The film festival is over for another year and once again has provided Leeds with a fantastic selection of films. Below we share five of our highlights from the festival and would love to see yours in the comments:
There are so many films being made around the world! The Leeds Film Festival programme is just a small sample, and the thirty or so films I saw are just a small sample of what the Festival had to offer. Here are 5 films that I enjoyed, in no particular order:
- Sieranevada – a beautifully directed and acted glimpse of a Romanian
family’s memorial commemoration, which also says something about wider
Eastern European society.
- Chi-raq – Spike Lee’s theatrical exploration of the issues around Black
Lives Matter, made with the involvement of people living in Chicago’s
- Lonesome – a love story, with live organ accompaniment, mostly set in
Coney Island, and made at a time when silent films were giving way to
the new ‘talkies’
- The Handmaiden – an exciting and beautiful Korean/Japanese story, with
different perspectives challenging us to work out what is really going
- Fukushima, Mon Amour – the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami, and
nuclear reactor meltdown, is the setting for this film about the lives
of people 5 years later, as seen through the eyes of a German woman who
wants to bring some pleasure to their lives
I could have added another 5 quite easily.
- The Art of Negative Thinking – Scandinavian filmmakers excel at combining disability and humour.
- Certain Women –Three well crafted stories, four excellent performances.
- Mimosas – Very fine visually but the story requires careful thought and study.
- Old Stone – A good Samaritan suffers under Chinese capitalism.
- Woman of the Dunes – A black and white classic in a good 35mm print.
- Mindhorn – The funniest film since What We Do In The Shadows. I’d forgotten how fantastic it is to see an incredibly funny film in a packed cinema. We laughed so hard we probably missed half the jokes. Followed by a brilliant surreal Q&A.
- A Man Called Ove – Perfectly combining humour and humanity, everything comes together to remind you there is some good in the world.
- The Autopsy of Jane Doe – The best horror film I’ve seen in some time. Delivers intelligent thrills and never outstays it’s welcome by becoming too silly.
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Seeing this projected (from 35mm) gave me a new appreciation and managed to completely charm me where I’d previously been underwhelmed.
- Two Lovers and a Bear – A complete surprise, I knew nothing about this film and found it all completely delightful.
This was the strongest festival I remember and I’d recommend nearly all the films I saw. My next 5 films were Pet, The Birth of A Nation, The First, The Last, Life Animated and Paterson.
- Certain Women – Kelly Reichardt’s most fully realised film to date. Maile Meloy’s short stories perfectly compliment each other, providing a perfect counterpart to Reichardt’s earlier adaptations of Jon Raymond. Great performances from the central cast, especially Laura Dern and relative newcomer, Lily Gladstone.
- Mister Universo – Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel’s simple fiction played out by real life members of the Italian circus community. A beautiful intersection between fact and fiction, that functions as both a road movie and an affectionate family portrait.
- The Woman of the Dunes – Teshigahara/Abe’s Sisyphusian nightmare. A classic. So glad I got to see this on a big screen on 35mm.
- Graduation – Doting father, Romeo, walks moral tightropes in this austere drama from Cristian Mungiu. Shades of Haneke’s Hidden in it’s creeping sense of dread.
- Mimosas – Ecstatic fiction, quasi-western with the Atlas mountains as a backdrop. Shakib Ben Omar is a wild, charismatic lead. A natural heir to Ninetto Davoli.