London Film Festival 2021

Dressing up for the festival (his and hers)Daily updates now complete. Final thoughts to follow in The Wrap Party, coming soon.

Did I mention that we both caught Covid towards the end of August?

No, of course I didn't mention it. It's exactly the sort of detail I'd deliberately hold back to use as a dramatic opening to a twelve-day liveblog, or perhaps to kick off the second chapter of Spank's LFF Diaries Volume Six: 2020-2024 (to be published by lulu.com in summer 2025). Anyway, you've probably got questions at this point, so to answer the two most important ones:

a) We're fine, thanks. It was a pretty mild case of the 'rona for both myself and The Belated Birthday Girl, and apart from slight congestion and a bit of weirdness in the taste/smell department, we both came through our ten days of self-isolation unscathed. Get vaccinated, people, and continue to behave with caution in small crowded spaces.

b) Yeah, about that. I'd imagine you're already poring over our 2021 Edinburgh Diary to see if you can work out exactly where it was we caught it. The BBG says I'm obliged to point out that really, there's no way we can be sure. Which is true, but I'd like to suggest that when that woman on the LNER advert tells you all the things you can do on their trains, she's missed one out.

So what with Edinburgh and Manchester before it, that makes it two festivals we've been to so far this year that have resulted in some sort of Covid panic for us both. Shall we try and make it three?

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London Film Festival 1989-2020: An Index

Because Films Inspire... some sort of hideous trainspotter impulse, apparentlyI started going to the London Film Festival in 1989, and I've been there every year since. Thanks to a combination of Spank Gold articles (after-the-fact writeups of the 1989-1997 festivals), reposts (pieces written for the old site between 1998 and 2005) and live blogging (since 2006), I've got a record of every single film I've seen at those Festivals.

Trying to pick your way through all of those is obviously going to be hellish, hence the index below. Similar to the equivalent index I've assembled for the Edinburgh Festival, each year links to the relevant piece on that particular LFF, including a roughly chronological list of what I saw (plus, of course, any additional films reviewed by Spank's Pals). As a bonus, you get a thumbnail-sized history of programme cover designs.

This will be updated each year after the LFF, so most of the time this page should be resident at the top of the LFF folder on the site. Have yourselves a good old browse through, and try not to think too hard about how much the tickets for all this lot have cost me over the last couple of decades.

[updated 25/11/2020 to include 2020 reviews]

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Spank's LFF Diary: The Wrap Party 2020

The LFF programme cover that never was (extrapolated from an advert published in Sight & Sound)As is traditional, let's start with the numbers and the programme categories...

* Laugh: 0
* Journey: 6
* Dare: 7
* Create: 5
* Love: 4
* Cult: 1
* Debate: 6
* Family: 1
* Treasures: 3
* Experimenta: 1
* Shorts: 20
* Expanded: 5
* Events: 4

The shorts make it difficult to make a proper comparison with previous years - normally they'd be clumped into programmes, here we ended up picking and choosing from several collections. But in terms of feature films, we saw 34 in total: 26 online, 8 in cinemas. That's the same number of features as last year, before we add on all the shorts, VR gubbins and live events.

Remember how we thought a couple of months ago that there wouldn't be a 2020 London Film Festival? Looking a bit silly now, aren't we?

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