Wednesday, 3 September 2014

BFI London Film Festival 2014 Official Competition

The BFI have released the list of films that will be competing for the Best Film Award at the London Film Festival 2014. It is of course a diverse bunch. Interestingly, though I saw a few of the Gala screening films at Cannes 2014, I only saw one of these films at the festival. That film was Timbuktu  and was a huge surprise to me. Here is the full list and you can find much further detail at the BFI London Film Festival website

Out of this bunch, the ones I'm most intrigued by are Dearest, Girlhood, The Keeping Room and Son of a Gun. However, if any of these are as surprising as Timbuktu, then this will be a very exciting competition.

This deeply moving drama charts the turmoil of a Chinese couple whose child is abducted. This one, based on true details of real life kidnappings, will be heavy.

Peter Strickland’s new film is a bold and sensual exploration of the power dynamic between two women who live cut off from the outside world. This is from the guy who gave us Berberian Sound Studio so will undoubtedly be a bit odd.

In 1969, a mysterious fainting sickness overtakes an English all-girl school. This is from Carol Morley, the director of Dreams of a Life and stars Game of Thrones’ own Arya Stark: aka Maisie Williams.

A mysterious female vampire stalks the streets of a deadbeat town in this arresting debut. An Iranian vampire Western in black and white? Colour me intrigued.

Céline Sciamma’s triumphant third film is a beautifully observed examination of a young girl’s search for identity in the underprivileged suburbs of Paris. It’s from the director of the excellent Tomboy, but sadly is in now way a sequel to Richard Linklater’s Boyhood.

On the American frontier a young woman is forced to go to any means to defend her kin from the ravages of the barbaric outside world. From the director of Harry Brown, and starring Brit Marling and Hailee Steinfeld. Yes please.

Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Cannes award winner is a striking attack on corrupt politics set on Russia’s northwest coastline. This won the best screenplay award at Cannes but unfortunately I didn’t get to see it.

François Ozon’s delicious new drama is a smart and sly satire – with some jaw-dropping twists – about gender, class and consumerism.

A concentration camp survivor undergoes reconstructive surgery and embarks on a search for her husband in postwar Germany.

A provocative and disquieting parable about a deposed president sheltering a child as they travel across country. From Iranian director Moshen Makhmalbaf.

A smart heist thriller about a tough young hoodlum who teams up with a ruthless con and finds himself attracted to a smart, street-savvie young woman. After David Michod's Animal Kingdom and The Rover, I'm very excited to see another scorching Australian thriller making a splash internationally. Stars Ewan McGregor.


In Abderrahmane Sissako’s stunning new film, residents of a Mali town struggle to cope with the imposition of Sharia Law by radical Islamist invaders. This was the first film I got to see at Cannes 2014 and I was pretty blown away by its sense of humour when dealing with such an infuriating, challenging subject. Click the title for my review.

What tickles your fancy out of this lot?

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