The Hope Lies Guide To The London Film Festival – Part 3

Part 3 of our picks of  this year’s London Film Festival programme focusses on the festival’s largest section, Film On The Square. 

Hors Satan

Our biggest regret of last years London Film Festival was that we missed out on a screening of Bruno Dumont’s Hadewijch. That that film still hasn’t received a theatrical or DVD release in the UK yet only serves to remind us of our grave mistake. That Dumont’s latest feature is screening at this years festival serves as some comfort, with Hors Satan very much our most anticipated of the event.

Carnage

Roman Polanski follows up the superb The Ghost with this adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s The God Of Carnage. A heck of an ensemble cast consisting of Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly and Christophe Waltz promises much.

The Future

Miranda July has taken her time with following up her debut feature, the still effective Me and You and Everyone We Know, a film which somehow managed to capture the performance artists distinctive style and transplant it to the silver screen admirably. Narrated by a cat (yes, a cat), The Future charts the relationship between an ageing pair of happy-go-lucky types, as the titular future begins to dawn on them.

Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai

Can Takashi Miike make it two for two with this adaptation of the seminal Masaki Kobayashi film? It’s Miike’s first 3D film (although its not been announced whether or not the film will be exhibited as such at LFF), and, if it’s up to the high standards of 13 Assassins then we’re in for a great few hours. The Kobayashi is due to be released on Blu-ray at the end of the month by Eureka’s wonderful Masters Of Cinema label.

Faust

We’re not great fans of Aleksandr Sokurov here at Hope Lies, but have to admit that his take on the Faust story has peaked our attention. While it remains to be seen if the Russian filmmakers film will join the ranks of the great adaptations of the myth (With Murnau’s masterpiece the ultimate version), but we look forward to seeing whether or not he pulls it off. Based on the bits seen so far he certainly seems to have captured the tone of the of the tale, and a shock Golden Lion win at Venice certainly lean that way too. Incidentally, Sokurov will be the focus of a major BFI retrospective following the festival.

I’m Carolyn Parker

Jonathan Demme’s documentary takes in the effects of Hurricane Katrina, following the story of an unassuming elderly lady. Katrina is a severely under projected event when it comes to cinema, so anything dealing with it will always be a welcome occurrence for us.

Into The Abyss: A Tale Of Death, A Tale Of Life

Werner Herzog delves in to the US justice system, with this ambitious walk down death row. This feature-length film forms part of a wider tapestry of work that explores the penal system in America.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

One of the big hits from this years Sundance film festival, Martha Marcy May Marlene is a tale of cults and the longing for freedom. Indie-God John Hawkes appears, automatically promoting this to “must-see” status.

Michael

Sharing a number of thematic similarities with the autonym-led film above, Michael is firmly rooted in the disturbing.

Alps

Yorgos Lanthimos’ follow-up to the hugely successful Dogtooth has impressed many at Venice this week. Alps certainly appears to be cut from the same barmy cloth, with the tale of a paramedic, nurse, gymnast and her trainer promising a provocative piece of cinema.

Snowtown

Obvious comparisons to David Michod’s Animal Kingdom aside, this antipodean crime drama looks to tick all of the boxes that make the urban crime flick great. With a focus on a spate of serial killings that took place throughout the late 1990’s, Justin Kurzel’s movie looks capable of replicating the break-out success of its contemporary.

Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
Many regarded Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film as being unjustly robbed of the Palme d’Or at this years Cannes, and while the Turkish director might have had to make do with the Grand Prix the reputation that the film has garnered in the wake of that festival dictates that Once Upon A Time In Anatolia is one of the hot tickets for this years LFF. The clip showcased in promotion of the film tease a beautifully shot, atmospheric epic.

Take Shelter 

This low key Michael Shannon drama, in which a blue collar worker becomes obsessed with building a tornado shelter has won all sorts of accolades at festivals across the world. Shannon is certainly one of the cinemas most intriguing modern figures, and we’ll always welcome his presence in anything. And yes, that includes a Zack Snyder movie.

This Must Be The Place

Paolo Sorrentino follows up the immense success of Il Divo with this almost-high concept tale of a rock ‘n’ roll Nazi hunter. Note the use of the word “almost”. Sean Penn portrays a Robert Smith-alike on an unusual road trip. David Byrne provides the music.

Chicken With Plums

An adaptation of the Marjane Satrapi graphic novels by the team who made Persepolis a major art house breakthrough hit a few years back, Chicken With Plums sees a change of tone and style. Out goes the animated, and in comes a live-action dominated scenario, albeit one punctuated by bursts of animation and other film form. Mathieu Amalric leads a cameo driven work.

Wuthering Heights

Andrea Arnold tackles Heathcliff and Cathy with a thoughtful spin on the well-worn classic. Adopting a tactic that worked so well on Fish Tank and casting unknowns in the lead roles, Arnold’s take on the Bronte classic is certain to be a highlight of the strand.

Our complete preview of the London Film Festival 2011 can be found here.

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