Day 1 : Love
For its 60th edition, the BFI London Film Festival opened with a love story of all times, A United Kingdom of Amma Asante. Launching in the same time the BFI Black Star program, A United Kingdom, starring Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, Tom Felton, Laura Carmichael, Jack Davenport and Jessica Oyelowo, had great promises to offer. True story, true love story, the movie is beautiful and touching but I am missing some drama. Drama is my thing.
At the press conference, the casting talked a lot about diversity, how the black star are getting more present in the cinema industry but still with a very low percentage. David Oyelowo discovered the book and this great love story before he proposed it to Amma. All actors were then brought together to take part in the project. This great love story that conquered an empire challenged them into extreme temperatures with the heat in Botswana and the cold winter of London. Extreme but worthy according to the whole cast. Jack Davenport advises you to wear a hat at all times !
Some of the press conference pictures :
Day 2 : Drama
Yes I love drama, the second day was exactly what I needed with A Monster Calls (headline gala) of J.A. Bayona and Frantz ( official competition) of François Ozon.
A Monster Calls: a mesmerizing tale.
Synopsis: Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) is a young boy who tries to deal with the terminal illness of his mother (Felicity Jones) and the attacks by local school bully Harry (James Melville). One night, Conor encounters a “monster” (Liam Neeson) in the form of a giant humanoid yew tree who has come to tell him stories and soon begins to help Conor fix his unhappy life.
Adapted from the book of Patrick Ness ( started by Siobhan Dowd), A Monster Calls grows on you. The story takes time to get to know Conor, his character, his feelings but soon the strong emotions of A Monster Calls get you into tears. The incredible performances of both Lewis MacDougall and Liam Neeson make A Monster Calls extraordinary. The work that J.A.Bayona has made on special effects and animation is absolutely fantastic. A Monster Calls has everything you need in a good tale, the fantasy, love, loss, happiness and drama. Mesmerizing.
Frantz: lesson of poetry
Synopsis: In the aftermath of WWI, a young German who grieves the death of her fiancé in France meets a mysterious Frenchman who visits the fiancé’s grave to lay flowers.
François Ozon always knows how to look into your soul. With his delicate directing and strong scenario, his films are never that easy. Layers of emotions lie behind the classic story. Frantz starts as a common war story which it is not. François Ozon goes deep into the two sides of the war losses, into the sons and parents mind, into the power of truth and lies in those dark times. Paula Beer and Pierre Niney create a delicious and fine duo where language, words, actions are pure poetry. Frantz is a film that praises life. A beautiful lesson of poetry.
To finish the day, we encountered Sigourney Weaver, J.A. Bayona, Lewis MacDougall at the red carpet of A Monster Calls and Barry Jenkins, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali at the red carpet of Moonlight.
Day 3 & 4 : Toni Erdmann, La La Land, Manchester by the sea, Trolls, Una, Bleed for this and the surprise film planned.