The official lineup for this year’s London Film Festival has been announced.
Featuring 191 features and 113 shorts from almost 50 countries, it takes place next month from 14th-29th October.
The big news angle is that George Clooney stars in three of the major films, including: the world premiere of Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox (as the voice of the title character); The Men Who Stare at Goats as a self-proclaimed “Jedi warrior” leading paranormal experiments for the U.S. military, and as a management consultant addicted to air travel in Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air.
The festival’s artistic director Sandra Hebron said that Clooney provided the closest thing there is to a theme at the 53rd annual festival.
“There are three George Clooney films and four films with nuns in them. That’s about it”.
On a more serious note she said that if there was a trend to be gleaned from this year’s selection of films, it would be “the return of the auteur”, which was also what some commentators felt about Cannes this year.
Some of the biggest names in world cinema are in a lineup that includes Austrian director Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes; the acclamed prison drama A Prophet from France’s Jacques Audiard; Jane Campion’s John Keats biopic Bright Star; Steven Soderbergh’s whistle-blower saga The Informant; Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock; Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man; and Lone Scherfig’s An Education the Nick Hornby-scripted adaptation of Lynn Barber’s memoir about coming of age in the 1960s.
Among the stars coming over to attend screenings are the aforementioned Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Julianne Moore and Emma Thompson.
For the first time, the festival will give out a best-picture award and Amanda Nevill, director of festival organizer the BFI, said her goal was “to take the (London) film festival into the top tier.”
British films in the schedule include Lucy Bailey’s documentary Mugabe and the White African; Julien Temple’s documentary Oil City Confidential; and Sam Taylor-Wood’s biopic about the young John Lennon Nowhere Boy, which closes the festival.
Here are the lineups for the two major strands of the festival:
GALA & SPECIAL SCREENINGS
- Fantastic Mr Fox (Dir. Wes Anderson): Animated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s popular children’s book.
- The Boys are Back (Dir. Scott Hicks): Drama starring Clive Owen about a modern family coping in the aftermath of a tragedy.
- Bright Star (Dir. Jane Campion): Biopic exploring the romance between John Keats and Fanny Brawne.
- Chloe (Dir. Atom Egoyan): Drama about a woman investigating her husband’s alleged infidelity starring Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson.
- An Education (Dir. Lone Scherfig): A coming of age tale adapted from Lynn Barber’s memoir with Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard.
- Father of My Children (Dir. Mia Hansen-Løve): French drama inspired by the life of film producer Humbert Balsan.
- The Men Who Stare At Goats (Dir. Grant Heslov): Based on Jon Ronson’s book about bizarre US military techniques, it stars Ewan McGregor, George Clooney, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey.
- MICMACS (Dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet): A ‘fantastical satire’ on the arms trade starring André Dussolier, Dominique Pinon and Yolande Moreau
- Nowhere Boy (Dir. Sam Taylor Wood): A biopic about the early years of John Lennon, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Aaron Johnson, Anne-Marie Duff and David Morrissey.
- A Prophet (Dir. Jacques Audiard): Hugely acclaimed French prison drama that many tipped for the Palme d’Or this year.
- The Road (Dir. John Hillcoat): Long anticipated adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s bleak best-selling novel with Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron.
- A Serious Man (Dir. The Coen Brothers): Drama set in 1967 about a Jewish academic living in a Minneapolis suburb.
- Toy Story 2 in 3D (Dir. John Lasseter, Ash Brannon): A 3D reissue for Pixar’s 1999 sequel to the ground breaking animated film that established them as the leading animated studio of the modern era.
- Underground (Dir. Anthony Asquith): A reissue of this 1920 film about love, treachery and murder on the London Underground.
- Up in the Air (Dir. Jason Reitman): Adapted from Walter Kim’s 2001 novel about a US businessman (George Clooney) addicted to air travel, this has already been attracting Oscar buzz.
- The White Ribbon (Dir. Michael Haneke): The winner of this year’s Palme d’Or at Cannes is the tale of mysterious events in a German village on the eve of World War I.
FILM ON THE SQUARE
These are the other notable films from around the world that will be screening in cinemas in Leicester Square during the festival.
- 44 Inch Chest (Dir. Malcolm Venville)
- About Elly (Dir. Asghar Farhadi)
- Adrift (Dir. Heitor Dhalia)
- Air Doll (Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda)
- Astro Boy (Dir. David Bowers)
- Balibo (Dir. Robert Connolly)
- Bellamy (Dir. Claude Chabrol)
- Bluebeard (Dir. Catherine Breillat)
- Bunny and the Bull (Dir. Paul King)
- Cold Souls (Dir. Sophie Barthes)
- Cracks (Dir. Jordan Scott)
- La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet (Dir. Frederick Wiseman)
- Eccentricities of a Blonde-Haired Girl (Dir. Manoel de Oliveira)
- Enter the Void (Dir. Gaspar Noé)
- Extract (Dir. Mike Judge)
- From Time to Time (Dir. Julian Fellowes)
- Glorious 39 (Dir. Stephen Poliakoff)
- The Informant! (Dir. Steven Soderbergh)
- Lebanon (Dir. Samuel Maoz)
- Life During Wartime (Dir. Todd Solondz)
- The Limits of Control (Dir. Jim Jarmusch)
- The Milk of Sorrow (Dir. Claudia Llosa)
- Mother (Dir. Bong Joon-Ho)
- No One Knows About Persian Cats (Dir. Bahman Ghobadi)
- Paper Heart (Dir. Charleyne Yi)
- Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (Dir. Lee Daniels)
- Samson & Delilah (Dir. Warwick Thornton)
- A Single Man (Dir. Tom Ford)
- Taking Woodstock (Dir. Ang Lee)
- Tales from the Golden Age (Dir. Hanno Höfer, Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Popescu, Ioana Uricaru)
- Tell Me Who You Are (Dir. Souleymane Cissé)
- The Time That Remains (Dir. Elia Suleiman)
- Vincere (Dir. Marco Bellocchio)
- We Live in Public (Dir. Ondi Timoner)
- When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors (Dir. Tom DiCillo)
For a full list of films showing at the festival, including the New British Cinema, French Revolutions, Cinema Europa, World Cinema, Experimenta, Treasures from the Archives and Short Cuts and Animation strands go to the official LFF website.
> The Times report on this year’s lineup
> Official LFF website
> Check out our LFF reports from last year