Today is the day that tickets went on sale to the general public for the upcoming 64th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express. Last time, I took a closer look at the films selected for the Laugh strand at the film festival and today, I’ll be spending my time looking into the films selected for the Journey strand this year. “Whether it’s the journey or the destination, these films transport you and shift your perspective.” Without further ado, let’s look into the films selected in this particular category…
ANOTHER ROUND (DRUK)
DIRECTOR: Thomas Vinterberg
STARRING: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, Magnus Millang, Maria Bonnevie and Susse Wold
This Danish drama focuses on four friends, all teachers at various stages of middle age, who are stuck in a rut. Unable to share their passions either at school or at home, they embark on an experiment: to see if taking a constant level of alcohol in their blood will help them find greater freedom and happiness in their lives. What makes this drama a must see is that director Thomas Vinterberg is reunited with actors Mads Mikkelsen and Thomas Bo Larsen, with their last collaboration being the fantastic 2012 drama Jagten/The Hunt. You can see the official trailer for Another Round below and, unfortunately, cinematic screenings and virtual screening for Another Round has sold out via the BFI official website.
BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS
DIRECTORS: Bill Ross and Turner Ross
STARRING: Michael Martin, Cheryl Fink and Marc Paradis
This documentary drama focuses on closing night party of a Las Vegas divebar known as ‘The Roaring 20’s’, with the staff and patrons celebrate their last night together. This documentary, from the trailer, could almost give the impression that Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets could easily be mistaken for being a scripted drama if people did look into it properly. It definitely looks like an intriguing documentary from Bill and Turner Ross, looking into how people make real connections in unexpected places, and how a place, even that of a local bar, can garner community spirit. This documentary is currently available to book now for the BFI Player and watch from 8.30pm on the 13th October.
A DAY-OFF OF KASUMI ARIMURA (ARIMURA KASUMI NO SATSUKYU)
DIRECTOR: Hirokazu Kore-eda
STARRING: Kasumi Arimura, Jun Fubuki, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Sairi Ito, Ryuya Wakaba, Sho Kasamatsu, Lily Franky and Yuya Yagira
Playing a fictional version of herself, we follow actor Kasumi Arimura, who is given an unexpected day off and returns home to visit her mother, who delights in showing her famous daughter off to friends and neighbours. Playfully exploring the relationship between truth and fiction, this is actually the first episode of an eight-part series that aired in Japan earlier in the year, which will give audiences here the opportunity to see Palme d’Or-winning director Kirokazu Koreeda’s television work so rarely seen outside of his home country. You can book to see A Day-Off of Kasumi Arimura virtually on the BFI Player which will be available to watch from 1pm 10th October until 1pm 13th October.
GENUS PAN (LAHI, HAYOP)
DIRECTOR: Lav Diaz
STARRING: Nanding Josef, Bart Guingona, Don Melvin Boongaling, Hazel Orencio, Noel Sto. Domingo, Joel Saracho and Lolita Carbon
Taking leave from their jobs at a gold mine, three workers journey to their home village on foot through the spectacular yet unforgiving wilderness of the mythical island of Hugaw. As time passes and their conversations intensify, buried histories emerge and a sense of psychosis invades the scene. Genus Pan is the latest directorial feature from Lav Diaz, who won the Venice Horizons Award for Best Director for this drama at this years Venice Film Festival, while the film itself also received a nomination in the Best Film category. Genus Pan is available to book virtually for the BFI Player and will be available from 5.30pm 11th October until 5.30pm 14th October.
GOLD FOR DOGS (DE L’OR POUR LES CHIENS)
DIRECTOR: Anna Cazenave Cambet
STARRING: Tallulah Cassavetti, Corentin Fila, Julie Depardieu, Carole Franck, Cécile Morel and Ana Neborac
Solitary teenager Esther has spent her summer engaged in an intensely sexual affair with a crush and follows him from the south of France to Paris in the hope of sustained romance. Instead, she finds herself alone and lost in the city at night. The film marks the directorial feature debut of Anna Cazenave Cambet, who earned critical praise for her directorial debut in 2016 with the short film Gabber Lover, which won the Queer Palm at Cannes Film Festival that year. Gold For Dogs is available to book virtually for the BFI Player from 8.30pm 15th October until 8.30pm 18th October.
I AM SAMUEL
DIRECTOR: Pete Murimi
Filmed over the course of five years, this documentary focuses on Samuel, who was born and raised on a farm in rural Kenya. When he moves to its capital, Nairobi, he meets and falls in love with Alex. Samuel’s father, a preacher at his local village church, expects his son to marry and looks forward to the day when he brings home a daughter-in-law. While Samuel and Alex’s love for each other thrives, they remain constantly aware of the shadows of violence creeping around them. After all, under the Kenyan constitution’s penal code (introduced by the British over 100 years ago), homosexual acts carry a fourteen-year prison sentence. This documentary feature marks the directorial feature debut of Pete Murimi, creating a moving portrait of two Kenyan men balancing the pressures of family loyalty, love and a lifelong quest of acceptance. This documentary is available to book virtually for the BFI Player from 6.30pm 10th October until 6.30pm 13th October.
DIRECTOR: Ben Sharrock
STARRING: Amir El-Masry, Vikash Bhai, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Kwabena Ansah, Grace Chilton, Kenneth Collard, Cameron Fulton, Silvie Furneaux, Lewis Gribben, Kais Nashif and Ola Orebiyi
Limbo focuses on Omar, a promising young musician, who is separated from his Syrian family as he is stuck on a remote Scottish island awaiting the fate of his asylum request. Limbo is Ben Sharrock’s followup to his directorial feature debut Pikadero, which earned multiple awards in the film festival circuit of 2015/2016, especially at the Edinburgh International Film Festival it received the Michael Powell Award for Best Film. Limbo has an interesting premise and with rising star Amir El-Masry in the lead role as Omar, it will definitely be one to keep an eye on. Limbo is available to book virtually for the BFI Player from 6.30pm on the 16th October.
DIRECTOR: Chloé Zhao
STARRING: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Charlene Swankie and Bob Wells
Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. Based on the 2017 book by Jessica Bruder, this film marks Chloé Zhao’s followup to 2017’s The Rider and Nomadland is starting to build up a lot of buzz and momentum after having its world premiere a few weeks ago at Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion, and at the Toronto International Film Festival it also won the People’s Choice Award. Currently the cinema screenings at BFI Southbank have sold out, but you should click here to see if there is a cinema screening in these areas (Belfast, Bristol, Sheffield, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff and elsehwere in Lodon) to check out this potential awards contender.
DIRECTOR: Gianfranco Rosi
Shot over the course of three years between Syria, Iraw, Kurdistan and Lebanon, this documentary follows different people from near war zones in the Middle East, trying to start again with their everyday lives. Directed by Gianfranco Rosi, Notturno had its world premiere at Venice Film Festival, where it also received Arca CinemaGiovani Award and Sorriso Diverso Venezia Award for Best Italian Film. Notturno is available to book virtually for the BFI Player and scheduled to start at 8.30pm on the 15th October.
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
DIRECTOR: Regina King
STARRING: Eli Goree, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr., Lance Reddick, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Michael Imperioli and Beau Bridges
Based on the 2013 stage play by Kemp Powers, the film is set on the night of the 25th February 1964, following a young Cassius Clay – before he became Muhammad Ali – as he emerges from the Miami Beach Convention Center the new World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Against all odds, he defeated Sonny Liston and shocked the sports world. While the crowds of people swarm Miami Beach to celebrate the match, Clay – unable to stay on the island because of Jim Crow-era segregation laws – instead spends the night at the Hampton House Motel in one of Miami’s historically black neighbourhoods celebrating with three of his closest friends: activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football star Jim Brown. The next morning, the four men emerge determined to define a new world for themselves and their people. A late addition to the lineup at the London Film Festival, the film marks the directorial feature debut of Academy Award winner Regina King, and the film had its world premiere at Venice Film Festival, and at Toronto International Film Festival it received a nomination for the People’s Choice Award. The film is screening only at BFI Southbank, and all screenings are sold out.
THE REASON I JUMP
DIRECTOR: Jerry Rothwell
Based on the ground-breaking memoir by Naoki Higashida, this documentary follows five young people from around the world and using excerpts from the book as narrative, it describes how distressing or intensely beautiful the world can be for someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The film had its world premiere earlier in the year at Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary. The Reason I Jump is available to book virtually for the BFI Player, which starts at 8.45pm on the 9th October.
THE SALT IN OUR WATERS (NONAJOLER KABBO)
DIRECTOR: Rezwan Shahriar Sumit
STARRING: Fazlur Rahman Babu, Titas Zia and Tasnova Tamanna
The Salt In Our Waters marks the directorial feature debut of Rezwan Shahriar Sumit who collected numerous awards, including a Spike Lee Fellowship, to produce this Bangladeshi drama, set on a remote coast afflicted by climate change. Soon after the death of his coastguard father, young Rudro travels to a far-flung fishing village to find some closure, where he starts to work on his figurative art. A young local woman inspires his work and secretly falls in love with him, but the rigid traditions of the village forbids any possible relationship. With a cyclone fast approaching the coast, social and physical storms threaten the artist’s way of life. The drama will be available to book virtually for the BFI Player and watch from 6.30pm 13th October until 6.30pm 17th October.
DIRECTOR: Elizabeth Lo
Stray marks the directorial feature debut of Elizabeth Lo, with the documentary focuses on Zeytin, a stray dog, through the streets of Istanbul, Turkey. Treated with both disdain and mercy by the residents of Istanbul, the documentary captures the perspective lives of the residents and outsiders through the eyes of Zeytin and fellow strays Nazar and Kartal. When Zeytin’s journey intersects with homeless Syrian teenagers, the documentary explores the parallels between the strays and the marginalised humans they share the streets with. Stray looks set to be an interesting directorial feature debut from Elizabeth Lo after receiving numerous accolades for her short films previously. Strays is available to book virtually for the BFI Player, with the virtual screening taking place at 6.30pm 7th October.
EYIMOFE (THIS IS MY DESIRE)
DIRECTORS: Arie Esiri and Chuko Esiri
STARRING: Jude Akuwudike, Tomiwa Edun, Temi Ami-Williams, Emmanuel Adeji, Mary Agholor, Kemi Lala Akindoju, Lala Akindoju, Kalibe Akinkugbe and Ivy Akinyode
This Is My Desire marks the directorial feature debut of Arie and Chuko Esiri. Set in Lagos we follow Mofe, a factory technician, and Rosa, a hairdresser, as tragedy and survival fuel their desires for a better life in Europe. But after Mofe loses his family and Rosa fails to deliver on a promise, their travel plans collapse forcing them to reconsider living abroad. As time passes and wounds heal, they learn the future they desperately seek can be built at home. The film is available to book virtually for the BFI Player, with the virtual screening available from 3.50pm 11th October until 14th October.