If you've ever been in London and wandered past Waterloo Bridge, you may well have seen that sign over there. It dates back to the original opening of the National Film Theatre at its current Southbank location in 1957, and let's be honest, it looks like it.
Sixty years later, the building's been renamed as BFI Southbank, and the only trace of its original identity is that they still inexplicably call the screens NFT1, 2 and 3. The only trace except for, of course, that sign on Waterloo Bridge. And to mark its 60th birthday, the design of the branding for this year's London Film Festival is based around the retro look of the sign. Which is nice.
Publicity aside, what can you look forward to this year? Well, as far as films and events go, start with the official site that the posters don't tell you about. As you'd imagine, I've booked for several of those films already, although I can't guarantee how many of them I'll actually see. The tube strike that was threatened for Thursday at least appears to have been called off: more worrying is the ongoing industrial action by the staff at Picturehouse Cinemas, who've been campaigning for a living wage for over a year now. It looks like some of the screenings at Picturehouse Central may be affected as a result - which shouldn't come as a surprise to the BFI, seeing as exactly the same thing happened at the Picturehouse-owned Ritzy last year. I'll be keeping an eye on that one.
But the main focus here, as it has been since the first LFF I covered live back in 1998, is on daily film reviews: seeing a couple of movies a day at festival screenings, and then writing about them for you the morning after. This will be my twentieth year of doing that, and my 29th festival overall, somehow. Can I get to the end of the next twelve days without disruption from strikes or nodding off during my fourth film of the day? Watch this space.
- Wednesday October 4th - Filmworker, Opening Gala Live Stream
- Thursday October 5th - 9 Fingers, Faithfull, Five Fingers For Marseilles, Jabberwocky
- Friday October 6th - Columbus, Have A Nice Day, Suspiria, Wrath Of Silence
- Saturday October 7th - Abracadabra, From Jealous Dolls To Brutish Bulldogs, Jailbreak, Rift, Word Of God
- Sunday October 8th - Blade Of The Immortal, King Of Peking, Mutafukaz
- Monday October 9th - Let The Corpses Tan, Memoir Of A Murderer, My Generation, Takashi Miike Screen Talk, The Venerable W.
- Tuesday October 10th - A Fantastic Woman, Going West, Lucky
- Wednesday October 11th - AlphaGo, Ex Libris
- Thursday October 12th - Good Manners, Mother's Ghost, On The Beach At Night Alone
- Friday October 13th - 78/52, Abu, Jane, Untitled
- Saturday October 14th - Here To Be Heard, Our Time Will Come, Salesman, Scarface
- Sunday October 15th - Bad Genius, Funny Cow, Grain, A Matter Of Life And Death, You Were Never Really Here
- The Wrap Party - final thoughts from myself and The Belated Birthday Girl on the best and worst of the fest