Gala quest: the London Film Festival’s big premieres

Ahead of this week’s opening of the LFF, and THE FACE’s rolling coverage, here are the galas and special presentations we’re most looking forward to.

What Timothée Chalamet, Taylor Russell and Luca Guadagnino did next (clue: it’s a cannibal love story). The new film featuring FACE fave Micheal Ward. Emma Corrin not once but twice. Definitive music documentaries God Said Give Em Drum Machines, about the Black Detroit origins of techno, and Meet Me in The Bathroom, about the New York roots of indie sleaze.

Meet us in the foyer for these and other treats as the London Film Festival begins. Starting this Wednesday – as in literally tomorrow – the 12-day event is back, and it’s brimming with cinematic riches. For the second year, THE FACE is proud Media Partner for the event, and we’ll be bringing you interviews, previews and reviews from across the festival.

Here’s our pick of the big hitter films having their UK premiere at this year’s LFF.

Bones and All

A late addition to the LFF, and in cinemas from 23rd November, Bones and All is the 80s-set-cannibal-love-story-road-trip-movie we didn’t know we needed. Timothée Chalamet reunites with his Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino, and Waves breakout Taylor Russell, for a film that wowed critics at last month’s Venice Film Festival.

As the LFF programme notes put it: Cinematographer Arseni Khachaturan and designer Elliott Hostetter create an early Reaganite America that’s threadbare and broken-down, but also nostalgically soulful and full of humanity. And as befits the filmmaker behind such contrasting delights as Call Me By Your Name and Suspiria, Guadagnino deftly combines gristle, blood and gore with an achingly tender-hearted and wistful story of young love that’s good enough to eat.”

Special Presentation, 8th and 9th October.

The Son

Playwright Florian Zeller follows his Oscar-winning 2020 film The Father with another portrait of a family on the brink. This one stars Hugh Jackman as a lawyer trying to start a new life with his young wife (Vanessa Kirby) and their baby, while he and his devastated ex-wife (Laura Dern) grapple with the increasingly errant behaviour of their teenage son. He’s played by 20-year-old newcomer Zen McGrath.

In the words of The Hollywood Reporter: It’s an astonishing – and emotionally devastating – turn by the young Australian actor who was just 18 when he was cast by Zeller over Zoom during lockdown to play his key role, the two only meeting three days before shooting kicked off in London.”

Headline Gala, 10th and 11th October.

The Whale

The Brenaissance starts here. Ahead of his appearance in Martin Scorsese’s period thriller Killers of the Flower Moon, the more recently lesser-spotted Brendan Fraser breaks cover in The Whale. The new film from New York auteur Darren Aronofsky is a psychological thriller in which Fraser plays an obese, shut-in academic, trying to make amends with estranged 17-year-old daughter while, to all intents and purposes, eating himself to death.

This intense, claustrophobic film divided critics at Venice but one thing seems certain: the early Oscar buzz around Fraser’s performance is wholly justified.

BFI Patrons’ Gala, 11th, 12th and 14th October.


The Death of Emmett Till is one of Bob Dylan’s earliest, and most powerful, protest songs. It was written only a few years after the 1955 murder in Mississippi of 14-year-old Emmett Till. He was abducted, tortured, lynched and dumped in the Tallahatchie River by a white mob after allegedly offending a white woman. Of course he didn’t, and of course his killers were acquitted.

That horrific injustice drove his grieving mother to battle for justice – and, in doing so, Mamie Till Bradley helped catalyse the American Civil Rights movement. Judging by early reviews of this film recounting Emmett’s murder and Mamie’s fight, for those who do and don’t know Emmett’s story alike, Till is required viewing.

The Mayor of London’s Gala, 15th and 16th October.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Some found Rian Johnson’s Knives Out (2019) too smug and self-satisfied for its own good (hand up, that’s me). Others loved its knotty, intricate, cast-of-dozens, old-fashioned whodunit thrills. For both camps, though, there seems a lot to love in this, again, all-star second movie.

In the tradition of many a sequel and/​or murder mystery, this time the dastardly death and fiendish crime-solving happens at sea, aboard (of course) a luxury yacht. We’re especially looking forward to seeing Speedos-clad Dave Bautista, Edward Norton and, in her biggest movie yet, Outer Banks star Madelyn Cline.

Closing Night Gala, 16th October.

The 66th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express runs in cinemas in London (and partner cinemas across the UK), and online, from 5 – 16th October. Full programme and ticket purchase details are here, would you believe.

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