LFF 2019 Highlights Part 1

It is about half way through this year’s BFI London Film Festival, and some wonderful films have been shown so far. Here are some LFF 2019 highlights from the first week…

LFF 2019 Highlights – Unmissable

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Joe Talbot’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a funny, moving, thought-provoking, and outstanding debut. The film is an embarrassment of riches, boasting a wonderful script, strong direction, great performances, and thematic density.  READ MORE

Marriage Story

Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is a top-drawer drama with outstanding performances from its leads. The film is heart-wrenching, observant, and very real. With Marriage Story, Baumbach once again proves to be a shrewd observer of the human condition.  READ MORE

LFF 2019 Highlights – Best of the Rest

The Lighthouse

With his nightmarish thriller The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers proves The Witch was no fluke. The Lighthouse is a downward spiral, with a jagged, disorientating descent. READ MORE

The Report

The Report is topical, engaging, and necessary viewing. A story about the compilation and attempted publication of a lengthy report could be considered quite a dry subject matter. Nevertheless, in writer and director Scott Z. Burns’ capable hands, The Report is always interesting, occasionally tense, and at times engrossing.  READ MORE

Saint Maud

Writer-director Rose Glass’ Saint Maud is a unnerving and intense gothic thriller. The filmmaker has delivered an atmospheric and striking debut. The backdrop provides the perfect setting for this exploration of psyche, religious fervour, and obsession. READ MORE

The Personal History of David Copperfield

Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield is a love letter to storytelling. The film is endearing and entertaining. A warm, amusing, and enjoyable adaptation. READ MORE

The Prince’s Voyage

Jean-François Laguionie and Xavier Picard’s The Prince’s Voyage (Le Voyage Du Prince) is an enchanting animated tale. With its bittersweet ending, the film doesn’t pander to its audience. READ MORE

The BFI London Film Festival runs from 2nd-13th October 2019. See the full programme here.

Film Review: The Prince’s Voyage

Jean-François Laguionie and Xavier Picard’s The Prince’s Voyage (Le Voyage Du Prince) is an enchanting animated tale. 

12-year-old Tom discovers a wounded monkey on the beach. When he comes around, the older simian claims to be a prince from another land…

A follow-up to 1999’s A Monkey’s Tale (although the film works perfectly as a standalone picture), The Prince’s Voyage is a wonderful adventure with rich animation. The story presented as a recollection of Laurent. The film is accessible enough for children, yet substantial enough for adults to enjoy. Written by Laguionie and Anik Le Ray, the film is never infantile with its language. The narration has a poetic quality at times. 

A Prince’s Voyage mixes adventure with humour and occasional peril. The film focuses on the central relationship between an elderly outsider and a young boy. It is a friendship that crosses age and background boundaries. Both are linked by their thirst for knowledge, wanting to expand their knowledge of each other and their different worlds. It is a good message to propagate. 

The colour palette is restricted; drab tones of the old museum dominate the screen for the first third. When Laurent and Tom go to the town, the contrast in light and colour is striking. The Festival of Fear is suitably enticing. It is macabre without being too frightening. The are some wonderful aspects of the film, such as the King Kong-esque screening. Such references are made in a loving fashion. The period setting allows for some good sequences, such as the tram ride, and the meeting of academics. It is an age of discovery which the prince encapsulates. 

A number of themes come to light as the story continues. These include the fear of outsiders, the restrictive nature of institutions. A Prince’s Voyage deals with evolution question in a light way, a sly wink given the simian protagonists. Planned obsolescence even gets a brief mention. 

With its bittersweet ending, the film doesn’t pander to its audience. A Prince’s Voyage is a enjoyable and enriching watch.

The Prince’s Voyage (Le Voyage Du Prince) is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2019.