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The Crack Magazine

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London Film Festival Top 12

    There were so many great films on at this year’s London Film Festival that our top ten is a top twelve. Here are our selections with current release dates.

    The Harder They Fall

    The 2021 London Film Festival got off to a blazing start with this supremely confident Western, the debut from British writer-director Jeymes Samuel that nods to Sam Peckinpah and Sergio Leone, but sports its own distinctive flavour. (Pictured.)

    The Harder they fall is out now and due to 'drop' on Netflix on November 3rd

    Drive My Car

    This stately paced adaptation of the Haruki Murakami short story is a meditative, perfectly calibrated study of loss and acceptance (mostly set in cars!). Writer-director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi's elegant accretion of detail culminates in a stirring and profound conclusion.

    Released 19 November

    Petite Maman

    Deceptively modest and containing multitudes, Céline Sciama’s profoundly touching fantasy chronicles a surprising encounter for a little girl following the death of her grandmother. Sciama elicits extraordinary naturalistic performances from her young cast.

    Released 19 November

    Spencer

    Pablo Larraín's Princess Di biopic is worlds removed from standard royal portraits, more like a Polanski psychological thriller, albeit with chinks of light. Kristen Stewart is outstanding as Diana, trying to maintain sanity and independence in an arcane, oppressive and eerily timeless environment.

    Released 5 November

    Playground

    A striking debut from Belgian writer-director Laura Wandel, this is a wholly immersive and riveting depiction of a seven-year old's first few days at school. An original and unvarnished study of childhood and its minor triumphs, disappointments and disillusionments.

    Release date TBA

    The Power of the Dog

    Jane Campion’s slow-burning but mesmerising latest is a perfectly modulated Western meets family drama. Visual compositions are flawless and the performances so complex and nuanced that it feels as much thriller as period piece.

    Released theatrically on 19 November and on Netflix from 1 December

    The Lost Daughter

    Maggie Gyllenhaal's very impressive directorial feature debut, an adaptation of the Elena Ferrante novel, is endlessly compelling and enigmatic with a powerhouse turn from Olivia Colman. It manages to retain a dense novelistic feel while remaining completely cinematic.

    Playing at selected cinemas and available on Netflix 31 December

    The Velvet Underground

    Boasting a dazzlingly montaged array of visuals and sounds, Todd Haynes' documentary is at its best when chronicling the febrile 60s NYC underground art scene and creative nexus that birthed the hugely influential band. An essential big screen watch.

    Out now and available on Apple +TV

    Belfast

    Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical picture is shamelessly nostalgic, poignant, funny and beautifully played. The gorgeously rendered black-and-white photography makes this akin to flipping through a well-thumbed, much loved old photo album.

    Released 25 February 2022

    Nitram

    Justin ‘Snowtown’ Curzel’s picture is a horribly compelling but sensitively handled retelling of a mass shooting in 1996 Tasmania. Caleb Landry Jones is extraordinary as a troubled young man whose psychological state is left to fester.

    Released – wait for it - 1st July 2022

    The Worst Person in the World

    Renate Reinsve is luminous as a thirty-year-old Oslo woman weighing up her career and love life options. Joachim Trier's direction is playfully eclectic while the rich characterisation is almost novelistic.

    Release date TBA

    Memoria

    Tilda Swinton in airy slightly distracted mode proves the perfect vessel for Apichatpong Weerasethakul's wistful metaphysical musings on time and memory in the meditative and hypnotic piece, the director's first feature outside Thailand.

    Release date 14 January 2022

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