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The line-up for the Times BFI 51st London Film Festival has been announced. Here, Time Out selects some hot tickets as well as rounding-up the best of the fest

The summer is over, the raft of mega-budget blockbusters is little more than a twinkle on your mind's eye, and it’s the time of year to soak up some of the finest world cinema around in the Times BFI 51st London Film Festival which kicks off on 17th October. The opening gala is the new work from David Cronenburg, the very decent London-set ‘Eastern Promises’, about a small family of Russian gangsters operating in the East End. The festivities take a bow 15 days later with Wes Anderson’s comic road movie, ‘The Darjeeling Limited’.

Some of the more high profile screenings include Ang Lee’s Venice prizewinner, ‘Lust, Caution’, Todd Haynes’ experimental biopic of Bob Dylan, ‘I’m Not There’ and Andrew Dominik’s languorous paean to ‘70s Westerns, ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’. As usual, Time Out will be holding a gala screening (as well as sponsoring the Cinema Europa strand); this year it's Julian Schnabel’s excellent ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’, the uplifting true-life story of French Vogue editor, Jean Dominique Bauby, who suffered a massive stroke at the age of 43 and succumbed to ‘locked-in syndrome’, only able to communicate by blinking his left eyelid.

The deserved Palme d’Or winner at this years Cannes festival, Christian Mungui’s ‘4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days’, is also receiving a screening, as is Carlos Reygadas’ sublime ‘Silent Light’ (which contains one of the most dizzyingly beautiful opening shots this writer has ever seen). With over 200 films playing during the festival, we couldn’t possibly mention them all, but do keep an eye out for our full LFF coverage both in the magazine and online. A couple of films that we here in the Time Out Film section are looking forward to catching include Takeshi Kitano’s ‘Glory to the Filmmaker’, Michael Haneke’s remake of his own ‘Funny Games’, Nick Broomfield’s ‘Battle of Haditha’, Ulrich Seidl’s realist comic gem, ‘Import/Export’, Hou Hsiou-Hsien’s wonderful ‘Flight of the Red Balloon’ and restorations of Charles Burnett’s classic ‘Killer of Sheep’ and Stroheim’s ‘Blind Husbands’.

But there’s more than just the screenings: why not catch one of a number of screen talks and debates with figures such as Laura Linney, Harmony Korine and Steve Buscemi? Also, if none of the features float your boat, why not check out some of the films in the Experementia or Animation strands, or one of the numerous programmes of short films on offer?

The London Film Festival, Oct 17 - Nov 1. Visit www.lff.org.uk for more information.

Author: David Jenkins



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