Tag Archives: London

64th BFI London Film Festival 2020 – Feature Films

From 7 to 18 October the BFI London Film Festival will be the first ever edition to be widely accessible wherever you are in the UK, with over 50 virtual premieres, free online events and cinema screenings across the land.

2020 has been the most extraordinary year and the London Film Festival follows the trend in bringing something completely new to the year. The 64th BFI London Film Festival this year is not bound by London, you can see films all over the country. To add to that, the festival this year is providing many opportunities to see over 50 virtual premieres via the BFI’s online platform. It’s a change that may affect the festival for many years to come which isn’t a bad thing. It’s great that the festival can go ahead this year even though the World has had the Coronavirus pandemic to deal with. So many things ground to a halt, but it hasn’t stopped the festival, and in this landmark year, there are still loads of films to see, immerse yourself in and live through.

In addition to the short films and feature films, the BFI London Film Festival is offering LFF Expanded – a set of films and experiences – an augmented reality, and AI-driven Virtual Reality -experiment. Some of the content on offer is best viewed via a VR headset, but many also offer direct viewing via your web access.

Here is our 2020 selection of films, LFF Expanded and events. Highlights include two films from Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology series – Mangrove and Lovers Rock. Regina King’s directorial debut with One Night In Miami, based on Kemp Powers stage play about a night in Miami with Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown. Kemp Power also brings Pixar movie, Soul co directed with Pete Docter and featuring Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, and Phylicia Rashad. Yemi Bamiro’s One Man and His Shoes looks at the legacy of Nikes, Michael Jordon promoted, basketball shoes, Air Jordons. Time takes us on a 20-year campaign by wife Fox Richardson to get her husband released from a life sentence, and 15 years after his film, Injustice charting deaths in custody, Ken Fero brings us Ultraviolence.

ALSO SEE OUR SHORT FILM SELECTION

Videos

African Apocalypse:

 

Cicada:

 

One Man and His Shoes:

 

Time:

 

Ultraviolence:

 

7th October

Mangrove

DEBATE

“The Mangrove restaurant in Notting Hill doubled as a community centre for Black Londoners to exchange ideas and to commune. As police brutality and harassment intensified, the Mangrove also became a site of resistance leading to the wrongful arrest for incitement to riot of nine local activists including Altheia Jones-LeCointe (Letitia Wright) and Darcus Howe (Malachi Kirby). Oscar-winner Steve McQueen’s depiction of the infamous 55-day trial is a moving instalment from his Small Axe anthology series, a collection of films that evoke memories, political events and a critical perspective on life for London’s West Indian community between the 1960s and 1980s.”

United Kingdom 2019 | 126 minutes

Directed by: Steve McQueen

Featuring: Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes, Malachi Kirby, Rochenda Sandall, Jack Lowden

 

9th October

Farewell Amor (also 12th October)

LOVE

“A New York-based Angolan man finally reunited with his wife and daughter – Esther and Sylvia arrive from Angola to live with Walter, who left his war-torn homeland 17 years ago. Sharing a tiny apartment in Brooklyn, they try to rebuild their lives together and overcome the personal and political differences that developed in their years apart. Walter accepts that he can no longer play the role of the single man, while Esther has become a devout Christian, secretly sending what little they earn to her church back home. Meanwhile, Sylvia tries to adjust to life in this foreign land.”

USA 2019 | 101 minutes

Directed by: Ekwa Msangi

Featuring: Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Zainab Jah, Jayme Lawson

 

Time (also 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th October)

DEBATE

“Fox Richardson has spent over 20 years campaigning for the release of her husband, who was sentenced to life without parole for a botched armed robbery. At the same time, she single-handedly raised six sensitive and bright sons. Garrett Bradley’s (America) feature showcases her tremendous talent and ambition, deftly combining home video archive and contemporary footage of Fox and her sons, presenting a remarkably resilient woman who transformed from being collateral damage of the US penal system into an inspirational campaigner. Enhanced by stunning black and white photography and an evocative blues score. An epic personal journey of hardship and hope, it reveals the devastating effects of mass incarceration on Black communities in America.”

USA 2020 | 81 minutes

Directed by: Garrett Bradley

 

10th October

I Am Samuel (also 13th October)

JOURNEY

“Samuel was born and raised on a farm in rural Kenya. Moving to its capital, Nairobi, he meets and falls in love with Alex. Samuel’s father, a preacher at his local village church a few miles from the capital, expects his son to marry and looks forward to the day when he brings home a daughter-in-law. While Alex and Samuel’s love for each other thrives, they remain constantly aware of the shadows of violence creeping around them. After all, under the Kenyan constitution’s penal code, introduced by the British some 100 years ago, homosexual acts carry a 14-year prison sentence.”

Content warning: this film contains scenes of homophobic violence.

Kenya 2020

Directed by: Pete Murimi

 

11th October

Eyimofe (This is My Desire) (also 14th October)

JOURNEY

“The rich tones and complex hues of the Esiri brothers’ striking portrait of migration highlights what is left behind. Set in Lagos and divided into the provocatively titled chapters ‘Spain’ and ‘Italy’, we follow Mofe (Jude Akuwudike), a factory technician and Rosa (Temi Ami-Williams), a hairdresser as tragedy and survival fuel their desires for a better life’ in Europe. Captured with stoic precision on 16mm, Eyimofe (This is My Desire) resists the temptation of high drama to show the sprawling city and the forces that propel its unique social dynamic. The elegant directorial eye of Arie and Chuko Esiri combined with skilful performances from Akuwudike and Ami-Williams mark the film as another great contribution to the burgeoning independent Nigerian new wave.

Nigeria 2019 | 114 minutes

Directed by: Arie Esiri, Chuko Esiri

Featuring: Jude Akuwudike, Tomiwa Edun, Temi Ami-Williams

 

Industry (also 14th October)

DEBATE

Episodes 1, 2 and 4

“An investment bank’s graduate programme is a hotbed of ambition and insecurity in this timely, tightly-plotted drama. Led by rising star Myha’la Herrold, these friends and rivals navigate a toxic culture of ego, excess and the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis as they compete for permanent jobs. Lena Dunham directs the first episode with verve, providing a typically frank lens on sex, drugs and millennial vulnerability. Writers Kay and Down subvert expectations at every turn, delivering a fresh and incisive exploration of race, class and the price of success.”

UK 2019 | c.145 minutes

Directed by: Lena Dunham, Tinge Krishnan, Ed Lilly

 

One Night in Miami… (also 12th October)

JOURNEY

“Based on Kemp Powers’ award-winning stage play, One Night in Miami… is the imagined story of what followed 22-year-old Muhammad Ali’s (Eli Goree) 1964 victory over heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. Sat ringside are Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). The film explores the personal and political conflicts faced by the men — balancing their public image in a world where the pinnacle of success for a black person was to be a sportsperson or entertainer, alongside their drive to fight for black liberation. The conversations that followed were not without conflict and King’s depictions of their lives apart from each other is as much a testament to the strength of their character as it is the power of the film’s thrilling narrative. This was a meeting of minds on a historic night.“

USA 2020 | 111 minutes

Directed by ; Regina King

Featuring: Ben-Adir Kingsley, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr

 

Soul (also 13th, 14th, 17th October)

FAMILY

“Jamie Foxx is Joe Gardner, a music teacher who lives for his art. Just as his professional career is about to take off, a fateful mishap finds him embarking on an unexpected journey of self-discovery to The Great Before, an incredible place where new souls are born. Unfolding across a series of beautifully realised worlds, Soul takes a refreshing look at how we become ourselves. With an all-star cast that includes Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs, Angela Bassett and Tina Fey, Docter and co-director Kemp Powers along with producer Dana Murray have crafted a universal narrative that will appeal to all ages, and a universe that is as smart and life-affirming as it is funny and exciting. The perfect film for your heart, body and, well…soul.”

USA 2020 | c100 minutes

Directed by: Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers

Featuring: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad

 

12th October

Cicada

LOVE

“New York City, 2013. Introspective bisexual Ben drifts from one casual encounter to the next. While his recent relationships barely last past morning, things change when he meets Sam, a handsome stranger with whom he forms an immediate connection. But as they spend more time together, both men begin to recognise the need to confront past traumas if they are to truly let the other person in. Based on personal experience, writer/director/star Matt Fifer and co-director Kieran Mulcare have crafted a richly textured drama, tackling complex subjects with grace, delicacy and uncompromising honesty. Fifer’s sympathetic central performance is ably matched by co-writer Sheldon D Brown’s nuanced turn as Sam, with the pair establishing an effortless on-screen connection that brings real heart to their timely and, ultimately, hopeful tale.”

USA 2020 | 93 minutes

Directed by: Matt Fifer, Kieran Mulcare

Featuring: Matt Fifer, Sheldon D. Brown, Sandra Bauleo

 

Ultraviolence

DEBATE

“Since 1969, there have been over 2000 deaths in police custody in the UK. It is a frightening statistic that Ken Fero approaches with seasoned conviction. 15 years after his ground-breaking film Injustice, Ultraviolence employs unflinching archival footage to document the tragic and undignified deaths that took place between 1995 and 2005. Victims include Fero’s classmate Brian Douglas and Jean Charles de Menezes, who was shot and killed whilst travelling on the London underground. With intimate access to a variety of sources, Fero encounters families devastated by these killings and subsequently thwarted in their struggle for justice. Ultraviolence shows a corrupt system failing UK citizens.”

United Kingdom 2020 | 75 minutes

Directed by: Ken Fero

 

13th October

One Man and His Shoes (also 13th, 16th October)

DEBATE

“South Londoner Yemi Bamiro follows his impressive short works with a debut feature documentary of scale – examining the cultural and commercial phenomena of Michael Jordan against the increasing commodification of Black culture and a lack of corporate accountability. A sportsman with once-in-a-generation talent, Jordan was held up as a symbol of Black progress; he had his own phenomenally successful trainer brand that made Nike one of the most profitable companies in the world. Bamiro deftly charts the rise of Jordan against 80’s and 90’s pop culture milestones: hip hop, Spike Lee, the emergence of the mega-watt and mega-rich sports personalities. He also highlights how brands became savvy manipulators of youth culture by stoking America’s toxic obsession with consumerism and celebrity in a climate of increasing class and race inequality.”

United Kingdom 2020

Directed by: Yemi Bamiro

 

14th October

David Byrne’s American Utopia (also 15th October)

CREATE

“‘Do we get stupider as we grow up?’ In his wildly popular Broadway show American Utopia, Byrne reflects on human connections, life and how on earth we work through it. He joins the dots with his music and it all starts making sense. Spike Lee here transforms the production into immersive, dynamic cinema that radiates with astounding performances, inventive contemporary dance and political urgency. American Utopia flows like an iridescent dream vision. Work by James Baldwin, Janelle Monáe and Kurt Schwitters is highlighted among exhilarating renditions of Byrne’s solo work as well as Talking Heads classics. According to the multi-hyphenate, we love looking at humans more than anything else. Anti-fascist and anti-racist, Byrne illuminates our responsibility to care for one another as he and his co-performers burn down the house.”

USA 2020 | 105 minutes

Directed by: Spike Lee

Featuring: David Byrne, Jaqueline Acevedo, Gustavo di Dalva, Bobby Wooton III

 

16th October

African Apocalypse (also 19th October)

DEBATE

“When British-Nigerian poet and activist Femi Nylander discovered Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the novel that Barack Obama claims helped him understand why ‘white people are afraid’, he was immediately drawn to understanding this distorted vision of Africa. Embarking on a spiritual journey to Niger, Femi uncovers the violent legacy of the real-life counterpart to Conrad’s novel, French Captain Paul Voulet, whose genocidal mission in 1898 can still be felt today, through subsequent generations of his victims. A brutal indictment of colonialism that never shies away from the horrifying terrorism Africans endured under colonial rule.”

United Kingdom, Niger 2020 | 88 minutes

Directed by: Rob Lemkin

 

Limbo

JOURNEY

“Limbo is at once deadpan comedy and also poignant tale of a group of refugees stuck, pending asylum, on a weather-beaten Hebridean outpost, the Uists. Sharrock cites Elia Suleiman as an inspiration and here too we see a deep humanism behind the wry gaze and a desire to move beyond cross cultural narratives of simple reconciliation. Rising UK star Amir El-Masry impresses as Omar, one of four men in this ‘limbo’ together, who find a bond in the shared strangeness of their situation and distance from their own countries and families.”

United Kingdom 2020 | 103 minutes

Directed by: Ben Sharrock

Featuring: Amir El-Masry, Vikash Bhai, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Kwabena Ansah, Ola Orebiyi

 

18th October

Lovers Rock

LOVE

“Another in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe collection of vivid memories, political indictments and historical artefacts depicting Black West Indian presence in London. In this edition, it’s a Saturday sometime in the 80s, Samson preps his sound system for Blues dance while Martha shimmies down her drainpipe, and Franklin, drenched in Brut, is primed to steal a heart. Red Stripe costs a pound, sweat drips from the walls as hips lock to the rhythm of lovers’ rock, and souls are possessed by dub vibrations. McQueen’s roving camera and luminous cast spread out and fill the screen. Inviting us to remember, not so much the good times, as the spectres of racism and violence loom, but the risk and reward of letting go for a night.”

United Kingdom 2020 | 68 minutes

Directed by: Steve McQueen

Written by: Courttia Newland, Steve McQueen

Featuring: Amarah-Jae St Aubyn, Michael Ward, Shaniqua Okwok, Kedar Williams-Stirling

 

LFF EXPANDED

Available 7th-18th October 2020

All Kinds of Limbo

The National Theatre’s musical VR experience transports the viewer into a vibrant theatrical world inspired by the influence of Caribbean culture upon the UK music scene.

You’ll need an Oculus Rift, Rift S or HTC Vive tethered headset to experience this work for free

UK, 2019 | 14 minutes
World Premiere (Individual Audience Version)

Format: 6DOF

Devised and Directed by Toby Coffey

Composed by Raffy Bushman & Nubiya Brandon

Lyrics by Nubiya Brandon

 

Common Ground (360 Version)

One of the most influential VR documentaries of the last few years deals with the recent history of the infamous Aylesbury Estate and its influence on UK housing policy.

You don’t need any special tech to experience this work for free, or you can use a headset.

UK, 2019
World Premiere (360 Version)
Format: 3DoF   

Written, Produced and Directed: Darren Emerson
Contributors:
Jean Bartlett, John Boughton, Kevin Holland, Aysen Dennis, Judi Bos, Anthony Badu

Gimme One

Get to know 5 members of the thrilling Ballroom scene in the UK while they explore their gender and sexuality through dance, in this ravishing VR documentary.

 

Virtual (Black) Reality:

Immerse yourselves in the lives of 4 Africa-descended Berliners and Parisians, whose realities offer a window into very different experiences of everyday life. Comprising the Afropean experience, they follow the stories of Bella, Babs, Kwesi, and ShaNon, unified by their origins and cultural backgrounds.

Virtual (Black) Reality: Volume 2 – Babs

Babs sees his barber shop in Paris as a melting pot for people from all cultural backgrounds and religions to create a shared sense of community.

Virtual (Black) Reality: Volume 2 – Bella

Angolan-descendant Bella embraces life as a dancer and dance teacher in Berlin.

Virtual (Black) Reality: Volume 2 – Kwesi

Kwesi, who works at the Each One Teach One library in Berlin, shares his views on early German colonial aggression on the African continent.

Virtual (Black) Reality: Volume 2 – ShaNon

Having migrated at an early age from Uganda, ShaNon believes in the plurality of origins and sees in her heritage so much more than an ‘Afropean’ cultural background.

UK 2020 | 14 minutes

Baff Akoto

World Premiere

Format: VR180

 

SOUL Fest: New Film Festival

SOUL Fest
30-31 August 2019

The BFI is the place to be this weekend! Four black British feature films, short films, and a symposium!

The inaugural SOUL Fest is a two-day celebration of black British talent in film, allowing audiences the opportunity to see a diverse representation of black Britain.

Full details of the festival can be found online: SOUL Fest .

 

Friday 30 August 2019

18:10
Farming + Q&A with director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

Six-week-old Enitan is left in the care of a white working-class family in Tilbury, Essex, but his surrogate mother (Kate Beckinsale) makes for a complex foster parent. Unsure of his place in the world, teenage Enitan (Damson Idris) falls in with a skinhead gang. Based on his own life story, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Farming charts the extraordinary journey of a young fostered Nigerian boy in 1980s England.

UK 2018. Dir Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Damson Idris, Jaime Winstone. 107min

+ SOUL Fest Opening Night Party, 21:00-23:00 – Balcony Bar, BFI Riverfront Restaurant & Bar.

 

Saturday 31 August 2019

12:30
SOUL Fest Symposium and Short Films

The unique SOUL Fest Symposium brings together a group of leading thinkers from Britain’s diverse communities to consider the role and responsibility of filmmakers with regards to the representation of diversity on screen. The symposium will also feature a presentation of some of the best short films by emerging BAME talent, exploring an eclectic range of tales touching on the Black British experience.

 

15:30
Nine Nights + Q&A with director Veronica McKenzie and actors Malcolm Atobrah and Mary Nyambura

Marcie and Mickey Haines are 16-year-old athletic twins. They’re inseparable, leaving their mother, Leonore, feeling excluded. On the day of an important race for Marcie, Michael is hit by a car and killed. The next morning she wakes to find the house full of mourners, talking about Michael in the past tense.

UK 2018. Dir Veronica McKenzie. Cast: Mary Nyambura, Malcolm Atobrah, Jo Martin, Elizabeth Brace. 99min

 

18:20
Preview: The Last Tree + Q&A with director Shola Amoo

Directed by Shola Amoo, The Last Tree is the semi-autobiographical story of Femi (played by young newcomer Tai Golding), a British boy of Nigerian heritage who, after being fostered in rural Lincolnshire, moves to inner-city London to live with his birth mother. In his teens, Femi (Sam Adewunmi) struggles with the culture and values of his new environment. He must decide which path to adulthood he wants to take and find out what it means to be a young black man in London during the early 00s.

UK 2019. Dir Shola Amoo. Cast: Sam Adewunmi, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Denise Black, Tai Golding, Nicholas Pinnock. 99min

 

20:40
Rattlesnakes + Q&A with director Julius Amedume

Award-winning writer-director Julius Amedume’s neo-noir psychological thriller is based on a play by Graham Farrow. Robert McQueen’s typical day takes a turn for the worse when he’s ambushed by three masked men who accuse him of sleeping with their wives. Robert pleads his innocence, but reveals something that will change his captors’ lives forever – is it enough to save his own life, though?

UK-USA 2019. Dir Julius Amedume. Cast: Jimmy Jean-Louis, Jack Coleman, Kathleen McClellan. 85min

 

HAVE A FABULOUS SOUL Fest!

2017 Sundance Film Festival

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival: London starts tomorrow; films are screening at PictureHouse Central.

On from the 1st – 4th June 2017.

Here are two Feature films and two Short film programmes to see:

JUNE 2017

Friday 2 – Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour [18]

Friday 2 | Saturday 3 – The Incredible Jessica James [18]
Director: Jim Strouse.
Starring: Jessica Williams, Chris O’Dowd, Lakeith Stanfield, Noël Wells. USA 2017. 85 mins.

Friday 2 | Saturday 3 – Crown Heights [18]
Director: Matt Ruskin.
Starring: Lakeith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha, Natalie Paul, Bill Camp, Nestor Carbonell, Amari Cheatom. USA 2017. 99 mins.

Sunday 4 – Sundance Film Festival UK Shorts [18]

 

The Hard Stop

Opening Friday 15th July 2016

Director George Amponsah
Producer Dionne Walker
Screenwriters George Amponsah, Dionne Walker
UK 2015
90 mins
Production company Ga Films Ltd

The Hard Stop
The Hard Stop

“The Hard Stop is an intimate documentary revealing the story, away from all press coverage, of Mark Duggan’s friends and family following his death. He was shot and killed in a ‘Hard Stop’ police procedure in 2011, sparking the most violent riots in British history. For 28 months, director George Amponsah (The Fighting Spirit) filmed around Broadwater Farm in Tottenham, where Duggan grew up, capturing his family’s distress and focusing on two of his best friends, Marcus Knox and Kurtis Henville. We follow the men closely as they attempt to get on with their lives, look for a job, talk about the discrimination they experience on a daily basis and the impact Duggan’s death has had on the community. Duggan is present throughout, in peoples’ testimonies and news broadcasts. What emerges is a profoundly humane, thought-provoking and topical testament, which gives a voice to people who are rarely heard.”
BFI LFF 2015


Family and friends talk about their relationship with mark Duggan and how things unfolded after his death during a ‘Hard Stop’ – ‘a nationally approved police tactic’.

The film is thought-provoking, funny, sad and totally compelling watching. I’ve watched this film twice, and both times I have walked away with more questions than answers. Well worth seeing.

 

Also, read this piece in The Guardian:
Marcus Knox-HookeThe man accused of starting the 2011 riots – and what he did next.
“Marcus Knox-Hooke was at the heart of the 2011 riots sparked by the death of his friend Mark Duggan in a police shooting. A new documentary examines what happened and follows him as he struggles to rebuild his life.”

Sixteen (15)

Director: Rob Brown
Starring: Roger Jean Nsengiyumva, Rachael Stirling, Rosie Day, Fady Elsayed, Sam Spruell


Jumah is about to turn 16 and is already in need of a fresh start. Burdened with the shameful legacy of a past as a child soldier in the Congo, he lives with his adoptive mother in west London, where he struggles to keep a lid on his history of violence. One night, enjoying a rare carefree evening out with a new friend, Jumah witnesses something that draws him seemingly inescapably into his old ways. As he and others around him begin to question whether he can ever stop being a soldier, he’s set on a path to find out who he truly wishes to be.


I first saw this film at the London Film Festival in October 2013. Interesting brit film which asks the question we all hope we’ll never be faced with, ‘What would you do if you were a witness to a crime, and then became a target?’ Add to that Jumah’s history of being a child soldier, and it adds an unexpected twist to his predicament. But this is a thinking over brawn film, very gently done. Superb acting from Roger Jean Nsengiyumva. Lots of shots in West London, off and around Ladbroke Grove.

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

Italian Films at the BFI London Film Festival

A few Italian films to catch at this year’s London Film Festival. The Festival is running from the 8th-19th October 2014.

Check out our other recommended films: Jammie & ECs films to see at the London Film Festival

leopardiLEOPARDI – Director Mario Martone
Wednesday 8th, 6.00pm – NFT3
Thursday 9th, 6.00pm – VUE ISLINGTON 1
Strand: Love (135 mins)
Mario Martone’s Leopardi illuminates the life and soul of one of Italy’s most significant and influential poets. From his early days at home under his father’s watchful gaze, through to  leaving home and discovering that he does not fit into Italy’s high society, to love affairs in Florence followed by an immersion into a cholera ridden working class Naples, this sweeping, detailed film demonstrates the interrelation between the life and literature of this most freethinking of iconoclasts, strikingly portrayed by Elio Germano.
 Screens with INTO THE WAR (L’ENTRATA IN GUERRA), dir. Roland Sejko, from the 9×10 anthology (10 mins).
i-can-quit-whenever-i-wantI CAN QUIT WHENEVER I WANT – Director Sydney Sibilia
Saturday 11th, 12.15pm – CURZON MAYFAIR
Wednesday 15th, 8.45pm – ODEON COVENT GARDEN
Strand: Laugh (100 mins)
When Pietro is laid off from his university job, he decides to start up his own business. He recruits a group of his fellow down-at-heel university professors to enter the drug trade, albeit dealing only drugs made with yet to be banned substances. But their naivety is soon exposed as they fall foul of those on both sides of the law. Sydney Sibilia’s debut film is a comedy of misadventure with a smart, topical edge.
Screens with PANIC (PROGETTO PANICO), dir. Paola Randi, from the 9×10 anthology (10 mins).Paola Randi will be introducing her film, as well as the 9×10 anthology on Saturday 11th.
black-soulsBLACK SOULS – Director Francesco Munzi
Saturday 11th, 8.45pm – CINE LUMIERE
Tuesday 14th, 3.15pm – VUE7
Strand: Thrill (103 mins)
An adaptation of a novel by Gioacchino Criaco, itself based on a true story, Francesco Munzi’s Black Souls puts a new spin on the Italian family feud, playing out like a contemporary western. When a minor spat triggers the hostility of a rival clan, three brothers from Southern Italy who are steeped in the life of the ‘Ndrangheta (the Calabrian equivalent of the Mafia), are caught up in a spiral of events and emotions that escalate out of their control, heading towards tragedy.
 Screens with BORDERLANDS, dir. Alina Marazzi, from the 9×10 anthology (10 mins).
wondersTHE WONDERS – Director Alice Rohrwacher
Monday 13th, 8.30pm – VUE5
Wednesday 15th, 8.45pm – HACKNEY PICTUREHOUSE
Strand: Journey (110 mins)
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Alice Rohrwacher’s second film (after her critically acclaimed 2011 debut Corpo Celeste) tells the beguiling story of a summer in the life of 12 year old Gelsomina, whose family – exiled from modern life in rural Italy – is disrupted by the arrival of a bizarre TV talent show from the city, and a delinquent German boy from a rehabilitation program, who comes to work on their bee-keeping farm.
Screens with UNA CANZONE, dir. Alice Rohrwacher, from the 9×10 anthology (10 mins).
hungry-heartsHUNGRY HEARTS  – Director Saverio Costanzo
Tuesday 14th, 6.30pm – VUE5
Thursday 16th, 6.15pm – CINE LUMIERE
Friday 17th, 12.30pm – NFT1
Strand: Love (109 mins)
Winner of the Best Actor (Adam Driver) and Best Actress (Alba Rohrwacher) Awards at this year’s Venice Film Festival, Hungry Hearts tells the story of Jude (American) and Mina (Italian), who after a chance meeting in a New York restaurant washroom, embark on a whirlwind romance, marry and swiftly become pregnant. But their charming romance gives way to something darker and more disturbing when Mina’s obsessive protectiveness of her newborn son begins to endanger his life, and Jude has to act quickly, pushing both newlyweds to their emotional limits.
Screens with MY DUTIES AS BRIDE (IL MO DOVERE DI SPOSA), dir. Claudio Giovannesi, from the 9×10 anthology (10 mins).
dinner-theTHE DINNER – Director Ivano De Matteo
Thursday 16th, 12.00pm – VUE5
Saturday 18th, 2.35pm – CURZON MAYFAIR
Strand: Dare (92 mins)
Two brothers meet regularly for dinner at a fashionable restaurant with their wives. Their teenage children are also close school friends. One fateful night, the children are out, and something horrific happens, leaving the families with a terrible moral dilemma. The polite chitchat and civility of dinner disintegrate, as both couples demonstrate how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love. An enthralling psychological drama based on Dutch author Herman Koch’s best-selling thriller ‘Our Children’.
Screens with TUBIOLO AND THE MOON (TUBIOLO E LA LUNA), dir. Marco Bonfanti, from the 9×10 anthology (10 mins).

*** Locations ***

  • CINÉ LUMIÈRE
    Institut Français / 17 Queensberry Place, London, SW7 2DT
  • COV. GARDEN
    Odeon Covent Garden / 135 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8AH
  • HPF
    Hackney Picturehouse / 270 Mare Street, London E8 1HE
  • ISLINGTON
    Vue Islington / 36 Parkfield Street, London N1 0PS
  • MAYFAIR
    Curzon Mayfair / 38 Curzon Street, London, W1J 7TY
  • NFT
    BFI Southbank / Belvedere Road, South Bank, London, SE1 8XT
  • VUE
    Vue West End / 3 Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7AL