LFF 2017 Highlights Part 1

It is just about half way through the BFI London Film Festival, and there have been some great films shown. Here are some LFF 2017 highlights from the first week of screenings…

LFF 2017 Highlights – Unmissable

Call Me By Your Name

Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name is undoubtedly one of the most romantic films of the year. Starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chamalet, the film offers wonderful storytelling, beautiful imagery, and great performances. READ MORE

Mudbound

Dee Rees’ Mudbound is a film with heart. The screenplay has a poetic quality, and is ably backed up by Rees’ directing and performances from the talented cast. READ MORE

Brigsby Bear

Dave McCary’s feature debut perfectly balances comedy with a sweet and sincere tale. Brigsby Bear is very, very funny without diminishing its dark premise. Co-writer and star Kyle Mooney stands out in particular. READ MORE

LFF 2017 Highlights – Best of the Rest

Spoor

Agnieszka Holland’s wonderful Spoor blends mystery and comedy with a thriller to create a rather memorable film. With a great central performance from Agnieszka Mandat, Spoor is a very enjoyable film. READ MORE

Wonderstruck

Todd Haynes’ adaptation of Brian Selznick’s novel is the right kind of whimsy. Transporting the audience to the New York of the 1920s and 1970s, Wonderstruck features some great performances. READ MORE

Ingrid Goes West

Aubrey Plaza shines as a social media-obsessed young woman in Ingrid Goes West. Matt Spicer’s debut is achingly contemporary and a lot of fun. READ MORE

Loving Vincent

Loving Vincent blends technical achievement with an engaging narrative. Marvel at the hand drawn animation in the style of Vincent Van Gogh, whilst learning about his final days. READ MORE

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Noah Baumbach delivers yet again, with the brilliantly The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected). The film features an enviable cast, and includes Adam Sandler’s best performance for years. READ MORE

The BFI London Film Festival runs from 4th-15th October 2017. See the full programme here.

Film Review: Spoor

Director and co-writer Agnieszka Holland’s Spoor is thoroughly entertaining mystery, with the right amount of intrigue, suspense, and humour. 

Animal rights crusader Janina Duszejko lives alone on the Polish-Czech border. When a series of crimes occur in the quiet region, Duszejko is convinced she knows who is responsible, if only the police would believe her…

Based on the novel by Olga Tokarczuk, the film works well thanks to a good premise and good writing. One of the highlights of Spoor is the choice, and the development, of the protagonist. It is fresh in to see an older woman take centre stage, one that is educated and accomplished, single and childfree. Janina Duszejko works well as the main character as she is independent yet welcoming, and un-flustered when faced with the macabre. 

The beauty of the film is that viewers will be unsure quite where it is going. What starts off as the story of the disappearance of the protagonist’s two dogs turns into quite something else. Spoor blends mystery with a thriller. There is gore, but film is not particularly gruesome. The humour works well to add light and to shape the characters. 

The focus of the film is on ecology. There is an unambiguous contrast between Duszejko’s love of animals and the natural world, and the unsympathetic hunters and poachers. The film drives home its message with later events. It does not become preachy, yet the message is clear. 

The art direction is important in capturing the animals in Spoor. Sometimes their images are eerie, which holds a significance in the emerging plot. At other times,  the cinematography captures beauty of the animals. The central performance by Agnieszka Mandat is great. Jakub Gierzal is also a highlight. 

Spoor balances entertainment with a message in a way which is engaging. It is a great film from Agnieszka Holland.

Spoor is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2017.