Steve McQueen’s Blitz Confirmed For October World Premiere At London Film Festival 2024


by Jordan King |
Updated on

As any UK-based film lover knows, the opening night gala of the London Film Festival is always one to keep an eye out for. In recent years, that coveted slot has been reserved for the likes of Emerald Fennell's scandalous scandalous Saltburn, Matthew Warchus' raucous Roald Dahl romp Matilda The Musical, and Samuel Jeymes' slick neo-spaghetti western The Harder They Fall. And this year's 68th BFI London Film Festival — which will run from Wednesday 9 October to Sunday 20 October — looks to have another doozy lined up for us. As announced by the BFI earlier today, kicking things off this year will be Oscar and BAFTA award winning writer-director Steve McQueen's Apple Original WWII drama Blitz, which stars Saoirse Ronan, Harris Dickinson, and nine-year-old newcomer Elliott Heffernan.

Having opened LFF twice before — first with 2018's Widows and then again in 2020 with Small Axe anthology feature Mangrove — McQueen is no stranger to the Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall. In fact, over the past 16 years, the BFI Fellowship inductee's Hunger, 12 Years A Slave, Shame, Lovers Rock, and Occupied City have all played the flagship British film festival. And his latest directorial effort — whose stacked ensemble includes among its ranks legendary rocker and acting debutant Paul Weller, Kathy Burke, and Stephen Graham — seems poised to raise the roof once more with its rousing London-centric tale of resilience and humanity in the face of adversity.

Here's the official synopsis; "Blitz follows the epic journey of George (Elliott Heffernan), a 9-year-old boy in World War II London whose mother Rita (Saoirse Ronan) sends him to safety in the English countryside. George, defiant and determined to return home to Rita and his grandfather Gerald (Paul Weller) in East London, ensues on an adventure, only to find himself in immense peril, while a distraught Rita searches for her missing son.

Blitz is a movie about Londoners," said McQueen in a statement given to the BFI following the film's opening gala announcement. "It honours the spirit of what and how Londoners endured during the blitz, but also explores the true representation of people in London, while at its core is the story of a working-class family desperate to be reunited during times of war. I could not be more thrilled that the BFI London Film Festival have invited us to open this year’s festival, and to celebrate the World Premiere of ‘Blitz’ in my hometown.”

The 68th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express is set to take place in cinemas all over London and at partner festival venues across the UK from 9–20 October, 2024. Blitz will open this year's LFF on 9 October ahead of a limited theatrical release on 1 November. Then, the film will make its debut globally on Apple TV+ on 22 November.

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