2019 BFI London Film Festival

The 63rd BFI London Film Festival drew to a close on Sunday after almost two weeks of screenings, where filmgoers got the chance to discover some of the world’s best new films at cinemas across the capital and our roving London photographer, Pietro Recchia was there to capture some of the actors, actresses and filmmakers on the red carpet in Leicester Square.

The BFI Film Festival is also where film makers, celebrated and established international artists, actors, actresses and storytellers gather along with newcomers to the business just starting out in their film careers. Their goal? Presenting their new work, which has perhaps only been seen just once or twice, to discerning audiences.

Karsen and Ray Liotta
Ray Liotta with daughter Karsen
Karsen Liotta at the BFI London Film Festival
Karsen Liotta
Ray Liotta - Marriage Story
Ray Liotta – Marriage Story

The BFI London Film Festival is very much an international event in the calendar, with filmmakers making their way over to London from over 70 countries this year. And for those who did not realise that the BFI is a charity, it is supported by not only their longstanding partner American Express, but also a number of other partners and sponsors including support from the National Lottery.

This year saw 42 non-fiction documentaries screened, including Feras Fayyad’s Syrian-set The Cave, and Sung-A Yoon’s Overseas, which details the exploitation of migrant workers. Fictional films included Haifaa Al Mansour’s The Perfect Candidate, which explores the power of local politics changing one mind at a time. Julius Onah’s Luce presents a clever dark drama which tackles racial bias and the emergent activists in Rubaiyat Hossain’s Made in Bangladesh take on deathly conditions in a Dhaka garment factory. Other films incorporate wild irreverence and riotous energy, such as Michael Winterbottom’s Greed, which is a sharp-tongued corporate satire. Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’ anarchic, bloody socio-political Western Bacurau is another film to look out for, as is Mirrah Foulkes’ startling feminist fable Judy & Punch and Taika Waititi’s brilliant anti-nationalist, anti-racist satire Jojo Rabbit.

Archie Yates - Jojo Rabbit
Archie Yates – Jojo Rabbit
Alfie Allen - Jojo Rabbit
Alfie Allen – Jojo Rabbit
Barbara Colen - Bacurau
Barbara Colen – Bacurau

Also being screened this year were a number of risk-taking debuts with filmmakers bringing uncompromising directorial voices to their first features. For example, Mati Diop’s Atlantics, Joe Talbot’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco and the UK’s very own Rose Glass and Billie Piper with, respectively, the singular Saint Maud and the bitter, funny Rare Beasts.

Other UK debuts included Calm with Horses, County Lines, The Deathless Woman, Days of the Bagnold Summer, Lynn + Lucy, Make Up, Nocturnal, Perfect 10, Pink Wall, Real, The Street, White Riot and Walking with Shadows.

Gillian Anderson at the BFI London Film Festival
Gillian Anderson
Laura Dern - Marriage Story
Laura Dern – Marriage Story
Adam Driver - Marriage Story
Adam Driver – Marriage Story

In total, this year’s BFI London Film Festival has screened films from 75 countries around the world. For more information on this year’s Film Festival, and next year’s event, which will take place from 7-18 October 2020, please visit: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk

Editorial by Simon Burrell, Editor of Our Man On The Ground Travel and Lifestyle Magazine with photographs by Pietro Recchia, a London-based photographer specialising in fashion, portraits and luxury events.

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