The London Film Festival line-up is announced… what are you looking forward to?

The London Film Festival 2007

I really do have a lot of love for the London Film festival, they always seem to have a good mix of mainstream films i’m looking forward too, arthouse films i’ve been reading about and then they throw them all in with a bunch of dark films from Denmark i’ve never heard of and new cinema from China. It’s a great mix.

So here’s a quick line-up of films i’m looking forward to at the LFF, based purely on my first glance through the brochure. I’m sure there’s a lot more i’ll want to see as I hear about films from friends or read reviews of something I’ve missed.

Eastern Promises & Darjeeling Limited (Dir: David Cronenberg / Wes Anderson)
I’m lumping these two together as they were announced ages ago and I think it goes without saying that I’m really looking forward to both of them. Viggo playing a russian mobster and kicking the shit out of people in steam baths, and Owen Wilson and Adrian Brody wrestling on a train in india.. you can count me in.

Lions for Lambs (Dir: Robert Reford, Stars: Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise)
My interest in this film is more curiosity than anything else, I’m hoping it’s more political drama/corridors of power than overly-important commentary on the ‘war on terror’ because that’s how the trailer strikes me. I also find it difficult to watch Tom Cruise on screen anymore… he gives me the creeps… but still I’ll be checking it out.

Lust, Caution (Dir: Ang Lee. Stars: Tony Leung, Joan Chen)
Ang Lee for my money is one of most consistantly great directors working today. His new film looks really similar to ‘In the mood for love’ but that’s such a fantastic film that comparison only makes me want to see it more. Plus I grab hold of any chance I get to see Tony Leung on screen… the guys incredible.

I’m not there (Dir: Todd Haynes)
This is that interesting looking film about the life of Bob Dylan, with everyone from Christian Bale to Cate Blanchett playing him over the course of his life. Looks different if nothing else… and I read a couple of good reports from the Toronto film festival.

Juno (Dir: Jason Reitman)
Jason Reitman’s last film ‘Thankyou for Smoking’ I liked but wasn’t blown away by, apparantly Juno is a step-up and i’ve heard consistantly good things about it. I also really like Ellen Page a young actress that’s only done a couple of films but has been great in all of them (I’m not counting X-men 3 in there). They played a short piece from the film at the Press Launch and it seemed charming and funny. (Oh and there’s a trailer out now too.. check Slashfilm here)

Gone Baby Gone (Dir: Ben Affleck)
It’s a shame yet understandable why this has been withdrawn from the festival as the storyline is very close to a kidnapping case currently dominating the british press. Ben Affleck directing sounds strange to say, but the early word on this film has all been incredibly positive…

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Dir: Andrew Dominik)
I’m not sure which version of the trailer they showed at the Press Launch but it actually reignighted my interest in this film. Brad Pitt’s alway interesting to watch, but the real revelation appears to be Casey Affleck who finally seems to be getting the recognition and parts he deserves.. and not just parts in crappy ‘Oceans XX’ movies.

Funny Games (Dir: Michael Haneke)
I’m not sure If I’m interested in this film or if it’s just sick curiosity to see a great filmaker like Michael Haneke do a shot-for-shot reamke of a film he’s already made.. only this time in English. Either way i’ll be sat in the theatre…

Far North (Dir: Asif Kapadia)
I know nothing about this film, but they played a short piece from it at the screening that involved Michelle Yeoh pushing a bunch of evil guys down an Ice crevice. done.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Dir:Julian Schnabel)
A couple of the people who write for Solace have been keeping an eye on this film for ages. The story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the editior of French Vogue who suffered a heat attack at 43 leading to ‘locked-in syndrome’. Early reports from Toronto were overwhelmingly positive.

The Bands Visit (Dir: Eran Kolirin)
Again something they played clips from at the launch, and it appeared to be a really charming little film. Telling the story of an egyptian police band that arrive in Israel to perform at the ‘arab cultural seminar’ and then get stranded on the evning of Shabat. Hilarity ensues.

Grace is Gone (Dir: James.C Strouse)
Again another film that comes to the LFF after having recieved much acclaim from Toronto and Sundance. It’s John Cussacks portrayal of a father having to raise his 2 girls alone after their mother is killed in a conflict in Iraq, that’s won praise at all the festivals so far.

Rescue Dawn (Dir: Werner Herzog)
Werner Herzog directing a dramatised version of a true story he’s already made a documentary about. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, and finally it’s arriving.

Reservation Road (Dir: Terry George)
The trailer for this hits me everytime. When you cast a group of actors as good as the ones on display here, it’s difficult to fuck it up.. or at least ..thats what I’m hoping. Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Connelly in a suburban drama/revenge film. I’ll be there.

A couple of others I don’t have time to write about:
- The Savages (I could watch Philip Seymour Hoffman read the dictionary for 2 hours.. although hopefully I won’t have to)
- Son of Rambow (Eventually we might get a trailer for it… eventually)
- Battle for Haditha (New Nick Broomfield doc about Iraq)
- Echo (Ekko) (new film from Anders Morgenthaler, the guy who directed last years ‘Princess’. heavy.)
- Does Your Soul hHave a Cold (Mike Mills documentary about Depression in modern Japan)

Oh and there’s a talk by David Lynch and Donnovan (go figure) about meditation and conciousnous. Sounds.. odd.

Is there anything I missed you’re really looking forward to? leave a comment below….

(Photo stolen from Sizemores flickr stream)

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