The Hate U Give (Still Main Image)
Adapted by Soul Food director George Tillman Jr from Angie Thomas’ bestselling Black Lives Matter-inspired young-adult novel, The Hate U Give is an expansive and electrifying hybrid of coming-of-age tropes and powerful social drama. It boasts a remarkably textured lead performance from Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) as code-switching Starr Carter, who presents one face to family and friends in her predominantly black neighbourhood, but a different one to her white prep-school classmates and boyfriend Chris (KJ Apa, Riverdale). Initially playing like a smart teen movie, the film’s effervescent flow is brutally disrupted when Starr witnesses the fatal police shooting of her childhood friend Khalil (Algee Smith, Detroit). This shift in tone is multi-layered, as Tillman and screenwriter Audrey Wells go beyond the facts of a fictional yet all-too-familiar case to consider the human cost behind blaring headlines. Stenberg’s reluctant, traumatised heroine is supported by a richly talented adult cast, notably Russell Hornsby as her politicised father Maverick and Regina Hall as pragmatic mother Lisa. Articulating a divergent array of community standpoints, we see Insecure creator Issa Rae as an activist lawyer and Common as a cop who’s also Starr’s uncle. Tickets: Saturday 20 October 2018 20:45 – LFF Cineworld Leicester Square, Sunday 21 October 2018 14:30 – Embankment Garden Cinema, Sunday 21 October 2018 17:30 – Odeon Tottenham Court Road, Screen 3 Dir George Tillman Jr Prod Robert Teitel, George Tillman Jr, Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey Scr Audrey Wells
With Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, KJ Apa, Common
Been So Long
London-based writer-director Tinge Krishnan returns to the Festival with a different type of city story for her ambitious second feature. Adapted from Ché Walker’s stage play and retaining Arthur Darvill’s original songs, Been So Long is a contemporary musical set on the streets of Camden Town. Krishnan shoots this familiar locale with streets bathed in neon and rich in romantic possibilities. BAFTA® winner Michaela Coel lights up the big screen as dedicated and whip-smart single mum Simone whose encounter with the confident yet secretive lothario Raymond, played by The Pass star Arinzé Kene (reprising his role from the Young Vic theatre production), has her head spinning. This charismatic pair lead an all-singing and dancing ensemble populated by a wealth of homegrown talent. Ronke Adekoluejo steals scenes as Simone’s fearless best friend Yvonne, while the volatile Gil (George MacKay) has a score to settle at the bar owned by Barney (Luke Norris). Other faces to note include Joe Dempsie (Game of Thrones) and Arsher Ali (The Ritual), with the eclectic soundtrack adding a soulful personality of its own. Get Tickets Friday 12 October 2018 21:00 – Embankment Garden Cinema, Saturday 13 October 2018 14:00 – LFF Cineworld Leicester Square Monday 15 October 2018 21:00 – Rich Mix Cinema, Screen 1 Dir Tinge Krishnan Prod Nadine Marsh-Edwards, Amanda Jenks
Scr Ché Walker With Michaela Coel, Arinzé Kene, George Mackay
Street-smart tomboy Kena and rainbow-haired free spirit Ziki both dream of a life beyond the stifling confines of their conservative Nairobi neighbourhood. From the moment the two young women meet, the connection is clear and soon their budding friendship blossoms into something more serious. Torn between the romantic desire to follow their hearts and the pragmatic need to follow their heads, the star-crossed lovers find themselves forced to make an impossible choice between happiness and safety. There is no question that Rafiki is a timely and necessary film. Even before its premiere at Cannes this year, a national ban was enforced for its supposed “intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya, contrary to the law”. Such intolerance only serves as a testament to the unabashed courage director Wanuri Kahiu demonstrates in telling queer stories in a country where gay sex is still a punishable offence. But while her film has inherently political implications, it also signals a new African cinema that is youthful, stylish and thrillingly engaged with pop culture. Sparkling with effervescent colour and crackling with palpable chemistry between the two leads, this trailblazing film is a vital burst of energy, urgency and, perhaps most importantly, hope. Tickets: Saturday 13 October 2018 18:15 – BFI Southbank, NFT1 Sunday 14 October 2018 15:00 – BFI Southbank, NFT2 Dir Wanuri Kahiu, Prod Steven Markovitz Scr Wanuri Kahiu, Jenna Bass With Samantha Mugatsia, Sheila Munyiva, Jimmi Gathu Kenya-South Africa-France Lebanon-Norway-Netherlands-Germany-USA 2018. 82min.