our LFF review here.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri at the LFF (courtesy of BFI)

 

Awards at the 2017 London Film Festival—>

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