In early 1960s Paris, the Cold War may be raging, but Soviet authorities have decided to send their finest dance troupe to the City of Light to demonstrate the cultural refinement behind the Iron Curtain. Though the Kirov Ballet is set to wow audiences, one man causes a sensation that reverberates far beyond the stage: the electrifying young dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Devastatingly handsome and culturally ravenous, Nureyev (Ukrainian dancer Oleg Ivenko, in an astonishing screen debut) immediately falls in love with the city. Much to the annoyance of his KGB minders, he makes daily pilgrimages to the Louvre and frequents the city’s jazz bars with a Chilean heiress (Adèle Exarchopoulos), which leads to a pivotal awakening.
As David Hare’s script (based on Julie Kavanagh’s biography) zig zags across time, we discover Nureyev’s origins: his birth on a Trans-Siberian train; his youth and early schooling, where his temper and uncompromising attitude marked him as troublemaker, and the initial stirrings of his sexuality. Richly evoking the times on atmospheric 16mm, director Ralph Fiennes brings texture and emotional shading to this portrait of a brilliant, inscrutable man whose talent and temperament saw him rock the worlds of ballet and international relations.
Biopic 1975 103 mins Director: Ken Russell
Ken Russell's characteristically spectacular biopic of Liszt, with Roger Daltry portraying the composer as a rock god, is a heady brew complete with garish Freudian symbolism, Hitler, spaceships and Ringo Starr as the Pope.
Biopic 1946 135 mins Director: Richard Whorf
Busby Berkeley and Vincente Minnelli are among creative team behind this fictionalised biopic of Broadway composer Jerome Kern, which includes several songs from Show Boat.
Documentary 2018 94 mins Director: Alex Holmes
The incredible, against-all-odds story of sailor Tracy Edwards, who skippered the first all-female international crew in the 1989 Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race.
Drama 2018 102 mins Director: Ondi Timoner
Matt Smith stars as legendary photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in this full-frontal homage to the devilish bad boy, whose sex life fuelled his career.
Drama 2018 109 mins Director: Justin Kelly
Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern's towering tall story hoaxes the world.
Drama 2018 111 mins Director: Icíar Bollaín
Paul Laverty (I, Daniel Blake) scripts this inspiring biopic of Carlos Acosta, and his journey from a run-down Havana neighborhood to becoming the first black principal dancer of The Royal Ballet.
BFI London Film Festival Presents
Drama 2016 111 mins Director: Barry Jenkins
Winner of the 2017 Oscar for Best Picture (eventually!), Barry Jenkins’ intoxicating drama follows the furtive life of a gay black boy through 80s Miami.
Science Fiction 2016 116 mins Director: Denis Villeneuve
Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner star as the humans who make first contact with extra-terrestrial visitors in this richly textured sci-fi from director Denis Villeneuve.
Drama 2016 137 mins Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams shine in this devastating, Oscar-winning drama from Kenneth Lonergan about a man’s painful hometown return.
Drama 2016 84 mins Director: 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.
Action and Adventure 2016 90 mins Director: Ben Wheatley
Ben Wheatley’s (High-Rise, Sightseers) all-guns-blazing bullet opera, starring Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy and Armie Hammer.
Drama 2015 131 mins Director: Paul Verhoeven
Isabelle Huppert gives an unforgettable performance in Paul Verhoeven’s provocative thriller about one woman’s response to a violent attack.
Featuring Adèle Exarchopoulos
Thriller 2017 130 mins Director: 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
Romance 2013 180 mins Director: Abdel Kechiche
The epic, passionate and strikingly naturalistic Palme d'Or-winning romance.
Directed by Ralph Fiennes
Biopic 2012 111 mins Director: Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in this adaptation of Claire Tomalin’s book about the long-standing affair between Charles Dickens and Nelly Ternan.
Drama 2010 123 mins Director: Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes stars and directs in the brutal Shakespeare adaptation about a fallen hero who hungers for bloody revenge against his city.
Thriller 2018 94 mins Director: Amanda Kramer
Welcome to Ladyworld, a shadowy dwelling where tensions run high and nothing is ever quite what it seems
Crime 2017 109 mins Director: Carol Morley
Carol Morley (Dreams of a Life, The Falling) returns with a wonderfully stylised, offbeat noir thriller about a murder investigation and multiple realities.
Documentary 2018 64 mins Director: Denis Parrot
A groundbreaking documentary about saying those few little words that have the power to change your life.
Documentary 1971 47 mins Director: Derek Ford
'King of the Witches' Alex Sanders initiates doe-eyed Penny into the ways of his coven.
Documentary 1970 85 mins Director: Malcolm Leigh
An evocative, esoteric exploration of witchcraft at the end of the 1960s – including night-time ritual, reflections on the history of Wicca and a black mass.
Musical 1944 110 mins Director: Vincente Minnelli
Many of MGM's leading talents assemble for the most spectacular of the Broadway revues.