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The programme for the 62nd BFI London Film Festival is, as always, pure film magic. Running from October 10-21 t has lined up 225 films to be screened from 77 countries in 14 cinemas.

The festival opens with Steve McQueen’s Widows, a female fuelled heist thriller starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Colin Farrell. It will close with Stan & Ollie, with Steve Coogan and John C.Reilly playing comedy’s most famous double act as they enter their twilight years.

Other big films include the eccentric director Yorgos (The Lobster and Killing of the Sacred Deer)  Lanthimos’ The Favourite starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, and Joel and Ethan Coen’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, an anthology of six Western tales.

Keira Knightley stars as Colette with Dominic West in Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice)’s biopic of the racy French novelist and Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening,



 Oscar Isaac and the Olivias Cooke and Wilde make a brilliant ensemble cast for Life Itself from This is Us’s Dan Fogelman.

There are many, many more films to see and you’ll be able to glimpse a flurry of stars from Keira Knightley to Alfonso Cuaron sashaying down the Red Carpet.

I’m looking forward to seeing a comedy from Saudi Arabia, a thriller from South Korea and a romance from Iran, wedged in between dozens of other films. This year the artistic director is Tricia Tuttle and she has genuinely made this not only a global event but also one with nearly 40 per cent of the films from female directors.

See bfi/org.uk/lff for the full programme

Ticketsare on sale at bfi/org.uk/lff, by telephone on 020 7928 3232 (10.00 - 20.30 daily), in person at the box office at BFI Southbank.

MARIANNE GRAY


Oscar Isaac and the Olivias Cooke and Wilde make a brilliant ensemble cast for Life Itself from This is Us’s Dan Fogelman. There are many, many more films to see and you’ll be able to glimpse a flurry of stars from Keira Knightley to Alfonso Cuaron sashaying down the Red Carpet.

I’m looking forward to seeing a comedy from Saudi Arabia, a thriller from South Korea and a romance from Iran, wedged in between dozens of other films. This year the artistic director is Tricia Tuttle and she has genuinely made this not only a global event but also one with nearly 40 per cent of the films from female directors.

See bfi/org.uk/lff for the full programme

Ticketsare on sale at bfi/org.uk/lff, by telephone on 020 7928 3232 (10.00 - 20.30 daily), in person at the box office at BFI Southbank.

MARIANNE GRAY



BOOK REVIEW


Notes from the Dream House: Selected (Philip French) Film Reviews 1963 - 2013, edited by Kersti, Karl, Patrick and Sean French

 

This volume of a selection of 50 years of Philip French’s reviews is a truly joyful reference book to read.

Full of quirks, interesting reviews packed with information and some delightful opinions, it is an absolute pleasure.

Any page you hit on shows how articulate, erudite and  perceptive he was with his huge knowledge of the cinema and also of  historic background.

French wrote movie essays, interviews and reviews from the early 1960s, and from 1973 to 2013 he was the film critic for The Observer.

He wrote or edited numerous books, was on juries around the world, was honoured with several fellowships and an OBE in 2013 but none of these accolades stand out against his compelling style, whether he was writing about Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West or David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.

Selected by his family, they have chosen just a few reviews per decade, starting with The Damned in 1963 to re-released classics Bonjour Tristesse & Plein Soleil in 2013.

Reflecting a lifetime in film, it is a very personal insight into a man who never tired of the enticing world of celluloid, screening rooms, actors, stories, directors, locations, edits or audiences.

He described himself as a lifeguard stalking the cinematic coastline, and he took his reader with him on some fascinating coastal stalks.

The French family reckon he wrote about 120,000 words. The ones they have chosen represent a small fraction of his output, but always encouraging the reader to dig deeper and settle back into their film-watching seat in the Dream House with boundless curiosity and enthusiasm.

MARIANNE GRAY

 


Bumper line-up for the London Film Festival