Running from 7 to 18 October with screenings spread across central London and a number of participating local cinemas, the 2015 edition of the BFI London Film Festival opens with Sarah Gavron’s women’s rights drama Suffragette and closes with Danny Boyle’s biopic of Steve Jobs, starring Michael Fassbender as the tech-wizard and former Apple CEO. In between, the line-up is packed with oddities, thrills and freaks, and some fine visceral horror.
Our top picks this year include festival hit The Forbidden Room, the latest offering from Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson, who co-directed this busy, chaotic and occasionally perplexing nightmare in which plot, characters and locations constantly flow into one another enigmatically. We also highly recommend Green Room, Jeremy Saulnier’s impressive follow-up to Blue Ruin, the dazzling 140-minute one-take-wonder Victoria, directed by German director Sebastian Schipper, and Eva Husson’s striking first feature Bang Gang, which premiered in Toronto last month.
Other titles seen on the festival circuit include Robert Egger’s underwhelming The Witch, Yorgos Lanthimos’s bizarre first English-language film The Lobster, Alex van Warmerdam’s twisted contract killer comedy Schneider vs Bax and Takashi Miike’s new action fantasy Yakuza Apocalypse.
We look forward to Sion Sono’s spaced-out Love & Peace, along with Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s novel High Rise and Evolution, the long-awaited second feature by Lucile Hadžihalilović (Innocence). Also worth checking out are German body horror Der Nachtmahr, Spanish necrophilia drama The Corpse of Anna Fritz, horror Western Bone Tomahawk, Danish chiller What We Become, and The Invitation, a disturbing chamber piece from Jennifer’s Body director Karyn Kusama. Plus, screening as part of ‘Sonic’ strand, we’ll be taking a look at Ruined Heart: Another Love Story between a Criminal and a Whore by punk filmmaker Khavn De La Cruz and John Pirozzi’s compelling documentary Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock’n’Roll.
The archive screenings include Make More Noise, a selection representing women on film in the first decades of the 20th century, alongside a restoration of Edward Dmytryk’s stylish 1959 Western Warlock, Jean Cocteau’s Gothic fantasy La Belle et la Bête (1946), Thorold Dickenson’s Gaslight (1940), and Joan Fontaine in her last big-screen appearance in the Hammer production The Witches (1966).
On 9 October 2015, there will be a special screening of three new 35mm prints of films by the Brothers Quay, alongside a new short by Christopher Nolan featuring the twin filmmakers ever inspiring work. Plus, in the Experimenta strand, Anthology Film Archives offer a sampler programme of an eclectic array of artists active in New York City from 1975-1990.