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The 20 hottest films coming to London Film Festival

Tom Butler
Senior Editor
Yahoo Movies UK

The 62nd BFI London Film Festival has announced its full programme, featuring a diverse selection of 225 feature films from both established and emerging talent. The 12 day celebration of cinema will be one of the first opportunities for audiences – both the UK public and film industry professionals – to see the very best new films from around the globe.

This year, the Festival will host 21 World Premieres, 9 International Premieres and 29 European Premieres, so with so many films to choose from, where do you begin?

We’ve distilled this year’s stellar festival line up down to 20 of the most exciting films on offer. From genuine Oscar contenders, to films from the hottest upcoming British talent, this year’s LFF has it all.

For the full line up, and to find out how to buy tickets head to whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/.

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‘Stan & Ollie’

The Festival closes with the World Premiere of Stan & Ollie on Sunday 21 October. Starring delightfully bang-on-target performances from Steve Coogan and John C Reilly as the legendary movie comedy duo, Stan & Ollie is a truly funny and touching film about a tender life-long friendship of Hollywood’s greatest comedy double act, Laurel and Hardy. The film also stars Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda in hilarious and touching turns as wives Lucille and Ida, as well as Danny Huston and Rufus Jones. Simultaneous preview screenings of Stan & Ollie will bring all of the excitement from the Leicester Square premiere to cinemas across the UK.

‘Suspiria’

Luca Guadagnino follows up his triumphant Call Me By Your Name (LFF 2017) with Headline Gala Suspiria, paying homage to Dario Argento’s horror classic with this delicious feminist update. A complex, supernatural horror exploring notions of corruption, innocence and female power, Suspiria stars Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, both of whom are incandescent at the heart of a fabulous, almost exclusively female cast.

‘Outlaw King’

Returning to the Festival with the European Premiere of his visceral, action-packed drama, Headline Gala Outlaw King, is director David Mackenzie’s (Hell or High Water, Starred Up LFF 2013) gutsy, historical drama bringing underdog Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine) thrillingly to life as Scotland battles for its soul against England. Set amid the jaw-dropping beauty of the Scottish landscape, this hugely entertaining epic is supported by a cracking ensemble cast, including Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Florence Pugh.

‘Destroyer’

Nicole Kidman is astonishing, and almost unrecognisable, in Karyn Kusama’s (The Invitation, LFF 2015) brooding thriller Destroyer. Kidman plays Erin, a jaded police detective haunted by her past and still reeling from the trauma of her experience years later, who is forced to confront her demons in order to close the case that almost destroyed her. The film also stars Sebastian Stan, Tatiana Maslany and Toby Kebbell.

‘Beautiful Boy’

Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Headline Gala Beautiful Boy receives its UK Premiere at the Festival and chronicles the heart-breaking, harrowing and ultimately inspiring experience of survival, relapse and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years. Making his English-language debut, Felix van Groeningen (The Broken Circle Breakdown) directs with soulful restraint. Academy Award®-winner Steve Carell and Academy Award®-nominee Timothée Chalamet give blistering, visceral performances in this intelligent, tough and inspiring film.

‘The Favourite’

The American Express Gala sees the return of Academy Award®-nominee Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of A Sacred Deer LFF 2015 and LFF 2017) to the Festival with his third English-language film in four years; wickedly funny comedy The Favourite receives its UK Premiere and is gleeful and supremely intelligent filmmaking, powered by a trio of riotous performances from Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, along with a terrific supporting cast, including Nicholas Hoult and Mark Gatiss.

‘The Hate U Give’

The Hate U Give, George Tillman Jr’s expansive and electrifying coming-of age social drama about finding your voice and standing up for what is right, offers a pertinent and powerful look at the contemporary black experience in America. LFF is offering £5 tickets for The Hate U Give to the under-25s.

‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’

The Coen Brothers return to the Festival for the third time with the UK Premiere of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, which is this year’s American Airlines Gala. A wildly idiosyncratic, undeniably hilarious and often touchingly melancholic study of the American West, this anthology of a half-dozen Western tales is a six-shooting delight from the bottomless well that is the Coens’ imagination. Tim Blake Nelson will play the titular lead role, while Zoe Kazan, Liam Neeson and Tom Waits also star.

‘The Little Drummer Girl’

Presenting the first two episodes of sharp, sexy and wickedly intelligent spy thriller, The Little Drummer Girl is given an impactful theatrical treatment as Park Chan-wook’s stylistic mastery meets John le Carré’s espionage twists in this action packed new series from the makers of 2016’s global hit The Night Manager.

‘Widows’

The Festival opens with the European Premiere of Academy Award®- winner Steve McQueen’s Widows, on Wednesday 10 October. Adapted from the ground-breaking UK television classic Widows by Lynda La Plante, Widows is scintillatingly rich storytelling from a magnificent filmmaker, probing issues around race, class and gender, whilst delivering immense style and crackingly sharp thrills. This deeply satisfying, female-fuelled heist thriller boasts an all-star cast which includes Oscar®-winner Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Lukas Haas and Brian Tyree Henry.

‘If Beale Street Could Talk’

Academy Award®-winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, LFF 2016) returns to the Festival with If Beale Street Could Talk, an audacious, distinctive and assured adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel, which features as this year’s Love Gala, in association with Time Out. A tender and captivating story, touching upon love, injustice and racism in America.

‘Wild Rose’

LFF alumni director Tom Harper (War Book, LFF 2014) makes a cracking return with this year’s Festival Gala, Wild Rose, a delightful and infectiously joyous film written by rising screenwriting star Nicole Taylor which finds Glaswegian Rose-Lynn balancing her dreams of being a country music star with the responsibilities of motherhood. Starring a magnificent Julie Walters, along with a dazzling breakout performance from the irrepressible Jessie Buckley.

‘Been So Long’

Having made an impact at LFF 2011 with her gritty low-budget debut Junkhearts, LFF Alumni Tinge Krishnan returns to the Festival with her ambitious second feature Been So Long, a brilliantly refreshing contemporary musical set on the streets of Camden Town starring Michaela Coel.

‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’

The Laugh Gala in association with Empire Magazine sees Terry Gilliam return to the Festival (Jabberwocky LFF 2017) with the UK Premiere of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Two decades in the making, the hotly anticipated adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel sees Toby, a disillusioned advertising executive, pulled into a world of time-jumping fantasy when a Spanish cobbler believes him to be Sancho Panza. The film stars Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce and Stellan Skarsgård.

‘Happy New Year, Colin Burstead’

The World Premiere of Happy New Year, Colin Burstead is Ben Wheatley’s triumphant return to the Festival after Free Fire (LFF 2016). A poignantly funny and razor-sharp observation of English family dysfunction. Colin has rented a stately country home for his extended family’s New Year celebrations. He’s the centre of attention until his estranged brother David unexpectedly arrives, throwing the family dynamic far off orbit. Starring Joe Cole, Charles Dance, Mark Monero, Hayley Squires, Asim Chaudhry, Doon Mackichan, Bill Paterson, Neil Maskell and Sam Riley.

‘The Front Runner’

The May Fair Hotel Gala is the European Premiere of The Front Runner, Jason Reitman’s (Tully, Labor Day LFF 2013) cracking, top-class political drama chronicling the rise of American Senator Gary Hart, 1988’s Democratic presidential candidate, and his subsequent fall from grace when he’s caught in a scandalous extramarital affair. An exceptional ensemble cast is led by Academy Award®-nominated Hugh Jackman as Hart, with Vera Farmiga, Kaitlyn Dever, Sara Paxton, Molly Ephraim, and Oscar®-winner J. K. Simmons.

‘Roma’

A sumptuous black-and-white ode to the women who shaped his early life, this year’s Journey Gala is Roma, Alfonso Cuarón’s (Gravity, LFF 2013) chronicle of a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s. The film stars Yalita Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, and Diego Cortina Autrey. The film is already being touted for Oscar glory after debuting at Venice Film Festival.

‘Peterloo’

Covering one of the most notorious episodes in British history, director Mike Leigh’s highly anticipated follow-up to Mr Turner (LFF 2014), Peterloo, is a major work of cinema, featuring a superb ensemble cast in an epic portrayal of the events surrounding Manchester’s infamous 1819 Peterloo Massacre. In this rousing, working class tale, director Mike Leigh is working at the pinnacle of his powers. The screening in Manchester represents the first time the BFI London Film Festival has premiered a film outside of the capital, offering audiences in Manchester and nationwide the opportunity to preview a major release with Manchester’s history at its forefront.

‘In Fabric’

Peter Strickland (The Duke of Burgundy, LFF 2014) returns to the Festival with In Fabric, starring Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Gwendoline Christie. A haunting ghost story, laced with lashings of oddball humour and set against the backdrop of a busy winter sales period in a strange department store, it follows the life of a cursed dress as it passes from person to person, with devastating consequences.

‘They Shall Not Grow Old’

Another Special Presentation marks the centenary of the First World War with the World Premiere of director Peter Jackson’s passion project They Shall Not Grow Old. Created exclusively with original, archive footage from the Imperial War Museum’s film archive and audio from BBC archives, Peter Jackson and his team, who have painstakingly hand-colourised each frame of the film, bring the First World War to life in a way never seen before. The film will be presented by Peter Jackson and simultaneously screened, in 2D and 3D to cinemas and special venues across the UK.

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