This year’s 58th edition of the BFI London Film Festival promises an exciting line-up filled, as ever, with a mixture of high-profile gala features, previous festival winners and hits, and a vast number of smaller gems that are unlikely to be coming to a cinema near you any time soon.
Running from 8 to 19 October 2014, the festival opens with the European premiere of The Imitation Game and closes with Brad Pitt tank-confined thriller Fury, with plenty of thrills on offer in between.
Featuring some of our favourites from this year’s Cannes and Etrange Festival, the line-up also includes Sion Sono’s Tokyo Tribe, Ana Lily Amirpour’s Iranian vampire tale A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Aleksei German’s final sci-fi epic Hard to Be a God, David Robert Mitchell’s creepy, intelligent thriller It Follows and Lisandro Alonso’s hallucinatory 19th-century meta-Western Jauja, starring Viggo Mortensen as a dizzy captain who follows his missing daughter into an existential void.
Straight from TIFF, we also recommend Mark Hartley’s Electric Boogaloo, which delivers a frenetic look at the rise and fall of 1980s action-exploitation studio Cannon Films, and Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s shocking The Tribe, whereas Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini, which attempts to recreate the last day in the life of the Italian director, is too elliptical and confounding to really satisfy.
Among the films we look forward to are The World of Kanako, a new stylish and provocative thriller from Confessions director Tetsuya Nakashima, Ning Hao’s racy Spaghetti Western homage No Man’s Land and the Misery-style Spanish thriller Shrew’s Nest, as well as a 40th anniversary screening of Tobe Hooper’s restored horror masterpiece The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
And we will definitely be checking out In the Basement, the new documentary by Austrian enfant terrible Ulrich Seidl, in which he investigates the many strange things his fellow countrymen do in their cellars. Also worthy of note are Gregg Araki’s White Bird in a Blizzard, Damián Szifrón’s Wild Tales, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s Spring and the Nordic werewolf fantasy When Animals Dream.
Finally, for everyone who hasn’t had a chance to see it on the big screen yet, the LFF’s popular archive screenings will include a painstaking restoration of Sergei Paradjanov‘s 1968 masterpiece The Colour of Pomegranates, along with other treasures such as King Hu’s Dragon Inn and restored 1934 silent film The Goddess, starring the iconic Ruan Lingyu.