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The Wolfpack

Documentary about seven siblings imprisoned for most of their childhoods who have learned many of life’s lessons from film and TV.

London Road

Daring, startling and wholly original musical adapted from Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork’s play.

Fidelio: Alice’s Journey

The sexual liberation of Alice, a ship’s engineer.

BFI London Film Festival 2014

240 films. From 72 countries. 16 cinemas. 12 days. One Festival.

7-18 October 2015

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Three great festival films that pass the Bechdel Test

Brooklyn (2015)

Brooklyn (2015)

The Bechdel Test was invented in 1985 by American cartoonist Alison Bechdel. For a film to pass, it must include two named women who have a conversation about something other than a man. A depressing percentage of films fail the test (around 45% in 2014, according to one report), but this year’s festival programme boasts a diverse array of work that passes with flying colours. Simran Hans shares three of her Bechdel Test-passing favourites.

John Crowley’s Brooklyn stars the luminous Saoirse Ronan as Eilis, a shy, serious young woman who emigrates from 1950s Ireland to New York in search of a new life. When she falls in love for the first time, she blooms in every sense of the word. Though the film is at heart a tender romance, writer Nick Hornby emphasises the women who surround and support Eilis. Hornby finds humour in her sisterly relationships, particularly in the scenes set around the dining table of Eilis’ Brooklyn boarding house. “Giddiness is the eighth deadly sin,” Julie Walters’ landlady chides as the girls gossip and quip over dinner. 

Alex Ross Perry’s Queen of Earth offers a contrasting depiction of female friendship. Away from the pressures of the city, best friends Catherine (Elisabeth Moss) and Ginny (Katherine Waterson) must face their inner demons - and each other. Perry’s take on uglier aspects of the female psyche is satisfyingly dark and complex, creating space for the two women to speak frankly about their families, their work and their faltering relationship. 

Robert Eggers’ wildly confident debut feature The Witch also passes the Bechdel Test. Set in New England in the 1630s, an English couple living on the edge of a sinister wood becoming increasingly rattled as their five children begin to dwindle in numbers. A supernatural horror steeped in religious mythology, it pulls focus on oldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), whose burgeoning sexual maturity poses a threat to her parents.

Room - an early awards season contender?

Lenny Abrahamson’s Room is one of the most talked about films at this year’s festival. It arrived at the LFF fresh from winning the prestigious audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival. With previous winners including 12 Years a Slave, The King’s Speech and Slumdog Millionaire, the prize is regarded as a key early indicator of Oscar success. 

Festival audiences have a final chance to catch the film tonight. To whet your appetite, here are some highlights from a post-screening Q&A with Abrahamson, writer Emma Donoghue, and star Brie Larson. Please note, the conversation references major plot points that some may consider spoilers.


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On Yer Bike

A two-disc collection which provides a fascinating portrait of the British cycling experience on film.

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Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

A vibrant modern classic, based on Alan Sillitoe’s largely autobiographical novel.

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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

A passionate tale of rebellion with then newcomer Tom Courtenay as a sullen, disillusioned delinquent.

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Here we go Round the Mulberry Bush

A coming-of-age comedy following the exploits of sex-obsessed Jamie as he attempts to join the Swinging 60s.

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Bronco Bullfrog

A fully remastered presentation of this powerful, authentic record of the then-emerging suedehead subculture.

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Deep End

A darkly comic and utterly compelling portrait of Britain in an era of uncertainty, starring Jane Asher and Diana Dors.

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Watch talks, interviews and trailers

Brooklyn red carpet with cast and crew

Saoirse Ronan, director John Crowley and screenwriter Nick Hornby talk about the romance in their adaptation of Colm Toibin’s best-selling novel.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

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Sight & Sound

Film of the week: By Our Selves

Toby Jones, Andrew Kötting (as a straw bear) and their merry men revive the wanderings and wonderings of Northamptonshire peasant poet John Clare, writes David Jays.
David Jays
Thursday 1 October 2015

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