London Film Festival: My Top Ten picks for Days 1 – 5

Here are my top 10 recommendations for the opening days of the LFF:

Manhattan – Newly restored version of Woody Allen’s 1979 hymn to love and the city, with those Gershwin tunes, that shot of the bridge and the joke about a Great Dane.

image from movie after the storm

After The Storm

After the Storm – gorgeous, sweet, deeply affecting family gem set in a Japanese grandma’s flat, from the master of the understate Hirokazu Kore-Eda

Moonlight – astounding and surprisingly intimate epic of tough black lives and long-lasting love in Florida; great music, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali and rising star Trevante Rhodes. One of the year’s best.

Divines – This Cannes hit from debut director Houda Benyamina is fuelled by great young performances, as Dounia and best friend Maimounia career around a Paris banlieue, in a tale of  crime, disaffection and personal ambition.

La La Land – everyone’s favourite, and no wonder – a dazzling modern musical, beautiful Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling combo, it’s the hot Oscar bet already.

image from the movie la la land

La La Land

Heal The Living – fascinating, delicate blend of soap opera and French connections, a society of characters and systems beautifully stitched together by director Katell Quillevere.

I Had Nowhere To Go – Zidane artist Douglas Gordon provokes and beguiles with the hauntingly-spoken memoirs of artist Jonas Mekas mainly set to blue-black blank screen – paint your own pictures.

Frantz – Francois Ozon returns, elegant as ever, with a poised, poisoned tale of WW1 forbidden love, with great performances by Pierre Niney and German newcomer Paula Beer.

image from the movie frantz


Surprise Film  – it’s got an early, first Saturday night slot, this year and early buzz suggests anything from Pablo Larrain’s Jackie to Clint Eastwood’s Sully.

Mind horn (pictured) – I’m really looking forward to seeing this British comedy from Julian Barratt who stars as a washed-up actor famous for his 1980s Bergerac-style TV detective with a “special eye”. Now, he’s called back into action and needed for real, on the Isle of Man.

To find out where, when and how to see these films, go to and explore the programme

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