Your place for a chance meeting with new talent and the persistently brilliant.
It is casual encounter, rather than formula, which leads you to find a good film. The London Film Festival is a place for serendipity, where a last-minute ticket can spark a lifelong devotion. This international selection, many with accompanying interviews, shows some of the best discoveries of recent years.
Drama201798 minsDirector: Eliza Hittman
Gripping account of repressed sexual desire in a hyper-masculine environment, with British newcomer Harris Dickinson as a virulently macho Brooklyn teen.
Thriller201779 minsDirector: Ana Asensio
A day in the life of an undocumented Spanish immigrant turns increasingly bizarre in this searing social drama with a bold genre twist. Winner of the 2017 SXSW Grand Jury Award.
Drama201793 minsDirector: Rungano Nyoni
Welsh-raised, Zambian-born Rungano Nyoni delivers a dazzling debut with this dark satirical fairy tale about a little girl accused of being a witch.
Drama2016118 minsDirector: João Pedro Rodrigues
A lone scientist in Portugal’s Douro region embarks on an unexpected transcendental journey. Beautiful, erotic and baffling.
Animation & Artists Moving Image201667 minsDirector: Claude Barras
Both young and adult audiences will enjoy this funny and touching animated feature about an orphan named Courgette, written by Céline Sciamma (Girlhood).
Drama201684 minsDirector: Hope Dickson Leach
Hope Dickson Leach's hugely impressive first feature about a middle class farming family’s crisis, set against the backdrop of the Somerset floods.
Mohamed Diab’s Clash is an unforgettable portrait of Egypt on the brink as rival protesters find themselves locked up in a police van. Un Certain Regard official selection at Cannes 2016.
Documentary201685 minsDirector: David Lachapelle
The rise, fall and rise again of the bad boy of ballet, Ukrainian prodigy Sergei Polunin is captured in this swirling doc with a rocking soundtrack.
Documentary201688 minsDirector: Otto Bell
Daisy Ridley narrates this inspiring documentary about a girl who causes a stir in her tribe in Mongolia by embracing the traditionally male role of Eagle Hunter.
Comedy201690 minsDirector: Alex Taylor
British teen cinema gets an injection of hallucinogenic imagination, plus a few unicorns and aliens, in Alex Taylor’s unclassifiable debut feature.
Comedy2015105 minsDirector: Athina Rachel Tsangari
Athina Rachel Tsangari's biting and hilarious dissection of the male ego was awarded Best Film at the 2015 BFI London Film Festival.
Thriller2016103 minsDirector: Billy O'Brien
A teenage sociopath comes face to face with an evil force in this chilling and darkly humorous adaptation of Dan Wells’ acclaimed cult novel.
Documentary201686 minsDirector: Tomer Heymann
A heartfelt exploration of one man’s struggle to reconcile with his Israeli family, while finding a new ‘family’ in London Gay Men’s Chorus.
Documentary201688 minsDirector: Marco Del Fiol
A bold and unsettling mystical voyage in the company of the fearless Serbian artist, as she travels Brazil in search of spiritual healing.
Animation & Artists Moving Image201595 mins
Britain’s brilliant experimental filmmaker Ben Rivers (Two Years at Sea) presents this haunting desert parable which follows a filmmaker’s abduction and ritual humiliation.
Drama201589 minsDirector: Esther May Campbell
Beth Orton stars in a fragile and subtly nuanced drama that explores the toll of physical and mental illness on a fractured family.
Documentary2015114 minsDirector: Stig Björkman
An illuminating portrait of the pioneering actress, crafted from her unique personal archive of home-movie footage, letters and diary extracts.
Comedy2015110 minsDirector: Jaco van Dormael
Catherine Deneuve and Benoît Poelvoorde head the cast in Jaco Van Dormael’s wildly inventive comedy, in which God’s daughter decides to rewrite the rules.
The story of Mark Duggan, who was shot and killed in Tottenham in 2011, is brought to the screen in this humane, thought-provoking and topical documentary.
Documentary2015101 minsDirector: Jon Spira
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, ten actors landed small roles in a mysterious project called Star Wars. This is the story of how their lives changed forever.
Diego Quemada-Diez’s astounding debut feature follows four Guatemalan teenagers as they attempt to escape from the slums of Guatemala City to the bright lights of Los Angeles.
Documentary201682 minsDirector: Keith Maitland
An emotionally gripping and visually stunning account of the first American mass school shooting, in Texas in 1966, blending archive, animation and contemporary interviews.
Drama201687 minsDirector: Josh Mond
Reality bites for a hedonistic young New Yorker who suddenly has to grow up quickly, in a brilliantly acted drama from the team behind Martha Marcy May Marlene.
Drama2014119 minsDirector: July Jung
Lee Chang-dong (Poetry) produces this offbeat drama about a policewoman who becomes protector of an abused teen in a town riven by corruption and alcoholism.
Drama2013100 minsDirector: Naji Abu Nowar
In 1916, a British soldier and two Bedouin boys embark on a treacherous journey across the desert, in this stunningly shot Arabian western.
Drama201399 minsDirector: Zeresenay Berhane Mehari
A young Ethiopian woman faces the death penalty for killing the man who raped her until a brave lawyer decides to take on her case.
Comedy2014122 minsDirector: Damian Szifron
This Oscar-nominated, Almodóvar-produced anthology of six tales of ordinary madness is the most riotously enjoyable portmanteau film since Pulp Fiction.
Drama201485 minsDirector: Ester Martin Bergsmark
A striking 21st-century love story about the passionate relationship between a transgendered teen and a straight man.
Documentary201490 minsDirector: Frederic Tcheng
An astonishing behind-the-scenes documentary following the famed fashion house’s new artistic director as he prepares his first collection.
Documentary2010101 minsDirector: Janus Metz
Balanced, insightful and compassionate documentary about troops and civilians in and around a Danish-British base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan
Science Fiction2014119 minsDirector: Tom Green
The pyrotechnic sequel to Gareth Edwards’ cult sci-fi follows US soldiers attempting to police alien-infested zones while also battling human insurgents.
Science Fiction199784 minsDirector: Darren Aronofsky
Darren Aronofsky’s magisterial monochrome mystery concerns a mathematician whose discovery of a powerful number leads to the dark side.
Drama200995 minsDirector: Jessica Hausner
Jessica Hausner’s cool, compassionate exploration of religious faith follows various believers and non-believers hoping for miracle cures in Lourdes
Western201695 minsDirector: Daniel Barber
On the American frontier a young woman is forced to go to any means to defend her kin from the ravages of the barbaric outside world.
Documentary2011103 minsDirector: Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog’s documentary about an unrepentant young murderer on death row is a cool, compassionate study of the dark side of the human condition
Drama201084 minsDirector: Michelangelo Frammartino
Michelangelo Frammartino's quirky, wordless account of rural Calabrian life is elegant, touching and funny, a philosophical poem to enduring tradition
Drama200872 minsDirector: Gianni Di Gregorio
Di Gregorio stars as a bibulous loafer trying to reduce his debts by looking after his friends’ elderly mothers during the holidays. Warm and witty
Lav Diaz’s epic drama follows the contrasting stories of two men, a law school dropout who descends into criminality and the humble family man wrongly accused of his crimes.
Documentary201084 minsDirector: Gillian Wearing
Artist Gillian Wearing’s ‘documentary’ observes seven people creating (fantasy?) identities in collaboration with a drama teacher. Raw and revealing.
Rodney Ascher enigmatic essay film weaves together the contrasting theories of five different narrators who believe Stanley Kubrick deliberately buried hidden messages in his 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel.
Another giallo-inspired exercise in operatic violence from Belgian duo Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, directors of the acclaimed Amer.
Drama200893 minsDirector: Pablo Larraín
Pablo Larrain's drama about a dancer obsessed by Travolta's character in Saturday Night Fever is a darkly witty take on life in Pinochet's Chile
Animation & Artists Moving Image201398 mins
Visual artists Ben Rivers and Ben Russell’s mesmerising film follows an unnamed character through three phases of alternative existence, from rural commune to a black metal rock concert.
Drama200996 minsDirector: Shirin Neshat
Artist Shirin Neshat’s version of a banned novel depicts the experiences of four Iranian women in 1953, when the Shah was reinstated after a coup d’état
Eva Green, Ryan Phillippe and Sam Riley star in an intricate, ambitious sci-fi drama that follows four parallel realities, each based around characters searching for salvation.
Drama2013123 minsDirector: Ari Folman
Ari Folman’s follow up to Waltz with Bashir is a hallucinatory fable about an actress whose digital image is controlled by a Hollywood studio.
Drama201271 minsDirector: Danis Tanovic
Oscar-winning director Danis Tanovic recreates a politically explosive true story from Bosnia in innovative style, casting a real-life family to relive their desperate struggle to secure life-saving medical treatment.
Drama201391 minsDirector: Nanouk Leopold
Reflective calm and ambient beauty suffuse this tale of silent sexuality, as a lonely farmer’s quiet existence is interrupted by desire.