Popcorn at the ready

What to see at BFI London Film Festival 2021: ft. Wes Anderson, Edgar Wright and Kirsten Stewart as Diana
By Ella Joyce | Film+TV | 9 September 2021

Above: Still, ‘Last Night in Soho’ 2021 directed by Edgar Wright

BFI’s London Film Festival is returning to the city from October 6th -17th, and the newly-released programme promises a line-up of major titles. 159 feature films – including 21 world premiers – are set to screen in London theatres and in partner cinemas across the UK.

Headline Galas include the likes of Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, telling the story of a US-based newspaper outpost in 20th-Century France starring the director’s usual A-star cast (including an Anderson debut for Timothée Chalamet), and Edgar Wright’s timewarp thriller Last Night in Soho set between present-day and London’s swingin’ 60s, starring Anja Taylor-Joy, Thomasin Mackenzie and Matt Smith. A directorial debut from Maggie Gyllenhaal with The Lost Daughter starring Olivia Colman as a middle-aged divorcée confronting her turbulent past also joins the line-up alongside Princess Diana biographical drama Spencer directed by Pablo Larrain with Kirsten Stewart taking on the leading role of the people’s princess.

LFF Special Presentations showcase Cannes Palme d’Or winner Titane and Todd Haynes’ (Carol, Velvet Goldmine) new Velvet Underground documentary that’s as innovative and stylish as its subject. Meanwhile, the highly-anticipated European premiere of HBO’s Succession series three also joins the line-up, flanked by the world premiere of Netflix’s The Harder They Fall directed by Brit Jeymes Samuel and The Tragedy of Macbeth from Joel Coen.

Above: Still, ‘The Harder They Fall’ 2021 directed by Jeymes Samuel

Diversity is also prominent on the agenda with 39 percent of films showing by female and non-binary directors, and 40 percent by ethnically diverse creators. After the lifting of Covid restrictions earlier this year the festival’s gala venue, the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, sees an eighteen-metre screen erected for the occasion and 2,000 seats waiting to be filled to capacity. A specially-curated programme of feature and short films will also be available on BFI Player for audiences to access for free UK wide.

Festival director Tricia Tuttle says of the event; “After this last eighteen months so many of us are eager for opportunities to connect around shared cultural events, and we’re looking forward to bringing people together over the twelve days of the LFF to view this truly exceptional programme of film, series and immersive art.”

The full programme of LFF is available here.

Above: Still, ‘The French Dispatch’ 2021 directed by Wes Anderson

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