The program for the 59th BFI London Film Festival is another stellar lineup of must-see movies starring the world’s hottest stars, and includes several films with Gay & Lesbian content:
It’s a rich and diverse lineup that includes a total of 238 fiction and documentary features, including 16 World Premieres, 8 International Premieres, 40 European Premieres and 11 Archive films. Taking place from Wednesday 7 October 2015 to Sunday 18 October 2015 at various venues across London, also included are talks and seminars and special presentations.
The festival opens with the premiere of the eagerly anticipated Suffragette. An all-star cast brings to life the early UK feminist movement as they fought for their right to vote. Carey Mulligan (who is a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination for this role) stars alongside Helen Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, with a cameo by Meryl Streep. Screenplay by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady, Shame).
Gay & Lesbian themed films to be shown at the festival that might be of interest to you include:
A tale of two transsexual sex workers on Santa Monica Boulevard and the friendship they have amidst their dangerous profession.
Carol tells the simple story of a 1950’s department store clerk who falls for another woman. This one stars the can’t miss Cate Blanchett, and is directed by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven). With Rooney Mara.
A documentary that takes a look at London’s gay sex and drugs scene. It will do doubt cause lots of conversation and controversy.
Lily Tomlin is back on the big screen playing a sharp-tongued, foul-mouthed Lesbian poet in her 70’s, who also happens to be grieving over the death of her long-term partner, and is interrupted by a visit from her granddaughter.
A documentary that follows the lives of four Australian children whose parents all happen to be gay.
This film follows the downfall of a male college professor after he was found in bed with his male-rickshaw driver lover. It’s one of the few films ever that has dealt with the Indian gay male experience.
A troubled teenager falls for a new boy at his work which makes his life even more confusing. He has conversations with his pet hamster, voiced by Isabella Rossellini.
Other movies being shown at the festival include:
Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston stars as Dalton Trumbo, a screenwriter in 1940’s Hollywood who gets blacklisted after he is confirmed to be a Communist. Diane Lane plays his wife while Helen Mirren plays gossip columnist Hedda Hopper.
One of the most controversial films of the festival about a group of French high school students who start a private orgy society.
Adapted from J.G. Ballard’s novel of the same name, High Rise stars Tom Hiddleston in a film set in a luxurious high rise tower block that begins to decay almost as soon as it is built.
He Named Me Malala
A documentary about the 18-year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the head by the Taliban for championing girls’ education in Pakistan.
Director Stephen Frears brings us the story of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong (played by Ben Foster) in a documentary-style telling of Armstrong’s triumphant Tour de France years to his mighty downfall after his confession of taking drugs to enhance his performance.
Live from New York
A funny documentary about the long-running American television institution Saturday Night Live, from its beginnings in 1975 through its many cast members (some of whom went on to have highly successful movie and television careers).
An unrecognizable Johnny Depp stars in this true story about one of the Boston’s most violent criminals (Jimmy Bulger) who became an FBI informant. Also starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Bulger’s brother Billy and Joel Edgerton as the FBI agent who persuades Jimmy to turn against the mafia.
This film could win the award for the most far-fetched plot: In the future, single people have to find a partner within 45 days or are then transformed into animals and released into the woods. This one stars Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz. With their very good lucks there is no doubt they will find a match, within one day no doubt.
The Lady in a Van
Dame Maggie Smith stars as a homeless woman who lives in a van parked outside playwright Alan’s Bennett’s home in the 1960s. Believe it or not it’s based on a true story that actually took place in the 1960s, where she ended up staying for 12 years.
Cate Blanchett (again) stars at CBS news producer Mary Mapes, with Robert Redford as anchorman Dan Rather, and their involvement in a story that questioned then-President George W. Bush’s receiving preferential treatment to help avoid the Vietnam draft.
Documentary about the deteriorating relationship between Sherpas (local people who help expeditions guide their clients up Mt. Everest) and western tourists, arriving just a few days before last year’s deadly avalanche that killed 16 sherpa. Timely as well in that sherpas were all but ignored in the recent film ‘Everest.’
Brie Larson stars as a woman who has been trapped in a garden shed for seven years after being kidnapped and raped. She then attempts to escape with her five-year-old son.
The film festival closes on one of the most eagerly-awaited films of the year – a film called Steve Jobs
Michael Fassbender plays the late Steve Jobs, the man who made Apple a household name. Kate Winslet co-stars as his assistant Joanna Hoffman and Seth Rogen plays Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
There are nine program strands each headlined with a gala, they are: the Love Gala, the Debate Gala, the Dare Gala, the Laugh Gala, the Thrill Gala, the Cult Gala, the Journey Gala, the Sonic Gala, and the Family Gala.
There will also be talks with filmmaker Todd Haynes (Carol), casting director Laura Rosenthal, actress Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), and filmmakers Jia Zhangke and Walter Salles (A Guy from Fenyang).
There will also be prizes handed out in the following categories:
-The Official Competition: recognizing inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking.
-First Feature Competition: recognizing an original and imaginative directorial debut
-Short Film Award
Tickets have already gone on sale, so if you want to see any of the above-mentioned films or to peruse the other events taking place at the festival, please go here:
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.