Film

BFI London Film Festival (#LFF) 2020 Launches: Our picks | Mangrove, Farewell Amor, Mogul Mowgli, David Byrne’s American Utopia

From 7 to 18 October the BFI London 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 land.The European premiere of Mangrove, one of 5 films from the Small Axe anthology. Adapting to the extraordinary challenges of the year, the Festival will deliver up to 50 Virtual Festival Premieres in a programme that offers audiences the opportunity to see the best new cinema from around the world and with that same texture LFF’s audiences love, including fiction, documentary, animation, artists’ moving image, and restored classics from the world’s archives. Every film will be presented with an intro or Q&A, and the programme will also include a range of free-to-access additional works and events to include: an international short film programme, Screen Talks with major filmmakers and actors, salons and roundtables and a brand new Virtual Exhibition of XR and Immersive Art., will play for free to audiences at BFI Southbank and in selected cinemas across the UK opening the 64th BFI LFF.

Love Strand: Sweet, passionate, tough – love is a complex and many splendoured thing.

Farewell Amor: 20:45 BSTFriday 9 October 2020 Until:20:45 BST Monday 12 October 2020

Esther and Sylvia arrive from Angola to live with Walter, who left his war-torn homeland 17 years ago. Sharing a tiny apartment in Brooklyn, they try to rebuild their lives together and overcome the personal and political differences that developed in their years apart. Walter accepts that he can no longer play the role of the single man, while Esther has become a devout Christian, secretly sending what little they earn to her church back home. Meanwhile, Sylvia tries to adjust to life in this foreign land. Presenting the emotional journey of three characters as they struggle to reconnect, filmmaker Ekwa Msangi’s sensitive and thought-provoking drama succeeds in offering us a glimpse into the experiences of New York’s African immigrant population.

Directed by Ekwa Msangi

Runtime: 101 minutes

Dare Strand: In-your-face, up-front and arresting: films that take you out of your comfort zone.

Mogul Mowgli From Saturday 10 October 2020 – 18:30 BST Until Tuesday 13 October 2020 – 18:30 BST

Although his cutting lyrics speak provocatively about identity politics, it is not until Zed (Riz Ahmed) returns home after two years on tour that he is called by his real name: Zaheer. But it is the vulnerability of illness and his decreasing mobility that brings both focus and fragmentation – memories and hallucinations merge to the beat of Qawwali music and are haunted by fervent apparitions of a masked figure – conjuring the unspoken spectre of Partition, which looms large in his father’s unspoken words. Further bruising Zed’s ego is his nemesis – RPG, a young rapper whose face tattoos and crass lyrics bewilder him. Both a paean to the importance of cultural heritage and a sharply observed reflection on muscle memory, the richness of Tariq’s achievement lies in the details of this heady mosaic.

Directed by Bassam Tariq

Runtime: 89 minutes

Create: Films that channel the electricity of the creative process, celebrating artistic expression in all its forms

David Byrne’s American Utopia

Do we get stupider as we grow up?’ In his wildly popular Broadway show American Utopia, Byrne reflects on human connections, life and how on earth we work through it. He joins the dots with his music and it all starts making sense. Spike Lee here transforms the production into immersive, dynamic cinema that radiates with astounding performances, inventive contemporary dance and political urgency. American Utopia flows like an iridescent dream vision. Work by James Baldwin, Janelle Monáe and Kurt Schwitters is highlighted among exhilarating renditions of Byrne’s solo work as well as Talking Heads classics. According to the multi-hyphenate, we love looking at humans more than anything else. Anti-fascist and anti-racist, Byrne illuminates our responsibility to care for one another as he and his co-performers burn down the house. Directed by Spike Lee. Runtime 105 minutes

Journey Strand: Whether it’s the journey or the destination, these films transport you and shift your perspective.

The Salt in Our Waters (Nonajoler Kabbo) From:18:30 BSTTuesday 13 October 2020 Until:18:30 BSTSunday 18 October 2020

Debut director Rezwan Sumit collected numerous awards, including a Spike Lee Fellowship, to produce this exquisite Bangladeshi drama, set on a remote coast afflicted by climate change. Soon after the death of his coastguard father, young Rudro travels to a far-flung fishing village to find some closure. He rents a hut and starts to work on his figurative art. A young local woman inspires his work and secretly falls in love with him, but the rigid traditions of the village forbids any possible relationship. When the fish shoals the fishermen rely on suddenly disappear, Rudro and his blasphemous sculptures are blamed. And with a cyclone approaching, social and physical storms threaten the artist’s way of life.

Directed by Rezwan Shahriar Sumit

Cary Rajinder Sawhney

Runtime: 106 minutes

Public booking opens on the 21st of September:

https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/default.asp

The 64th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express takes place from Wednesday 7 October to Sunday 18 October 2020. The full Festival programme will be announced at an online launch on Tuesday 8 September 2020 and all tickets will be bookable via venue partners.

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