With festival season in full swing and cineastes around the world in chin-stroking mode, the 56th BFI London Film Festival has thrown its hat in the ring with a kaleidoscope of movie treats, all officially press-launched this morning. The LFF, which runs from October 10-21, will give UK filmgoers the chance to see Ben Affleck's Argo, Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges follow-up Seven Psychopaths, and John Hawkes-starring US indie The Sessions.
Doing artistic battle in the inaugural Official Competition with Seven Psychopaths will be Michael Winterbottom’s Everyday, Sally Potter’s Ginger and Rosa, and Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children.
With 225 feature films and documentaries, this year continues the LFF's expansion. Under the eye of new festival director, ex-Sydney Film Festival boss Clare Stewart, it's growing out beyond its traditional home in Leicester Square and the BFI South Bank to take in smaller cinemas like the Hackney Picturehouse, the Renoir and Everyman Screen on the Green in Islington.
Dustin Hoffman's first directorial effort Quartet, meanwhile, will see the thespian firepower of Maggie Smith,Tom Courtenay and Michael Gambon combining in a gala screening of the Verdi-fuelled indie. Other films to look out for include Rolling Stones doc Crossfire Hurricane, Chris O'Dowd's musical-comedy The Sapphires and the Oscar-buzzy Hyde Park On Hudson.
The 56th LFF opens with a gala screening of Tim Burton's Frankenweenie, closing on October 21 with Mike Newell's fresh take on Dickens' Great Expectations. Expect the usual mix of heady cinematic delights as London's theatreland turns into cinemaland for a 12 days of film-related fun.