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Fifteen of the best films for BFI Film Festival 2014

29 September 2014 Carly Klineberg Read time: 6 min
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Carly Klineberg

From 8–19 October, the BFI London Film Festival is bringing some of the world’s most adventurous and cutting edge cinema to 17 venues across London. With over 248 films to choose from, it is difficult to know what to go and watch. From romance to horror, sci-fi to adventure, there’s a film to tempt every cinema lover.

Here are 15 recommendations from the Movebubble team to help you decide what to go and see. Grab your popcorn and a bag of Maltesers – let’s go to the movies.


The Imitation Game

Director: Morten Tyldum

Starring: Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch

Showing: Oct 9, 2014 3:15 PM, Odeon West End, Screen 2

Oct 10, 2014 8:45 PM, Hackney Picturehouse, Screen 1

Portraying one of Britain’s greatest achievements of World War II, The Imitation Game explores the life and work of Alan Turing, the man considered responsible for cracking the German Enigma code. Turing’s work made significant headway in combating the approaching forces and helped save the lives of thousands, yet his life - although incredibly accomplished, was shadowed by tragedy.

Selected as the opening film for this year’s festival, The Imitation Game is bound to have you cheering (or crying) with joy (and get to opening night for a bit of ‘celebrity spotting’).


Scene from The Imitation Game Photo credit: BFI London Film Festival



Night Will Fall. Documentary of German Concentration Camps Factual Survey

Director: Toby Haggith

Showing: Oct 13, 2014 6:30 PM, BFI Southbank, NFT1

This is a rare opportunity to see raw footage documenting the atrocities of German concentration camps just after their liberation. Elements of the film were first shown as post-war propaganda to highlight the actions of the Nazi regime, but were later shelved to encourage restoration of the German nation. The Imperial War Museum has put together a team of experts to restore this unique footage and complete the original film.

This powerful and heartbreaking look at the horrors of World War II is not to be missed.



Director: David Ayer

Staring: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Ethan Smith, John Lesher

Showing: Sunday 19 October, 7:00 PM
, Odeon Leicester Square

There is a lot of talk about this star-studded film; starring Brad Pitt as a hard headed sergeant, it follows a crew of American soldiers as they enter a deadly combat situation during the final months of World War II. Lives, hopes and loyalties are torn apart as the soldiers face some of the toughest battles imaginable.

This film has received high acclaim for its real to life battle scenes and dramatic story telling.


Girlhood (Bande de Filles)

Director: Céline Sciamma

Starring: Karidja Touré, Assa Sylla, Lindsay Karamoh, Mariétou Touré


Oct 16, 2014 9:00 PM, Odeon West End, Screen 2

Oct 17, 2014 2:45 PM, Vue West End Cinema, Screen 5

Oct 18, 2014 8:45 PM, Cine Lumiere Cinema

Marieme, a 16 year old girl in Paris, is struggling with her identity as she combats issues with being young, black and growing up in the underprivileged suburbs of Paris. The film shadows her multiple lives at school, home and on the street, as she changes her persona, renaming herself Vic for ‘Victory’ and falls in and out with the wrong crowds.

A hard-hitting, contemporary French drama showing life as it really is in suburban Paris.


Scene from Girlhood Photo credit: BFI London Film Festival



Hard to Get

Director: Zee Ntuli

Starring: Pallance Dladla, Thishiwe Ziqubu, Israel Makoe


Oct 15, 2014 6:15 PM, BFI Southbank, NFT2

Oct 17, 2014 6:30 PM, Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2

A sexy, fast-paced action film, Hard to Get heads deep into the underworld of Johannesburg where theft, murder and love intertwine. There is never a dull moment as TK and Skiet find themselves in the middle of an altercation that threatens to change their lives forever.

Get on board for this non-stop action thriller that will leave you breathless.


The Keeping Room

Director: Daniel Barber

Starring: Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld, Sam Worthington, Muna Otaru, Kyle Soller


Oct 12, 2014 8:30 PM, Odeon West End, Screen 2

Oct 14, 2014 3:00 PM, Odeon West End, Screen 2

Oct 15, 2014 6:30 PM, Vue Cinema Islington, Screen 1

Set during the American Civil War, sisters, Augusta and Louise, and their African American maid, Mad, are hidden away on an isolated farm awaiting the return of their men from the battlefields. When Augusta stumbles upon two Yankee scouts, they must defend their land and protect themselves while battling their inner desires for love and comfort.

This film beautifully portrays the landscape of southern America and the longing for romance that grows from years of solitude.



Director: Susanne Bier

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Rhys Ifans


Oct 13, 2014 6:30 PM, Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7

Oct 17, 2014 3:00 PM, Odeon West End, Screen 2

Featuring two of Hollywood’s hottest stars, Serena is set to be one of the big hits of the BFI festival. Based on Ron Rash’s novel, it tells the story of North Carolina’s logging magnate, George Pemberton and his passionate and strong-minded wife, Serena. The seemingly perfect couple’s life takes a turn when Serena is unable to bear children and they discover that George has fathered a child to another woman. 

A dark and vindictive tale of murder, jealousy and revenge – don’t miss it.


Scene from Serena Photo credit: BFI London Film Festival



The Dead Lands

Director: Toa Fraser

Starring: James Rolleston, Lawrence Makoare, Te Kohe Tuhaka


Oct 9, 2014 8:30 PM, Odeon Covent Garden, Screen 2

Oct 11, 2014 8:45 PM, Hackney Picturehouse, Screen 1

One of only a handful of films to be produced entirely in the Maori language, this coming of age story tells of ancient traditions and history deeply embedded in New Zealand’s Maori culture. Hongi seeks revenge for his father’s murder and sets out on a great adventure where he must overcome forbidden lands and supernatural cannibals.

A wonderful mix of adventure film and ancient traditions – a unique piece of cinematography.


Cub (Welp)

Director: Jonas Govaerts

Starring: Maurice Luyten, Gill Eckelaert, Evelien Bosmans


Oct 14, 2014 6:15 PM, Odeon Covent Garden, Screen 2

Oct 16, 2014 9:00 PM, Vue Cinema Islington, Screen 1

Horror and slasher film fans get ready – Belgian director, Jonas Govaerts’s latest film is sure to thrill. When 12 year old Sam is outcast from his cub scout camp, he sets out into the woods where he finds an unwelcoming tree house. Having heard tales of werewolves stalking these woods, Sam soon discovers that the truth is much worse than he could have imagined.

Dark, sinister and not for the faint-hearted, this will get your blood pumping.



Director: Oliver Blackburn

Starring: Haley Bennett, Ashley Greene, Erica Ash


Oct 15, 2014 9:00 PM, Vue Cinema Islington, Screen 1

Oct 17, 2014 8:45 PM, Odeon Covent Garden, Screen 2

Blood, screams and baseball bats – Kristy has all of the required elements for a great slasher film. We’re heading back to University, the ultimate location for a blood-sucking teen-murderer. Julie is staying in her dorm while her fellow students head home for the Thanksgiving break. Bad idea. All of the knife-wielding lunatics have turned up and Julie has to run for her life.

Like blood? Like masked killers? Watch Kristy.


Scene from Kristy Photo credit: BFI London Film Festival




Director: Bennett Miller

Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave, Sienna Miller, Anthony Michael Hall


Oct 16, 2014 7:15 PM, Odeon Leicester Square

Oct 17, 2014 12:00 PM, Odeon West End, Screen 2

From the acclaimed director of Capote and Moneyball, Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher narrates the lives of wrestling world champions, Dave and Mark Shultz, and their search for fame and fortune. Younger brother, Mark, is swept into a world of money and power as his obsession to be the best is fueled by his multi-millionaire benefactor, John E du Pont.

An exploration of the toxicity of money, power and relationships, this is yet another gripping piece by Miller.


The New Girlfriend (Une Nouvelle Amie)

Director: François Ozon

Starring: Anaïs Demoustier, Romain Duris, Raphaël Personnaz, Isild Le Besco


Oct 11, 2014 8:30 PM, Odeon West End, Screen 2

Oct 12, 2014 11:30 AM, Odeon West End, Screen 2

Oct 13, 2014 6:15 PM, Cine Lumiere Cinema

When Claire’s best friend unexpectedly dies, she promises to look after her daughter and husband, David. However, Claire is shocked by the actions of David as he re-starts his life without his wife. In typical French cinema fashion, intrigue, sex, seduction and satire come together to form a truly unexpected tale.

For something a little unpredictable, The New Girlfriend will keep you guessing until the end.


Scene from The New Girlfriend Photo credit: BFI London Film Festival




Director: Jean-Marc Vallée

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffmann, Michiel Huisman


Oct 13, 2014 7:15 PM, Odeon Leicester Square

Oct 15, 2014 12:00 PM, Odeon West End, Screen 2

Oct 16, 2014 6:15 PM, Vue Cinema Islington, Screen 1

Bringing together the vision of Dallas Buyers Club director, Jean-Marc Vallée, the screenwriting fineness of Nick Hornby and the acting talents of Reece Witherspoon, Wild follows the gruelling journey of Cheryl Strayed as she attempts to walk across the Pacific Crest Trail. Based on a true story, Cheryl sets off on her adventure after a difficult breakup and is unprepared for what lies ahead.

Majestic landscapes and an inspiring tale demonstrate the vastness of our world and the strength of humankind.



Director: Abderrahmane Sissako

Starring: Ibrahim Ahmed, Toulou Kik, Abel Jafri, Fatoumata Diawara


Oct 10, 2014 9:15 PM, Odeon West End, Screen 2

Oct 11, 2014 6:15 PM, Curzon Soho Cinema, Screen 1

Timbuktu is a brilliant and candid depiction of the temporary occupation of northern Timbuktu by militant Islamic Jihadists. Based on true events that occurred during the 2012 occupation, the film shows the impact of the extremist Sharia Law on the local civilians.

An honest and uncompromising film, you will be moved by the brave actions of the local people as they fight against the imposing occupiers and their rules.


White God (Fehér Isten)

Director: Kornél Mundruczó

Starring: Zsófia Psotta, Sándor Zsótér, Lili Horváth


Oct 10, 2014 12:45 PM, Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7

Oct 12, 2014 8:30 PM, Odeon Covent Garden, Screen 2

Oct 13, 2014 6:30 PM, Curzon Mayfair Cinema, Screen 1

A gorgeous Hungarian and Swedish film following the adventures of an unwanted dog, Hagen. When Hagen is left by the side of the road by the unloving father of 13 year old girl Lili, he sets off on a dramatic and somewhat gory adventure with 13 year-old Lili in pursuit as she fights to save him from a dog fighting ring. Over 200 dogs were used in the filming of White God and it received the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes.

Dog lovers beware, this is not necessarily the happy story you are hoping for.


Scene from White God Photo credit: BFI London Film Festival


For more information about the BFI London Film Festival, visit the BFI website.


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