50th London BFI London Film Festival
United Kingdom, October 17 - November 1 2007
With over 300 films on 20 screens and admissions estimated at 110,000, the 2007 edition of the London Film Festival — sponsored in its 51st year by “The Times” and the British Film Institute — reaffirmed the event as England’s premiere showcase for world cinema.
Less concerned with world premieres than with collecting the most prestigious films from festivals as diverse as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes, Venice and Toronto — “the best of everything”, as one organizer declared — London exists to celebrate cinema from all walks of life, and the selection assembled for the FIPRESCI jury reflected that laudable desire.
From the American Gothic formalism of Jeff Nichols’ Shotgun Stories to the shamelessly commercial energy of Garth Jennings’ Son of Rambow; from Sarah Gavron’s nationally relevant Brick Lane to the mournful cloud that hung over Cristian Nemescu’s California Dreamin’ (Endless) (California Dreamin’ — Nesfarsit), our jury was offered glimpses of strange rivalries and opaque cultures; of twisting psyches and uncomplicated innocence.
Ultimately, we chose to honor a local film: Joanna Hogg’s Unrelated, a piercing look at a woman struggling to come to terms with an unexpected life change while on holiday with a friend’s family. Simple in its construction but endlessly complex in its psychology, Unrelated marks the arrival of a filmmaker whose talent seems as boundless as her compassion for her characters. (Norman Wilner)