Top 5 from the 2013 London Film Festival

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With more highlights than Paris Hilton after a trip to Toni & Guy, choosing the best bits from this year’s London Film Festival was a tricky task. Talk about 1st world problems.

From Oct 9th – 20th, in-between sleeping and eating, the only thing taking up time was sitting in the dark watching films with the BFI seal of approval. There were tears, there was laughs and there was one serious bout of cramp. From all the flicks I had the pleasure to catch, here’s the top five I won’t be forgetting in a hurry,  in no particular order…

The Congress

Trippy doesn’t even come close. This half animation half um, non-animation, is Ari Folman’s latest film since the acclaimed Waltz With Bashir and the best thing since sliced hash cake. It’s got something to say about the ludicrous way Hollywood hails youth, fame and the selling of the soul – be prepared for that message to be painted in Technicolor glory.

Director: Ari Folman

Parkland

A familiar story told by unfamiliar characters. America may have been united in shock at the assassination of JFK, but Parkland shows the individual perspectives and experiences from a breadth of fascinating characters. An excellent directorial debut for ex journalist Peter Landesman who had a little help from LFF’s 2013 mascot Tom Hanks.

Director: Peter Landersman

Read the Q&A with director Peter Landersman

The Lunchbox

More proof that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, this story is about a misplaced lunchbox that causes two strangers to connect. This almost-rom-com is simple, charming and told with heart. Director Ritseh Batra dared to add a dash of English wit to this Indian film despite being warned that Indian audiences may not ‘get it’. They did, and the film has enjoyed success across the pond… and now here.

Director: Ritesh Batra

Gravity (IMAX)

Never have I been to a screening where the audience was so unanimously stunned. This film is why the IMAX exists. It’s a physical experience that will have you ducking from the floating space debris and leave you breathless from the overall excellence. Technically marvellous, eye-blinkingly gorgeous and with a performance from Sandra Bullock that will be sniffing up the backside of a little golden statue, Gravity has had journalists running out of words from the semantic field of ‘awesome’.

Director:  Alfonso Cuarón

Blue Is the Warmest Colour

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche

Three hours of cramp-inducing lesbian romance isn’t as sexy as it sounds.  Sexually explicit action aside (if you’ve ever had any questions as to exactly what it is girls do when they bump uglies, this will explain everything) Blue Is The Warmest Colour is dramatic and bitter sweet. Leads Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopo are mesmerizing as we follow their love story from inquisitive beginnings to snot-smeared ends.

Also VERY highly reccomended (and some reviewed): 12 Years A Slave, Don Jon, Half Of A Yellow Sun, Computer Chess, Inside Llewyn Davis, Saving Mr Banks, The Selfish Giant  

Further reading: My piece on Don Jon’s lessons in objectification for Poejazzi.com

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