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London Film Festival unveils line up

The Times BFI 51st London Film Festival’s full programme, announced today by Artistic Director Sandra Hebron, includes 184 features and 133 shorts as well as a host of screen talks, masterclasses and live events.

Opening the Festival on Thursday 17 October is the UK premiere of David Cronenberg’s EASTERN PROMISES with Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts and Vincent Cassel, whilst Wes Anderson closes the Festival on November 1 with the UK premiere of THE DARJEELING LIMITED, starring Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody.

Hosting 7 World, 29 European and 128 UK premieres, the Festival welcomes both familiar faces and newcomers, showcasing established and emerging talent throughout the 16 day cinematic celebration. The programme includes the latest work from Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion winner Ang Lee (LUST, CAUTION), Alexander Sokurov (ALEXANDRA), Abdellatif Kechiche (THE SECRET OF THE GRAIN), Jan Svĕrák (EMPTIES), François Ozon (ANGEL), Sean Penn (INTO THE WILD), Ermanno Olmi (ONE HUNDRED NAILS), Michael Haneke (FUNNY GAMES), Adoor Gopalakrishnan (FOUR WOMEN), Takeshi Kitano (GLORY TO THE FILMMAKER!), Andrew Dominik (THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD), Todd Haynes (I’M NOT THERE) and Nobuhiro Yamashita (THE MATSUGANE POTSHOT AFFAIR). Audiences will also discover debut feature directors including: Céline Sciamma (WATER LILIES), Rodrigo Plá (LA ZONA), Shivajee Chandrabhushan (FROZEN) and Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud (PERSEPOLIS).

British filmmaking talent is strongly represented by Penny Woolcock (EXODUS), Garth Jennings (SON OF RAMBOW: A HOME MOVIE), Nick Broomfield (BATTLE FOR HADITHA), Asif Kapadia (FAR NORTH), Richard Attenborough (CLOSING THE RING) as well as by newcomers Simon Welsford (JETSAM) and Joanna Hogg (UNRELATED), and a selection of documentaries and shorts.

Cinema-goers will also be transported around the globe with films from 43 countries including Israel, Lebanon, China and Korea, and with a special event ROMANIAN CINEMA: THE NEXT NEW WAVE?, exemplified by Cristian Mungiu’s Palme d’Or winner 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS and Cristian Nemescu’s CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ (ENDLESS). Spain’s Iciar Bollain directs MATAHARIS while Hungary’s ISKA’S JOURNEY is directed by Csaba Bollók and Austrian IMPORT EXPORT comes from Ulrich Seidl. Argentinian double-bill: COPACABANA by Martín Rejtman with STARS by directing duo Federico León & Marcos Martínez, sits alongside a strong Japanese presence including Masayuki Suo’s I JUST DIDN’T DO IT and Cannes Grand Prix winner THE MOURNING FOREST by Naomi Kawase while Jia Zhangke’s WU YONG (USELESS) hails from China.

The French Revolutions strand offers 14 of the country’s latest exports including Samuel Benchetrit’s I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A GANGSTER and CAPTAIN AHAB from Philippe Ramos, and French co-productions with Israel and Lebanon respectively bring Eran Kolirin’s THE BAND’S VISIT and Nadine Labaki’s CARAMEL. A brilliantly eclectic slate from the US includes Terry George’s RESERVATION ROAD, Kevin Lima’s ENCHANTED, SHOTGUN STORIES from Jeff Nichols and Kasi Lemmons’ TALK TO ME.

Documentary fans have a wealth of choice including Kim Longinotto’s HOLD ME TIGHT LET ME GO, Nicolas Philibert’s BACK TO NORMANDY, Helena Trestikova’s MARCELA from the Czech Republic, ZOO by Robinson Devor, WE WANT ROSES TOO by Alina Marazzi and Israeli Nadav Schirman’s THE CHAMPAGNE SPY. Marc Evans directs IN PRISON MY WHOLE LIFE and DOES YOUR SOUL HAVE A COLD? comes from Mike Mills.

Celebrating restorations from archives around the world, Treasures from the Archives showcases features and shorts including: the magnificent ENAMORADA, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and extraordinary, neglected classic KILLER OF SHEEP. The big screen will also come to Trafalgar Square for two nights, ablaze with archive films that celebrate London as one of the world’s great cinematic cities, including Alfred Hitchcock’s BLACKMAIL.

Taking to the stage to discuss their careers and work will be Wes Anderson, Laura Linney, Steve Buscemi, Harmony Korine, Robert Rodriguez and Paul Greengrass, while David Lynch and Donovan will be ‘Catching the Big Fish’ together. Other expected guests include David Cronenberg, Naomi Watts, Cristian Mungiu, Sienna Miller, Andrew Dominik, Tang Wei, Ang Lee, Jason Schwartzman, Julian Schnabel, Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Jan Svĕrák, Michael Moore, Asif Kapadia, Halle Berry, Susanne Bier, Sean Penn, Michael Pitt, Todd Haynes, Casey Affleck, Tamara Jenkins, Carlos Reygadas, Esther Robinson, Amy Adams, James Marsden, Jason Reitman and Kevin Lima.

Commenting on the Festival line-up, Sandra Hebron said: “In a very strong year for world cinema, we are delighted to be able to present such a wide ranging and high quality programme of films and special events, in which work by internationally renowned directors sits comfortably alongside that from many exciting new talents. We look forward to welcoming filmmakers, audiences and press and industry delegates alike to our two week celebration of the best, most creative and original films of the year.”
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Robert Thomson, Editor, The Times, added: "The list of works gathered for The Times BFI London Film Festival is a tribute to the organisers and an indication that the country's lovers of film will be very busy in late October and early November. There will be the famous and the infamous, the stars and the hangers-on, but there will also be many a film whose intrinsic worth will broaden the mind and bring a smile to the face."


The Times BFI 51st London Film Festival runs from October 17– November 1.

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