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The BFI London Film Festival 2020 Announces Lineup

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Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan in Francis Lee's 'Ammonite'

Film Festivals are just one of many events across the globe that has been affected by the global pandemic. As a result of these unprecedented times, the format for most festivals is changing this year, and the BFI’s London Film Festival is no exception. With a mixture of select physical cinema screenings and virtual premieres online, this year’s LFF looks set to be the most interactive and accessible lineup yet.

The full program of films selected for this year’s festival have been unveiled, and it offers film fans across the country an eclectic mix of 58 films. These are films from all over the world, with films coming for over 40 countries, with new offerings from directors such as Steve McQueen (whose film will open the festival), Spike Lee, Miranda July, Hirokazu Kore-eda, and Francis Lee (whose film, Ammonite, will close the fest).

It will be a new challenge for the dedicated LFF team this year, but one that the BFI Chief Executive Ben Roberts is excited about, as he told The Guardian: ““Although it’s been born out of crisis, this year’s edition of the LFF will be our most accessible yet.”

The festival, which will run from October 7-18, will offer a new hybrid way of participating with the festival. Around 50 films from the program will have virtual premieres, available only to UK audiences. Some of these films will be screened live, with some being made available for 72 hours, although participants will only be able to watch the film once. There will be a small selection available at cinemas that follow social distancing guidelines, but for the most part this year’s LFF is set to be quite different, and it will undoubtedly be intriguing to see how it all plays out.

You can check out the full list of announced films below, as well as the trailer for the festival to whet your appetite. Make sure to head over to the LFF website for more details.

Full list:

180° RULE | Farnoosh Samadi | Iran

200 METERS | Ameen Nayfeh | Palestine

A COMMON CRIME | Francisco Márquez | Argentina, Brazil, Switzerland

A DAY-OFF OF KASUMI ARIMURA | d. Hirokazu Kore-eda | w. Sakura Higa | Japan

AFRICAN APOCALYPSE | Rob Lemkin | UK

AFTER LOVE | Aleem Khan | UK

AMMONITE | Francis Lee | UK

ANOTHER ROUND | Thomas Vinterberg | Denmark

BAD TALES | Fabio D’Innocenzo, Damiano D’Innocenzo | Italy

BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKET | Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross | USA

THE CHEATERS | Paulette McDonagh | Australia

THE CHESS GAME OF THE WIND | Mohammad Reza Aslani | Iran

CICADA | Matt Fifer and Kieran Mulcare | USA

DAYS | Tsai Ming-Liang | Taiwan

DAVID BYRNE’S AMERICAN UTOPIA | Spike Lee | USA

DELIA DERBYSHIRE: THE MYTHS AND LEGENDARY TAPES | Caroline Catz | UK

THE DISCIPLE | Chaitanya Tamhane | India

FAREWELL AMOR | Ekwa Msangi | USA

FRIENDSHIP’S DEATH | Peter Wollen | UK

GENUS PAN | Lav Diaz | Philippines

GOLD FOR DOGS | Anna Cazenave Cambet | France

HERSELF | Phyllida Lloyd | UK

HONEYMOOD | Talya Lavie | Israel

I AM SAMUEL | Pete Murimi | Kenya

IDENTIFYING FEATURES | Fernanda Valadez | Mexico-Spain

IF IT WERE LOVE | Patric Chiha | France

INDUSTRY | d. Lena Dunham, Tinge Krishnan, Ed Lilly | w. Mickey Down, Konrad Kay | UK

THE INTRUDER | Natalia Meta | Argentina-Mexico

KAJILLIONAIRE | Miranda July | USA

LIMBO | Ben Sharrock | UK

MANGROVE | Steve McQueen | UK

MOGUL MOWGLI | Bassam Tariq | UK

NEVER GONNA SNOW AGAIN | Małgorzata Szumowska, Michał Englert | Poland-Germany

NEW ORDER | Michel Franco | Mexico

NOMADLAND | Chloé Zhao | USA

NOTTURNO | Gianfranco Rosi | Italy-Germany-France

ONE MAN AND HIS SHOES | Yemi Bamiro | UK

THE PAINTER AND THE THIEF | Benjamin Ree | Norway

POSSESSOR | Brandon Cronenberg | Canada-UK

THE REASON I JUMP | Jerry Rothwell | UK

RELIC | Natalie Erika James | Australia-USA

ROSE | Jennifer Sheridan | UK

THE SALT IN OUR WATERS | Rezwan Shahriar Sumit | Bangladesh-France

SHADOW COUNTRY | Bohdan Sláma | Czech Republic

SHIRLEY | Josephine Decker | USA

SIBERIA | Abel Ferrara | Italy-Germany-Mexico

SOUL | Pete Docter, Kemp Powers | USA

SOUND FOR THE FUTURE | Matt Hulse | UK-China

STRAY | Elizabeth Lo | USA

STRIDING INTO THE WIND | Wei Shujun | China

SUPERNOVA | Harry Macqueen | UK

THIS IS MY DESIRE (EYIMOFE) | Arie Esiri, Chuko Esiri | Nigeria

TIME | Garrett Bradley | USA

ULTRAVIOLENCE | Ken Fero | UK

UNDINE | Christian Petzold | Germany

WILDFIRE | Cathy Brady | UK-Ireland

WOLFWALKERS | Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart | Ireland-Luxembourg-France

ZANKA CONTACT | Ismaël El Iraki | France-Morocco-Belgium

Culture

Top 5 Stephen King Books

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IT

And this should not come as a surprise at all, King’s 1986 novel It probably contributed in one way or another to the spread of clown fear than any other book or movie out there. Spread across three decades, the book tells the story of a group of friends from Maine, that find themselves battling with now the most iconic clown, Pennywise. They were sure they killed him back in the 1950s, but 30 years later he comes back from the sewers ready to make new victims.

The Shining

In the mid-1970s, King and his family spent a night at the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. The place was about to be closed up for winter, and King got a chance to wander around on the empty building. He started thinking and imagining how would it be like to stay and spend the entire winter locked inside, thinking how would the human mind cope with solitude and ghosted premises. As a result, The Shining started to take contour, and Jack Torrance became one with King. 

Salem’s Lot

His debut novel was Carrie, the follow-up was Salem’s Lot. Starting with a simple premise which involves a Dracula-like vampire moving to a small town in Maine, he encapsulated the beauty of the genre with each turning that occurred. A high school teacher and his young girlfriend decide to fight back and save the town from vampirism.

Misery

It is a well-known fact that celebrity attracts all kind of people and craziness, but luckily enough King was spared and he never met anyone like Annie Wilkes. Wilkes, the character from Misery, kidnaps her favourite author and forces him to write a sequel to her favourite series. Of course, the author fights back but Annie doesn’t take no for an answer, coming with an axe, chopping frantically at him.

Cell

Perhaps not many know this novel, but it is most certainly one of the most terrifying ones, considering how embedded in reality it is. Published in 2006, the apocalyptic horror novel tells the story of an artist that struggles to reunite with his young son after a mysterious signal broadcast over the cell network, turning people into enraged and vicious animals.

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Steve McQueen’s ‘Lovers Rock’ is Coming to LFF

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Source: BFI

With the BFI London Film Festival set to kick off from the 7th of October, more films are still being added to the exciting lineup of the new virtual approach to the UK’s biggest film festival. This film festival will be the first ever edition to be widely accessible wherever you are in the UK, with over 50 virtual premieres, free online events and cinema screenings across the country.

The latest addition to the catalogue comes from BFI Fellow Steve McQueen, who looks set to dominate the festival with two films showing from his new incoming anthology series, Small Axe.

The film is Lovers Rock , and is billed as a romantic ode to the reggae genre. Taking place at a house party in the 1980’s, this is a film about young love and music, and has already received an incredible reception from critics of the New York Film festival. The film will screen on Sunday 18 October across 2 screenings at BFI Southbank as part of the LFF’s Love strand supported by Porsche, who are joining the LFF as new sponsors this year. 

Along with McQueen’s Mangrove, two of the five films of McQueen’s anthology series Small Axe are set to be shown before debuting on the BBC later in the year. Set from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, the films each tell a different story involving London’s West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will, despite rampant racism and discrimination. Mangrove will open the film festival on Wednesday 7 October and will play for free to audiences at BFI Southbank and in selected cinemas across the UK.

McQueen had this to say about Lovers Rock being added to the LFF line-up: “I’m so happy to be screening Lovers Rock at the London Film Festival. To show it here where it belongs is a privilege. I hope this film will bring back memories of parties past and look to the future of parties to come.”

Head to the BFI website to book your tickets for Lovers Rock and other films that are playing as part of the London Film Festival. You can also check out the trailer for the Small Axe anthology below.

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The Best London Galleries Open Now

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After being closed for so long, London’s most beautiful galleries are open to the public once again. Most of them are taking careful precautions to ensure the safety of their visitors, including one-way systems, mandatory face-masks, and entry only with a slot booked in advance. With safety ensured, here are some of the best galleries in London that are both culturally enlightening and free to enter.

Tate Britain

Tate Britain contains a collection of art from 1500 to modern-day in rooms organised chronologically by historical period, allowing you to quite literally stroll through a timeline of British art. There’s work to appeal to everyone’s tastes – there’s Millais’s painting of drowned Ophelia to contrast Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. Special exhibitions aren’t free, but there’s many that are worth paying for nevertheless. At the moment, the gallery is hosting the largest collection of Aubrey Beardsley’s works in fifty years, luckily an exhibition that has been extended because of lockdown closures.

Tate Modern

If your aesthetic interests lie more in the direction of the brutal and abstract than in the impressionist, Tate Modern is a great alternative to the Tate Britain. Based in the old Bankside Power Station in Southwark, it’s one of the largest contemporary art museums in the world. The collection is very international, some notable artists featured here include the Japanese artist Masami Teraoka and American pop-art and photography by Andy Warhol. With a new exhibition of Warhol’s works extended until November, there’s no better time to book a timeslot and visit this searingly modern space.

The National Gallery

Located in Trafalgar Square and therefore central to most of London’s main tourist attractions, this gallery is one of the most convenient to drop into casually, whilst also being worthy of a specific excursion. The National Gallery’s collection is vast (containing over 2,300 works) and a consequence of this is that essentially every major art movement finds representation in its rooms. Household names of the art world like Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Da Vinci all have work exhibited here, so if you’re still undecided about the nature of your art preferences, then this is a good place to examine many different styles in one place.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Although containing its own impressive collection of paintings, the V&A Museum is predominantly known for its collection of applied arts and design. At the moment, a display on the concealed history of Nazi Looting is available to view for free, as well as all its permanent collection. This is a gallery with a strong history dating back to 1851 when Queen Victoria herself contributed to the original collection. Even stopping for coffee here is an engagement with history – it’s café is actually the first museum café in the world!

Hayward Gallery

Perhaps the least famous on this list, Hayward Gallery is still absolutely worth visiting. It’s part of the Southbank Centre (which also hosts live events and workshops) and is unique for its outside gallery space. After lockdown, Hayward Gallery opened with a topical and relevant photography exhibition entitled ‘Everyday Heroes’, which celebrates the key workers throughout the pandemic. Another current exhibition ‘Among the Trees’ explores the human relationship to the natural world, and looking around it is a fantastic way to mentally escape the confines of the city.

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