Originally posted on The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey 10/11/2003
for Paul, who loved movies
For the sixth year in a row, the Pals and I have taken it upon ourselves to give you the most comprehensive reports on the London Film Festival available anywhere. And it's getting more and more difficult to find new things to talk about in the intro. The obvious one is, of course, this year's change in sponsor: but as I'm usually reluctant to give the sponsors the additional oxygen of publicity, there's not much to be said about that. Aside from my usual objections to anything with the involvement of Rupert Murdoch, I suppose I'd have to reluctantly agree that the new sponsors have undeniable links to London, and have been known to talk about films on a regular basis. Which makes them a damn sight more suitable than the furniture storage people who were all over the posters for the last three years. Anyway, we're stuck with them till 2005, so we'd better get used to it.
Apart from that, it appears to be business as usual. Sadly, the public launch event that impressed me so much last year doesn't seem to have gone down as well with anyone else, so they didn't have one this year. Which means all we've got to go on is the published programme. The Opening and Closing Galas - Jane Campion's In The Cut and Christine Jeffs' Sylvia - don't especially appeal, particularly at the horrific price of £25 a pop, so don't expect to see those reviewed here. But there are some interesting things buried in the large Gala screenings: Lost In Translation, 21 Grams, The Dreamers. And all manner of fascinating stuff beyond that, including a couple of potentially dangerous endurance tests which you'll find out about when the time's right.
And as usual, I'll be here every day for just over two weeks, telling you about the best and worst of them, with backup reports from Spank's Pals. Watch this space.
Thursday October 23rd - The Cat Returns, In The Cut, A Mighty Wind, Mortadelo & Filemon: The Big Adventure, The Shape Of Things, Vibrator
Friday October 24th - Animation Panorama, The Human Stain, Last Life In The Universe, Save The Green Planet!, Wilbur (Wants To Kill Himself)
Saturday October 25th - Fail Safe, Tiexi District: West Of Tracks
Sunday October 26th - Dogville, The Fog Of War, Roman Holiday, Save The Green Planet!, Zimbabwe Countdown
Monday October 27th - Bright Future, Burning Dreams, Dogville, The Fog Of War, The Missing Half, Resurrection Of The Little Match Girl
Tuesday October 28th - Border Line, The Principles Of Lust, The Return Of Cagliostro, Touching The Void
Wednesday October 29th - Decision At Sundown, Kitchen Stories, Lost In Translation, The Stroll
Thursday October 30th - If You Were Me, I'm Not Scared, In The Forest... Again, Welcome To Destination Shanghai
Friday October 31st - 21 Grams, Festival Express, I'm Not Scared, The Underground Chamber
Saturday November 1st - Anthony Dod Mantle Masterclass, Battle Royale II: Requiem, The Forest (Le Silence De La Foret), Jimmy Scott: If You Only Knew, Stormy Weather, This Film Is Dangerous, Twentynine Palms
Sunday November 2nd - Memories Of Murder, Neil LaBute Guardian Interview, Now Or Never, The School Of Rock
Monday November 3rd - Breakdown, The Dreamers, Goodbye Dragon Inn
Tuesday November 4th - The Heat's On, Jan Werich's Fimfarum, Kiss Of Life
Wednesday November 5th - Grand Theft Parsons, It's All About Love, Valentin, Zatoichi
Thursday November 6th - 15, The Letter, Travellers And Magicians
The Wrap Party - final analysis from Spank, Suze and the BBG
The London Film Festival website is the obvious place to start. Full details of all the films and events taking place, news on any changes to the programme, and details of how to book (including online booking, which I'll warn you has been unbelievably slow whenever I've tried it). Non-residents of That London can also find out about the LFF tour, taking place in seven cities across the UK in November.
The Internet Archive is trying to keep a copy of as much of the internet as they can fit on an industrial-sized server. Which means we can still see what the LFF sites looked like as far back as 1994. Chuckle at the IBM PC User Group's cutting-edge (for the time) work for 1994 and 1995! Laugh openly at the BFI's own half-arsed attempt at a site for the 40th LFF in 1996 [dead link], and see how they gave the job back to the IBMPCUG for 1997 while they tried to work out what to do next! Watch The Guardian make a much better fist of things in 1998 and 1999, and look who's promoting themselves like a big old whore in the 1998 reviews section! And wonder exactly what those office people were doing sponsoring the whole deal in 2000, 2001 and 2002!
The Times will be sponsoring the festival for the next three years now, and their usual film coverage will inevitably be augmented by special features on the LFF [dead link]. As ever, though, my loyalties will remain with their rivals at The Guardian, whose Film Unlimited section is still second to none. Expect dedicated LFF coverage on both the main site and their talkboards (in the latter case, specifically here).
The British Film Institute is still the powerhouse behind the LFF, and the appreciation of film as an artform in the UK in general. Aside from their various festivals, they continue to run Sight And Sound magazine and the National Film Theatre, one of the two main LFF venues.
Odeon Cinemas are responsible for the Odeon West End, the other key Festival cinema. But isn't their website shit? So hooray for Matthew Somerville, who has cheekily sucked all the data out of the official Odeon site and created an unofficial site which is infinitely easier to use.
MIFED, the international film and multimedia market, takes place this year in Milan between November 9th and 13th. This clashes horribly with the usual LFF dates: which is why this year's festival takes place two weeks earlier than it has done in previous years. A move which has left many people seriously, er, miffed. Especially as the LFF now clashes completely with Raindance, London's other big film festival. Grrr.
Official sites a go-go! 15, Anthony Dod Mantle, Battle Royale II: Requiem, Butterfly, Dogville, The Dreamers [dead link], The Human Stain, I'm Not Scared, In The Cut, It's All About Love [dead link], Last Life In The Universe [dead link], Lost In Translation, A Mighty Wind, Mortadelo and Filemon: The Big Adventure [dead link], Mouse, The School Of Rock, This Film Is Dangerous, Travellers And Magicians, Twentynine Palms [dead link], Valentin [dead link], Ward 13 (the quote and link on the front page are much appreciated, guys, but you should know I was using 'dog-rough' as a compliment), Wilbur (Wants To Kill Himself) [dead link], Zatoichi.