Monday, 13 November 2017

BFI LFF 2017 - THELMA - Dir. Joachim Trier

A father and his daughter Thelma walk across a frozen lake; she pauses momentarily to watch the silvery fish slinking through the icy water below. Later, a fawn crosses their path; the father raises his rifle to shoot, but turns it towards his daughter just ahead of him. He holds his aim but can’t bring himself to pull the trigger.

It’s a brilliant opening – one of the year’s best – to Norwegian director Joachim Trier’s fourth film Thelma, his first foray into genre cinema. It’s unsettling and gives Trier a blank canvas on which to map out his chilling sci-fi drama; the unexpected should be expected at every turn.

Monday, 9 October 2017


A three and a quarter hour documentary about a library may not sound like the most enticing of prospects and yet, Frederick Wiseman’s glimpse into the comings, goings and inner workings of the New York Public Library is riveting and absolutely worth taking the time to savour.

As libraries go, the New York Public Library with its 209 branches is a million miles away from the stuffy village sites that would spring to my mind. Wiseman takes his camera to many of the locations found on the streets, corners and in the suburbs of the continuously unfurling city. He’s there simply to observe how people use the facilities available to them and how the management work to continually provide their patrons with the means to live, learn and connect with the wider world.

Friday, 6 October 2017

BFI LFF 2017: BAD GENIUS - Dir. Nattawut Poonpiriya

Now here’s that rarest of things, a film you never knew you wanted: a high-school exam heist thriller. Whilst Hollywood faces continuous accusations of lacking ideas, Thailand has delivered Bad Genius: an inventive and thrilling caper that has already wowed audiences on home soil and across much of southeast Asia.

Keen to settle in quickly at her new school, Lynn (newcomer Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying) begins to tutor her new friend Grace (Eisaya Hosuwan). Tutoring quickly turns to cheating and as Grace’s grades improve, more of Lynn’s classmates want her to provide the answers to their exams, and they’re willing to pay good money for her help.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

BFI LFF 2017: PRINCESS CYD - Dir. Stephen Cone

There’s a specific joy that comes from watching a film with no preconceptions and being completely won over by it and, in the modern era of lengthy marketing campaigns, it is becoming an occurrence to savour. The film on this occasion was Princess Cyd, from Chicago based writer and director Stephen Cone.

Jessie Pinnick stars as teenager Cyd, who travels to Chicago to spend the summer with her aunt Miranda (Rebecca Spence), a famous novelist. Cyd and Miranda haven’t seen each other since the funeral of their mother/sister almost a decade ago.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

BFI London Film Festival 2017 Preview - Part 2

A total of 242 feature films will screen at the 61st BFI London Film Festival in October; 242 films including 28 World premieres, 9 International premieres and 34 European premieres.

The previously announced Breathe and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri will bookend the festival and there are many treats in-store for the days in between. 

In Part 1, I looked at the films from the main competitions and gala screenings.

Outside of the competitions and galas, other films are placed in one of the following strands:

   LOVE                 DEBATE                 LAUGH

 DARE                  THRILL                   CULT

JOURNEY             CREATE                 FAMILY

EXPERIMENTA                            TREASURES

Click any of the strand names to explore each one if full on the BFI website. Here are some picks from my first perusal at the full line-up; click on the title of each film to go to the BFI festival page for the film.