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london film festival

It’s here again.

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The 47th Times London Film Festival kicked off last Wednesday with Jane Campion’s tense, erotic film noir, In The Cut (on national release, 31 October). Set in a seething New York, it sees sexually uptight/voracious fortysomething teacher, Frannie (Meg Ryan, booed as she arrived at the screening), becoming dangerously embroiled with sweaty, streetwise cop Molloy (rising star Mark Ruffalo, currently in XX/XY).

It’s a darkly lit serial killer thriller, co-produced by Nicole Kidman, with a (not-so-)subtext about sexually uptight/voracious fortysomething women coping with their desires in a world of thrusting young turks. “Some people could characterise it as a dirty film turned into an art film,” says Campion, 49, whose movies (The Portrait Of A Lady, The Piano) often simmer with desire. For Ryan, though, it’s a seismic shift, with early “sadistic porn flick” leaks and predictable “real onscreen sex” rumours. It’s a long, long way from You’ve Got Mail, and a fine start to the festival.

Highlights over the next two weeks will be many and varied, so watch this space... Director Christopher Guest (Best In Show) heads the pack with his mockumentary, A Mighty Wind, chronicling the bad-tempered comeback of three 60s folk combos. Sofia Coppola does an about-turn after The Virgin Suicides with the sour romantic comedy Lost In Translation, starring the peerless Bill Murray and flavour of the month, Scarlett Johansson. Weird twin directors, the Polish Brothers, mix the Coens with Lynch and outdo them both in their, er, biblical flood in the American flatlands dream-drama, Northfork.

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s (Amores Perros) long-awaited second feature, 21 Grams, will also be showing. As will Lars von Trier’s Dogville, with Nicole Kidman on all fours in a dog collar. Be there or be here, reading and/or watching our coverage. Jonathan Carter 24 October 03

The Times London Film Festival 2003, 22 October – 06 November. Box office 020 7928 3232.

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