The 2019 BFI London Film Festival begins on Wednesday 2nd October, giving Londoners the chance to see the next lot of Oscar contenders alongside new talent, world cinema and archive restorations. We've picked out some intriguing gems from the two week programme:
A must-see for fashion fans, Yves Saint Laurent: The Last Collections is the result of years spent filming behind the scenes at the fashion house in the late nineties. With a focus on the power dynamics between Saint Laurent and his business and life partner Pierre Bergé that has sparked comparisons to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, this engrossing watch will be worth the wait of the 20 years it took to release.
On its release and for years after, Paul Verhoeven’s notoriously trashy Showgirls was widely regarded as one of the worst films ever made. Time, however, has rightfully established it as a bonkers cult classic, and Jeffrey McHale’s documentary brings together critics, academics and fans to decipher exactly why it made such a splash.
A murder mystery with a stellar cast that includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Toni Collette and Lakeith Stanfield, Knives Out is set to be one of the highlights of LFF 2019. Taking classic whodunnits Murder, She Wrote, Sleuth and the works of Agatha Christie as inspiration, Knives Out promises a fresh new take on a beloved genre.
Young director Fyzal Boulifa has already garnered attention and acclaim with his short films, two of which The Curse and Rate Me have screened at Cannes. We love his fascination with truth, identity and relationships in the age of social media, a theme which his first feature Lynn + Lucy reportedly plays with too.
Here at SHOWstudio we’re all massive archive geeks, and so we’re very excited to see this story of civil rights activist Marion Stokes, who spent decades secretly taping 24hr cable television onto more than 70,000 VHS tapes. While her behaviour was compulsive and reasons vague, her project amassed material that would otherwise have been lost forever.
Google Imelda Marcos and the first question that comes up is: ‘How many pairs of shoes did Imelda Marcos have?’ A global symbol of corruption and Marie Antoinette levels of extravagance, former Filipino first lady Marcos makes the perfect subject for director Lauren Greenfield, who has previously focused her lens on super rich Russians and Hollywood teenagers. Alongside the former first lady, Greenfield also follows female activists and journalists who share their stories of torture under the martial law that the Marcoses initiated.
Avid listeners of Karina Longworth’s You Must Remember This podcast will already know the details of Jean Seberg’s strange and tragic private life. For anyone who knows the Breathless actress only for her ability to elevate a Breton stripe to iconic status, this new biopic starring Kristen Stewart will certainly surprise you.
Every year the BFI digs out, dusts off and restores some gems from their archive. Go see a 21 year old pre-pop career Bjork in The Juniper Tree, a low budget but beautiful Icelandic film based on the Grimm’s fairy tale of the same name.
Aspiring filmmakers should take advantage of the festival’s offering of ‘Screen Talks’. Robert De Niro is giving one this year, but if you can’t get tickets, we’d recommend learning from documentary director Kim Longinotto, whose new film Shooting the Mafia profiles Sicilian organised crime photographer Letizia Battaglia. Her whole filmography is worth a watch, but start with 1995’s Shinjuku Boys, which follows a group of trans men working as dates for hire in Tokyo’s New Marilyn Club.