Five London Film Festival Flicks That I Would Seriously Considering Trading a Kidney to See

WELL. It’s that time of year again, isn’t it? Time to trawl websites, read think-pieces and choke on our coffee every time that a new teaser trailer comes out. (Thanks, by the way, Guillermo Del Toro, you now owe me a new keyboard.) Of course, every film in the official selection is good — great, even. Honestly, I get so proud every time Autumn rolls around and I get to see the bumper crop of well-plotted, quirky, weird, smart, angry or just plain fun films which end up on the big screen every year.

But there’s always going to be a cream of the crop, and for me, there have definitely been a few entries which stood out starkly from amongst the rest. (And yes, a good wodge of them are animated.) Read on to find out just which films are activating my almonds this film season… and be warned — I will not hold back from fangirling. Get ready to be hit by the hype train.

5. Ingrid Goes West

Two women in leading roles. Razor-sharp satire of social media stardom. A meditation on the damaging effects of grief. And puppies. This comedy-turned-psychological-drama sounds like it’s going to be all kinds of messed-up and let I’m still looking forward to it.

4. A Mother Brings Her Son to be Shot

As someone with family from both Catholic and Protestant Irish backgrounds, Northern Ireland’s modern history — and the Troubles in particular — have always been fascinating to me. After spending a year in China, a country which faces many challenges to its cultural, economic and social cohesion, it’s good to come home and remind myself that the United Kingdom isn’t always that United either. I’d look forward to learning a lot from this documentary.

3. Loving Vincent

OK. So I’ve been looking forward to this one for ages. Possibly since it was first rumoured to be in development, years ago. It’s an ALL-PAINTED FILM ABOUT VAN GOGH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD HOW ARE YOU NOT SCREAMING IN EXCITEMENT YET? Seriously though, this film promises to be a true breakthrough, and honestly I don’t care or not whether the plot’s any good — the sheer technical mastery of 50,000+ oil-painted frames makes this film a winner in my book. I’d love to go and shake each of the 115 painters by the hand and congratulate them on this gem.

2. The Shape of Water

I actually only discovered this one recently, but I’m already spiralling dangerously into slightly-deranged-fan territory. I’ve been a fan of Guillermo del Toro for years — I studied Pan’s Labyrinth and the Devil’s Backbone for A-Level Spanish and fell in love — and I love the way that he always manages to surprise everyone with his latest project. Consultant on the hobbit? Sure. 3D-animated comedy about día de los muertos? Why not? A cold-war era romance between an amphibious magical creature and a janitor who uses her hands to speak? Crikey Guillermo just take my money already.

  1. The Breadwinner

Let me tell you, competition for a place at the top of this list was fierce. Bloody. There’s some hurt feelings between different factions here inside my head. Wounds that may not heal over until this time next year, just in time to be ripped open again.

But there’s no denying that ‘The Breadwinner’ deserves to be at the top of my list, and also (I would argue) everybody else’s. It’s a gorgeous 2-D animated film from the hugely talented team at Cartoon Saloon, who deserve all the recognition that they get. As I already mentioned, I’m a big fan of Irish history and culture, so ‘The Secret of Kells’ and ‘Song of the Sea’ (their two previous feature films) have been favourites of mine for a while. (I wrote about ‘Song of the Sea’ on this blog a whole back and during my art foundation I even made a fan-animation for it. But I digress.) ‘The Breadwinner’ comes from a female director, Nora Twomey, and tells what promises to be an incredibly compelling story: after the incarceration of her father, a young girl in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan dresses up as a boy to provide for her family. If that premise isn’t enough, just look at the stunning visuals in this trailer…

The Breadwinner’s in the running for the top prize at the London Film Festival, and to be honest, I’m rooting for it with everything I’ve got. Gorgeous 2D animation, a truly global production team, a compelling story of triumph over adversity… I’m actually getting a bit emotional just thinking about this film. Ah, I think I need to lie down. And start Googling film festival ticket prices.

Which films are you looking forward to seeing later this year? Do you think my choices are any good — or are you rolling your eyes at my terrible taste? Let me know and/or fight me down in the comments!