London Film Festival

Welcome to Total Film's London Film Festival centre - the page for all your LFF needs.



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Here are News Editor, Jonathan Dean's Top Five Picks For The LFF

1 - The Darjeeling Limited
Brilliant newbie from Wes Anderson that you don’t have to be an Anderson fan to fall in love with, the Rushmore man cutting down on his quirks to craft an Indian railtrip that’s as funny as it is touching. Fingers crossed you catch a screening with the Hotel Chevalier short in front of the film, too…

2 - 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days
It won the top prize at Cannes and deservedly so; Christian Mungiu’s film may be gloomy hard work, but don’t let that put you off. Telling of an illegal abortion in 1980s Romania, it’s a superbly acted, deeply affecting drama. Plan for a stiff drink or four afterwards, mind.

3 - I’m Not There
Todd Haynes’ films (Velvet Goldmine, Far From Heaven) may split people, but his latest I’m Not There is an absolute must-see. Telling the story of Bob Dylan, the film has the legendary singer-songwriter played by seven different actors – with Cate Blanchett (yeah, a woman) getting the main plaudits.

4 - The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Issue 134 unfortunately went to press before Gone Baby Gone was pulled from the LFF’s schedule, but fear not, for this stunning, long-titled film just happens to pack another exceptional performance from Casey Affleck. It’s also worth noting that the adap of Monica Ali’s Brick Lane has filled the Gone Baby Gone slot, screening on 26 October.

5 - Substitute
A cheeky counterpoint to last year’s Zidane, Subsitute follows French midfielder Vikash Dhorasoo as he spends much of the 2006 World Cup on the finalists’ bench. Bitter and bored, it has caused quite the stir in Dhorasoo’s homeland, what with the player being rather open with his feelings about coach Raymond Domenech.

DC’s back, opening the London Film Festival...

Eastern Promises - ETA 26 OCTOBER 07

It’s been two years since David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen teamed up and wowed all-comers with the exceptional History Of Violence – arguably the most intelligent graphic novel adap around. This year sees the pair reunite for the Shivers man’s London Film Festival curtain raiser Eastern Promises, kicking off the fest at its Opening Night Gala on 17 October. Suitable really, considering the film’s set in our very own big smoke.

Written by Dirty Pretty Things man Steven Knight, Eastern Promises tells of dodgy organised crime bod Nikolai Luzhin (Mortensen), involved in underground sex trafficking and up to his eyeballs when midwife Anna (Naomi Watts) goes searching for the family of a dead prostitute’s baby. A cheery tale that sounds right up Cronenberg’s street...

The LFF shows films all over London, from the Leicester Square multiplexes to the fleapit arthouses.

Running from 17 October to 1 November, check out the website for full details as they emerge. If 2006’s Last King Of Scotland, This Is England and Babel line-up is anything to go by, we’re in for one hell of a treat…

Welcome to Total Film's London Film Festival centre - the page for all your LFF needs. As you can see it's pretty sparse at the moment, but keep on checking back for far more details from late September onwards as the countdown to the festival's 17 October kick-off begins in earnest. During the capital's celebration of film we'll be keeping you up to date with all the latest reviews, news and interviews. Just keep your eyes on this prize...

The LFF Interview – David Cronenberg: Eastern Promises

How does it feel to be opening the London Film Festival?

It’s tremendously exciting, it is a big honour to be opening a festival like London first of all, and secondly it’s a London movie and as an outsider making a London movie, I’m concerned that a London audience will react well to the film, so I’m very intrigued to see how that goes.

Are you heading off afterwards, or will you be able to hang around for the festival?

Oh, that’s the problem when you have a film at a festival, you never get to see any of the films at the festival, as much as you’d like to.

Viggo Mortenson’s prison tattoos were fascinating, and very Cronenbergian – telling a story via marking the flesh – but I hear they were his idea, is that true?

That is true, the tattoos were mentioned in the script, when his hands were on the steering wheel and Anna notices them, but they were never the central metaphor that the ended up becoming. But for an actor his body is his instrument, so anything that touches his body or is on his body is of great interest too him, it’s not vanity of course. With tattoos, if you’re Viggo, you’re saying, ‘Well, where are they on my body, how many are there, what are they, why are they there, who put them there, what do they mean?’ and so on, so he started to delve into that and came up with a book called Russian Criminal Tattoo, which is a fantastic book, really quite stunning in its own strange way. That and a documentary called Mark Of Cain which also dealt with that. So I sent those to Steve Knight and said ‘this is really exciting stuff, very rich, and I think we’re definitely going to want to incorporate this into our next draft of script.’ And so it was.

Is it fair to say that Viggo is as much a muse as a collaborator?

I wouldn’t say he’s a muse, though he does amuse me. He’s an inspiration in that I knew that working together we would do something quite extraordinary, because I had great confidence in his talent, I understood him so much better and knew that we could start on a much higher level with this given what we had gone through on History Of Violence, and so that was the case, we could really fly with this movie.

Obviously you’d like to work with him again…

I’d love to, I’d like Viggo to be in all my movies, but you don’t really do an actor a favour by miscasting him, so if I had not thought that he was the best guy for this role, even though I consider him a friend, I wouldn’t cast him. In this business you have to be able to say no to each other and still remain friends.

Viggo should get an Oscar nod for this performance…

I remember when everyone said that Jeremy Irons would get an Oscar nomination for Dead Ringers which he certainly deserved, but didn’t get, so I take it with a grain of salt. It’s a nice thing if it happens. As a director, you would feel very proud if one of your actors gets something like that because you obviously were a huge part of, so it’s a great reflection in you as a director, but it’s not something that you base your career on, or that you need to commit suicide over if it doesn’t happen. It’s subjective, it’s subject to politics and other whimsical things, so you can’t worry about it too much.

You don’t see your career in terms of an overall picture – how do you choose your projects?

It’s something that’s probably going to occupy you for two years, it’s going to be difficult, possibly even hellish to get made, you never know, so you’d better love it. You’d better feel that it will be challenging constantly and provocative ad lead you into interesting emotional and philosophical intellectual byways and pathways when you’re doing it. And that’s how I choose it, and only to do with that. I don’t have to worry about it relating to my other movies, it will relate, I don’t have to think about that, it’ll relate in some way or other, and I don’t have to analyse it, or try to force a connection. It’s not something I need to deal with.

You’re drawn to genre work, mostly horror – what is it about working within those codes and conventions that interests you?

Well, I’ve done movies that aren’t genre, like Dead Ringers and M Butterfly, and even Naked Lunch, even though it had horror and sci-fi elements. Genre’s not really much of an issue, it’s almost like a marketing question than a creative question. Certainly if you do a genre picture, you have to deal with the conventions of the genre, how far do you follow them, how far do you subvert them, and so on. I don’t really think about that. I’m thinking about another project, if it falls into a genre I’ll deal with it, and if it doesn’t, I don’t.

The latest genre is torture porn – Hostel II is the sort of thing James Woods could’ve been watching in Videodrome, which is very prescient, and a little terrifying…

…and with snuff being available on the internet that you can bring into your own home any time of the day or night, this really is unprecedented. I think that, depending on what your take on the horror genre in general is, you might say that it’s cathartic for people to go to a horror movie and see something like that knowing that it’s not real and that they’re experiencing it in the safety of the cinema, rather than seeing it for real on the internet where it’s incredibly disturbing and threatening. And that could well be one of the functions of the horror genre, it’s always been popular. People say ‘Why now for horror?’ but of course there’s always been horror, whether it’s been in novel writing or whatever art form painting - the middle ages are full of it.

Source: ( LFF )

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.