BFI 56th London Film Festival: THE OVERVIEW!

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So it’s all over for another year! Before we dive into the best and the worst of the show, here are the award winners from last night’s annual prize ceremony:

BEST FILM

Rust and Bone by Jacques Audiard

The other nominees were: After Lucia, End of Watch, EVERYDAY, Fill the Void, Ginger & Rosa, In The House, It Was The Son, Lore, Midnight’s Children (zzz), No (YES!) and Seven Psychopaths.

BEST BRITISH NEWCOMER

Sally El Hosaini – director and screenwriter of My Brother The Devil

The other nominees were: Fady Elsayed for My Brother The Devil (actor), Rufus Norris for Broken (director), Eloise Laurence for Broken (actor), Chloe Pirrie for Shell (actor), Scott Graham for Shell, Tom Shkolnik for The Comedian (writer and director) and Rowan Athale for Wasteland (writer and director).

SUTHERLAND AWARD

Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild

The other nominees were: Clip, The Comedian, Eat Sleep Die, My Brother The Devil, Neighbouring Sounds, The Samurai That Night, Shell, Ship of Theseus, Sleeper’s Wake, Tomorrow and Wadjda.

THE GRIERSON AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God by Alex Gibney (brilliant film – go see it when it gets released nationwide. So powerful).

The other nominees were: Beware of Mr. Baker, Canned Dreams, The Central Park Five, The Ethnographer, For No Good Reason, Free Angela And All Political Prisoners, Les Invisibles, The Summit, Turned Towards The Sun, Village at the End of the World and West of Memphis.

BFI Fellowships

Tim Burton & Helena Bonham Carter.

Christopher Lee presented it and it was utterly glorious. That’s just beautiful.

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THE FESTIVAL

So as we London film nerds go back to dossing through our DVD collections and Netflix – what can we take away from this festival. Well, it was super successful for BFI. The Rolling Stones were there. Ben Affleck, Jon Goodman and Bryan Cranston showed up for Argo (easily the smash hit of the festival, and a film that is going to be HUGE come Oscar season). I’ve never seen the festival so packed with press and people. Bravo BFI again.

General overview aside – here’s are my 5 selected highlights and lowlights of this year’s festival:

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ARGO

Argo is an absolutely fantastic film. Affleck has done a phenomenal job in creating a 1970s throwback/tribute overflowing with laughs and thrills. It’s a little rough round the edges, and having looked into the story, Ben Affleck looks nothing like the real life Tony Mendez, and Canada big impact is minimalised a fair bit. However, it’s constantly engaging and I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes all the way to the big one – esp for Affleck as Best Director. The supporting cast is superb as well by the by with Goodman, Cranston and Arkin performing brilliant. It is a must see upon release.

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AMOUR

Michael Haneke has produced many tough watches in his time, but personally nothing compares to the experience of watching his latest. Amour is everything you expect from Haneke. Led by terrific central performances and incredibly imaginative direction, he has crafted one of the most heart-wrenching films of the year. It’s truly breathtaking and tearjerking. Furthermore, the buzz this film garnered during the screening and from its sell out showings with the public suggest this film could be the sleeper critical hit. With Argo being the one everyone goes to see, Amour may be the little dark house that could even sneak an Original Screenplay nod come January.

Great Expectations, 2011,

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

The best way to sum up Great Expectations is through Topper Harley in Hot Shots Part Deux (Iink updated 12/07/2013)

It was really a something of nothing film. It was okay overall. Literally, there’s not truly an outword thing wrong with it. It’s…so passive. It’s so non-plussed. It’s so afraid to offend the original material, it effectively follows it word for word. It’s such a shame as there was so much potential here but a wealth of talent has been wasted. However to avoid sounding completely negative Robbie Coltrane is excellent as Mr Jaggers.

Beasts Dwight Henry

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

I LOVED this film. God, it’s film like this that lift the soul. It’s fantastic. It’s beautiful shot. It’s phenomenally acted – unbelievable levels of praise, kudos and adulation deserve to be laid at the feet of Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry (pictured). It’s so heartwarming and wrenching in the same instance. I can’t remember a film I enjoyed this much. Indeed, I went and bought a ticket for me and my other half – just so she could see it. I don’t regret it at all. The New York Times critic A. O. Scott has it dead on: ““blast of sheer, improbable joy, a boisterous, thrilling action movie with a protagonist who can hold her own… Hushpuppy, the 6-year-old heroine of ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild,’ has a smile to charm fish out of the water and a scowl so fierce it can stop monsters in their tracks. The movie, a passionate and unruly explosion of Americana, directed by Benh Zeitlin, winks at skepticism, laughs at sober analysis and stares down criticism.” 

1) That’s brilliant writing

2) That’s spot on

3) Go see this movie. You will not regret. Heck, even Obama loves it! Go NOW!

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LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

Hang on a minute? This isn’t a new film. Nope, it is not. However, it is one of the greatest British films ever made. Potentially David Lean’s best work. Potentially Peter O’Toole’s best performance. It’s almost 4 hours long but it’s the most beautiful photographed and compelling narrative ever recorded to film. This new version is beautifully restored and looks utterly glorious. What else can be said about this amazing film? Get it on Blu-ray or go to the cinema and watch it now. Take your kids. Take your parents. Every generation needs to see this film.

Thank you for another amazing yearBFI. Stay tuned for coverage of the 57th BFI London Film Festival coming in October 2013!

EDIT 20/12/12: Some of my old student friends put together an amazing TV show together about this year’s festival. Please watch. I even helped do some writing and moral support for this!

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