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BFI London Film Festival


Running with both live and virtual premieres across 12 days in Octobe: 7-18 October 2020



EASTERN PROMISES To Open London Film Festival


Monday, October 1----------EASTERN PROMISES, the acclaimed new film from legendary Canadian director David Cronenberg, will open the Times BFI 51st  London Film Festival on Wednesday, October 17th. The film, which recently won the Peoples Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, has received some of the strongest reviews of the year  when it opened theatrically in North America in the past week. Oscar nominations and end-of-the-year critics prizes should be in the offing for director Cronenberg, stars Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts and Armin Muehler-Stahl and cinematographer Peter Suschitzky (whose previous collaborations with the director include A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, SPIDERS, CRASH and DEAD RINGERS).

The London-set thriller was written by Steven Knight (nominated for Oscar and BAFTA Awards for his screenplay for Stephen Frears' DIRTY PRETTY THINGS). The film reunites Cronenberg with his A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE leading man, Viggo Mortensen, in the intense story of a mysterious and ruthless driver for one of London's most notorious Russian crime bosses (a superb Armin Mueller-Stahl). A harrowing chain of murder, deceit and retribution is put in motion when he crosses paths with Anna (played by Naomi Watts), an innocent midwife, trying to right a wrong she accidentally uncovers…

The film is a co-production of Serendity Point Productions (Canada), BBC Films (UK) and Focus Features (USA). The film is being distributed in the US by Focus Features, a specialty division of Universal Pictures, and will open in the UK via Pathé on October 26th. Director Cronenberg and members of the cast are expected to walk the red carpet for the Festival's Gala Opening ceremonies.

"It's hugely exciting that a director who has consistently thrilled and challenged us through his career has made a film in our city", Festival Artistic Director Sandra Hebron enthused. "This  gripping, powerfully directed and acted story of lives colliding in contemporary London is the perfect opener for our Festival.” For more information on the films, special events and industry resources at the Festival, visit the official Festival website:

Sandy Mandelberger, London Film Festival Dailies Editor


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