7 movies you must watch at the BFI London Film Festival 2015


This years BFI London Film Festival promises to be more eclectic than ever with a gargantuan crop of 240 films harvested from 72 countries.

Some of the best films of 2015 will claw their way into the lime-light escaping the darkness of one of the 16 cinemas showcasing this fabulous haul of celluloid.

Here are the magnificent 7 you should definitely make time for when things kick off in the capital from 7-18 October.



 – Parabellum  –  Argentina (2015)

Genre :   Sci-Fi / Apocalypse 

When :      THU Oct 8th – 6.30 pm – Vue Cinema Islington

                      SUN Oct 11th – 4.00 pm – Hackney Picturehouse

Why ? : 

Because it may well be the most fragile and beautiful film of the entire 12 days.The delicate narrative is veraciously protected by a framework of  meticulously crafted cinematography that will prove hypnotic to anyone with even the merest hint of OCD.

Be prepared to do some heavy mental lifting as Parabellum drifts along like a cinematic ice-berg and you will be rewarded with one of the most incredible final shots in the history of Science Fiction cinema.

What the Festival says :

A group of strangers travel from Buenos Aires to a new kind of holiday spa: an exclusive training ground for the impending apocalypse. Austrian helmer Lukas Valenta Rinner creates a hermetically sealed atmosphere of creepy stillness and unrelenting dread. Our ragtag band of trainees must make their way through the marshy Tigre Delta, balancing a pack mentality with their own isolationist tendencies, and dealing with the threats of nature and their own mental health.




 – Green Room  –  U.S.A. (2015)

Genre :   Horror / Thriller

When :     WED Oct 14th –  8.45 pm – Hackney Picturehouse, Screen 1

                      THU Oct 15th – 8.45 pm – Picturehouse Central, Screen 1

Why ? : 

Because director Jeremy Saulnier is one of the brightest stars in the film firmament.He already has the terrific slow burn revenge thriller Blue Ruin under his belt and with Green Room he jams the throttle open and formulates a masterclass in savage anxiety.

Patrick Stewart plays an evil neo-Nazi called Darcy and THAT right there is unmissable in itself.

What the Festival says :

When an unsigned punk band, The Ain’t Rights, book an impromtu gig at seedy dive bar frequented by neo-Nazis, they are expecting a tough night. But when they accidentally become witness to a murder, the band find themselves trapped in the venue’s green room, hunted down by a gang of thuggish mercenaries determined to ensure they keep their mouths shut. With the unmistakable air of exploitation movies past (albeit with impeccable tech and acting credits), Green Room is a taut, vicious and gloriously violent shocker that wants to put its audience through the wringer. And it does so beautifully.



 – Ruined Heart: Another Love Story Between a Criminal and a Whore         Philippines/Germany (2014)

Genre :   Punk Noir / Opera

When :     SAT Oct 17th –  3.45 pm – ICA

                      SUN Oct 18th – 6.15 pm – Hackney Picture House

Why ? : 

Because it will have the best soundtrack of the entire festival – and previous screenings have culminated in a rowdy sing-along.

It has been described as a “crypto-pornographic fable of the night“,a “bizarre love letter to the storm” and just about everything in-between.Go see it and construct your own pretentious commentary.

What the Festival says :

Shot by Christopher Doyle, this irreverent orgy of sex, violence and crime has a banging soundtrack at its core and is driven by an instinctive rhythmic approach. Nathalia Acevedo (Post Tenebras Lux) has a whale of a time as the titular Whore, while Asano Tadanobu (Ichi the Killer, Thor) exudes unspeakable cool as the Criminal. With its main theme composed by Khavn himself and covered by an eclectic array of musicians spanning soul, drone, rock ‘n’ roll and folk styles, this is the cinematic mix-tape for those who fancy their filmmaking visceral.



 – Kothanodi –  India  (2015)

Genre :   Folk Tale / Fantasy / Horror

When :     SAT Oct 17th –  6.00 pm – ICA

                      SUN Oct 18th – 8.30 pm – NFT 2

Why ? : 

Because the casual jungle infanticide , child torture and serpent nuptials transpire in a fairy tale universe complete with the obligatory wicked step-mother.One character gives birth to an elephant apple that trundles resolutely after her where ever she goes and you simply can’t miss that !

The film is a warts and all interpretation of arguably the most popular piece of Assamese literature ever – four tales that are over a hundred years old yet still forge relevant connections with modern day maternal instincts.

Kothanodi utilises a vibrant colour palette to mesmeric effect.The simplistic staging creates a deceptively charming milieu and broad strokes of humour and melodrama temper the roguish gruesomeness that always seems to inhabit folklore territory.

What the Festival says :

The darkest fairytales are often the most compelling, unsettling us by touching on universal fears and desires. It is a feeling that Bhaskar Hazarika mines with the grotesque magical realism of his debut feature. Four traditional folk fables present disturbing, multi-layered tales of the travails of their female protagonists, revealing the underlying patriarchy that drives the woman to the edge of sanity.



– High Rise – U.K.  (2015)

Genre :   Sci – Fi / Drama / Satire

When :      FRI Oct 9th –  6.15 pm – Odeon Leicester Square

                      SUN Oct 11th – 11.30 am – Odeon Leicester Square

Why ? : 

Because it’s directed by Ben Wheatley – and he is easily the most exciting British film maker operating today.

Adapted from J.G. Ballard’s source novel by Amy Jump this is a director/writer combo that has already spawned the hilarious Sightseers and the intensely chilling Kill List.

Producer Jeremy Thomas, who previously worked with David Cronenberg on bringing the controversial Crash to the big screen, has waited over 3 decades to bring this project to fruition.

What makes this film ultimately compelling is that back in the late seventies Nicolas Roeg( Don’t Look Now ) was the preferred directorial choice and Wheatley is such a perfect modern day substitute it’s uncanny.

Miss this movie at your peril.

What the Festival says :

A savage and utterly brilliant satire of both 1960s social idealism and the Thatcherite values that undermined it, High-Rise opens with a dishevelled man (the ever-sublime Tom Hiddleston) eating barbecued dog on the balcony of his trashed apartment, some 25 floors up. Hiddleston’s character, Dr Robert Laing, has just taken ownership of his luxurious apartment whose lofty location places him amongst the upper echelons. He is immediately drawn into and seduced by the louche culture of nightly cocktail parties, where conversation always comes back to Royal (Jeremy Irons in a pitch perfect performance that screams ‘empire in decline’), the enigmatic architect who designed the building. However, as power outages become more frequent and building flaws emerge, particularly on the lower floors, the regimented social strata begins to crumble. Nihilism, drugs and alcohol feed into wanton sex and destruction, all underscored by Clint Mansell’s wicked music and Mark Tildesley’s designs – revelling in decadent 1970s chic.

 ( No trailer available)



 – Bone Tomahawk  –  U.S.A. (2015)

Genre :   Horror / Western

When :     SAT Oct 10th –  9.15 pm – Odeon Leicester Square

                      SUN Oct 11th – 2.15 pm – Odeon Leicester Square

Why ? : 

Because the first straight up cannibal western in 16 years is so utterly violent the festival has issued a warning in it’s program :

But take caution, as one might expect from an unpredictable horror/western exploitationer, the threat of violence is never far away. And when I say violence, I mean violence. With a capital V. Don’t say you weren’t warned…

Bone Tomahawk is directed by S. Craig Zahler who wrote the script for the criminally underrated and insanely savage Asylum Blackout so it should be no surprise that his new movie is bloody, brutal and brilliant.

What the Festival says :

Late one night in the Wild West town of Bright Hope, Arthur O’Dwyer’s life is turned upside down when his wife is kidnapped. A disparate vigilante posse is quickly assembled, headed up by the town’s sheriff Franklin Hunt, and together they venture off in pursuit of Arthur’s wife and her abductors. Unfortunately for our intrepid heroes, they have no idea just who or, more to the point, what is waiting for them when they reach their fateful destination. Equal parts The Searchers and The Hills Have Eyes, this gloriously imaginative genre hybrid is an original, unpredictable beast, filled with enough surprises to satisfy even the most jaded of horror hounds and western fans. An impressively assured directorial debut of writer/musician S Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk is a visual feast and boasts some great performances from its all-star cast which includes Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and Richard Jenkins, not to mention a host of enjoyable cameos including the likes of Sid Haig and Sean Young.

                                                                                            ( No trailer available )



– Don’t Grow Up  – France (2015)

Genre :   Horror / Thriller

When :     THU Oct 8th –  9.00 pm – Curzon Soho

                      SAT Oct 10th – 8.45 pm – Ritzy Picture House

Why ? : 

Because this high concept shocker looks to be fearlessly fresh, chock full of surprises and highly original – all the qualities needed to fly under the radar and straight into the clear skies of festival success.

Director Thierry Poiraud and writer Marie Garel Weiss were responsible for the excellent zombie/football crossover flick Goal of the Dead and this could mark a new up-turn in the waning influence of the French horror movement.

What the Festival says :

On an unnamed island, a group of teenage delinquents wake up to find their youth facility eerily abandoned. Making the most of their unprecedented freedom, the kids drink and party, before venturing outside to a local store. Discovering the rest of the town similarly deserted, they suddenly find themselves under siege by a group of crazed adults, one of whom being their absent supervisor. Fleeing for their safety, it becomes clear that a mysterious epidemic has transformed all the grown-ups on the island into deranged killers and now the group must find a way to escape with their lives. What starts out as a stylish and inventive cross between Skins and 28 Days Later, soon evolves into something else entirely, with director Thierry Poiraud playing fast and loose with the expected boundaries of genre filmmaking. Such daring makes for exhilarating cinema: bold, surprising and unafraid to catch audiences off guard.

(No trailer Available)

Festival Info :

Tickets for these films and many others go on sale to the general public at 10am on Thursday September 17th SEP 2015.

You can book here at :  www.bfi.org.uk/lff

or by phone on :   020 7928 3232  –  between 10am and 8.30pm

More tickets will be released on THU  October 1st.

Usually some tickets go on sale at the relevant venue about 30 minutes before the film starts.

Tickets cost :

Daytime screenings  –  £9.

Evening screenings cost between £12.75 and £16.

Gala screenings cost between £20 and £38.


Bradley Hadcroft