Originally posted on The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey 15/11/2005
Another year, another London Film Festival - the eighth we've covered on this site. So what are we doing this year? To be honest, it's probably easier to tell you what we're not doing.
We're not seeing the Opening Gala. These events have provided no end of false hopes in the past, but The Constant Gardener sounds like the real deal: a story by John le Carre written when he's all good and pissed off, direction by Fernando Meirelles of 'the director of City Of God who wasn't Katia Lund' fame, and Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz in what's reported to be career best form. With all those points in its favour, it's really no surprise that tickets are even harder to get hold of than in previous years. Spank's Pals are consoling themselves with the knowledge that it'll have a UK commercial release in three weeks anyway, and it won't cost you twenty-five bleedin' quid to see it then either.
By a similar token, we're not seeing the Closing Gala either - although I know one of our party was trying for tickets, I don't know if they were successful or not. Good Night, And Good Luck., despite its irritating punctuation, has a definite curiosity value. We liked George Clooney's directorial debut Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind round these parts, and the prospect of him taking on the story of another American media icon (Edward R Murrow) certainly has appeal. But again, you know, twenty-five bleedin' quid. Besides, the Gala may be able to offer the prospect of George appearing in person, but the alternative we have lined up for the last night just might feature someone even more famous. Mathematically, anyway.
Other things I'm not seeing (personally speaking now, rather than collectively) include March Of The Penguins, A Cock And Bull Story, Walk The Line and Murderball. All of them sound terrific, but clash with other films that are less likely ever to be seen again in this country. I'm not seeing the Future Shorts combined short film event and performance art happening, because it got less interesting the day they pulled it out of its originally planned venue - the vaults underneath London Bridge station - and moved it to a nightclub instead. And I'm not seeing Hidden, because Michael Haneke is a talentless shitbag.
That leaves plenty of other films that the Pals and I are seeing, though. And for the eighth year running, we'll be writing about them here on a daily basis. Watch this space.
[Links below are to the original Spank LFF Diaries on The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey]
Thursday October 20th - Backstage, Dark Horse, Elizabethtown, The Sentimental Bloke
Friday October 21st - City Of The Sun, Dreaming Of Space, Election, If You Were Me 2
Saturday October 22nd - Carousel, Derailroaded, The Soup One Morning, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance
Sunday October 23rd - Kekexili, Linda Linda Linda, The Wendell Baker Story
Monday October 24th - Blood And Bones, Manderlay, The Matador, Spying Cam, Workingman's Death
Tuesday October 25th - Heading South, I Saw Ben Barka Get Killed, Man Push Cart, Takeshis'
Wednesday October 26th - Burnt Out, Hustle And Flow, The Proposition, Sisters In Law, Ten Skies, The Wayward Cloud
Thursday October 27th - Burnt Out, An Enticing Proposition, Lemming, Shin Sung-Il Is Lost, Sud Express, Tapas, They Came Back, Twist Of Faith
Friday October 28th - Blood Rain, Classification: New Challenges, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Lonesome Jim
Saturday October 29th - Be Here To Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt, Bubble, Hidden, The Passenger, Pavee Lackeen, You're Gonna Miss Me
Sunday October 30th - Almost Brothers, Major Dundee, Mrs Henderson Presents, Pavee Lackeen, Walk The Line
Monday October 31st - The Brothers Grimm, Family Album, The Great Silence, International Animation Programme 2
Tuesday November 1st - Delwende, Time Has Come, Times Screen Talks: Terry Gilliam, Where The Truth Lies
Wednesday November 2nd - Gravehopping, Isolated, Tale Of Cinema
Thursday November 3rd - Citizen Dog, Everything Is Illuminated, Sholay
The Wrap Party - final thoughts from the usual suspects
The London Film Festival website looks just the same as it always does, only with a slightly more Yellow Submarine-ish graphic at its centre this year. See what films and special events you can look forward to, buy tickets for them, find out where in the UK the LFF Tour is going after the Festival finishes, and much more. This year's trend-hugging gimmick - download the entire programme in iPod readable format. (If you don't own a pod, the 10.3MB zip file [dead link] also includes a selection of MP3 audio trailers you can play on your computer.)
The British Film Institute runs the Festival, and all sorts of other things related to the art of cinema. They include the National Film Theatre and BFI London IMAX cinema, the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, books, videos, the National Film and Television Archive, and Sight and Sound magazine. But it's not all art and scowling, you know - currently, they're touring the original version of Godzilla around the UK.
The Times gets one more namecheck from me and that's it, as this is their third and final year as Title Sponsor of what we're supposed to be calling The Times BFI London Film Festival. As if. Still, despite being run by Satan himself, they've been a good sponsor of the festival. The paper's film section provides useful coverage of the LFF (including a festival blog - that's so 2004), and in previous years they've given away a free DVD of trailers and related material at the LFF cinemas.
The National Film Theatre, Odeon and ICA are the key venues for the London Film Festival. Other satellite venues include the Tricycle, Ciné Lumière, the Ritzy and, er, Marriott County Hall. Following the success of last year's experiment, half a dozen outer London cinemas are also joining in the fun for a movie or two: Rio in Dalston, Genesis in Whitechapel, David Lean in Croydon, Phoenix in Finchley, thefilmworks in Greenwich, and Waterman's in Brentford.
If you have a stick, prepare for more official movie sites than you can shake it at: Almost Brothers [dead link], Be Here To Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt, British Board Of Film Classification, The Brothers Grimm, Coney Island, 1945, Dark Horse, Derailroaded, Dreaming Of Space (plus a low quality English translation to keep Suze happy), Eating, Elizabethtown, Everything Is Illuminated, Fallen Art, Gravehopping, Hidden [dead link], Hustle And Flow, Irish Film Censor's Office, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Lemming, Linda Linda Linda, Manderlay, The Matador, Media Development Authority of Singapore, Mrs Henderson Presents, The Passenger, The Proposition, Sea Change, The Sentimental Bloke [dead link], Sympathy For Lady Vengeance, Takeshis', Tapas [dead link], Twist Of Faith, Walk The Line, Where The Truth Lies [dead link], Who I Am And What I Want, Workingman's Death. (Don't blame me if the Korean links like the one for Lady Vengeance start redirecting to warez and pr0n some time in 2006: that's just what happens to Korean movie websites, apparently.)