LIFF 31 gave us the opportunity to see an amazing selection of brilliant films. To wrap up our coverage of LIFF 31, we have all recommended a film that we saw at the festival, some of which are now being released in cinemas:
I saw a whole host of exciting films at LIFF 31, but my favourite has to be Dark River. The rural setting brings so much to the atmosphere of the film; the quiet, the tradition, the resilience. It seeps through the characters and the landscape, immersing the audience. In the Hyde Park Picture House, on that quiet Monday night, the film struck a chord which resonated through the audience and into the night as they thought it all over. I can’t praise the performances enough, and I’m glad that films that tackle challenging subjects such as this in rural communities are being funded and made.
The movie is a beautiful, elegant coming-of-age story, masterfully directed by Luca Guadagnino who conveys the first love of a teen against the stunning country landscapes and ancient ruins of Northern Italy. The film moved me due to its humanity in telling the story of a 17-year-old searching for his identity and who experiences love in all its forms for the first time. The actors, especially Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer, are unbelievably good and deliver performances of incredible intensity and range. Overall, Call Me By Your Name is a movie where everything works perfectly.
I am very happy I was able to attend the 31st edition of LIFF, especially because I got to see Glory. A very truthful, absurdly funny and heart-warming film, I believe it has a lot to offer audiences. Nowadays the stories of ordinary people are not often seen on the big screen with all the effects-driven franchises and superhero universes. But once in a while there is a little gem like Glory which truly transcends borders and reminds all of us of how wonderful it is when cinema not only amuses us visually but touches us on the inside as well.
Battle Of The Sexes is a fantastically entertaining film from the directors of Little Miss Sunshine set in 1973 based on the true story of a match between the women’s current world number one Billie Jean King and the fifty-five-year-old retired men’s champion Bobby Riggs. It’s incredibly uplifting. The cinematography is beautiful and supported by a fantastic production design, paired with a fantastic ’70s soundtrack and two incredible performances from the leads Steve Carrell and Emma Stone. The film explores a number of important themes including misogyny, chauvinism and repression of sexuality, which are particularly relevant in Hollywood at the moment.
The main reason why I got really engaged with this production was its unique story, which was presented in an interesting and engaging structure with a distinctive look. Even though Fenton’s movie presents the sad story of Simon Fitzmaurice, the young Irish film maker who was diagnosed with MND, the audience experience overall after watching it was positive and motivating. Films which have the power to provoke deep emotional response in the viewers are always a great choice!
This was the closing night film and the winner of the audience award. I saw eight films across the festival and all of them were of an incredibly high standard. In the voting for the Audience Award, I gave out five 5-star ratings and while some were really close to topping this film (Beast and Good Time in particular), none made the same impact on me as this. Three Billboards is as close to a perfect film as I’ve seen all year. The writing, directing and performances are impeccable. In particular, Sam Rockwell gives a performance for the ages. Staggering stuff.
Thanks to everyone who helped make LIFF 31 happen and thank you to everyone who has been following our coverage.
All of the films recommended were screened as part of Leeds International Film Festival 31.