Coming up between the 12th and 27th of next month is the return of the BFI London Film Festival. Its one of my favorite times of the year. Due to the massive demand I wasn’t able to get tickets for everything I wanted to see. Here is the lowdown – as you can see there is no oriental cinema in my selection for this year – the only one I wanted to see this year was Miike Takashi’s Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai but tickets went in an instant – I’ll get some reviews for these up in the film section sometime after the festival:
Director: Oren Moverman
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Sigorney Weaver, Ben Foster, Steve Buscemi
Description: Los Angeles in the late 1990s, and the city is seeing out a wretched decade. With memories of Rodney King’s beating still festering and an investigation into the force’s alleged corruption ongoing, the last thing the LAPD needs is a cop as unrepentantly dirty as Dave Brown, who is caught on film administering vicious instant justice to a careless driver. The powers-that-be relish the opportunity to begin disciplinary action that they hope will see Brown out on his ear, sacrificed as evidence of the department cleaning up its act. Brown shrugs off the charges and digs his heels in. Away from the job, Brown indulges in shameless womanising while living with his two ex-wives, sisters who are the mothers to his two disaffected daughters. It’s not a domestic set-up that provides succour, and the pressures on Brown begin to tell.
Director: Ralph Fiennes
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler and Brian Cox
Description: A modern day retelling of Shakespeare’s tale – the country is at war and Caius Martius, a famous general both admired and feared, is planning a career in politics. Despite the misery of the population for which he has minimal compassion, his path to personal glory seems assured – yet the emotions behind the authority and power may prove his undoing. From bloody battle scenes to TV debates, private moments of anguish to public shows of strength
Rebellion (L’ordre et la morale)
Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
Cast: Mathieu Kassovitz, Iabe Lapacas and Malik Zidi
Description: Based on an incident that occurred in 1988 in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, in the Pacific, Rebellion stars Kassovitz as Philippe Legorjus, a captain in France’s Gendarmerie Nationale. An experienced negotiator, Legorjus is flown in with his men to Ouvéa, where a group of indigenous Kanak separatists have taken hostages. Legorjus soon finds himself in an untenable position, with the French army treating the crisis as if it were a war situation on hostile soil. Structured as a countdown over ten days, the narrative shows Legorjus’s time running out, as an election approaches and the authorities demand expedient measures.
Director: Morten Tyldum
Cast: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Aksel Hennie and Julie R. Ølgaard
Description A glossy but gritty and very modern story, it centres on Roger, Norway’s most successful headhunter. Married to a beautiful and stylish wife and the owner of a stunning home, he seems to have it all. But Roger is anxiously living beyond his means, and running art scams on the side to keep himself solvent. When his wife introduces him to the handsome and urbane Clas Greve, this seems fortuitous indeed, for Greve is not only the perfect candidate for a job Roger is recruiting for, he also owns a very valuable painting. Roger sees a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but needless to say, things don’t go quite according to plan…
Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life
Director: Werner Herzog
Cast: Jason Burkett, Werner Herzog and Michael Perry
DescriptionForming part of Werner Herzog’s Death Row project (which also includes a series of shorter TV films), Into the Abyss is an outstanding exploration of violent crime and its consequences. Herzog focuses on two main characters, Michael Perry and Jason Burkett, convicted of a triple homicide committed in their home state of Texas. Perry was interviewed on camera just days before his execution; Burkett did not receive the death sentence, but was sentenced to life in prison after his father, himself a convicted felon, pleaded for clemency. Alongside these protagonists, Herzog talks to their families and those of the victims, as well as to a chaplain and others intimately involved in administering the death sentence. Much of the strength of the film lies in Herzog’s interview style, which is respectful, but never precludes him asking uncomfortable questions (‘destiny has dealt you a bad deck of cards, which doesn’t exonerate you and which does not mean I have to like you’). What emerges is a coruscating study of the senselessness of violence, whether from individuals or state, and a particularly disturbing picture of the society that breeds it.
By Tendai – Cognitive Space