It is the 67th LFF and it all begins very soon now…
THERE are a clutch of features you should have your eyes on as a keen asianculturevulture film buff in this year’s London Film Festival (October 4-15).
It all starts on Wednesday (October 4) with the British feature, ‘Saltburn’ directed by Emerald Fennell in a tale, described as one of privilege status and desire.
All the gala feature films among the 250 or so on offer across LFF, screen at the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank in London.
The festival closes with ‘The Kitchen’on the third Sunday in October (15) in what is actor Daniel Kaluuya’s directorial debut alongside Kibwe Tavares. Set in London itself, this is a film which is seen as a celebration of family and community.
Tickets are very limited on some of these films but we aim to cover the following- with the ones coming up soonest in the festival at the top of this page … and there is a link at the bottom of the page with the latest ticket availabilty…
I am Sirat (Official Competition) 87 minutes
Director Deepa Mehta is one of the best known international filmmakers of South Asian descent having made the seminal and controversial trilogy of films – ‘Fire’ (1995), ‘Earth’ (1999) and ‘Water’ (2005), and more recently the Netflix film, ‘Funny Boy’. The Canadian now ventures into the world of transgender and a collaboration with short form Delhi-based contentmaker Sirat Taneja – not their real name. Sirat is their ‘female’ name and the gender they want to be recognised as – however Sirat was born as a boy into a traditional Sikh family where he is looked after by his single mother – his father died when he was young. Now an adult and in stable employment with a loyal collection of friends, Sirat/Aman finds himself caught between two worlds. This is billed as a collaboration and Mehta’s interviews are in more of a traditional framing format while Sirat’s own commentary is from their phone and sincere and raw and insightful. Those interested in cultural and religious perceptions of third sex culture (as defined in South Asia) will find much of interest.
Mehta and Taneja are expected to attend LFF.
There were still tickets for this film.
Thursday, October 5 – 6.45pm NFT1, BFI Southbank.
Saturday, October 14 – 2.45pm Curzon Soho, Cinema Screen 1
Stolen (Thrill) 90 mins
Hard on the heels of its world premiere in Venice, writer-director Karan Tejpal presents his taut thriller about a baby belonging to an Indian tribal woman being abducted from a railway station and two brothers from a wealthier background getting caught up in an investigation. Tejpal and lead actors Shubham (only one name) and Abhishek Banerjee, who has several Bollywood credits to his name, discussed their film with us in Venice. See videos below…
Tejpal, Shubham and Banerjee are expected to be in London for their film.
Tickets to the first screening were available – Thursday, October 5 – 8.30pm, Curzon Soho, Screen 1.
Friday, October 6 12.30pm NFT3, BFI Southbank
The Taste of Mango (First Feature Competition) 75 mins
First time feature documentary maker Chloe Abrahams explores her family roots in Sri Lanka and subsequent migration to the UK and shot between the two, it features herself and more importantly her mother and grandmother. Abrahams spoke to us briefly at the LFF launch – and the story is very much about intergenerational trauma, memory and belonging. It will compete for the Grierson Award given to the best documentary at the festival.
Abrahams and her mother live in the UK and are expected to attend – the Monday screening had ticket availability at time of going to press…
Friday, October 6 – 6.30pm Vue West End, Screen 5
Monday, October 9, 12.30pm NFT3, BFI Southbank
The Queen of My Dreams (First Feature Competition) – 96mins
Writer-director Fawzia Mirza is a creative who likes to mash things up and see what the result is – here previously for the BFI Flare Festival in 2017, as a screenwriter for ‘Signature Move’ starring among others herself and Shabana Azmi, she returns to queerness, cultural crossover and identity in her own inimitable style. No, we haven’t seen it yet – but the story of Canadian Azra having to return to Pakistan on the passing of her father, looks set to challenge her in more ways than one.
Mirza and her producer are expected to attend…
Saturday, October 7 – 8.20pm NFT2, BFI Southbank
Sunday, October 8 – 12.15pm Curzon Soho, Screen 1.
Dear Jassi (Official Competition) 134 mins
Hollywood hotshot director Tarsem Singh Dhandwar (‘Immortals’) makes his first film in India and this Punjabi Romeo and Juliet tale, wowed Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) winning the Platform Award. Dhandwar says it’s his best film to date…
Dhandwar is expected to attend.
Sunday, October 8 – 2.40pm NFT1
Wednesday, October 11 – 12.20pm NFT3
Looks like a new screening has been added (tickets on sale from October 3 – 4.30pmBST): Curzon Soho Cinema Screen 1
Moving fully into the second week…
Fingernails (Official Competition) 113 mins
Riz Ahmed stars in this film which looks at modern love in our internet and technology saturated world. Directed by Chritos Nikou, it also stars Jess Buckley, and Jeremy Allen White and is an Apple TV+ production.
Monday, October 9 – 5.45pm NFT1
Thursday, October 12 8.40pm – Curzon Soho Cinema Screen 2.
Thursday, October 12 8.55pm, Curzon Soho Cinema Screen 3.
Sky Peals (First Feature competiton) – 91 mins
Another film that premiered in Venice and garnered rave reviews as first time feature British director Moin Hussain takes his talent to the larger canvas, having trailed a short ‘Naptha’ at Cannes (Critics Week shorts 2019) from which this has been developed. Principally about identity, many will find it enigmatic, possibly a little difficult and challenging, but Hussain’s talent shines through and Faraz Ayub’s performance in the lead is impressive and beautifully pitched.
Wednesday, October 11 5.50pm NFT2
Friday, October 13 – 8.40pm NFT1.
In Camera (First Feature Competition) – 96 mins
Another British feature and first time feature screen talent, Naqqash Khalid brings us this tale of a South Asian actor in Britain trying to make it.
Khalid spoke to us briefly about his film at the launch and said the actor trope was a way of exploring identity.
With Nabhaan Rizwan in the lead role, much is expected and according to accounts, beautifully delivered in this biting comic satire.
Friday, October 13 – 6pm NFT1
Sunday, October 15 – 6.15pm – Curzon Soho Screen 3.
Unicorns (Love) – 119 mins
We’ve been tracking this since Sally El Hosaini mentioned it to us in our interview with her about her phenomenal TIFF opener last year, ‘The Swimmers’. Now co-directing with writer (and actor) James Krishna Floyd this is another British film looking at identity with more of a focus on sexuality, as Essex geezer Luke (Ben Hardy) finds himself falling for queer nightclub performer, Ayesha (Jason Patel). Floyd spoke of its hopes at launch and that was before it enjoyed its world premiere at TIFF.
Saturday, October 14 8.40pm NFT1
Sunday, October 15 – 6pm Prince Charles Cinema Downstairs Screen
The Buckingham Murders (Thrill) – 110 mins
Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor Khan leads the cast in this crime caper revolving around tense community relations in, yes, you guessed it, Buckinghamshire, following two murders. As the newly installed detective police chief in the area, she’s also trying to come to terms with her own personal tragedy. LFF veteran Indian and indie star director Hansal Mehta makes his first feature film in the UK.
Saturday, October 14 – 5.10pm Curzon Mayfair Screen 1
Sunday, October 15 – Vue West End Screen 5.
Elsewhere in India (VR Expanded – Performance)
Also screening is ‘Elsewhere in India’ which is an audiovisual electronica performance and explores the theme of ‘AI for Cultural Good’ and takes you into the India of 2079! It is part of LFF Expanded and FREE
Saturday, October 7 – 3pm-4.30pm
Science Gallery London, King’s College London, Guy’s Campus, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9GU
Sir Horace Ové – Pressure at LFF; and season of his film afterwards
One of Britain’s pioneering filmmakers – Sir Horace Ové, who passed away only last month at the age of 86, has a season of his films screening at the BFI Southbank from October 23. The British black filmmaker’s ‘Pressure’ (1975) screens at London Film Festival in a new restored print form. Ové, who was born in Trinidad, was of mixed race part Indian descent. We hope to look at his legacy with a contribution from his family before the season opens at the BFI Southbank.
Wednesday October 11 – 6.10pm NFT3
Thursday, Ocober 12 – 8.3pm NFT2
Latest ticket availabilty – here
London Film Festival (October 4-15) – https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/