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33 Films to see at the 60th London Film Festival 2016

Update: Tickets still available: http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff/ticket-availability


The programme for this years BFI London Film Festival runs from 5-16th October 2016. Every year, EC Forde and I try and outline the films that interest us.  Some will get a big cinema release, others, a smaller cinema release, and some you may catch at other festivals and screening events. The rest may just vanish from our radar, with the hope that they pop up somewhere in the future (e.g. TV/DVD/Event). So this is the perfect opportunity to see films from around the world. Particularly interesting this year are the number of films we wanted to list. 33 features, and 13 short films.

They take us on a journey through, Mali, Nigeria, Chad, Botswana, South Africa, America, Uganda, Haiti, France and the UK.

See  our selection below and find out more on the BFI 60th London Film Festival website.

EC Forde & Jammie xx


Feature Films

The 13th

13th-06Director Ava DuVernay presents a searing look at a century of race relations in America in this far-reaching and powerful documentary.

Thu 6
76

76-the-movie-hidingA terse political drama from Nigeria deals with the ramifications for a group linked to the assassination in 1976 of General Murtala Mohammed.

Sat 15
All This Panic

all-this-panic-sage-adamsSeven New York teens emerge from the turbulent ‘panic’ years into nearly adulthood in this astonishingly intimate documentary.

Fri 7, Sat 8
American Honey

american-honey-02Andrea Arnold dazzles with a sun-soaked and tune-filled epic about door-to-door teenage magazine sellers travelling the American highways.

Fri 7, Sat 8, Tue 11
Arrival

arrival_forrestAmy Adams and Jeremy Renner star as the humans who make first contact with extraterrestrial visitors in this richly textured sci-fi from director Denis Villeneuve.

Mon 10, Tue 11, Thu 13
Being 17

being-17-05Hormonal aggression sparks an intense enmity between two 17-year-old schoolboys in the snowy Pyrenees, until the true connection between them surprises everyone.

Mon 10, Tue 11, Sun 16
The Birth of a Nation

The Birth of a Nation

This explosive Sundance-winning drama follows Nat Turner, a preacher who became the radical leader of an uprising against slavery.

Tue 11, Wed 12, Thu 13
Born In Flames

born-in-flames-01Lizzie Borden’s provocative feminist sci-fi returns to our screens and has lost none of its power.

Sat 15
Chi-Raq

Chi-RaqSpike Lee reimagines Aristophanes’ ancient Greek play Lysistrata as a dazzling modern-day hip-hop musical set in Chicago.

Sat 15, Sun 16
Daughters of the Dust [Treasure]

daughters-of-the-dust-still-six-women-group-shotJulie Dash’s groundbreaking Daughters of the Dust remains urgent and poetic and continues to resonate, most recently inspiring Beyoncé’s Lemonade.

Sat 8, Sat 15
Divines

divinesThe gangster genre is given a shrewd feminist makeover in this arresting debut about a young girl embarking on a life of crime.

Thu 6, Fri 7, Tue 11
Fonko

fonko-01A pulsating journey through the electronic urban musical underground of Africa that looks at how the new sounds are defining a generation, from the team behind Black Power Mixtape (LFF2011).

Sat 8, Mon 10
Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy

hissein-habre-chadian-tragedy-01Mahamet-Saleh Haroun (Darrat) returns to the theme of the personal and societal responsibility with this searing documentary about ex-Chadian President Hissein Habré.

Sat 8, Sun 9
Hospital [Treasure]

hospitalAn outstanding restoration of Frederick Wiseman’s unforgettably gripping documentary portrait of New York’s Metropolitan Hospital.

Sun 9
I called him Morgan

i_called_him_morganPart true-crime tale, part love story, this vivid portrait of legendary hard bop jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan is an all-out musical treat (from the director of My Name is Albert Ayler).

Fri 7
The Illinois Parables

The Illinois Parables

Eleven parables relay histories of settlement, removal, technological breakthrough, violence, messianism and resistance, all occurring somewhere in the state of Illinois.

Mon 10
Jewel’s Catch One

jewels-catch-oneA rousing doc about LA’s first black LGBT disco, defiantly opened in 1973 and beloved by music royalty from Sylvester to Madonna.

Sat 8, sun 9
Layla M

layla-m-01The gripping and powerful story of a young girl’s path towards radicalisation from director Mijke de Jong (Bluebird).

Tue 11, Thu 13
Lovetrue

lovetrue_3Following her groundbreaking debut Bombay Beach, director Alma Har’el returns with another genre-bending, visually stunning gem about our perception of love and relationships, including the psyche of Victory, a young black woman in New York City pondering family bonds and faith.

Sat 8, Mon 10
Mimosas

mimosas-01A mesmerising combination of travelogue, mysticism and documentary from Spanish director Oliver Laxe, as a young man goes on a mission in the Atlas Mountains.

Thu 6, Fri 7
Moonlight

MoonlightBased on the play ‘In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue’, Moonlight follows Chiron as he finds his identity and sexuality in Miami in the 1980s.

Thu 6, Fri 7, Sat 8
A Moving Image

shola-amoo-a-moving-image-south-london-gentrification-3The gentrification of London’s Brixton is examined in this probing and stylistically ambitious debut feature.

Sat 8, Fri 14, Sun 16
Nocturama

nocturama-01French director Bertrand Bonello imagines Paris in a state of apocalypse, in a provocative, troubling response to the contemporary age of terror.

Sat 15, Sun 16
On Call

La Permanence

on-call-01Filmed in a walk-in service for asylum seekers in an hospital near Paris, this timely documentary captures with great humanity dozens of personal stories.

Wed 12, Fri 14
The Pass

pass-01Two ‘straight’ footballers share a kiss in this powerful chamber piece which opened BFI Flare earlier this year.

Wed 12, Fri 14
Queen of Katwe

Queen of KatweThe powerful true life tale of one girl’s determination to escape from poverty in Uganda by becoming a chess champion, directed by Mira Nair and starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.

Sun 9, Mon 10, Wed 12
The Revolution Won’t Be Televised

revolution-wont-be-televised-01Rama Thiaw’s film taps into an example of grassroots political action in Senegal, where a group of disenfranchised activists decide to campaign against that country’s elite.

Sun 9, Mon 10
Stolkholm My Love

stockholm-my-love-rainNeneh Cherry, director Mark Cousins (I am Belfast) and cinematographer Christopher Doyle  create an inventive docu-style fiction and a love song to the Swedish city.

Tue 11, Wed 12
Those Who Jump

Les Sauteurs

those-who-jump-still-playing-bootball“I exist because I film” – the compelling first-hand account of an African migrant enduring great hardship to reach Europe and make a better life.

Thu 13, Sat 15
A United Kingdom

united-kingdom-01Amma Asante (Belle, A Way of Life) opens the Festival with this impassioned drama depicting an interracial romance that changed the world.

Wed 5, Thu 6, Tue 11
The Wedding Ring

Zin’naariyâ!

wedding-ring-01A female-directed and rare film from Niger, about a privileged young woman who comes back home, in the sultanate of Zinder, after studying in Paris to discover the truth of the relationships between women and men in her society.

Fri 14
White Colour Black

white-colour-black-01A young mixed heritage man confronts the psychological complexities of his identity in this essential, truly cinematic discovery for anyone interested in Black British cinema.

Sat 15
Wùlu

wulu-02What happens when a life of crime offers more opportunity than living an honest life? It’s a challenge Malian bus driver Ladji faces in this superb drama.

Fri 7, Sat 8

Short Films

Hollywood Disections – Sat 8
juke-01Juke – Passages From The Films of Spencer WilliamsThe career of African American actor, director and scriptwriter Spencer Williams re-enacted in a plotless montage film.
London Calling – Thu 13, Fri 14
pregnant-pause-01Pregnant PausePee. Wait. Panic. Steph is in a happy, long-term relationship, but now that she might be pregnant she has no idea what she wants.
we-love-moses-01We Love MosesTwelve-year-old Ella’s obsession with her brother’s best friend lands her with a potent secret.
Love in a Void – Wed 5, Fri 7
nkosi_coiffure_2Nkosi CoiffureEva escapes her boyfriend on the street of Brussels’ Congolese neighbourhood. She finds solace in an afro hair salon. Initially, at least.
New Kind of Kick – Fri 7, Sat 8
best-last-best-plane-ride-ever-01The Best Last Best Plane Ride EverOctober, 1986. The NY Mets beat the Houston Astros. This animation recreates their post-game airplane celebration: three hours of unbridled chaos.
Returning and Repressing – Sun 9
ears-nose-and-throat-01Ears, Nose and ThroatWhile under a medical examination, a modest woman unburdens her traumatic witnessing of the shooting of a man by his friend.
liliesleaf-farm-mayibuye-01 Liliesleaf Farm Mayibuye: In Search of the Spectres of HistoryUsing double screen, the filmmaker juxtaposes her domestic family history with that of Nelson Mandela prior to his arrest.
on-a-wing-and-a-prayer-01On a Wing and a PrayerA recreation of the 31-mile walk of refugee Abdul Rahman Haroun through the Eurotunnel, only for him to be arrested under an arcane Victorian railway law.
reluctantly-queer-01Reluctantly QueerA young Ghanaian man confesses his confusion around his sexuality and his desire to please his mother.
Tales of Mystery and Imagination – Wed 12
girl-who-danced-with-the-devil-01The Girl Who Danced With the Devil (A moça que dançou com o Diabo) A girl from a very religious family seeks her own paradise.
Teen Creeps – Thu 6, Thu 13
crystal-lake-01Crystal LakeA group of young girls take over a skate park. There, on the reclaimed ramp and with no boys around, they thrive.
send-off-01The Send-OffEmboldened by a giant block party on the evening of their high school prom, a group of students enter the night with hope for the future.
The Past is the Present Too – Fri 14
sea-is-history-01The Sea is History (work in progress)The Sea is History, made in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, is a free adaptation of the poem by Derek Walcott as a materialist and animist critique of the monumentalisation of European colonial history and its ripples into the present.

Events & Talks

  1. Black Mirror Preview
  2. Lynette Wallworth

BFI Flare Film Festival 2015 | Afrocentric films

A selection of afrocentric films at this years BFI Flare Film Festival which opens on Thursday. Here are our selections for the festival.

Including Kenyan film, ‘Stories of Our Lives‘ which gets its UK Premiere at the festival but sadly is already sold out.

Mo’Nique returns to the big screen in her first film since winning an Oscar for ‘Precious‘ in ‘Blackbird‘ a story based on Larry Duplechan’s Novel of the same title, with the films screeplay written by Brit Rikki Beadle-Blair.

The Starlite, one of New York’s pre-Stonewall gay bars – a black-owned and operated influential dance club, is celebrated in, ‘We Came To Sweat‘. Some of the disco sound originated at the bar, which is now under the threat of redevelopment.

Plus there’s another chance to see French film, ‘Girlhood‘ and the hottest black film in years, ‘Dear White People‘ as with its London Film Festival outing last year the tickets sold out within an hour.

The festival closes with the documentary, ‘Out To Win‘, looking at the experience of LGBT sportspeople working in professional sport, with contributions from Brit John Amaechi, and remembering Justin Fashanu.


19-29 March 2015.
50 feature films and over 100 short films. BFI Southbank.


Download the film Schedule here.


FEATURE FILMS


Blackbird

A gay boy in a deeply conservative Southern US town deals with the traumas of religious prejudice and coming out.

blackbird-002“Based on a 1986 Larry Duplechan novel, transposed to a Mississippi small town. Randy, a young black man, is wrestling unsuccessfully with his burgeoning sexuality. A member of his church choir, he has a tight cohort of school friends who seem more aware than he is of his sexuality. Meanwhile, at home Randy has to contend with his deeply religious mother (actress Mo’Nique from Precious), grief-stricken since his sister was mysteriously abducted. An unexpected encounter with a young actor and filmmaker changes things for Randy, but nothing runs that smoothly in this ripely melodramatic, emotionally engaging coming-of-age story, replete with plenty of sharp one-liners.” BFI

  • Mar 21, 2015 8:45 PM
  • Mar 23, 2015 1:50 PM

Girlhood Bande de filles

Céline Sciamma’s triumphant film explores of a young girl’s search for identity in the underprivileged suburbs of Paris.

girlhood-002“Céline Sciamma (Waterlilies and Tomboy) returns with this glorious coming of age drama about a quartet of young black girls growing up in the working class outskirts of Paris. Marieme is the eldest daughter of a single mother who works nights, leaving her with full responsibility for her younger sisters and an older brother so authoritarian that his behaviour borders on the abusive. At first a lonely, solitary figure among the young girls on her estate, Marieme is soon adopted by a sassy group, and the quartet find strength and power together in a community where rough boys dominate. Less overtly ‘L, B, or T’ than her previous work, Sciamma’s Girlhood is a nuanced examination of female friendship, gender dynamics and identity. Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ provides the backdrop to one of the year’s most electrifying, joyful scenes: ‘eye to eye, so alive, we’re like diamonds in the sky…’.” BFI

  • Mar 23, 2015 8:40 PM
  • Mar 24, 2015 3:50 PM

Dear White People

The diversification of an all-black residence hall forces a group of African-American university students to take a stand.

dear-white-people-002“Sam White is frustrated. Everywhere she looks, she finds racial inequality and coded aggression at her elite university. Her radio show is rubbing people up the wrong way and her ex-boyfriend, the tormented son of the school’s dean, is her opponent in a student election campaign she thinks she will never win. When she does, Sam is forced to face the true complexity of the racial politics she espouses; a complexity that Lionel Higgins, a gay writer casually ridiculed by the black student union Sam runs, is already facing.” BFI

  • Mar 24, 2015 8:40 PM
  • Mar 25, 2015 3:50 PM
  • Mar 28, 2015 1:30 PM

We Came to Sweat

Over 50 years of gay, black American heritage is at stake when this pre-Stonewall Brooklyn bar is threatened by redevelopment.

we-came-to-sweat-001“When a Brooklyn landmark, the black-owned and operated Starlite, is threatened with eviction by new landlords, its 50-year history as a pre-Stonewall gay bar and dance club is in peril. This film is a history of the club, its patrons and its staff, many of whom are also deserving of national treasure status. It’s not just in London that gentrification and rising property prices tempt landlords to sell to developers in the hope of making a fast buck. The community rallies around in protest, but is it enough? The history of the Starlite and its importance to the black gay community as a privileged space is underlined by the rich testimony from elders and family members for whom the venue is simply a part of their life. With a rich soundtrack of great music, reflecting the club’s influence on the creation of disco, the film is a warning to anyone who thinks their favourite gay bar is a permanent fixture.” BFI

  • Mar 24, 2015 8:50 PM
  • Mar 26, 2015 6:10 PM
  • Mar 27, 2015 6:10 PM

Stories of Our Lives

A visually stunning and tenderly wrought collection of stories about LGBTI lives in Kenya.

stories-of-our-lives-003“Two young women are in trouble for their ‘peculiar’ relationship; a farm hand is tormented when his crush begins courting a woman; a young DVD seller is intoxicated by the smoke and sounds of a clandestine gay bar. These are among the tales featured in this beautifully rendered collection of narratives from LGBTI Kenyans. Stories of Our Lives started out as an archival project by the multi-disciplinary Nest Collective, and the testimonies given have been tenderly wrought into funny, endearing – and at times heartbreaking – sketches. The quality and imagination achieved transcends the predictable but nevertheless disappointing response from the Kenyan government; after its Toronto premiere Stories of Our Lives was banned in the country for promoting homosexuality. That many of the actors are not themselves LGBT but were willing to participate at great personal risk is testament to the socially incisive and life-affirming vision of the project.” BFI

  • Mar 26, 2015 8:40 PM
  • Mar 28, 2015 11:45 AM
  • Mar 29, 2015 4:10 PM

Out to Win

Inspirational documentary charting the history of homosexuality in competitive sport, with interviewees including Martina Navratilova and Jason Collins.

out-to-win-JasonCollins1“In the competitive world of professional sports, homosexuality continues to be a big issue. So big that it seems no-one wants to talk about it. With so many athletes afraid that coming out will mark the end of their careers, there is a dearth of proud LGBT sportspeople representing the community and empowering future generations. Thankfully, some brave individuals have spoken out about their sexuality and paved the way for change. Told through the words of these pioneers, Malcolm Ingram’s inspirational documentary charts the history of homosexuality in sport, highlighting the triumphs, and indeed the tragedies, of those fearless forerunners, and profiling the victories of present day stars” BFI

  • Mar 29, 2015 6:00 PM
  • Mar 29, 2015 8:45 PM

SHORT FILMS


The View from Here | Mar 20, 2015 4:00 PM | Mar 21, 2015 11:50 AM
Whether you’re in your teens or well into adulthood, coming out can be one of the most terrifying (and perhaps most thrilling) things you’ll ever have to do, as demonstrated in this poignant collection of short films.

The Return  La Retour – A teenage boy must make sense of the world around him after he learns the truth about his older brother.

Director Yohann Kouam | France 2013 | 22 mins

Pleasures and Perils of Desire | Mar 23, 2015 4:00 PM
A rich haul of shorts about yearning for, finding, and remembering encounters of a sexual nature.

Caged  Uitgesproken – A group of friends hanging out at a sports ground discover one of their number is gay, but it seems he might not be the only one.

Director Lazlo Tonk, Dylan Tonk | The Netherlands 2013 | 13 mins

T/Here I Am | Mar 22, 2015 1:50 PM  | Mar 25, 2015 8:45 PM
Take up space, stand your ground, have no fear of not fitting in – these shorts explore what it means to be a queer body in a strange world.

Black Is Blue – A young homeless transman works as a security guard and is called to shut down a party his ex was rather enjoying.

Director Cheryl Dunye | USA 2014 | 16 mins

Dark Rivers of the Heart | Mar 27, 2015 3:50 PM | Mar 28, 2015 1:20 PM
Sinister desires become violent actions in this often disturbing programme of shorts.

Beyond Plain Sight – A seemingly charming young man hides a very dark and disturbing secret in his South London flat.

Director Joseph a. Adesunloye | UK 2014 | 13 mins

Fragile Things | Mar 29, 2015 12:45 PM
A collection of UK short films – From first encounters to break-ups, via autograph hunters, hand-jobs and a vision of Christ, this selection of homegrown narrative shorts explores infatuation and desire.

When Fragile Things Break – An explosive drama about dreams and hearts breaking.

Director Shanika Warren-Markland | UK 2013 | 7 mins

Mingmong – Annalise and Jude collect autographs together but Annalise’s mind is on other things.

Director Richard Turley | UK 2013 | 12 mins

Followers – Lynn has a vision of the face of Christ on a pair of swimming trunks.

Director Tim Marshall | UK 2014 | 12 mins