51st BFI London Film Festival

51st BFI London Film Festival, UK (October 15 - October 30, 2008)

"The best films in the world, here in London", so says Sir Michael Caine's voice-over during the lovely trailer which opened each screening at the LFF – witty clips of London street life turned into homages of classic movies. And this is how it should be trusted. Looking at all the major festivals of the year, the LFF – sponsored by the Times and the British Film Institute - stays true to its aim: bringing the best to the audience, including public screenings on Trafalgar Square, emphasizing discoveries over red-carpet events and easy glamour, even if Leicester Square had its share of stars (Benicio Del Toro, Robert Carlyle, Rachel Weisz and Jessica Biel, among many), not to mention the Royal World Premiere of the latest James Bond film, Quantum of Solace. Special selections were dedicated to contemporary French cinema, experimental films and restored classics.          

Artistic director Sandra Hebron made sure that all tastes would be satisfied and the selection of films submitted to the FIPRESCI jury reflected this diversity: from the stylized con-comedy of Rian Johnson's Brothers Bloom to the Indonesian take on Film Noir in Joko Anwar's The Secret, from the Beckett-in-China dry humor of Li Hongqi's Routine Holiday to the pop kitchen-sink of Sallie Aprahamian's Broken Lines, we had everything. The jury was impressed above all by the freshness of Eran Creevy's Shifty, the lo-fi Jacques-Tatiesque humor of Ruben Ostlund’s Involuntary and the surrealistic Jean-Stephane Sauvaire's docudrama about African children soldiers Johnny Mad Dog. The jury finally chose the Australian film Three Blind Mice: this Cassavetian drama impressed us with the chemistry between its actors and the artistic maturity of newcomer actor-director Matthew Newton. In Three Blind Mice, the three naval officer protagonists honestly and disturbingly question their lives one night in Sydney and this subsequently leads to them shipping out to uncertain shores. (Leo Soesanto, edited by Steven Yates)

BFI London Film Festival: 


Three Blind Mice Three Blind Mice Three Blind Mice
(Australia, 2008, 94 mins) Jury: Leo Soesanto (France) , Esin Kücüktepepinar (Turkey) , Richard Mowe (UK)
International Sales: Odin's Eye Entertainment

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"Three Blind Mice"

by Richard Mowe

The winner of the critics' prize is a film about three very different Australian sailors on a last night out before heading to the Gulf. Richard Mowe extrapolates the tensions between them, while the director chooses to explore the personal over the political. read more

In the Mood for Flesh

by Esin Kücüktepepinar

The limits of violence displayed on the big screen have always been pushed further over the years and Esin Kücüktepepinar argues two of the films in this year's program exemplify this. read more

War During Lifetime

by Leo Soesanto

The festival's European premiere of Oliver Stone's W created the perfect opportunity to discuss films which (in)directly alluded to the politics of the last eight years. Leo Soesanto attempts to find truth in the fictional and documentary. read more

Pangs of Hunger for Realism

by Richard Mowe

The story of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands has been brought to the screen by first-time filmmaker Steve McQueen, already a Turner Prize winning British artist. Richard Mowe appreciates the resonance created by the director. read more