The British Film Institute presents the new edition of the London Film Festival offering filmmakers, artists and audiences a great time to communicate on a large scale, experiment with ideas and propose new questions. Kristy Matheson says she is honoured and excited to explore the depth of British cinema full of new talent and modern technology.
Yorgos Lanthimos. Poor Things
From January 25th, 2024
Full of expectation is Yorgos Lanthimos’ explosive Poor Things starring Emma Stone as a young woman in Victorian England who commits suicide and is revived by her guardian, scientist Dr. Goodwin Baxter, played by Willem Defoe. An incredible story of the fantastic transformation of Bella Baxter, attracted by the worldliness she runs away with Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo) a shrewd and dissolute lawyer, on a whirlwind adventure that takes place on several continents. Free of the prejudices of her time, Bella grows steadfast in her resolve to fight for equality and emancipation, determined to satisfy all her carnal and spiritual desires.
Kitty Green. The Royal Hotel
From November 3rd, 2023
The Royal Hotel explores the lives of Liv and Hanna on their journey through Australia; when the two run out of money, they find a small job in a pub in a suburban town. While Liv tries to embrace and appreciate the feeling of adventure, Hannah begins to feel uneasy about her increasingly precarious situation. Kitty Green’s film is an intriguing social thriller that expertly examines male-female power dynamics in a microcosm of Australian society. The cast stars Julia Garner and Jessica Henwick.
Emerald Fennell. Saltburn
From November 17th, 2023
Saltburn is the opening film of the BFI Gala evening. Directed by Emerald Fennell, it is an explicit tale that investigates the relationship between privilege and desire. The thriller has been described as “a wicked story” set in the early 00s that takes place at Oxford University. What is certain about the plot for the time being is that Keoghan’s character Oliver Quick, a Liverpudlian student will be sucked into the orbit of aristocrat Felix Catton, played by Jacob Elordi, and that Quick’s obsession with Catton will emotionally bonded during the summer the two spend at Elordi’s family home.
Kevin Macdonald. High & Low: John Galliano
One of the eagerly awaited films is the new English designer’s documentary High & Low: John Galliano, an insightful docufilm examining the rapid rise and dark slope of the famous fashion designer’s life. It is Scotland’s Kevin McDonald who helms the exciting documentary, Oscar-winning director in 1999 for One Day in September. This time he presents a journey towards redemption of the controversial creative personality who made fashion his life. The journey takes in the highlights of Galliano’s childhood and adulthood up to his current redemption as creative director of Maison Margiela.
Molly Manning Walker. How to Have Sex
Film4 Productions, British Film Institute
From November 3rd, 2023
Winner of an award at Cannes in the prestigious Un Certain Regard section, dedicated to first-time directors or particularly innovative films, the film How to have Sex by the young Molly Manning Walker is a sparkling and fresh take on today’s world. This debut by the 29-year-old writer-director investigates in a restless yet celebratory way the lives of three London schoolgirls shaking off a heavy school year during their summer holidays. The undeniable aspect of the film seems to be the surprising cast, in the case of the very young Mia McKenna-Bruce, who together with the director draws a profound teenage portrait, offering us a thoughtful and profound look at the delicate subject of consent.
Ryūichi Sakamoto. Opus (directed by Neo Sora)
KAB, Recorded Picture Company
Ryūichi Sakamoto is a beloved composer who died of cancer in early 2023, shortly after the release of his last album. It is a film to look forward to for the intimate narrative directed by the musician’s son, who skilfully documents the last period of Sakamoto’s life. The legendary founder of the Yellow Magic Orchestra and co-director of films by directors such as Bernardo Bertolucci, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Brian De Palma. Opus is an intimate offering and a tender piano revival of much-loved works, including the ethereal classic Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence.
Jonathan Glazer. The Zone of Interest
From December 8th, 2023
The Zone of Interest through the eye of Jonathan Glazer returns to tackle the Holocaust based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Martin Amis. It is a film that critically forces a cold look at the mundanity behind unforgivable brutality. By making the monstrous mundane Glazer repurposes the historical drama in total lack of sentimentality by depicting perhaps one of the most oppressive situations of anything we have seen in Holocaust films before. Rudolf, Hedwig and their family live the perfect suburban dream, with their house and garden beautifully tidy, but from behind the wall we hear the sounds of the past and the sounds of mechanised death, because Rudolf Hoss is the commander of Auschwitz. Glazer delivers an ambitious film, moving the usual topics of Holocaust drama into a hermetically sealed reality.