London Film Festival essentials

60s New York folk, sci fi and wild adolescence are on the agenda in this week's BFI treats

NEW FILM: INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS BY COEN BROTHERS

The Coen Brother’s newest film Inside Llewyn Davis is a vivid, dewy nod to the 1960’s New York folk scene. The film stars Oscar Issac, Carey Mulligan and the classic-household-name John Goodman with a bit of JT thrown in for good measure. The brother’s melancholy plot observes the struggles of a striving musician scattered throughout with wry humor, honesty and moments of heartfelt hopelessness. The setting is a semblance of film-noir with a modern feel, all to the backdrop of lulled vocals and taut banjo strings.

UK release January 2014. 

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Teenager Matt Wolf

NEW FILM: TEENAGE BY MATT WOLF

Up-and-coming film director Matt Wolf explores the turbulence of adolescence in his newest film. ‘Teenager’, a term coined after World War II, takes you on a journey from the early 20th century through to the end of the 1940s, highlighting youth’s ability to escape impending adolescence. The film highlights major historical moments ranging from the ban of child labour to flapper fever and Hitler Youth. An exciting, bird-eye view that dips into history’s archive bringing you the curated fashions of juvenility.

At London's BFI on October 10, Ritzy on October 11 and VUE on October 13.

DOCUMENTARY: JODOROWSKY'S DUNE

Frank Pavich, the director famed for his cult underground music documentary NYHC, tackles one of Hollywood’s infamous stories in his latest release. Jodorowsky’s Dune documents director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s dissatisfied hunger to change science fiction cinema after his plans of adapting Frank Herbert’s cult novel Dune into a 1970’s film falls through. Featuring original pre-production illustrations of Jodorowsky’s proposed visions and interviews from industry greats including HR Giger and Nicolas Winding Refn, Pavich’s first stab at filmmaking proves to be a triumph.

At London's ICA on October 9, VUE on October 11 and Screen on the Green on October 14.

DOCUMENTARY: GORE VIDAL: THE UNITED STATES OF AMNESIA

Gore Vidal [is] a thorn in the American establishment”; award-winning director Nicholas Wrathall resurrects the late American public critic in his newest documentary showing footage and an archival overview of his charismatic and vibrant life. The documentary is a lighthearted take on the weighty issues of American policies through the lens of a personal story tinged with dry wit and tender observation. Entwined with fly-on-the-wall footage, up-close-and-personal interviews and chronicles of Vidal’s life, this documentary communicates Gore’s thrilling story set to a slower pace.

At London's BFI Southbank on 12 October and at ICA on 14 October.

OLD FILM: RESTORATION OF PORTRAIT OF JASON BY SHIRLEY CLARKE

Director Shirley Clarke has put her own stamp on old footage. A fresh and straight talking take on the issues of sex, abuse, prostitution, racism and homophobia through the account of Jason – a gay African-American cabaret performer in New York City. With material dug out by Dennis Doros of Milestone Films and the Academy Film Archive, Clarke delivers a reformation of existing and previously undiscovered footage. A two hour no-frills conversation with her subject reveals a tragic past with a sunny disposition. It’s a documentary that critics are hailing “one of the best films ever made” and, upon leaving, it’ll give you much more to think about than you had before.

At London's BFI Southbank on 12 October.

MUBI FILM: THE HOLY MOUNTAIN

Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1973 cult classic of psychedelic surrealism, financed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono after they loved his equally bent acid western El Topo, sees a thief representing the Tarot card The Fool on a quest for enlightenment, accompanied by professionals with various astrological alignments to planets. The thief's startling physical resemblance to Jesus Christ prompts some to make casts of him to use for crucifixes. Jodorowsky himself plays an alchemist with a talent for transforming shit into gold. Magic mushrooms, spiritual exercises led by a Bolivian mystic and yoga are all said to be part of the production's regime - and the bizarre, visually stunning result is truly one of a kind. Available to watch on MUBI.

This week's film news was brought to you in conjunction with the excellent homestreaming site MUBI. Sign up for a month's free membership at MUBI here!

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