18 Films To See At The London Film Festival 2017

18 Films To See At The London Film Festival 2017

The BFI London Film Festival 2017 programme is crammed full of exciting new films, and we’ve picked out 18 highlights – from gala screenings to niche gems!

Tickets went on sale today – September 14th – and catching some exciting new films needn’t break the bank, as weekday matinees are available from £9…

LFF 2017 runs October 4th-15th | Click Here to Check Out the Full Programme

6 Days (Dir: Toa Fraser | New Zealand-UK | 97 mins)
They Say: In April 1980 six gunmen seized the Iranian Embassy in London. This is the story of the SAS operation in the six days that followed.

Jamie Bell, Mark Strong and Abbie Cornish star in this dramatisation of the Iranian Embassy siege, which combines newsreel footage with reconstruction to relive a piece of history which remains startlingly relevant.

Amant Double (Dir: François Ozon | France-Belgium | 107 mins)
They Say: François Ozon has done the maths. Double the danger = double the fun.

Psychoanalysis and seduction collide in this erotic thriller about a former model whose stomach pains may be real or psychosomatic – but will either of twin psychoanalysts be able to help her, and what are their real motivations?

Battle Of The Sexes (Dir: Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton | USA | 121 mins)
They Say: Emma Stone and Steve Carell star in this playful true story of the 1970s gender wars played out on the tennis court, while the world watches.

The famous 1973 battle of the sexes between sporting legend Billie Jean King and sporting has-been Bobby Riggs gets the big screen treatment with Emma Stone and Steve Carrell donning the tennis gear.

Beach Rats (Dir: Eliza Hittman | USA | 95 mins)
They Say: Coney-Islander Frankie juggles his dangerous double life: showing off his heteronormative masculine prowess with friends by day, cruising for gay hook-ups at night.

Director Eliza Hittman explores a world of repressed sexual desire, as a macho Brooklyn teen divides his time between chilling with friends and showing off to girls at the beach by day, and cruising for gay sex hook-ups by night.

Call Me By Your Name (Dir: Luca Guadagnino | Italy-France | 132 mins)
They Say: A rapturous study in passion and desire from the director of I Am Love and A Bigger Splash.

Armie Hammer plays Oliver, a 24-year-old academic staying at an Italian, who begins a passionate relationship with the 17-year-old son of his hosts. The Oscars buzz is steadily building for this seductive coming-of-age story from ‘A Bigger Splash’ director Luca Guadagnino.

Downsizing (Dir: Alexander Payne | USA | 135 mins)
They Say: Smaller doesn’t mean simpler, as Alexander Payne points out in this hilarious satire that manages to keep the laugh rate high while engaging with a wealth of topical issues.

After a four year break, Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendents, Nebraska) returns with this story of a husband and wife – Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig – who volunteer to be shrunk, only for the wife to back out at the last minute.

Gemini (Dir: Aaron Katz | USA | 93 mins)
They Say: Los Angeles gleams in this neo-Noir about a personal assistant who turns amateur detective when tragedy strikes her Hollywood starlet boss.

Director Aaron Katz originated the mumblenoir micro-genre, and gives it another outing here with a crime thriller about a personal assistant unwittingly drawn into a murder mystery.

Happy End (Dir: Michael Haneke | France-Austria-Germany | 107 mins)
They Say: Michael Haneke’s portrait of a dysfunctional bourgeois Calais family offers a potted summary – and bracingly intelligent, partly satirical update – on themes from his previous films.

An international cast featuring Isabelle Huppert and Toby Jones in Michael Haneke’s latest, a satirical examination of the contemporary life of a complacently well-off European family.

How To Talk To Girls At Parties (Dir: John Cameron Mitchell | UK | 102 mins)
They Say: Nicole Kidman is punk svengali Queen Boadicea and Elle Fanning is an intergalactic megababe in this cosmic Neil Gaiman adaptation directed by John Cameron Mitchell.

John Cameron Mitchell is at the helm for this adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s short story of the same name, with Nicole Kidman as a ‘cockney svengali’ Queen Boadicea – of course! A offbeat, alien-filled, subversive punk-rock spectacle!

Mudbound (Dir: Dee Rees | USA | 132 mins)
They Say: Director Dee Rees delivers a searing racial drama about two families – one white, one black – set in the Deep South in the 1940s.

Netflix’s latest assault on the outdated film distribution model is this destined-for-awards-glory story of two families in the Deep South of the 1940s, and the friendship between two WWII veterans.

The Cured (Dir: David Freyne | Ireland | 95 mins)
They Say: Ellen Page stars in one of the most original and innovative zombie films in recent memory.

A cerebral, ‘post-zombie’ horror film which is as much about the current state of the real world as it is about a plague of flesh-eating monsters – ‘socially engaged horror with real brains’.

The Killing Of A Sacred Deer (Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos | UK-Ireland | 121 mins)
They Say: For those who loved the biting satire of Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster, he returns with another electrifying critique of bourgeois values.

Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) teams up with Colin Farrell again, this time with Nicole Kidman on board, for the presumably weirder than it sounds story of a surgeon who forms a familial bond with a sinister teenage boy. With disastrous results.

The Meyerowitz Stories (New And Selected) (Dir: Noah Baumbach | USA | 110 mins)
They Say: Master of the urban comedy drama, Noah Baumbach presents a study of a dysfunctional family par excellence, ruled over by Dustin Hoffman’s shambolic patriarch.

An estranged family gathers together in New York for an event celebrating the artistic work of their father. Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Frances Ha) directs a starry cast featuring Ben Stiller, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman and – ahem – Adam Sandler. Despite that last name, we have high hopes.

The Party (Dir: Sally Potter | UK | 71 mins)
They Say: Sally Potter’s satire, written just prior to the 2015 British General Election, is a monochrome deconstruction of class and political values, as a small group of friends meet for dinner.

A refreshingly short – hurrah! – and sharp satire written just before the surprising election result of 2015, which focuses on a disastrously dysfunctional dinner party hosted by Kristin Scott Thomas’s newly-appointed Shadow Minister for Health.

The Shape of Water (Dir: Guillermo del Toro | USA | 123 mins)
They Say: Master of things that go bump in the night, Guillermo del Toro spins the compelling tale of friendship between a mute woman and an amphibious creature.

After the relative disappointment of ‘Crimson Peak’, Guillermo del Torro looks to back on top form with this science-fiction tale of boundary-bursting friendship, with a cast – including Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer – to die for.

Thelma (Dir: Joachim Trier | Norway-France-Denmark-Sweden | 116 mins)
They Say: A teenage girl taps into some long-dormant powers, in this chiller from Joachim Trier.

A supernatural coming-of-age chiller which follows young biology student Thelma, who discovers that her new-found independence comes with a surprising gift: special powers! Don’t be expecting ‘Supergirl’ though – Thelma promises to be more along the lines of Julia Ducournau’s ‘Raw’.

Thoroughbred (Dir: Cory Finley | USA | 91 mins)
They Say: Taut, tense and deliciously nasty – my little pony this ain’t.

A contemporary noir thriller, Thoroughbred is the story of two young women who embark upon a dark mission to murder a despised step-father, with the help of a small-time drug dealer.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Dir: Martin McDonagh | UK | 115 mins)
They Say: Martin McDonagh’s third feature is a scabrously funny drama about the battle between a grieving mother and the local head of law enforcement.

An unsurprisingly dark comedy from the writer and director of ‘In Bruges’, ‘Three Billboards…’ sees Frances McDormand take the lead in this story of a foul-mouthed mother’s committed campaign to pressure the local police into finding her daughter’s killer. Only McDonagh could take this material and think: ‘comedy’!

Stuart Wilson

About 

I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like: nice pubs, film marathons, not doing real marathons, bad comedy, plays/musicals with shorter second halves, and the Oxford comma.