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London Film Festival top picks: First Feature Competition

Time Out's critics select five films to look out for in the London Film Festival's First Feature Competition


Daniel Patrick Carbone’s exploration of adolescence, nature and death in rural New Jersey follows two brothers after their friend is found dead under a bridge – it’s unclear whether by accident or suicide – and they are forced to confront their own mortality.

Read more about ‘Hide Your Smiling Faces’


Singaporean film ‘Ilo Ilo’ is a family drama that looks likely to pack a hefty emotional punch. The film follows immigrant maid Terry as she struggles to deal with the ups and downs of life with powerful matriarch Hwee Leng, cowering husband Teck and their spoiled, troublemaking son Jiale.

Read more about ‘Ilo Ilo’


Set in 1944, the film explores the fallout among a group of young friends – among them Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster) – when one of their number, Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) murders his lover, David Kammerer (Michael C Hall). A film about male friendships and a true literary study as well as a moral drama.

Read more about ‘Kill Your Darlings’


Salvo (Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri) is a strong, silent type whose ruthlessness makes him a valuable asset to the mafia, but when he encounters Rita (Sara Serraiocco) – a vulnerable, blind girl whose mafioso brother he has just assassinated – he is unable to kill her.

Read more about ‘Salvo’


A British film exploring the trauma of a former Congolese child soldier living in London who must confront his violent past.

Read more about ‘Sixteen’

The Sutherland Award strand seeks out new talent in film direction. Among the more promising entries in this year’s competition are a controversial Indian coming-of-age movie, a bruising Singaporean family drama and a film about the Beat generation which has already received glowing plaudits.