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london film festival 2006
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The 50th Times London Film Festival is upon us, so watch this space - we’ll be regularly updating our LFF player with interviews and clips. And it’s shaping up to be a vintage year. So much so that we’ve struggled to whittle down our list of the ten best films (in no particular order), which is why, like Spinal Tap, we’ve gone up to 11.
The Last King Of Scotland
The first fictional feature from Kevin Macdonald (Touching The Void, One Day In September) is a clamorous adaptation of Giles Foden’s novel. His Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy) is much more passionate than on the page, but it’s the career-defining performance from Forest Whitaker as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin that will win hearts and minds.
Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan proves that his last outing, Uzak (Distant), was no fluke. His visually stunning aesthetic style and pared down narrative is reminiscent of Robert Bresson. Climates is another tale set in the engaging metropolis of Istanbul in which Ceylan plays a university lecturer who splits from his wife.
Fast Food Nation
Richard Linklater’s engaging fictionalised account of Eric Schlosser’s text is a brutal deconstruction of the fast food industry, from marketing executives to immigrants working on the shop floor. The slaughterhouse scenes are something else.
Todd Field follows up In the Bedroom with another story of marital mishaps and dilemmas in suburban America. Featuring a brilliant central romance (Kate Winslett and Patrick Wilson are the lovers) this is storytelling of the highest order.
The Caimen (Il Caimino)
Director Nani Moretti’s scathing insight into Silvio Berlusconi was released to coincide with the election. Berlusconi lost the election. It’s a potent polemic that in a typical Moretti narrative uses the struggles of a filmmaker to make a salient critique of Italian society.
Days Of Glory (Indigenes)
President Chirac changed French Law to reinstate pensions for Algerians who fought for France during World War II on the strength of Rachid Bouchareb’s excellent movie.
For Your Consideration
Christopher Guest and co (Eugene Levy, Harry Shearer et al) turn their back on dogs, dshowing us that humans are just as crazy in their search for prizes in this hilarious account of the Hollywood award season.
The Berlin Golden Bear winner is a powerful family drama set in a Sarajevo haunted by memories of the Balkan conflict. A tearjerker directed by Jasmila Zbanic, highlighting the ongoing human cost of war.
9 and 10.
Still Life and Dong
Zhang Ke Jia won the big prize at Venice with his great human drama, Still Life, set in a town wiped out in the controversial Three Gorges Dam project in China. Also showing as an added bonus is Jia’s hourlong documentary, Dong (made at the same time as Still Life), about workers on the dam.
The closing night film is another masterclass on intersected celluloid stories from the Mexican, Alejandro González Iñárritu. Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Gael García Bernal all star in this fascinating drama about our fragile post-9/11 existence.
The 50th Times London Film Festival, 18 October – 02 November 06.
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