Article,  Films

The 56th London Film Festival #lff

Today is the last day of the 56th Annual London Film Festival #lff, so I thought that it was the perfect day to write a post about my own experiences at the festival last Sunday. Despite living so close to London for the entirety of my life, I have always been too busy or too broke to find myself attending the festival and so it was with happiness that I realised that this year I could actual go! After finding someone to go with, I got click happy and started buying tickets. Unfortunately, due to not having a full time job yet, I still didn’t have a lot of money so only had enough to see three films on one day but that was still better than nothing!

The day started early, getting the train at 10:20am to get to London for 11:20am (the usual fast 30min trains do not exist on Sundays!) and once there we navigated through the tube system to find our way to the very first screen. Cine Lumiere is a French cinema that was one of the nicest ones we went in all day. The entrance was posh and welcoming and the seats were actually really comfortable! The film we saw was called Dreams For Sale and it was introduced to us by the talented director, Miwa Nishikawa.

This film was a really interesting one and I found it difficult to turn away from the screen. The storyline was complex and intriguing and it brought about some interesting discussions between me and my companion. I feel that a second viewing would be needed to fully understand some parts of the film (as I had forgotten the beginning by the end) but it was definitely a film that I was glad to have seen.

When that ended, we found ourselves only having an hour to get across to the other side of London to the start of the second film. While this should not have been a problem, we had forgotten to check the state of the underground disruptions and found ourselves hurtled off the train, three stops before our changing stop. Having a quick look at the sat nav, we decided we could walk to the next tube station we needed to get on a different tube. Unfortunately we got it all wrong and ended up walking for an hour to the cinema through some very intriguing parts of London! This, unfortunately, had us arriving 30mins late to our next film, Memories Look At Me by Song Fang.

This film was hard to get into. I have reason to believe that this is because we missed the beginning and therefore I feel it harsh to judge this film based on what we saw. However, it wasn’t exactly what I had been expecting to see and I, unfortunately, found myself glad when the film finished. The acting in the film, on the other hand, was truly remarkable and I could see other brilliant traits of filmmaking and directing, I just missed the reason why we were watching the film. It simply did not hit the right mark.

At the end of this film, we had two and a half hours before the start of the final one and so we decided to go and find somewhere to eat dinner. Deciding it was better to eat in Leicester Square where the final film was being shown, we made our way to the nearest (working) tube station and were disgruntled to find it was only a fifteen minute walk away and we could saved all of our earlier walking if we had better planned our journey. As we entered Leicester square we made a quick decision on where to eat and ended up having a yummy pizza and the always wonderful Bella Italia.

With more time to spare we went looking at some of the London tourist shops in and around the square – which is where I saw my new cup with the words ‘Keep Calm and Drink Tea’ on, and in the perfect shade of blue! – and my companion got some new fridge magnets for his office. Then we made our way to the screen of the third and final film of the day, Broken by Rufus Norris at Odeon West End. There was a red carpet outside of the screen with reporters, cameramen and security guard stationed around as well. Personally I have never actually seen a proper red carpet so it was a nice little surprise – and I got to walk down it myself!

Once we had entered the cinema, my companion went to get himself a drink while I watched the people around us. As soon as he returned with his drink we witnessed Will Young walking down the red carpet and then just casually walking in and getting his ticket for the film. It was actually pretty surreal as we were within walking distance of this guy – not that I’m a fan of his but it is just odd being so close to celebrity figures! We were soon ushered into the screening as the cast were about to make their way across the carpet and they needed the space once they got into the building, apparently, and so we didn’t get to see them walk in which was a little bit of a shame!

Eventually, with the entire audience seated, the cast members walked in and then stood at the side of the cinema. At which point the manager of the Odeon took the stage and introduced the film and then the director himself. The director spoke first about his film and then brought the cast on and introduced them all to us and then thanked everyone who helped to make the film. When it was all finished the cast then started to take their seats within the audience and the film started.

Broken was easily my favourite film of the day. It had such a unique and brilliant storyline that touched on so many different issues and themes and it held such a great feel of British filmmaking. I found myself laughing at so many parts and then the next moment I was close to tears – and probably would have cried if I wasn’t in the middle of such a grand audience. It was a truly inspired journey that I was glad I had the chance to watch. The cast were all brilliant but the star of the film was definitely Eloise Laurence. It was her debut film and I can only hope that this amazing child has a great acting career planned ahead of her as she totally deserves it!

Our day was finally over and we picked ourselves up and headed home. It was definitely a great day that I was glad to have experienced! There were a few films that I wished I could have seen but couldn’t, such as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Key of Life, and Rust and Bone, but I know that I am glad that I got to at least see three films and look forward to seeing more next year!

Now for anyone who is interested, the London Film Festival Awards were chosen yesterday and you can find all of the winners here.

Did you go to the festival? Have you ever been to a film festival? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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