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lff 2005 round up
Rain, drugs and A Cock And Bull Story.The heavens opened at this year’s London Film Festival at precisely the moment the glitterati began their stroll down the red carpet. Opening movie, The Constant Gardener, may be set primarily in Kenya but the monsoon-like conditions were all Leicester Square’s own. Happily, Fernando Meirelles’ adaptation of the John Le Carré novel, starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz - an impassioned indictment of “Big Pharma” and government collusion in exploiting the Third World - was worth braving the elements for.
March Of The Penguins and The Proposition.
While the weather may have been a mixed bag, the festival itself has been beaming out rays of cinematic sunshine throughout its first week. The homegrown highlight undoubtedly being Michael Winterbottom’s interpretation of the allegedly “unfilmable” modernist classic, The Life And Opinions Of Tristram Shandy, A Cock And Bull Story. Employing seemingly every living British actor and comedian, it’s a playful, meta-cinematic shuffle of its own conception, with a great double-act from Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as “Steve Coogan” and “Rob Brydon”. Great fun, although Coogan soon needs to start essaying personas other than his own if he’s to succeed at being the leading man that “Steve Coogan” so desperately wants to become.
A range of quality international fare has been on offer. From Korea, Old Boy director Chan-Wook Park’s blistering Sympathy For Lady Vengeance; French workaholic François Ozon maintained his rapid turnover with elegiac mood piece Time To Leave; many people fell for the Dardenne Brothers’ Cannes Palme D’Or winner, L’Enfant; and even more swooned for hit US documentary March Of The Penguins. Its waddling cast may not embody “intelligent design”, as some Christian conservative Americans claim, but it’s a model of intelligent, populist filmmaking.
The King and Brothers Grimm.
Inevitably a few films have disappointed, none more than Cameron Crowe’s lacklustre advert for his album collection, Elizabethtown. Someone described dissing this winsome tail-wagger as like “kicking a puppy”, but even cute critters need to be put down if they’re terminal. Still, Crowe and stars Kirsten Dunst and Susan Sarandon turned up, jostling for paparazzi attention with other luminary guests like Proof’s Gwyneth Paltrow and Guy Pearce - filling in for an AWOL Pierce Brosnan at a Times Screen Talk - star of excellent Nick Cave-scripted “Australian Western” The Proposition.
With future guests including The King’s Gael Garcia Bernal and Brothers Grimm helmer Terry Gilliam, plus gems like Michael Haneke’s profoundly unsettling Hidden and festival closer Good Night, and Good Luck from star/director George Clooney, the LFF forecast looks very bright indeed.
The Times BFI London Film Festival 2005, 19 October – 03 November. Box office 020 7928 3232.
Read members' comments related to this film.
comment by rowan Nov 8, 2005I'm afraid none of us did either.
comment by Brendon Nov 7, 2005Oh, nice.
I wish I'd seen it.
comment by rowan Nov 7, 2005It was Mrs Henderson Presents - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0413015/...
comment by Brendon Nov 4, 2005What was the secret film this year? I can't find out anywhere - and its not secret anymore, it screened almost a week ago. Please somebody help me! Even if its just somebody smarter with google than I am and not anybody who was there.
comment by rowan Oct 31, 2005Hey folks - For those of you who are disappointed by not being able to make it to London to see films in the festival, I thought I'd point out that the LFF tours the UK:
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