Preview: Raindance Film Festival @ Apollo Cinema Piccadilly Circus

Last year, Raindance set out to shock. Playing at least five movies that were banned in other countries, Europe’s leading independent film festival was pushing for extremes.

This year, post riots, revolutions and near financial defaults, the programme seems, well, quieter. Happily, the mouth-watering quality is still there.

The full Raindance programme includes more than 90 premiers from 36 countries, including over 30 international premieres, and a further 137 shorts. The edgy and alternative vibe remains, but with stars including Simon Callow, John Hurt and Harry Enfield on screen, there’s probably going to be less of the wringing of hands that accompanied screenings of A Serbian Film, L.A. Zombie or Stolen last year.

The opening night gala of Another Earth, starring Brit Marling, is already sold out, but there are 12 other opportunities to see this Mike Cahill-directed film, which was the breakout hit at Sundance earlier this year.

Other films to look out for include:

  • Mockumentary Black Pond about a stranger who dies at a family’s dinner table, starring Chris Langham, back from past scandals, and stand-up Simon Amstell in his acting debut. “I could’ve performed a citizen’s arrest for suicide… but I would’ve been arresting a dead person.”
  • Chilean indie slacker comedy romance, Bonsai, which is Raindance’s Closing Night Gala.
  • Acts of Godfrey, starring Simon Callow and Harry Enfield, and a script written entirely in rhythming couplets. Might be brilliant; might drive you nuts. But the dark comic premise sounds fun: a motivational weekend attended by a salesman, gangsters, a pop star and a fraudster.
  • The starry one: A Thousand Kisses Deep features Dougray Scott, Emilia Fox, David Warner, and Jodie Whittaker.
  • Montevideo, Taste of a Dream – Serbia’s biggest-ever box office hit is heading for the Oscars next year. Set in 1930s Serbia, it’s all about football, sex and gambling, and looks rather stylish from the trailer.

The Raindance Film Festival runs from 28 September to 9 October at the Apollo Cinema in London’s Piccadilly Circus. The Opening Night premiere of Another Earth is at Cineworld Haymarket. Tickets and passes to the festival are on sale at www.raindance.co.uk. Weekday matinees are £5, Weekday evenings and weekends are £10. Festival Passes cost £149 (all access except opening and closing galas).

And check out 10 Films You Should See at the Raindance Film Festival 2011 on i-flicks.net

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