London Film Festival welcomes audiences back to cinema | culture & arts, cinema

LONDON – Films from 77 countries will be screened at the 2021 London Film Festival, as Britain’s premier film showcase welcomes mass audiences to theaters after a year of pandemic.

The festival schedule, announced Tuesday, includes 158 feature films, up from 225 in its last pre-pandemic edition in 2019. The 2020 festival was a reduced collection of 58 films, most of which screened online.

This year, full-capacity masked audiences will be able to attend gala screenings at the Riverside Southbank Center in London, with many premieres showing simultaneously in cinemas across the UK.

About 37% of feature films are directed by women – not yet parity, but up from a quarter four years ago and “going in the right direction,” said festival director Tricia Tuttle.

The festival opens on October 6 with the world premiere of “The Harder They Fall” – a western by British director Jeymes Samuel with a cast directed by Black – and ends on October 17 with the European premiere of “The Tragedy of Macbeth “by Joel Coen. “with Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand as Shakespeare’s murderous Scottish royal family.

The lineup includes 21 world premieres alongside winners and headliners from the Cannes and Venice film festivals, including the western “The Power of the Dog” by Jane Campion in Montana and the horror film of the years. Edgar Wright’s 60’s “Last Night in Soho,” both of which premiered in Venice this month.

Also on the program, the techno-sexual thriller “Titane” by French director Julia Ducournau – winner of the first prize at Cannes, the Palme d’Or – the lesbian drama for nuns “Benedetta” by Paul Verhoeven and the whimsical “The French Dispatch “by Wes Anderson, both of which also premiered at the French Riviera festival.

The London Film Festival will also present Elena Ferrante’s adaptation of Maggie Gyllenhaal “The Lost Daughter”; “King Richard” by Reinaldo Marcus Green, which stars Will Smith as the father of Venus and Serena Williams; Kenneth Branagh’s tribute to his hometown, “Belfast”; “Paris, 13th arrondissement” by Jacques Audiard and the musical documentary by Todd Haynes “The Velvet Underground”.

Another highlight is “Spencer” by Chilean director Pablo Larrain, a film whose first publicity shot of Kristin Stewart as Princess Diana was enough to trigger a frenzy of anticipation.

“I don’t think there is a living moviegoer who doesn’t want to see this movie after it’s released,” Tuttle said.

Encompassing television as well as film, the festival also screens the first two episodes of the third series of the media dynasty drama “Succession”.

Festival organizers are still unsure how the coronavirus pandemic will affect premieres and red carpet party plans. Four-fifths of UK adults are fully vaccinated and there are few restrictions on social life. But infections remain high and are expected to increase further now that the children are back to school.

Tuttle says a few films in the lineup deal explicitly with the pandemic, including Matthew Heineman’s documentary “The First Wave” and “7 Days,” a coronavirus romantic comedy about a couple locked up together after a disastrous first date. .

“We were hesitant to go too heavily into the pandemic,” Tuttle said. “We have just chosen films which charmed us or which seemed too urgent not to be included in the program.”

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