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Immersive Storytelling:
BFI London Film Festival 2022

The BFI London Film Festival is back this October with a huge array of cinematic treats. The premiere of Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, an adaptation of the hit stage-show that stars Emma Thompson and Lashana Lynch, opens the 66th edition. Exciting new films from Noah Baumbach, Sam Mendes and Joanna Hogg are also screening, plus Maria Schrader’s She Said, the story of how journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey exposed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s serial abuse of women. Below we preview five essential watches – all with ASFF connections.

Till | Chinonye Chukwu, 2022

This year’s Mayor of London’s Gala screening is Chinonye Chukwu’s second feature, Till. The film recounts the landmark fight for justice carried out by Mamie Till Mobley (Danielle Deadwyler), following the lynching of her son, Emmett, in 1955. Chukwu, who made the acclaimed Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner Clemency, hosted a ASFF masterclass back in 2020, and this latest work – which has been produced by Barbara Broccoli – more than delivers on the promise of her debut.

Creature | Asif Kapadia, 2022

Acclaimed Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker and 2021 guest speaker Asif Kapadia (Amy, Senna) returns with Creature, as he places his lens on the latest collaboration between the English National Ballet and chorographer Akram Khan (DESH, Until the Lions). Drawing on Georg Büchner’s expressionist classic Woyzeck, as well as elements of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the piece contemplates themes of alienation, impossible love and the desire to belong.

I’ll Be Back | Hope Strickland, 2022

‘Thinking Around and Outside’ is a collection of five short films playing at London’s ICA during the LFF. Included in this quintet is I’ll Be Back by Hope Strickland, which also screens at ASFF 2022 this November. The 11-minute short shifts between digital, 16mm and archival formats, existing at the convergence of history and myth to centre on François Mackandal, the Haitian Maroon leader during the mid-1700s.

ATTACHMENT | Gabriel Bier Gislason, 2022

ATTACHMENT is a queer horror film rooted deeply in Jewish folklore and stars Josephine Park as Maja, a Danish actress who finds love with Leah (Ellie Kendrick), an academic. She soon decides to move to London’s Orthodox Jewish community. An unsettling ride filled with creeping paranoia begins as the pair live close to Leah’s domineering mother. The film comes written and directed by the Copenhagen director Gabriel Bier Gislason, who previously brought the short Samuel’s Getting Hitched to ASFF in 2015.  

Pretty Red Dress | Dionne Edwards, 2022

British filmmaker Dionne Edwards’ feature debut receives its world premiere at the LFF in the ‘Love’ strand. The film, which includes the big screen debut of singer Alexandra Burke, follows the story of a South London family as it probes issues of Black masculinity. Edwards brought her short We Love Moses to ASFF in 2017 before it went on to win British/Irish Short Film of the Year at the London Critics Circle awards. This move into features heralds a distinct new voice in British cinema.

BFI London Film Festival | 5-16 October

Words: James Mottram