55th BFI London Film Festival

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Film

55th BFI London Film Festival

  • 12 Oct 2011 — 27 Oct 2011
Imported 1422
Imported 1422

BFI Southbank

Belvedere RoadSouth BankLondon SE1 8XT

UK

T +44 (0)20 7928 3232

http://www.bfi.org.uk/

This year will be the 55th BFI London Film Festival screening films from the UK and around the world.  This year's festival includes a strong collection of Austrian films. Check the website for further programme details.

THE FATHERLESS (DIE VATERLOSEN)

Sun 23 Oct, Vue3, 20:45
Wed 26 Oct, BFI Southbank - NFT1, 15:15

In a huge, dilapidated house in the Austrian countryside, doctor Nikiarrives from Munich to the bedside of Hans, his father, just in time to see the old man die. The rest of his family begin to gather for the funeral. Niki has three siblings: idealistic brother Vito identifies himself as being like Hans, and appears the most affected by his death; his youngest sister Mizzi has suffered from a neurological condition since childhood; and, much to the surprise of the others, Hans’ elder daughter Kyra arrives, though she has had little to do with the family for more than 20 years. It’s gradually revealed how unconventional their upbringing was. Hans housed a free-loving commune in the 1980s, and the gathering have conflicting memories and feelings about it. While Hans is being laid to rest, his legacy as a father continues to have an influence on the lives of his children, and buried secrets begin to reveal themselves. The impressive debut feature from Marie Kreutzer, The Fatherless is a sophisticated and compelling drama dealing with issues of family and freedom, which exploits an idyllic setting and uses evocatively filmed flashback scenes to great effect. 

MICHAEL

Thu 20 Oct, Vue7, 20:15
Fir 21Oct, Vue7, 12:30
Sun 23 Oct, Curzon Mayfair, 16:15

To all outward appearances Michael, 35, leads a normal, unremarkable life. He works in insurance, has a sister he sees from time to time, goes on the occasional trip with colleagues from work but largely keeps himself to himself. Arriving home to his neat and tidy suburban house, he prepares dinner. But what is different about Michael is that he will be sharing the meal with Wolfgang, a ten-year-old boy he is keeping captive in his cellar. Director Markus Schleinzer describes the film as showing the last five months of Michael and Wolfgang’s ‘involuntary’ life together. Schleinzer, who has worked extensively as a casting director in Austria with filmmakers including Michael Haneke and Jessica Hausner, approaches his incendiary subject with restraint, eschewing emotion or judgement. Much of what he shows us is the familiarity and small detail of Michael’s life, and that of two people who have lived in close proximity for some time. Schleinzer’s low-key approach builds tension and discomfort, and whilst Michael is far from being a sympathetic character, his sheer mundanity makes his actions all the more chilling. 

BREATHING (ATMEN)

Fri 21 Oct, Vue3, 18:30
Mon 24 Oct, Vue3, 13:00

The directorial debut of Austrian actor Karl Markovics, Breathing is an assured, intelligent work that has deservedly picked up a number of prizes in Europe since it premiered at Cannes earlier this year. It concerns Roman, an institutionalised young offender in Vienna, serving time for a violent crime with a surly, uncommunicative attitude, blankly accepting of the solitary conditions. Parole is a prospect, though without any family or connections, Roman doesn’t appear to be a prime candidate for reintegration into the community. Given the option of a work-release programme, he takes up a job in a mortuary, shifting dead bodies. The work is physically and emotionally draining, and his co-workers are unfriendly, though he finds reason to be there when he comes across a body bag holding a woman who shares his surname. It occurs to Roman that this may be the mother who gave him up for adoption, and he begins to explore his past. The restrained observational direction and the emotional intensity of the performances, particularly non-actor Thomas Schubert in the lead role, are the marks of a notable film with integrity and weight.

Co-production

WHORES’ GLORY

Wed 19 Oct, Vue3, 18:30
Thu 20 Oct, Vue3, 15:30

‘Why do women have to suffer this much?’ In Whores’ Glory, Michael Glawogger adds sex into the mix of labour and power that he investigated in Working Man’s Death, by interviewing prostitutes in three countries. The Fish Tank in Bangkok is colourful and vibrant. Young women sit behind a huge glass panel until picked by wealthy clients and called by number. Although many are practicing Buddhists, there is no shame in their chosen profession. They chat about the latest designer handbags, boring home lives and future plans when they leave this particular employment. City of Joy in Bangladesh is very different. Scared girls are sold into a grim future in slum brothels. Despite having no other options, they carry a religious guilt, and speak with enormous sadness about being at the mercy of avaricious madams and rough clients. Anything is possible in The Zone outside Reynosa, Mexico. Still devoutly Catholic, career prostitutes speak frankly about enjoying the sex and valuing the independence it has given them. Other women are clearly more damaged by the experience. Their clients talk of going to these women for services not provided by their wives, of whom they have tired. Never exploitative, Whores’ Glory provides a profound insight into the world’s oldest profession. 

Short Film

APPARITION (GEISTER)
(Screening as part of the RURAL LIFE programme)

Thu 13 Oct, BFI Southbank - NFT2, 15:30
Sun 16 Oct, BFI Southbank - NFT2, 15:30

An old man and a young girl live in a remote house, as the hot days of summer go lazily by. But someone has to bid farewell.