This year’s London Film Festival has got to be one of the best yet, with even more films from even more countries and even more inclusive than ever, it was tough to cut it down to a best of. From Harry Dean Stanton’s poignant final role as Lucky, to the heartbreakingly honest new Sean Baker creation The Florida Project, and from HIV activist French drama 120 BPM to the latest script writing masterpiece from Richard Linklater, the BFI took us on an exceptionally emotive trip this October. Scroll down to see our 7 fave flicks that you must check out upon their general release, and stay tuned for some exclusive interviews soon…
Good Time – THE Safdie BROTHERs
Returning from their 2014 indie-hit, Heaven Knows What, the Safdie Brothers have created a crime drama like no other. Featuring Robert Pattinson as Constantine ‘Connie’ Nikas, like you’ve never seen him before – and not just because of the Queens twang and bleach blonde locks. Following co-director Benny Safdie as Nick, Connie’s brother who has learning difficulties, the two attempt to rob a New York bank which results in Nick’s arrest. What develops is a weird, darkly comic adventure that descends into disarray with each turn of Connie’s twisting and twisted plans. Soundtracked by Oneohtrix Point Never, the film is intensely kinetic whilst still creating consistent characters – most notably Pattinson’s Vincent Gallo-esque crooked New Yorker. Stay tuned for the release on 17th November and for now check out the newly released trailer below…
Lucky – John Carrol Lynch
The final film from the great character actor Harry Dean Stanton, who passed away in September, and it’s as perfect as his first lead role in 1984’s Paris, Texas. As John Carroll Lynch’s directing debut, you can tell it’s the work of a fellow character actor: his creation is a touching portrait of a 90-year-old man living alone in a small Southern town surrounded by cacti, tumbleweed and loneliness. Consistently either comedic, thought-provoking and wry, the intimately written script (from Stanton’s ex-assistant Logan Sparks and actor Drago Sumonja) gives the title character such a rich impression to leave on the audience, just as Stanton has throughout his career. Starring a distraught David Lynch, who is searching for his missing pet tortoise (named President Roosevelt) the film looks at life in a mellow but telling tale of existentialism and the endings of life: Lucky has a fall and has to confront his life and his future. A poignantly apt tribute to the late actor, it feels almost a full circle from Paris, Texas, where he is still wandering through a desert looking for meaning in nothing: “I’m not afraid of heights, I’m afraid of falling” he declared in the first, but now he’s had his fall and he still gets to walk off into the wilderness.
The Florida Project – Sean Baker
Sean Baker’s latest project is arguably his most important yet: exploring the hidden homeless in America’s motel residents through the eyes of happy-go-lucky 6-year-old Moonee (Brooklyn Prince). Set on the outskirts of Disney World, Florida, Moonee and her single mum Halley (film debutante Bria Vinaite) experience what it’s like to live in the shadow of the ‘happiest place on earth’. But Moonee makes the best of it – whether that’s taking a safari round the local fields, or having a hip-hop party at bath-time – and The Florida Project follows the tough times in pastel painted Magic Castle Motel under the caring eye of manager Bobby (in arguably Willem Dafoe’s most poignant role yet). One of the best film’s of the year, of the decade, Sean Baker yet again proves his incredible cinematic eye and intimate story telling abilities in a beautifully realist manner. Coming soon on 10th November, check back on Hunger for our exclusive interviews with the director and cast soon.
Call Me By Your Name – Luca Guadagnino
A timeless love story from Luca Guadagnino set in an idyllic Northern Italian town in a 1980s summer, the LGBT coming-of-age tale follows up-and-comer Timothée Chalamet as Elio, as he falls for all-American house guest Oliver (Armie Hammer). Featuring a captivating soundtrack mixing original intimacy from Sufjan Stevens with iconic 80s hits – notably the now meme-ified anthemic dance scene to The Psychedelic Furs’ ‘Love My Way’. The film’s sensuality oozes through the music, the setting, the classical art that surrounds them, and the result is an intoxicating story of sexuality awakening. Out next Friday 27th October, this will be a surefire winner come awards season, with Chalamet looking to be this year’s one to watch.
120 Beats Per Minute – Robin Campillo
A intimately personal story from director Robin Campillo, 120 BPM follows the incredible ACT UP AIDS activist group from Paris in the 1990s, and the heart-breaking experiences of the people within it. Opening in the midst of a group meeting, the film throws you in the deep end in an almost documentary-esque realism as they discuss their latest actions and welcome new members. We meet Nathan, a HIV-negative newbie to ACT-UP who throws himself in at the deep end too – as his activism intensifies so does his relationship with the outspoken, witty, HIV-positive Sean. The exhilarating dialogue of meeting debates, along with the atmosphere of frustrating activism and sensuality of the romance, provides a film pounding with life just like the title suggests. Heartbreaking yet uplifting in their rousing activism, this is an enlightening film that everyone should watch, be sure to next year after its release on 6th April 2018.
Gemini – Aaron Katz
The fifth feature film from director Aaron Katz, Gemini is his most thrilling yet. A crime mystery but not as you know it: the film focuses on bisexual Hollywood starlet Heather’s death (played by Hunger fave Zoe Kravitz), and the mysterious consequences her assistant Jill (Lola Kirke) has to discover. Set in LA, the city becomes a twisted character of its own: neo-noir aesthetic and electro-soundtrack make this classic thriller culturally relevant again, and the female-led cast is a breath of fresh air to the genre. Keep a look out online for more details of the release, and confront the worlds of celebrity and friendship with Kirke and Kravitz.
Last Flag Flying – Richard Linklater
Linklater’s latest is almost as long-awaited as the Bryan Cranston/Steve Carell pairing within it. A road movie with a sad destination, trio Larry ’Doc’ Shepherd (Carell), Sal (Cranston) and Mueller (Lawrence Fishburne), are an odd group of clashing war veterans who reunite to help Doc on his shambolic journey to giving his late son the funeral his father wants. Heartbreaking and hilarious, the charismatic cast provide reason enough to see the film, but together with Linklater’s classically witty and touching script it’s not to be missed. Due out in the US soon, it won’t be long till you too need to rush down to the cinema and check out Last Flag Flying.