London’s annual film festival has been launched and begins on 14 October in its usual flurry of public anticipation and red-carpet celebrity spots. Booking opens in just a few days and over 191 films will be shown during the 15 days of the festival, covering a bewildering array of genres and storylines. From the obscure to the big budget, the sparsely directed to the bombastic, and the romantic to the bleaker-than-bleak, the festival promises to cover just about the entire spectrum of cinema. No mean feat, indeed. With so much choice on offer, you could spend hours - not to mention enough cash to fund your own feature film - over the two weeks. We give you a whistle-stop tour of some of our anticipated favourites before booking opens to the public online on 26th September.
Ones to watch: Gala showings
The gala shows are the most sought after, with the public and industry types jostling for a place at the opening and closing events. There's a price tag to match (from £15-£25) but some very exciting UK premieres to be seen. High on our list is Wes Anderson's first animated film Fantastic Mr Fox, which promises to retain the quirky caper of Roald Dahl's original story while bringing the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Owen Wilson into the mix (and including a cameo from none other than Jarvis Cocker). Clooney also pops up in not one but two more gala showings, including the satirical The Men Who Stare at Goats. Based on Jon Ronson's non-fiction account of a Special Forces Operator in Iraq who claims he has the ability to read minds and, ahem, kill goats by staring at them, early reviews have nothing but praise for the movie.
Both artist Sam-Taylor Wood and Danish director Lone Scherfig fix their gaze on the UK, the former in a feature debut detailing John Lennon's early years in biopic 'Nowhere Boy', and the latter in the Nick Hornby-scripted 'An Education', set in the stifling grip of 1960s middle classes. Even closer to home is Jane Campion's 'Bright Star' focusing on the passionate relationship between Hampstead's John Keats and Fanny Brawne, with stunning visual use of nature and Keats' poetry, while Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon looks equally beguiling but less thankfully less harrowing than some of his previous work. Lastly, to round things up with a good old dystopia, don't miss adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's apocalyptic novel The Road, featuring Viggo Mortensen.
Tomorrow, we give you our picks of Films on the Square - the most anticipated titles from around the world - as well as Brit flicks you mustn't miss.
Image from howzey's photostream under the Creative Commons Licence.