Bums on seats: the London Film Festival is back

Ahead of next week’s Opening Night Gala, here are the six films and shows that have us most excited.

What Kano and Kaluuya did next. The King of Rock’n’Roll’s teenage bride biopic. The English class-skewering satire starring the Euphoria hunk who also plays that aforementioned King. Oscar-winner Kevin Macdonald’s definitive doc on the rise and fall of John Galliano. Tiger Stripes, a feminist pre-teen body horror from Malaysia. Gassed Up, a contemporary London-set thriller about teenage bike gangs on the rob, and Grime Kids, the BBC’s London-set drama about teens dreaming of becoming star MCs. How To Have Sex, and how to see Paul Mescal – twice.

The 67th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express has all these and more. As a media partner for the third year, THE FACE will be bringing you exclusive interviews and reports from the 12-day festival which kicks off on 4th October.

Worried that the American actors’ and (freshly-resolved) writers’ strikes will dim the star wattage in London next month? Don’t be. There are brilliant Brit films and shows galore being premiered across the city, with key talent stepping up to promote and celebrate their work. We’re sure to see Mescal at least once.

Kicking off: here are the six LFF billings about which we’re most psyched – some sweet, some salty, all tasty…


Sofia Coppola has made a stellar career out of incisive, empathetic, sharp and lushly beautiful portrayals of girlhood, from The Virgin Suicides to The Bling Ring via Marie Antoinette. Now comes her biopic of the ultimate teen queen: Priscilla Beaulieu Presley, first and only wife of Elvis Presley. She and The King met in 1959, on a US army base in Germany. She was 14, a decade the junior of rock’n’roll’s biggest star. What happened next is the stuff of 20th century popular cultural lore. Coppola doesn’t shy away from the dubiousness of that early courtship and, in the lead roles, Cailee Spaeny (Mare of Easttown) and Jacob Elordi (Euphoria) are magnetic as a pair of shimmering stars whose turbulent relationship defined both their lives.

How To Have Sex

Only the best British film of the year. A prize-winner at Cannes, this sparkling debut from 29-year-old writer/​director Molly Manning Walker is a celebratory but uneasy postcard from Malia, as three London schoolgirls shake off those post-GCSE blues on the holiday of their young lives. Think: Aftersun on shots. Also think: how did Mia McKenna-Bruce age down a decade so convincingly to play a teenager creeping her way into womanhood via good boys, bad boys and truly hideous cocktails? Because she, and the rest of the cast and crew, are truly class acts, that’s how.


It’s that man Elordi again, in LFF’s Opening Night Gala film. The Australian is magnificent as the Oxford toff who takes his new pal, working class scouser Oliver (Barry Keoghan, also fantastic), home to his bonkers aristo family home for the summer. The second film from actor turned Oscar-winning writer/​director Emerald Fennell (also starring – brace – House of the Dragon breakout Ewan Mitchell), it’s a stiletto sharp, wickedly pithy satire of class (un)consciousness, social climbing and the hideousness of privilege and lack thereof. Think: The Talented Mr Ripley meets Brideshead Revisited, with killer early 00s needle-drops.

All of Us Strangers

LFF’s twisted, tortured romance part one. Ace Brit indie auteur Andrew Haigh (Weekend, Lean On Pete) returns with a tower-block romance-cum-mystery as neighbours Adam (Andrew Scott) and Harry (Paul Mescal) play footsie on the landings. But what’s the sitch with Adam’s parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell)? He thought they died 30 years ago, yet here they are, living at home, unaged, as if nothing happened. Curiouser and curiouser.

See also: Foe, with Pascal again, in a near-future, sci-fi love story with Saoirse Ronan. What happens when he’s told he has to go to space and she’s told he’ll be replaced by a robot?

And lastly: the darkly funny, heart-twisting Fingernails. Jessie Buckley, Riz Ahmed and The Bears Jeremy Allen White star in another near-future, sci-fi love story where a simple” test of your extracted-by-pliers fingernail can tell whether you and your partner are truly in love. Not quite a meet-cuticle…

Grime Kids

BIFA-winning writer Theresa Ikoko (Rocks) writes a BBC Three/​iPlayer drama loosely inspired by DJ Target’s non-fiction book of the same name, celebrating the people and energy of East London’s early grime scene, with a soundtrack to match. What’s not to like?

Here’s more to like: the ace cast of rising young talent: Shanu Hazzan (EastEnders, The Gentleman), Juwon Adedokun (We Love Moses, Damilola, Our Loved Boy), Gabriel Robinson (Casualty, Silent Witness), Tienne Simon (Silent Witness) and, in his TV debut, Yus Jamal Crookes.

The Kitchen

Daniel Kaluuya makes his directorial debut in this Brit drama, co-helming with Kibwe Tavares, and co-writing, too. In a dystopian future London where all social housing has been eliminated, Izi (Kane Kano” Robinson) and Benji (Jedaiah Bannerman) fight to navigate the world as residents of The Kitchen – a community that refuses to abandon their home.” As LFF’s Closing Gala, this is a great pick: towering London talents, working at home, being celebrated at home. The Kitchen: we can stand the heat…

All London Film Festival tickets and information here

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