LFF Official Competition spotlight: Lean on Pete

Get up to speed with the films playing in competition at the BFI London Film Festival 2017. Today’s pick: Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete.


What’s it about?

British director Andrew Haigh’s fourth feature, Lean on Pete follows Charley (Charlie Plummer, winner best newcomer Venice 2017), a down-on-his-luck kid who develops a friendship with an old racehorse – the titular knackered nag. Haigh’s cantering tale runs the pair back and forth across the Pacific Northwest in search of a final few races. Pete’s trainer (Steve Buscemi) and jockey (Chloe Sevigny) are along for the ride.

Who made it?

After spending a decade as an assistant editor on films as big as Gladiator and Black Hawk Down, Haigh made his mark as a director by channelling an assured sensitivity into the critically acclaimed dramas Weekend and 45 Years. Lean on Pete, based on the novel by Willy Vlautin, is his first project filmed in America. The wider canvas awaits.

What people are saying

“An elegiac account of three lost souls struggling to find their bearings in the swirling dust”
Xan Brooks, The Guardian

“What reads on the surface like an archetypal tale of a boy and his horse becomes an affecting snapshot of the contemporary American underclass in Andrew Haigh’s lovely, slow-burning drama”
 — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

Why we’re excited

“I remember seeing Andrew Haigh’s Weekend at the LFF the year I arrived in the UK and feeling a ripple of anticipation, here was an emerging British filmmaker with an extraordinary grasp of cinematic style who got under the skin of his characters with piercing, simple clarity. We saw that again in the quietly devastating 45 Years, and Haigh confirms his status as a supremely eloquent filmmaker with the lyrical and deeply moving Lean on Pete.”
– Clare Stewart, Festival Director

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