London Film Festival: Hidden gems you need to know


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An impressive list of foreign-language, indie and first-time filmmakers make their festival debuts at this year’s BFI London film festival.

Amongst the headlines acts is American actor Paul Dano known for his eclectic roles in There Will be Blood and Love and Mercy, who joins the actor-turned-director clan unveiling his directorial debut Wildlife, a portrait of small town life in 1950s post-war America. The film stars Carey Mulligan (Mudbound, Drive) and Jake Gyllenhaal as a married couple living pay cheque to pay cheque trying to support their teenage son.

The longest film currently showing in London is Christopher Marclay’s 24-hour art installation, The Clock. But the longest film at this year’s festival, running just shy of 14-hours is Argentinian director Marino Llinás’ genre bending Spanish-language, La Flor. The lives of four actresses working in Argentina’s most acclaimed theatre company, Piel de Lava, are told across several different film genres and styles, from action/spy thriller to silent film.

The number of female filmmakers at this year’s festival has risen. Festival director Tricia Tuttle, said: “We are seeing lots of really exciting new female film-makers coming through the programme.”

One of them is acclaimed Italian writer-director Alice Rohrwacher, who brings her third feature film Happy as Lazzaro, the tale of a young peasant boy trying to navigate life in rural Italy.

The film premiered earlier this year at Cannes, won the prize for best screenplay and was picked up by Netflix.

BAFTA award winner Michaela Coel leads in another Netflix picture premiering at this year’s festival, Been So Long, a contemporary musical set in an alternative version of London’s Camden. The film is adapted from an acclaimed stage play of the same name by Ché Walker. Students and anyone under 25 can see it and several other hidden gems for £5 under the BFI’s new ‘25 and under’ scheme.

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