London Film Festival 2019 Part 1

So many films, and too little time? Here’s a first selection – something new every day


The exhaustion of life stretched thin after the devastation of war is brilliantly and movingly depicted in director Kantemir Balagov’s second feature. Iya and Masha are two friends, bonded through their experience as combatants on the front. But that bond takes an increasingly dark form. One day Iya reveals that the harrowing battles in which they fought were battles of a quite different order. There is a salutary scene which is deeply honest about women’s experience of war – what should be obvious but is not, is here revealed in sharp glory. The film is loosely inspired by stories drawn from Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich’s “The Unwomanly Face of War”.
Dir Kantemir Balagov
Thursday 3rd October, 18.00 Curzon Soho
Friday 4th October, 12.10 BFI South Bank NFT1


An inexplicable murder becomes the preamble to an unlikely comedy and an oblique romance. Set under the vast skies of a semi-desertic Mongolian landscape, Öndög is a wryly funny tale of a young woman who knows where she is going, and knows what she wants.
Dir Wang Quan’an
Wednesday 2nd October, 18.20, Vue West End 6
Friday 4th October, 18.20, Vue West End 4



This is cinema of resistance with a twist and with a vengeance .  When a remote Brazilian village finds itself wiped off the map, in the most literal way, a very wicked game begins.  A cheerfully surreal and gory Western, Bacurau mixes robust realism with a lightly futuristic touch, and fabulous female characters shine brightly – including, of course, the flamboyantly redoubtable Sônya Braga.
Dir Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles
Friday 4th October, 21.15, Odeon Luxe Leicester Square
Saturday 5th October, 11.30, Odeon Luxe Leicester Square


“Colour Out of Space”

A delicious, if graphic, treat. Director Richard Stanley’s return to feature filmmaking, with a brilliantly wild Lovecraft adaptation, is memorable for jumping feet first into the unimaginable, and what had been thought to be unfilmable. Nicolas Cage and Joely Richardson boldly leap into a story that is more queasy horror than fantasy. When a meteorite crashes near their farmhouse in New England, the couple decide to ignore it and get on with their lives. A sensible person might scream once or twice as events unfold.
Dir Richard Stanley
Monday 7th October, 20.30, Prince Charles Cinema
Tuesday 8th October, 18.10, Vue West End 4  


“The Whistlers”

Deliciously deadpan, and set in a grey Bucharest where no-one trusts anyone else, The Whistlers is a film noir that seems inspired as much by Aki Kaurismäki as it is by Howard Hawks.  There’s a gangster’s moll, a worn out cop, and ruthless killers with a poetic solution to pulling off a dastardly crime – a secret language, bird-like whistling that resonates across vast landscapes, that could one day, perhaps, help star-crossed lovers.
Dir Corneliu Porumboiu
Wednesday 9th October, 20.45, Curzon Mayfair
Thursday 10th October, 12.30, BFI South Bank NFT3


“Give Me Liberty” 

Vic is about to have one of those days. Part carer, part driver for the disabled and elderly, his good nature risks turning a challenging journey into an impossible one.  As a wintry day in Milwaukee turns to evening, the riotous escapade of a man, a van and an assortment of demanding passengers slides into, well, an actual riot. A gorgeously raw, sweet and funny film, Give Me Liberty shows the inevitable collision between an American dream and its reality.
Dir: Kirill Mikhanovsky
Friday 11th October, Vue West End 7
Sunday 13th October, BFI South Bank NFT3

Check out more news from London Film Festival here.

Venues, dates and times are indicative and subject to last minute change. Please countercheck the BFI website for accurate scheduling information.

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