LFF 2016 Highlights Part 1

It is now a week into the 60th BFI London Film Festival, and so far it has offered some cinematic delights. Here are some LFF 2016 highlights from the first week of screenings…

LFF 2016 Highlights – Unmissable

La La Land

From the opening sequence, it is obvious that La La Land is something special. Damien Chazelle does not disappoint with his follow-up to Whiplash. The film is beautifully composed and wonderfully executed. READ MORE

Moonlight

Moonlight is a wonderfully absorbing character study from Barry Jenkins. The film is a profusion of taut emotion, which bubbles over in a delectable way. In a different pair of hands, the film could have been a trite concoction of stereotypes and cliché. Jenkins shows he is a force to be reckoned with with the magnificent Moonlight. READ MORE

Manchester By The Sea

Manchester by the Sea

Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea is rich with emotion and so finely executed that it lingers in the mind long after viewing. Lonergan exhibits a skilfulness in filmmaking and storytelling with the excellent Manchester By The Sea. READ MORE

LFF 2016 Highlights – Best of the Rest

Divines

Houda Benyamina’s Divines packs quite a punch. The film is engrossing throughout. Divines has an energy that is appealing. This is obvious from the film’s opening scene. READ MORE

The Handmaiden

Chan-wook Park’s The Handmaiden is exactly the style and quality of film one would expect from the filmmaker. It is thoroughly entertaining and a visual feast. There is so much to like about The Handmaiden, that it is difficult to know where to begin. READ MORE

The Birth of a Nation

Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation is a compelling drama that does not shy away from the realities of its narrative. The Birth of a Nation feels pertinent today, and it is a story that should be heard… READ MORE

ARRIVAL

Arrival

Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival brings the spectacle and wonder. For the most part, the film is an engrossing watch. Arrival is a very enjoyable science-fiction mystery. The film poses the big questions in an engaging and easily comprehendible way. READ MORE

Queen of Katwe

Director Mira Nair’s film is infectious in its positivity. Queen of Katwe is a heartwarming picture. Telling the true story of an unlikely chess champion from the slums of Kampala, Queen of Kwante is an edifying film. READ MORE

The Graduation (Le Concours)

The Graduation (Le Concours) is a fly-on-the-wall documentary that pays off, despite a slow start. Le Femis in Paris is one of the top film schools. Each of the prospective students need to go a rigorous selection process for one of the limited places at the school. READ MORE

The BFI London Film Festival runs from 5th-16th October 2016. Details of remaining screenings are available here.

Film Review: Manchester By The Sea

Manchester By The Sea

Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea is rich with emotion and so finely executed that it lingers in the mind long after viewing.

After tragedy strikes, Lee is forced to travel to Manchester By The Sea to look after his nephew. Lee is a reluctant caregiver, as he feels closer to his past in the town…

Kenneth Lonergan exhibits a skilfulness in filmmaking and storytelling with the excellent Manchester By The Sea. The film is a masterclass in portraying grief. In spite of the bleakness of the subject matter, Lonergan’s film never becomes mawkish or melodramatic. Instead, it is taut, and subtle in conveying some harrowing incidents.

Writer-director Lonergan tells the story of a haunted man becoming the reluctant guardian of his nephew. The film is littered with flashbacks, which tells the story of Lee’s previous relationship with his nephew, with his brother, and with other members of his family. The film requires the audience to be patient in waiting for more details; these are revealed slowly and effectively. Lonergan’s eschews dropping these for shock value. Instead, these are careful placed, and more effective as a result.

Characters in Manchester By The Sea are so well drawn. Lee enters as a isolated, monosyllabic character. As more is revealed about his past, the reasons for his behaviour become clear. The story is not what some may expect from the film’s premise. What could have been an odd couple style comedy drama in different hands, is an exceptional drama in this case. Casey Affleck delivers an incredibly potent performance as Lee. Lucas Hedges is convincing as Patrick. Michelle Williams and Kyle Chandler provides good support.

Kenneth Lonergan’s mastery is depicting darkness, but drawing this back every so often with naturalistic humour. Manchester By The Sea is a thoroughly convincing portrait of a broken man.

Manchester By The Sea is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2016.