10 of the best films to book at london film festival

Beyond the red carpet events and gala screenings lies fresh new films from around the world at this year’s London Film Festival. Here’s i-D’s pick of those to book now...

by Colin Crummy
17 September 2015, 12:05pm

Emma Donoghue's 2010 book was a thrilling, intelligent, page turner, and this adaptation of the story of a five year old Jack held captive for all his life in a 11-square-foot room with Ma (played by Brie Larson) sounds equally smart, especially in the hands of director Lenny Abrahamson, the man behind subtle dramas like Garage, What Richard Did and the oddball antics of Frank.

A big breakout hit from Sundance, Tangerine follows the trials of two transgender prostitutes working the roughest edges of Santa Monica Boulevard on Christmas Eve. Sin-Dee Rella is fresh of out prison and after the 'white fish' whose been sleeping with her boyfriend/pimp Chester. Best friend Alexandra has problems of her own, including an admirer with baggage and an ambition to be heard. Director Sean Baker turns the film's gimmick - it was shot entirely on iPhone 5s - into a brilliant sun drenched vision of the other side of Tinseltown and the two newcomers Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez are by turns hilarious, authentic and unexpectedly touching in the roles. A must see.

Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)
An exciting debut from French director Eva Husson who takes the high school movie into sex heavy, female gaze territory. A group of Biarritz high school students start a private orgy society in a bid to achieve total liberation but soon find the complexities of sex starts to make its own waves. The film's already been compared to Larry Clark's seminal 90s hit Kids.

Nasty Baby
Sebastian Silva directs and stars as one half of the hip Brooklyn gay couple who decide to have a baby with their best friend Polly (played by Kristen Wiig). If that all sounds simple enough, word is that the filmmaker throws a late curveball into the story that has left early audiences with much to discuss beyond gay parenting once the credits have rolled.

Vice's documentary on the gay party phenomenon of mixing a cocktail of hard drugs (crystal meth, GHB and mephedrone) with sex, mostly in a group setting, Chemsex meets the men who lose whole weekends to the scene and talks to the doctors who see it as a significant contributing factor to the rise in HIV diagnoses in London.

The grandma of the title is Elle who isn't your typically quaint old lady. Instead she's a sweary, lesbian poet in her 70s, played with aplomb by Lily Tomlin, who, heartbroken by the death of her long term partner, finds herself on an inter-generational road trip with her 18-year-old granddaughter Olivia who needs her help. Julia Garner plays the teenager, who more than stands her ground in a film that's perfectly pitched to Tomlin's comic timing.

Fresh Dressed
Hip hop couture is having a big screen moment with this month's Dope, a celebration of 90s style, and this from journalist Sacha Jenkins - a document of how street style made it from the urban scene unto catwalks and into suburban wardrobes. More than a simple look at the fashions, Jenkins builds a cultural history through clothes from pre-civil war slavery to 1970s South Bronx and contemporary culture today.

Gayby Baby
Four Australian children get to say what it's like to grow up with same sex parents in Maya Newell's bright and revealing documentary, which you can read more about here.

Sunset Song
Aygness Deyn continues to charge away from her catwalk past with an admirable gutsiness, this time as Chris Guthrie, a young woman in early 20th Century Scotland with plans to break out of the roles she seems destined for. Sunset Song is Terence Davies' [The Deep Blue Sea] adaptation of the classic Scots novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon and the film is in official competition against Room and Tangerine.

The Witch
Robert Eggers won the best director award at Sundance for this, a gruelling account of hysteria that's set decades before the 1690s Salem witch trials. In 17th Century New England, a Christian family are forced to leave their plantation and relocate on the edge of a forest. When the youngest child goes missing, everything spirals as supernatural forces and family members are accused of wrongdoing.

LFF is on 7 - 18 October and booking is open to the general public from 17 Sept bfi.org.uk

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