20 Films To See At The BFI London Film Festival 2018

20 Films To See At The BFI London Film Festival 2018

The BFI London Film Festival 2018 programme is crammed full of exciting new films, and we’ve picked out 20 highlights – from gala screenings to niche gems!

Tickets go on sale this morning – 10am on Thursday 13 September – and catching some exciting new films needn’t break the bank, as weekday matinees are available from £10…

#LFF 2018 runs October 10th-21st | Click Here to Check Out the Full Listings or Download the Programme

El Angel (Dir: Luis Ortega | Argentina-Spain | 115 mins)
Starring Lorenzo Ferro, Chino Darín, Mercedes Morán
They Say: The controversial exploits of baby-faced Argentine serial killer Carlos Robledo Puch are exhilaratingly reinterpreted in this stylish biopic.

Bad people can be beautiful too! This stranger-than-fiction portrayal of an infamous Argentinian crime caper looks to be stylish and thrilling in equal measure.

Assassination Nation (Dir: Sam Levinson | USA | 110 mins)
Starring Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, Abra, Bella Thorne
They Say: The Salem witch trials are given a digital overhaul in this ferocious femme exploitationer.

A kick-ass updating of the Salem witch trials story for the vlogger generation, evoking the rebellious spirit of Heathers and The Doom Generation.

Beautiful Boy (Dir: Felix van Groeningen | USA | 112 mins)
Starring Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan
They Say: Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet give blistering performances as a father and son in this gripping story of a family dealing with addiction over many years.

On the back of a break-out year featuring performances in Call Me By Your Name and Ladybird, Timothée Chalet looks set to feature in awards chatter yet again with this performance as a young man challenged by addiction. Steve Carell adds yet another weighty dramatic performance to his CV.

Benjamin (Dir: Simon Amstell | UK | 85 mins)
Starring Colin Morgan, Phénix Brossard, Joel Fry
They Say: In Simon Amstell’s affecting, bittersweet comedy, a rising young filmmaker is thrown into emotional turmoil by a burgeoning romance and the upcoming premiere of his second feature.

More meta japes from Simon Amstell, whose sophomore feature film focuses on a filmmaker who is about to premiere his sophomore feature film…

Border (Dir: Ali Abassi | Sweden | 104 mins)
Starring Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Viktor Åkerblom
They Say: Prepare for a love story like no other in this audacious Scandinavian fantasy, based on a novel by the writer of Let the Right One In.

Novelist John Ajvide Lindqvist’s work features the big screen once again, this time in the form of this genre-defying misfit of a film which promises ‘big laughs, thrills and a highly original treatment of gender ‘borders’, beauty and sexuality’.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Dir: Marielle Heller | USA | 109 mins)
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Richard E Grant, Dolly Wells, Jane Curtin, Ben Falcone
They Say: Melissa McCarthy gives a powerhouse performance as audacious literary forger and caustic wit Lee Israel in this darkly humorous biopic from director Marielle Heller.

Forget The Happytime Murders (if you can) – here’s Melissa McCarthy stretching herself in a biopic of occasional book forger Lee Israel. Both McCarthy and co-star Richard E Grant are early tips for award nominations.

Consequences (Dir: Darko Štante | Slovenia | 95 mins)
Starring Matej Zemljič, Timon Šturbej, Gašper Markun
They Say: A teenage tearaway is forced to face up to his actions, and confront his burgeoning sexuality, in this provocative Slovenian coming-of-age tale.

A correctional facility is the setting for this homoerotic coming-of-age drama from Slovenia, which promises to take some surprising turns away from the standard queer teen narative.

Destroyer (Dir: Karyn Kusama | USA | 118 mins)
Starring Nicole Kidman, Sebastian Stan, Tatiana Maslany
They Say: Nicole Kidman is astonishing – and almost unrecognisable – as a jaded police detective haunted by her past in Karyn Kusama’s brooding thriller.

Some of the he early reviews suggest Destroyer is worth seeing for Kidman’s performance alone. Director Karyn Kusama’s back catalogue – Æon Flux, Jennifer’s Body, The Invitation – suggests there should be more to it than that.

Etangs Noirs (Dir: Pieter Dumoulin & Timeau De Keyser | Belgium | 71 mins)
Starring Cédric Luvuezo, Rudy Mira, Makvala Pirtskhalava-Sakhelashvili
They Say: Nothing is quite what it seems in this enigmatic mystery which promises to be one of the most original films of the year.

A simple sounding story will inevitably prove to be anything but, as Brussels resident Jimi obsesses over a package mistakenly delivered to his address. At just 71 minutes, this intriguing-sounding film must be worth a punt.

Fahrenheit 11/9 (Dir: Michael Moore | USA)
They Say: One of North American culture’s most outspoken filmmakers, Michael Moore, turns his sights on one of the most controversial figures of our time: Donald Trump.

Inevitably divisive and scattershot, Moore’s latest attack on Trump’s America will take aim at nearly everyone complicit in the current state of US politics. As is the way with such mudslinging, some of it will stick.

The Favourite (Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos | Ireland-UK-USA | 120 mins)
Starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwynxx
They Say: His third English-language film in four years sees Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer) on rollicking, virtuoso form with Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz revelling in the wit of his royal court life.

Yorgos Lanthimos is one of the most creative, imaginative and offbeat directors working today. The Favourite – his third English-language film – could well be the one that brings him to the attention of mainstream cinema audiences. Olivia Colman, never anything less than compelling, could bag herself an Oscar for her lead role as Queen Anne.

The Front Runner (Dir: Jason Reitman | USA | 105 mins)
Starring Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons
They Say: Hugh Jackman leads this pulsing political drama from director Jason Reitman (Tully, Juno, Up in the Air) detailing a watershed moment for the American press in its coverage of political life.

Hugh Jackman might be one of the most underrated actors working today – he might’ve escaped superhero typecasting, but there’s often the feeling that he’s viewed as a lightweight. The Front Runner should showcase his heavyweight credentials, as the titular front-runner for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination until allegations emerged of an extramarital affair… 

If Beale Street Could Talk (Dir: Barry Jenkins | USA | 119 mins)
Starring KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Colman Domingo, Brian Tyree Henry, Regina King
They Say: Barry Jenkins follows his Oscar-winning Moonlight with an audacious, distinctive and assured adaptation of James Baldwin’s account of love, injustice and racism in America.

Marital bliss doesn’t come easy in 1970s Harlem, and Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) find out the hard way. Fonny is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, and Tish must fight a corrupt and prejudiced establishment to win him his freedom.

Lizzie (Dir: Craig William Macneill | USA | 105 mins)
Starring Chloë Sevigny, Kristen Stewart, Jamey Sheridan
They Say: Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart captivate in this bodice-ripping retelling of the strange and fascinating case of Lizzie Borden.

A compelling psychodrama based on the infamous 1892 axe murder of the Borden family in Fall River, Massachusetts. Chloë Sevigny is Lizzie, a social outcast, and Kristen Stewart is the young maid who turns out to be a kindred spirit…

Museum (Dir: Alonso Ruizpalacios | Mexico | 127 mins)
Starring Gael García Bernal, Leonardo Ortizgris, Alfredo Castro
They Say: Gael García Bernal stars in this dazzlingly enjoyable heist thriller about an ambitious plan to loot one of the World’s most famous museums.

A Christmas looting of Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology is the real-life inspiration for this more-than-just-a-heist movie which has fun with the planning and enacting of the crime, but also the aftermath.

The Old Man And The Gun (Dir: David Lowery | USA | 93 mins)
Starring Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek
They Say: David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, A Ghost Story) brings his distinctive vision to this ‘mostly true’ account of the later years of a gentleman bank-robber, played by Robert Redford.

Robert Redford bows out and departs from the big screen in this story of Forrest Tucker, “the self-styled ‘Houdini’ whose many audacious prison breaks included an Alcatraz flight in a homemade kayak, and whose last robbery was committed when he was 79.”

Roma (Dir: Alfonso Cuarón | Mexico | 135 mins)
Starring Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira
They Say: Straight from the heart of Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men), this glorious reminiscence of a momentous year is a sumptuous black-and-white ode to the woman who shaped his early life.

Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, Roma is Alfonso Cuarón’s first film since Gravity, and couldn’t be more different! Set in Mexico City in 1970, and shot in resplendent black & white, Roma “reveals this era of Mexico City as a place teeming with vibrant life, from its cinema and music to the brewing radicalism of the political scene.”

Sauvage (Dir: Camille Vidal-Naquet | France | 99 mins)
Starring Félix Maritaud, Eric Bernard, Nicolas Dibla
They Say: The daily misfortunes of a lonesome rent boy are laid bare in this tough but tender portrait of life on the fringes of society.

The debut film from director Camille Vidal-Naquet explores themes of solitude, longing and fragility through the story of a sex worker who yearns for the one thing his job won’t bring him: genuine affection.

Suspiria (Dir: Luca Guadagnino | Italy | 155 mins)
Starring Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, Chloë Grace Moretz
They Say: Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love, Call Me by Your Name) pays homage to Dario Argento’s horror classic with this delicious feminist update.

This remake of Dario Argento’s classic will almost certainly divide opinion – but as a follow up to the beautiful Call Me By Your Name, Luca Guadagnino couldn’t have chosen a more contrasting film. Expect stunning visuals which may leave you peering between your fingers…

Widows (Dir: Steve McQueen | UK-USA | 130 mins)
Starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell
They Say: Academy Award® winner and BFI Fellow Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave, Hunger, Shame) opens the Festival in pulsating style with this female-fuelled heist thriller that features a cast to die for.

Lynda La Plante’s 1980s television series is given a -perhaps surprising – 21st century update, featuring a cast worth every penny of your ticket and popcorn expenditure. Steve McQueen hasn’t put a cinematic foot wrong yet, and with Viola Davis inevitably giving it 100%, it’s hard to see how Widows will be any different. Expect a grittier, dirtier, less superficial Oceans 8 – with awards to follow.

Stuart Wilson

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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.