London Film Festival 2023

The shelving setup I use for my old LFF programmes is completely BOLLOCKSED now.When you were a kid, did you ever hold a crisp packet over the gas ring and watch as the heat shrivelled it down to the size of a postage stamp? Because that’s what handling the 2023 London Film Festival programme feels like.

This year the LFF booklet has been shrunk down from A4 to A5, although to be fair there's a precedent for this. When I first started going to the festival in 1989, the programmes were A5 size, mainly because the regular National Film Theatre progs were A5 too. I have five of them in my collection in that format, after which the festival decided to change things up. They spent three years experimenting with a ridiculously unwieldy large-scale square layout, before eventually settling on the A4 magazine that we’ve come to know and love over the last quarter of a century.

Until now.

Is it symbolic of something? Almost certainly not, but I’ve got to fill this space before the jump somehow.

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Spank's LFF Diary: The Wrap Party 2022

You know, people say that the Southbank Centre doesn't work as a red carpet venue, but then you see pictures like this...As ever, let’s start our roundup of the 2022 London Film Festival - yes, I know, one whole month after the event, I've been busy - with a look at how what we saw this year breaks down under the Clare Stewart Classification System:

Galas: 4
Special Presentations: 0
Official Competition: 2
First Feature Competition: 0
Documentary Competition: 0
Love: 2
Debate: 3
Laugh: 2
Dare: 2
Thrill: 3
Cult: 3
Journey: 3
Create: 4
Experimenta: 1
Shorts: 14
Expanded: 5
Family: 0
Treasures: 2
Events: 1
Free: 1

Quite a decent balance, all things considered. In terms of the high-end stuff, we managed to see four Galas at their overflow screenings, thus avoiding having to pay Gala-level prices. The two entries from the Official Competition that we saw were both excellent, although we managed to miss out on the actual winner. The lack of entries we caught from the Documentary Competition initially surprised me, until I realised the other way of looking at that is to assume the wrong documentaries were put on the shortlist, because there were some magnificent ones this year.

So, now we've established my disagreements with the LFF jury, what were my own personal favourites? Well, I won’t say just yet, and instead I’ll give the floor to The Belated Birthday Girl to say what she liked, or didn’t.

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