London: The 62nd London Film Festival which opens here on Wednesday will show more than 200 films from 77 countries with more than a third of them from women filmmakers, including India’s “Manto” directed by Nandita Das.
One of the world’s most prestigious film festivals will open with Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen’s thriller “Widows”.
Indian films are a growing feature at international film events and the London festival is no exception. Although Das’s biopic on the famous writer Manto, has already been premiered in India and elsewhere, the Nawazuddin Siddiqui starrer is still a prominent entry.
Three other Indian films which are eagerly awaited at the festival are Leena Yadav’s “Rajma Chawal”, Rahi Anil Barve’s “Tumbbad” and Dar Gai’s “Namdev Bhau in Search of Silence”.
In “Rajma Chawal” Rishi Kapoor gives a charming performance as a newly-widowed father who’s struggling to cope with the unfolding situation. “Tumbbad” is about the cursed family of a now deserted village while Dar Gai’s film is about a 65-year-old man who cannot take the noisy Mumbai city anymore.
Another Indian film being shown at the festival is Ivan Ayr’s debut “Soni”. The film is about a policewoman in Delhi which has already had its premiere in July at the Venice International Film Festival.
The 12-day London Film Festival will close on October 21 with the world premiere of Jon S. Baird’s “Stan & Ollie”. This funny film starring Steve Coogan and John C, Reilly features a double act of Laurel and Hardy.
Some other prominent films at the 2018 festival are “The Old Man and the Gun” which features Robert Redford as an aging bank robber; Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” — a black and white film which is a tribute to the women of his boyhood.
Besides, Yorgos Lanthimos’s delirious period drama “The Favourite”, Mike Leigh’s historic epic “Peterloo”, the Cohen brothers’ dazzling new film “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and Luca Guadagnino’s art horror “Suspiria”.
Another film worth mentioning is “Lords of Chaos” by the Swedish director Jonas Akerlund. It is a darkly comic drama that tells the true story of how the rise of the Satanic musical subculture of Norwegian black metal in the 1980s, spun from an angst-inspired need to revolt into a fable of gross cult crimes.
The London Film Festival has featured some of the world’s best movie makers. The first film ever to be shown at the festival was Akira Kurosawa’s “Throne of Blood”” in 1957.
In that year alone, it showed Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal”, Fellini’s “Nights of Cabiria” and Elia Kazan’s “A Face in the Crowd” — all classics of world cinema.
India’s Satyajit Ray won the best film director award in 1959 at the London festival for his “Apur Sansar”. He was only the second director in the history of the festival to be awarded for his work.
In its early years, almost all films shown and awarded here were by international directors rather than British.
(Naresh Kaushik is a senior journalist based in London. He can be contacted at [email protected])