This year, I attended BFI LFF quite intensely, with early mornings and nonstop screenings. It’s always fun and exciting to be at a film festival, but I then often need time to rest and really take in what I’ve been watching. A few days have passed since the end of the 2023 festival, and I think I’m ready to share my recommendations of things I think you should try and watch when they’re out!
All Of Us Strangers
This film floored me. Even now, I find it hard to sum up exactly how watching it made me feel. An incredible cast, articulating grief in a monumental way, something I’ve never seen on screen before. The music, the emotions, All Of Us Strangers is a heart-breaking look into the rhythm of relationships and how we all deal with trauma in different ways.
Based on a book, this TV series follows a group of boys growing up in the late 90s, dreaming of breaking into the grime music scene. The festival showcased the first two episodes of the upcoming series and I loved how fun it was in every aspect compared to other shows telling a similar story. Created by Theresa Ikoko (Rocks), you can see how collaborative and creative each department was allowed to be, building an excited saturated world for the grit and drama to take place. It’s joyful, but real, and I cannot wait to watch the rest.
Vincent Doit Mourir (Vincent Must Die)
This French dark comedy felt so unique. One day, a man finds himself randomly under attack and can’t work out why. There are so many apocalypse films and TV shows out there, so for this to take a twist on the story tropes that we’re used to truly refreshed the genre, and left me shocked and emotional, as well as laughing with everyone else in the audience.
I’d never heard of the Scala Cinema prior to watching this film, but now I want to know more! This documentary tells the story of the infamous wild cinema and how it became a home for film loving weirdos between 1978 and 1993. With iconic movie moments, cool archive, and interviews from ex-staff, artists and previous audience members, we can really begin to understand the love and thrill that made the building a film lovers’ paradise.
How To Have Sex
“Oh ah Malia, say oh ah Malia!!” Molly Manning Walker’s directional debut is a sweaty haze of teenage holidays that begins as a dream, but quickly reveals the reason behind its creation. This film shattered my heart and left me crying in the cinema, feeling for everyone who has ever not given their consent. It stars Mia McKenna-Bruce who is phenomenal in her role as the shyest girl in her friendship group, wanting to please yet feeling so alone. It’s electric and sickening, a real mix of emotions to represent the horror that women go through.
I love a good folk horror, so to see this one set in 1970s Yorkshire, starring the brilliant Morfydd Clark and Matt Smith, I was sold! Based on a novel, we follow an archaeologist exploring the myth behind a tree that is buried on his family’s land. Odd things begin to happen, and we realise that the myths may be true. It’s creepy, gloriously shot, and focuses on aspects like grief and trauma in challenging ways. I can’t wait to see it again now knowing how it ends…