LFF Preview: Argo and Midnight’s Children

From Netribution

These two films each take an unflinching look at the damage wrought when countries have change imposed upon them, but leaven the tone with helpings of ridiculousness.

Midnight’s Children (in a nicely streamlined screenplay by the novel’s author Salman Rushdie) sticks with the magic realism of the novel, such as when India is actually plunged into a permanent midnight during Indira Gandhi’s State of Emergency in the mid 70s, known as the country’s “darkest hour.”

The novel’s sense of the absurd is woven throughout the film, mirroring the the attempts of the narrator, Saleem Sinai, to create a coherent narrative out of all the strange things that have happened to him and to the newly independent India, since both were born on 15th August 1947.

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LFF Preview: No and Grassroots

From Netribution

Grassroots and No are both political films based on real events that concentrate on the competition: to win a local election in the former film, and to win a regime-changing plebiscite in the latter.

The fact that No succeeds as an engaging film to such a greater extent than Grassroots shows that political races on film need to be contested by sharply-outlined protagonists. Furthermore, while there can be laughs, playing the whole contest for laughs kills the anticipation.

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The 56th BFI London Film Festival opens tonight with Frankenweenie

From Netribution

The 56th BFI London Film Festival will open tonight with Frankenweenie, a stop-motion take on the Frankenstein story, directed by Tim Burton. It will close on 21st October with Great Expectations, starring Burton’s partner, Helena Bonham Carter.

The Festival has a new director, Clare Stewart, who’s shaken things up a bit. Here’s what she has to say about the next 11 days:

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London Film Festival: The Darjeeling Limited

Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited will close the London Film Festival tonight, with a sold-out screening in the West End.

The film follows three brothers – reunited for the first time in the year since their father’s death – who take a train journey across northern India, in the hope of renewing their relationships, finding someone they lost and, in true gap-year style, finding themselves. Suchandrika Chakrabarti, who has been covering this year’s festival, takes an advance look.

Here’s the trailer:

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London Film Festival: Paul Greengrass receives Variety award

More film fest excitement for y’all!

 Last night saw director Paul Greengrass receive The Variety UK Achievement in Film Award at an event held in conjunction with the London Film Festival. He was then interviewed by Variety magazine’s Europe and Middle East correspondent, Ali Jaafar. The discussion ranged from Greengrass’s interest in Northern Ireland to the process of making The Murder of Stephen Lawrence. Suchandrika Chakrabarti reports

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London Film Festival: Michael Moore’s Sicko is a must-see

If I do say so myself.

Sicko was shown at the London Film Festival last week. It is Michael Moore‘s latest effort, looking at the mess that is America’s privatised healthcare system, relying as it does upon insurance claims to pay medical bills.

As Moore’s average, middle-class, insured subjects show us, though, having the insurance may still not be enough. The industry does all it can to avoid payouts, denying the needy of healthcare.

Netribution’s London correspondent Suchandrika Chakrabarti provides an extensive, absorbing review of the latest film from the documentary world’s most popular (creatively) and challenged (critically) director.

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London Film Festival: Naomi Watts screentalk

Friday night saw Naomi Watts interviewed for a Screentalk at the London Film Festival.

The discussion took in Mulholland Drive, Funny Games and Eastern Promises, as well as Naomi’s background and her experiences of producing. Suchandrika Chakrabarti reports

Naomi also gave us a fine impression of David Lynch directing her while she was in a full bunny suit, unable to see or breathe. She ended up walking into walls and an ironing board as he yelled at her.

Her partner Liev Schreiber was in the audience and got a few shout-outs from her onstage, especially when she was pressed on whether she would move to London to live.

She also felt compelled to say “I’m not this dark twisted person!” Find out why below…

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Festival time

There’s no chance of me being bored when I make the switch from staff to freelance in the next few weeks. I’m going to cover the London Film Fest, which runs 17th Oct – 1st Nov, and press screenings start 1st Oct.

For more info, see my news story, written after the press launch last Thursday. It took place at the Odeon West End, Screen 2, which is absolutely massive – and it was packed to the rafters. There were introductions from the British Film Institute’s head honcho, and the festival’s artistic director, then a half hour reel of clips from a selection of movies. The poor/lucky selection team have sat through 2000 entries for the fest since January. Wow.

These ones look promising to me:

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