BFI brings Cannes and Venice hits to London

The organisers of the London Film Festival have announced the full programme of nearly 160 films.

Jeymes Samuels’ opener The Harder They Fall and Joel Coen’s closing film, The Tragedy of Macbeth, will be joined by some of the biggest hits from this year’s Cannes and Venice film festivals.

Bill Murray and Owen Wilson are among the Wes Anderson regulars in The French Dispatch

The main headline galas include Cannes titles, such as Wes Anderson’s French Dispatch, and Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta, alongside some of the best reviewed highlights at Venice, including Edgar Wright’s time-travelling fantasy Last Night in Soho, and Pablo Larraín’s Princess Diana biopic Spencer.  Sir Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast will also be given a gala screening.

Other special presentations include the Cannes Palme d’Or winner Titane, from Julia Ducournau, as well as Clio Barnard’s Ali & Ava, Benediction from Terence Davies, The Phantom of the Open from Craig Roberts, Jacques Audiard’s Paris, 13th District and Memoria from Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

In addition to feature that have already taken their bow on the international stage, the LFF will also be hosting a number of world premieres, including the animated feature Ron’s Gone Wrong, from 20th Century Studios, which will be the Family Gala screening.

Kristin Stewart was well received as Princess Diana as Spencer was premiered in Venice

The programme will also include a competition section, in which eight films will contest the top award, among them Justin Kurzel’s Cannes-award-winning Australian serial-killer biopic Nitram, Paolo Sorrentino’s semi-autobiographical The Hand of God and True Things, a psychological drama from the British director Harry Wootliff.

Another eight films will be in the running for the Sutherland Prize for the best first feature, including The Feast, a Welsh-language horror from Lee Haven Jones and Playground, a Belgian film about children’s politics, from Laura Wandel.

Eight documentaries will be up for the Grierson Award, including Andrea Arnold’s study of cattle in Cow and Alonso Ruizpalacios’ A Cop Movie, about Mexican police.

The head of the BFI, Ben Roberts, said, “I’m in awe of all of the filmmakers across the world who have found the ways and means – practical, creative, emotional – to get their stories told in such challenging and turbulent times and I want audiences to immerse themselves in the sweet glow of the cinema screen and celebrate their very existence.”

The London Film Festival’s director Tricia Tuttle said, “These are works which have moved us, provoked us, made us think and feel, and made us look at the world a little differently this year.”

The 65th BFI London Film Festival will retain some of the features introduced during last year’s pandemic hit edition, including more screenings outside London and more presentations being available online.