City On Fire

A thrilling line-up of movies light up the London Film Festival...

The 49th Times BFI London Film Festival kicked off last night with the opening-night gala screening of Fernando Meirelles’ The Constant Gardener, with the film’s stars Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz braving the rain-sodden red carpet. Thriving, diverse and ready to challenge, London’s festival is much like the city it crashes during the blustery autumn every year. Two weeks. More than 180 films. Exactly 13 venues. In short, if you’ve ever sat in a cinema and enjoyed yourself, there’s something here for you.

The largest public film event in Europe runs until 3 November. Meirelles’ adaptation of John Le Carre’s novel is an early tip for next year’s Oscars, and it’s the impossibly lovely Rachel Weisz’s best couple of hours yet on screen. We highly recommend seeing it for yourself. Likewise, the LFF’s closer Good Night, And Good Luck. George-ous Clooney co-writes, stars and directs the vivid, captivating tale of US broadcast journalist Ed Murrow (played by the fabulous David Strathairn), who dared to speak out in “A Nation Terrorised By Its Own Government”. Relevant, no?

The LFF’s watch-words are variety and quality, and there are some desperately exciting movies to catch at this year’s fest, including the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line, Palme d’Or winner L’Enfant, Shane Black’s brilliant Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and Nick Cave’s harsh Oz Western The Proposition.

Oh, and to further entice you towards the Big Smoke, there are masterclasses, screen talks and discussions from such shiny people as Cameron Crowe, Terry Gilliam, Gwyneth Paltrow and Pierce Brosnan. Run along to www.lff.org.uk for tickets and a full list of films...