Last year, London Film Festival opened up its programme to the rest of the country for the first time. Alongside the usual London events, online streaming and satellite screenings in regional cinemas meant that the festival was more accessible than ever, and audiences across the UK got to see some of the year’s finest films at the same time as cinemagoers in the capital.
This new mode of operation was obviously a success, because London Film Festival returns to Manchester, and HOME, once again this October — and they’re bringing some of our most anticipated movies of the year with them.
There are the obvious big names such as Wes Anderson’s (Moonrise Kingdom) The French Dispatch (Sun 10 Oct) — which sees the American auteur reenlist regulars such as Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Owen Wilson for a witty tribute to The New Yorker magazine — and beloved British director Edgar Wright’s (Shaun of the Dead) slick 1960s-set horror Last Night in Soho (Tue 12 Oct), starring Anya Taylor-Joy.
There’s more star power on show in opening night film, the world premiere of explosive new western, The Harder They Fall (Wed 6 Oct). Starring Idris Elba, LaKeith Stanfield and Regina King, Jeymes Samuel’s feature debut is a stylish number inspired by the real-life stories of African-American cowboys. Meanwhile, festival closer The Tragedy of Macbeth (Sun 17 Oct) is a solo effort from Joel Coen, who casts Denzel Washington in a weighty Shakespeare Adaptation.
Jane Campion’s (The Piano) The Power of the Dog (Mon 11 Oct), also visits the American West, for a dark drama featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons as two wealthy brothers. The extraordinary director has impressed with two seasons of Top of the Lake made in her native New Zealand, but there’s much anticipation for this return to big screen filmmaking.
We’re most excited for Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria
But we’re probably most excited for Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car (Sun 10 Oct) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria (Sat 16 Oct). Japanese director Hamaguchi has proven himself one of the world’s most exciting new directorial talents in recent years with slippery, mysterious dramas such as Happy Hour and Asako I & II. His latest sees him working from a Haruki Murakami short story for what’s billed as a serene, yet riveting drama.
A new Apichatpong will always be a big event in art house circles. The prize-winning Thai director (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives) is known for meditative, dreamlike ventures into jungles, forests and folklore, where wandering figures meet strange circumstances within unconventional narrative structures. Memoria sees the filmmaker working in English for the first time, with Tilda Swinton cast as a woman investigating a mysterious bang in Colombia.
In total, there are eleven films in total showing across a week and a half at HOME this October, and they all come with some kind of pedigree. Pablo Larrain’s (Jackie) latest, Spencer (Thu 7 Oct) is a snapshot of the life of Princess Diana as played by the ever-fascinating Kristen Stewart. Acclaimed British director Clio Barnard (The Selfish Giant) returns with Bradford-set romance Ali & Ava (Thu 14 Oct), while Sebastian Meise’s Cannes prize-winning queer prison drama Great Freedom (Sat 16 Oct), stars the magnetic Franz Rogowski.