This year’s festival has a range of films that are worth putting in your calendar for when they go on general/national release or onto streaming platforms if you do not get the chance to watch at #BFILFF: from well-known directors to emerging talent, this year there are 159 feature films from around the globe screening to audiences in cinemas across London and taking it UK-wide, as well as virtual premieres on the #BFI player.
This year’s event is “billed” as more inclusive than ever, 39% of directors are female or non-binary, and 40% of directors and creators are ethnically diverse. Here is our round up of what ALT likes about the festival so far!
Opening big with the world premiere of Jeymes Samuel’s The Harder They Fall, this film is inspired by the real-life stories of African American cowboys and featuring an all-star cast, includes Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo, LaKeith Stanfield, Regina King and Idris Elba. This world premiere was at the Royal Festival Hall, with Samuel and the key cast Jonathan Majors, #IdrisElba, Regina Hall, Jay-Z who produced it all walking the red carpet. (The film will be on #Netflix. UK release date – 22 October 2021)
Reineldo Marcus Green’s captivating biopic King Richard is said to see Will Smith giving a first class “performance” as the driven father of the Williams’ sisters, who has his sights set firmly on superstardom for his two young daughters, Venus, and Serena. (UK release date – 19 November 2021)
Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut, Passing, sees Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga play two childhood friends who are reunited as adults in 1920s New York, and find they are dangerously drawn together despite living on opposite sides of the racial divide. (UK release date – 29 October 2021)
Debbie Tucker Green adapts her acclaimed play ear for eye which will receive its World Premiere at the festival on 16 October. The play which covers racial injustice in the UK and USA will also be shown the same evening on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. This dynamic and absorbing peace traces racial injustice across time and continents, detailing struggle and triumph, oppression, and uprising. With an ensemble cast including Lashana Lynch, Tosin Cole, Danny Sapani and Arinzé Kene, Ear for Eye is a searing and unforgettable vision from one of our greatest British creative talents. (UK release date – 16 October 2021)
For a change of scene, The Dare Strand offers episodes 1-6 of the Argentinian web series 4 Feet High, which tells the story of Juana, a young woman who is determined to lose her virginity and not let her wheelchair hold her back. This cross-platform series tackles issues of sexuality and disability, acting as a radically inclusive, sex-positive coming-of-age story. STARRING: Marisol Agostina Irigoyen DIRECTED BY: Maria Belen Poncio CO-DIRECTED BY: Rosario Perazolo Masjoan VR DIRECTED BY: Damian Turkieh
Closing with Joel Coen’s fierce adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic play, The Tragedy of Macbeth, which will receive its European Premiere at the LFF, with Coen expected to attend. Stars Denzel Washington.
This year’s selection boasts some of the best new short films from around the world, including student’s works from the UK’s National Film and Television School and work from Studio Ponoc, Disney and Skydance Animation. The films bear witness to everyday lives as local communities find themselves at the heart of this year’s short films, from a late-night Ugandan town, New Orleans hair salon and musically oriented Brazilian delivery culture to the bricks and mortar of British housing and the cruel nature of unbridled capitalism.
In Pom Bunsermvicha’s Lemongrass Girl a film production manager carries out a Thai superstition, where a virgin can ward off rain by planting lemongrass. In a New Orleans’ natural hair salon where self-care and communal reflection intertwine, Anastasia Ebel hosts dynamic and enjoyable discussions…Babybangz is a stylish window into the heart of bayou by Juliana Kasumu. A family kitchen becomes very lively when seen through the eyes of a young boy with a vivid imagination, in The Fourth Wall – a lively mix of animation and live action by Mahboobeh Kalaee. Kanama’s dreamlike journey back to her family does not offer the homecoming she hoped for in Imuhira (Home) by Myriam Uwiragiye Birara.
The Treasures selection revives and restores films from the world’s archives, including From The Caribbean To West Africa, in which pioneering West Indian filmmaker Edric Connor tours the Caribbean and Nigeria on the cusp of independence in a series of beautiful short films digitized by the BFI National Archive with funding from the National Lottery. Mike Leigh’s Naked, newly remastered by the BFI National Archive, is a ferociously powerful depiction of England’s underbelly and is a brilliant amalgam of Black comedy and doomsday prophec
In addition to the Southbank Centre, BFI LFF have a number of cinemas in London’s West End, with a selection of films at 10 venues in cities and towns across the UK. Tickets are still available for some of the screenings but check back to the website for more release dates of any of the films in this article..
The festival ends on the 17th of October find out more here