As last year, here are some recommendations for the upcoming BFI London Film Festival. There are, of course, many films in the festival that I haven’t yet seen, some of which I am greatly looking forward to. (For me Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and Mike Leigh’s Peterloo are merely the most immediately enticing; since posting this piece I have seen the Coens’ compendium western The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and can confirm it’s well worth catching.) But the list below covers a dozen titles which are among my favourites of the year so far. The films are more or less in order of preference, though I have to confess that I like the first three titles – all very different from each other – pretty much equally. Having compiled the list, I was even a little surprised, not so much because I discovered that it included two movies from both Sweden and Switzerland, but because it includes a film by Godard (the first feature by him that I’ve liked in a very long time) and another movie – Border – which is in some ways very different from what I usually like. But then it’s a film that is in itself full of surprises. Spoiler alert: do read as little about it as you can before seeing it.
That said, you can read more about the movies online at bfi.org.uk/lff (where you will also be ably to book tickets once they’re put on sale); or you can check out my own thoughts on the films through the various links below. You will be able to find most of the remaining titles (but not Border!) covered in my blogs on this year’s film festivals in Berlin and Cannes.
The Wild Pear Tree Ahlat Ağacı (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey – picture at top)
Burning (Lee Chang-dong, South Korea)
The Green Fog (Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson, Canada)
Happy as Lazzaro Lazzaro Felice (Alice Rohrwacher, Italy)
‘I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians’ “Îmi este indiferent dacă în istorie vom intra ca barbari” (Radu Jude, Romania)
Silence Is Golden Le Silence est d’or (René Clair, France)
Capernaum Capharnaüm (Nadine Labaki, Lebanon)
Eldorado (Markus Imhoof, Switzerland)
The Image Book Le Livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard, Switzerland)
Bergman – A Year in the Life Bergman– Ett År, Ett Liv (Jane Magnusson, Sweden)
Ash Is the Purest White Jiang hu er nv (Jia Zhangke, China)
Border Gräns (Ali Abassi, Sweden)
The BFI London Film Festival runs from 10 to 21 October.