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.
Sicilian Ghost Story
Drama2017119 minsDirector: Fabio Grassadonia
A gripping real-life story of a Mafia kidnapping in Italy is enthrallingly re-imagined as supernatural fantasy by the directors of the acclaimed Salvo.
Drama201795 minsDirector: Dan Kokotajlo
A deeply religious family must decide whether to stick by their relation or abandon her, in this striking debut from Daniel Kokotajlo - a prizewinner at BFI London Film Festival 2017.
Racer and the Jailbird
Thriller2017130 minsDirector: Michaël R. Roskam
Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Colour) and Matthias Schoenaerts (A Bigger Splash) are lovers entangled in a world of crime in this tough, twisty thriller-romance
A Fantastic Woman
Drama2017104 minsDirector: Sebastián Lelio
This invigorating and inspiring Chilean drama from Sebastián Lelio (Gloria) follows a trans woman’s quest for a little respect. Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film 2018.
Period drama2017113 minsDirector: Warwick Thornton
Australian director Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah) brings a vital Indigenous perspective and great cinematic vision to this powerful, revisionist Western, with Sam Neill and Bryan Brown.
Drama201689 minsDirector: Clio Barnard
Clio Barnard follows The Selfish Giant and The Arbor with this searing and eloquent Yorkshire-set drama exploring the fragility of familial relationships.
Drama2017115 minsDirector: Lucrecia Martel
Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel returns with a fine adaptation of Antonio Di Benedetto’s existential novel. In her first feature since 2008’s The Headless Woman, Martel creates a richly layered exploration of personal malaise.
The Nile Hilton Incident
Crime2017111 minsDirector: Tarik Saleh
A murder investigation is mired by bureaucratic corruption in this dark Egyptian thriller, where everyone is on the make.
Drama2017121 minsDirector: Valeska Grisebach
Masculine tensions reaching boiling point in this sizzling, brilliantly observed neo-western, where migrant German construction workers are pitched against villagers in remotest Bulgaria.
Horror2017112 minsDirector: Aaron Moorhead
Two brothers who escaped a cult are drawn back in by a mysterious message… Acclaimed directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (Spring) return with another hybrid piece of raging intensity.
My Journey through French Cinema
Documentary2016193 minsDirector: Bertrand Tavernier
Director Bertrand Tavernier guides us on a fascinating voyage through French film history, from the 1930s through to the '70s.
Horror201795 minsDirector: David Freyne
Ellen Page stars in this inventive and surprising post-zombie film from Ireland, in which the rehabilitated undead are transitioned back into society.
Drama2015318 minsDirector: Ryusuke Hamaguchi
A group of thirty-something women find their friendship tested by their differing attitudes to work, love and sex in the city of Kobe, Japan.
Song of Granite
Biopic201797 minsDirector: Pat Collins
A formally audacious account of the life and times of traditional Irish folk singer Joe Heaney, combining ‘fictional’ drama, documentary footage and musical sequence
Most Beautiful Island
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.
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.
I Am Not a Witch
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.
My Life As a Courgette
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).
Stockholm My Love
Drama201684 minsDirector: Mark Cousins
Neneh Cherry, director Mark Cousins and cinematographer Christopher Doyle's exquisite love song to the Swedish city.
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.
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.
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.
The Eagle Huntress
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.
Thriller201682 minsDirector: Gareth Tunley
A British indie crime film of great style and ingenuity, executive produced by Ben Wheatley and starring Tom Meeten and Alice Lowe.
On the Road
Drama-documentary2016121 minsDirector: Michael Winterbottom
Michael Winterbottom’s sexy and idiosyncratic tour film follows Wolf Alice, merging thrilling live footage with a fictional backstage romance.
Thriller201694 minsDirector: Mohamed Diab
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.
I Am Not a Serial Killer
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.
Embrace of the Serpent
Action and Adventure2015124 minsDirector: Ciro Guerra
The spirit of Werner Herzog and Apocalypse Now imbue this majestic Oscar-nominated odyssey through the heart of the Amazon.
Land of Mine
War2015101 minsDirector: Martin Zandvliet
The brutal and morally complex story of young German POWs faced with the deadly task of landmine clearance in postwar Denmark.
Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words
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.
A Date For Mad Mary
201683 minsDirector: Darren Thornton
Dry, sarcastic, maddening Mary must find a date for her best friend’s wedding in this Irish feel-good hit for misfits everywhere.
Who's Gonna Love Me Now?
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.
The Hard Stop
Documentary201586 minsDirector: George Amponsah
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.
The Here After
Drama2015102 minsDirector: Magnus von Horn
A teenager attempts to integrate back into society following a spell in prison, but the community is unwilling to forgive him.
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.
Comedy201586 minsDirector: Desiree Akhavan
Desiree Akhavan directs and stars in this witty, razor-sharp and fearless comedy following the sexual misadventures of a bisexual Brooklynite.
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.
Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)
Drama201594 minsDirector: Eva Husson
High-school students start a private orgy society in Eva Husson’s dazzlingly shot, no-holds-barred drama.
My Nazi Legacy
Documentary201596 minsDirector: David Evans
What if your father was a Nazi? This is the harrowing question raised in David Evans’ thought-provoking documentary.
The Possibilities Are Endless
Documentary201483 minsDirector: Edward Lovelace
A moving and haunting account of singer Edwyn Collins’s long and difficult recovery from a stroke.
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.
Drama2014105 minsDirector: Debbie Tucker Green
What if an immaculate conception took place in a South London household? Idris Elba stars in a subtle, thought-provoking and original family drama.
Dior and I
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.
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.
Gente de bien
Drama201486 minsDirector: Franco Lolli
A ten-year-old is packed off to live with his down-at-heel father in this touching, exquisitely observed Colombian drama.
Monsters: Dark Continent
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.
Something Must Break
Drama201485 minsDirector: Ester Martin Bergsmark
A striking 21st-century love story about the passionate relationship between a transgendered teen and a straight man.
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.
Gone Too Far!
Comedy201388 minsDirector: Destiny Ekaragha
Riotous urban comedy adapted from the hit Royal Court play, about a Peckham teen affronted by the arrival of his long-lost Nigerian sibling.
Dreams of a Life
Documentary201191 minsDirector: Carol Morley
Carol Morley's drama-documentary investigates the tragic death of a woman whose body lay undetected for almost three years.
The Keeping Room
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.
Into the Abyss A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life
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
The Brand New Testament
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.
Drama201588 minsDirector: Sean Baker
A big-hearted film shot on a small phone, this LA tale of two transgender working girls out for vengeance fizzes with wild energy.
The Space in Between – Marina Abramović and Brazil
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.
The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers
Animation & Artists Moving Image201595 minsDirector: Ben Rivers
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.
The Golden Dream
Drama2013108 minsDirector: Diego Quemada
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.
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.
A Girl at My Door
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.
The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears
Horror2013102 minsDirector: Bruno Forzani
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
A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness
Animation & Artists Moving Image201398 minsDirector: Ben Rivers
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.
The Way He Looks
Drama201492 minsDirector: Daniel Ribeiro
A blind student’s relationship with his best friend is tested when he falls for the new boy in school, in Daniel Ribeiro’s beautifully realised romance.
Women Without Men
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
Fantasy200898 minsDirector: Gerald McMorrow
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.
Documentary201496 minsDirector: Ron Mann
An illuminating documentary about American cinema’s maverick genius Robert Altman, featuring unseen home movies and extensive interviews.
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.
White Bird in a Blizzard
Drama201491 minsDirector: Gregg Araki
Shailene Woodley and Eva Green star in Gregg Araki’s lyrical and impressionistic adaptation of Laura Kasischke’s novel.
An Episode in the Life of Iron Picker
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.
It's All So Quiet
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.
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
The World Unseen
Drama200890 minsDirector: Shamim Sarif
Sweeping romantic drama about two Indian women who fall for each other in the hostile environment of apartheid South Africa.
Documentary2010101 minsDirector: Janus Metz
Balanced, insightful and compassionate documentary about troops and civilians in and around a Danish-British base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan
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
A Screaming Man
Drama201087 minsDirector: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Haroun's tale of tension between a father and son working at a hotel pool in war-torn Chad has the emotional power and stark inexorability of tragedy
Documentary201084 minsDirector: Gillian Wearing
Artist Gillian Wearing’s ‘documentary’ observes seven people creating (fantasy?) identities in collaboration with a drama teacher. Raw and revealing.
Half of a Yellow Sun
Drama2012111 minsDirector: Biyi Bandele-Thomas
Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in the acclaimed adaption of the Orange Prize-winning novel.