Time to roll out that red carpet – The BFI London Film Festival is back in town, and there is a great selection of over 200 films from 57 different countries. Running from the 9th – 21st October at various London locations tickets are selling out fast. Here are the movies I got tickets for. The selection is quite dark and there is not one English language film in the list. I’ll be sure to bring my reading glasses (reviews coming soon)
Director: Amat Escalante
Amat Escalante’s frighteningly credible third feature – which won him Best Director prize in Cannes – tells of a poor, hard-working Mexican family devastated by drug crime and institutional corruption. Car factory worker Heli lives with his wife and baby, dad and 12-year-old sister, who foolishly allows her police cadet boyfriend to use the roof of their modest home to hide a stash of drugs he’s stolen. Cue a swift descent into an unimaginably nightmarish series of violent events.
Country: South Korea
Director: Hoo-jung Park
I Saw the Devil writer is back with his second directorial movie. Korean box office smash New World plays homage to both The Godfather and Infernal Affairs telling the story of a conflict between the police and the mob told through the eyes of an undercover cop.
Director: Michael Noer
A slice of Nordic thrills. Eighteen-year-old Casper (Gustav Dyekjær Giese), who lives in the infamous Nordvest suburb of Copenhagen with his mother, brother Andy and sister Freya, is a talented housebreaker who makes ends meet committing burglaries for neighbourhood boss Jamal. When a rival gangster, Bjorn, makes Caspar an offer of more lucrative terms and, perhaps, the promise of advancement through the ranks of his very white Danish ‘family’, the enraged Jamal is not prepared to tolerate defection; things violently escalate, placing the teenager and his family at the centre of a toxic conflict. What could be a predictable genre tale is elevated far above the ordinary by director Noer’s fresh script and restrained approach, and by Gustav Dyekjær Giese’s natural and powerful performance. His remarkable stillness only serves to intensify Casper’s inner turmoil.
Country: Hong Kong
Director: Juno Mak
Writer of the Revenge: A Love Story Juno Mak’s directorial debut – this movie pays homage to the old Hong Kong horrors of the 70s and 80s featuring the traditional hopping vampires also containing many of the original cast from the Mr. Vampire series, the film is set in a creepy and moody Hong Kong public housing tower whose occupants we soon discover, run the gamut from the living to the dead, to the undead, along with ghosts, vampires and zombies
Director: Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza
Salvo is already an award-winning film, that received the Semaine de la Critique top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film begins, explosively, albeit traditionally, when a Mafia hitman (the eponymous ‘hero’ Salvo himself) is ambushed and decides to seek murderous revenge on the Sicilian boss who has ordered his assassination. In the process of executing his enemy, Salvo is confronted by Rita, a young, apparently blind, girl whom he cannot face killing so instead takes hostage.From then on, Salvo’s story becomes increasingly more complex and emotionally rich
The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears
Director: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani
This one is going to something else – sounds like it will be the most trippy of my selection. Following the disappearance of his wife, a man enters a web of intrigue as he tries to uncover her whereabouts. Traversing the labyrinthine halls of his apartment building, he encounters inhabitants whose tales of sensuality and sadism play out before him. With an unconventional approach to narrative, Cattet and Forzani have created a sensory experience that’s more dream than traditional film, often forgoing dialogue in favour of instinctual storytelling. From its gloriously evocative title to its visionary execution, this is a gift to fans of exploitation cinema; pitched to perfection and delivering devious surprises with every blood-splattered frame.
Why Don’t You Play in Hell?
Director: Sion Sono
Controversial director Sion Sono is back – every year one of his movies tears a hole into the London Film Festival. Fifteen years ago he wrote a script about the violent exploits of two rival crime syndicates, whose encounters with a renegade film crew and the precocious young star of a toothpaste commercial culminates in bloody carnage. A decade and a half later, he has reunited his unlikely posse in this ingenious slice of high-octane insanity that is both a fresh take on the yakuza film and an affectionate tribute to the death of celluloid. Oscillating somewhere between classic exploitation and sharp comedy, Sono’s ultra-violent satire delights in inverting expectations and catching its viewer off guard at every step, resulting in possibly the most outlandish portrayal of filmmaking since John Waters’ ode to cinematic terrorism, Cecil B. Demented, with its heart in the right place (and its morals gleefully in the wrong), Why Don’t You Play in Hell? is as effortlessly charming as it is wilfully perverse
By Tendai – Cognitive Space