It finished just over a week ago and we look back as our final video from London Film Festival drops today…
OSCAR AND Bafta-winning director Asif Kapadia seems more than likely to work again with choreographer and dance icon Akram Khan – as their first film together, ‘Creature’, launches into the world.
The dance film is set to release in February 2023 in the UK and enjoyed its world premiere at BFI LFF on Saturday, October 15 and we were there to talk to the talent about this film on the red carpet, prior to its first public screening at the BFI Southbank in London. (Click on the pictures to watch the video)
It’s an engaging, absorbing piece and as producer Uzma Hasan says, you can almost feel the sweat of the dancers – Kapadia has certainly captured the physicality and intensity of much of Khan’s work – which was commissioned orginally by the English National Ballet (ENB) as a stage work.
An acclaimed dancer and choreographer, Khan had first worked with the ENB on ‘Giselle’, his own version of the French Adolphe Adam’s 1841 ballet masterpiece.
As Khan explains (in our video), they were just three weeks shy of ‘Creature’ going to the floor at Sadler’s Wells, London when lockdown was announced.
In some ways, that period allowed Kapadia to see whether he could make a film from what Khan was making for the stage – as prompted by producer Hasan.
Jeffrey CIrio is terrific as the ‘Creature’ and the supporting cast are also great.
Its wider themes are emblematic of both Khan and Kapadia’s general aesthetics – very much about outsiders, authority, expectation, compassion, humanity, cruelty, technology and division.
While the stage version has a very physical beauty and starkness – the film has an unrelenting quality, in which you feel Creature’s pain more acutely perhaps. It’s a much more individualistic perspective you get from the film.
Kapadia in the video talks too about bringing different audiences together – his film audience, Khan’s many admirers (we say “fans” and Khan modestly demurs) and those who like and appreciate ballet.
It’s good to see Kapadia and Khan working together and it could be an extremely powerful pairing – both have brilliant artistic ‘eyes’ and can genuinely bring something different to the big screen – this is an early marker and should be viewed as such.
‘Creature’ and covering it was certainly a highlight of our festival, along with our red carpet coverage of the Opening Gala Film, ‘Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical’.
Trisha Lakhani, acv presenter on the evening, got to talk to Alisha Weir – Matilda herself and Sindhu Vee, who plays the young girl’s friend and confidante and mobile library honcho, Mrs Phelps. There’s a fair sprinkling of diversity through the film and it should do well, as a festive release and goes out on November 23.
Sandwiched in between these two acv productions are two other videos from LFF.
We heard from well-known and popular Indian director Mahesh Narayanan. His first LFF outing with ‘Declaration’ is unlikely to be his last – he is one of those directors who seems to be able to comfortably straddle both commercial and more arthouse cinema. His ‘Malik’ (released on Amazon Prime last year) being an example of this and the strength of Malayalam language films more generally.
We reviewed ‘Declaration’ along with other content which has strong South Asian themes – see here. Of these, if you are looking for something a little leftfield, charming and endearing, see ‘Crows Are White’ by Ahsen Nadeem.
Elsewhere, it was hard to pick a film that was so resoundingly brilliant, we have to mention it here.
Perhaps ‘Aftersun’ with Paul Mescal (of BBC TV series ‘Normal People’ 2020 fame) might have done – if we had seen it.
Therein lies the old festival rub, it’s very difficult to randomly select the new film that will blow you away.
In that respect, we saw ‘All That Breathes’, at Sundance at its world premiere (remotely) and ‘Joyland’ in Cannes. Both are fine films and suggest the future of filmmaking of different genres, documentary and fictional narrative are in very capable hands in South Asia. We also saw the Bill Nighy starrer, ‘Living‘ at Sundance remotely earlier this year.
We also watched ‘Triangle of Sadness’ in Cannes and Ahmed Jamal, the director of the new Qissa International Film Festival coming to London next month, told us in a video chat (coming) that – London is a festival of festivals, picking the best from what’s come before.
Of the new films to us screening at LFF, we were most impressed by ‘Boy from Heaven’ and ‘She Said’.
Tarik Saleh’s film is a wonderful, suspenseful, intelligent examination of Egypt and Islamic intellectual culture. It too premiered in Cannes and won a script award there and will be out in the UK in Spring 2023 and well worth seeing.
We may be a little biased about ‘She Said’ – it is after all about two journalists.
Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan play New York Times writers, Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, respectively, on the trail of Harvey Weinstein’s prolific abuse of power, status and wealth. It’s well done – Weinstein does not feature except for a back of the head shot very late on – and it’s easy to forget that his criminality might well not have been exposed but for two tenacious, focused women. It sparked a worldwide and much needed outpouring. It comes out on November 25 and deserves to be widely seen.
On a personal and wider note, we are sad to see Tricia Tuttle leave as director of BFI festivals – we first came across her when we started (in 2013-14) and covered BFI Flare, the festival that focuses on the LGBTQI content and filmmakers and she headed it up before moving to LFF. She was an early follower of acv on Twitter and always a friendly and approachable presence. She has overseen the festival expand in so many ways and deserves much credit for this. We will miss her. We hope whoever replaces her will share the same interest in the work of sites like ours – and that the next head will also take Diversity seriously. (Sailesh Ram, editor of www.asianculturevulture.com)
For short reviews of the primarily non South Asian content – Till; The Menu; Summer with Hope; Empire of Light; The Banshees of Inisherin; Bardo, False Chronicles of a Handful of Truths; New Normal – see http://asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/lff-2022-reviews-till-the-menu-summer-with-hope-empire-of-light-the-banshees-of-inisherin-bardo-and-no-bears/
Matilda – https://youtu.be/l96h-HFWhMA
Mahesh Narayanan interview – https://youtu.be/l6eonORXwro
UK Asian filmmakers at UK Asian FilmFestival BFI reception – https://youtu.be/QS8KnwjcH_
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