With the 64th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express set to begin this week on the 7th October, it’s worth noting that there’s a lot of films to choose from, both virtually and cinematically. With tickets now available online for the general public, the last few weeks I’ve been looking at the films selected for their specific strands. After looking at the Laugh, Journey and Dare strands, today I’ll be looking at the films selected for the Create strand.
DAVID BYRNE’S AMERICAN UTOPIA
DIRECTOR: Spike Lee
STARRING: David Byrne, Chris Giarmo, Tendayi Kuumba, Bobby Wooten III, Karl Mansfield, Gustavo Di Dalva, Jacquelene Acevedo, Angie Swan, Mauro Refosco, Daniel Freedman and Stephane San Juan
David Byrne’s American Utopia is a concert film directed and produced by Spike Lee, bringing the critically acclaimed Broadway show to the big screen. The film is a live recording of the show during its run at Broadway’s Hudson Theatre in New York, which is a modified version of David Byrne’s American Utopia album. David Byrne is joined by an ensemble of eleven musicians, singers and dancers from around the globe, inviting audiences into a joyous dreamworld where human connection, self-evolution, and social justice are paramount. American Utopia had its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival and received critical acclaim and while HBO Max will be streaming the concert film in the US on the 17th October, UK audiences can watch the film virtually on the BFI Player from 8.45pm to 9.15pm on the 14th October, as well as select cinemas across the country that are linked with the BFI London Film Festival, so be sure to see if the film will be screen near you here.
DELIA DERBYSHIRE: THE MYTHS AND LEGENDARY TAPES
DIRECTOR: Caroline Katz
Delia Derbyshire: The Myths And Legendary Tapes is a documentary about an English musician and composer of electronic music. A true pioneer in audio exploration and psycho-acoustics during the 1960s with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, where she composed one of the most famous compositions in science fiction, the Doctor Who theme. The documentary looks into the discovery of two hundred and sixty-seven tapes in an attic, along with a collection of journals hidden in her childhood bedroom, and features archive footage and interviews exploring the life of Delia. This will mark the world premiere for the documentary at the festival, and will be available to watch virtually on the BFI Player from 6:30pm on the 15th October until 6:30pm 18th October.
DIRECTOR: Chaitanya Tamhane
STARRING: Aditya Modak, Arun Dravid, Sumitra Bhave, Deepika Bhide Bhagwat, Kiran Yadnyopavit, Abhishek Kale, Neela Khedar, Makarand Mukund, Kristy Banerjee and Prasad Canavese
Sharad Nerulkar has devoted his life to becoming an Indian classical music vocalist, diligently following the traditions and discipline of old masters, his guru, and his father. But as years go by, Sharad starts to wonder whether it’s really possible to achieve the excellence he’s striving for. A journey of devotion, passion, and searching for the absolute in contemporary Mumbai. Written and directed by Chaitanya Tamhane, the film won two awards at the Venice Film Festival, Best Screenplay and the FIPRESCI Prize, as well as winning the Amplify Voices Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film will be available to watch virtually on the BFI Player on the 7th October from 9:00pm till 9:30pm.
THE PAINTER AND THE THIEF
DIRECTOR: Benjamin Ree
STARRING: Barbara Kysilkova, Karl Bertil-Nordland and Øystein Stene
An artist befriends the thief who stole her paintings. She becomes his closest ally when he is severely hurt in a car crash and needs full-time care, even if her paintings are not found. But then, the tables turn. Barbara Kysilkova’s paintings were stolen from the windows of an Oslo gallery, leading to documentarian director Benjamin Ree being interested in the story. During the trial, Kysilkova asked one of the accused, Karl-Bertil Nordland, why he took the paintings, answering ‘Because they were beautiful’. After the trial, Kysilkova contact Nordland with a rather unusual request: to paint his portrait. This documentary looks interesting from the story and the trailer that was released a few weeks ago. The film will be available to watch virtually on the BFI Player from 9:00pm to 9:30pm on the 8th October 2020.
STRIDING INTO THE WIND
DIRECTOR: Wei Shujun
STARRING: Zheng Ying Chen, You Zhou, Tong Lin Kai and Wang Xiaomu
In his final year at film school, talented and light-hearted sound recordist Kun would rather be anywhere than in class. Instead he drives around Beijing in his old Keep, an embodiment of shabby free-spiritedness, goofing-off and dreaming of visiting Inner Mongolia. After abandoning his driving test in a fit of rage, we follow Kun’s journey marked by restlessness and absurdity, calamity and joy. The film is inspired by director Wei Shujun’s own experiences, making his directorial feature debut, as well as co-writing the screenplay alongside Gao Linyang. The film will be available to watch virtually on the BFI Player from 6:30pm till 7:00pm on the 16th October.
DIRECTOR: Ismaël El Iraki
STARRING: Khansa Batma, Ahmed Hammoud, Said Bey, Mourad Zaoui and Abderrahmane Oubihem
Set in Casablanca, a car crash sets ablaze a burning, passionate love story between has-been rocker Larsen and the streetwise amazon Rajae. An unspoken trauma is their common history, with rock’n’roll being their mutual saviour. Larsen’s guitar and Rajae’s voice could be a match in heaven, if only everything from his drug-induced visions to her music-buff pimp didn’t get in the way. The only hope for their blooming romance is to get out of this town. Zanka Contact marks the directorial feature debut of Ismaël El Iraki, with the film having its world premiere last month at Venice Film Festival, with Khansa Batma winning the Venice Horizons Award for Best Actress. The film will be available to watch virtually on the BFI Player from 9:00pm on the 16th October until 9:00pm 19th October.