The End We Start From
Photograph: London Film Festival‘The End We Start From’

12 great movies at the London Film Festival to book tickets for now

This year’s LFF tickets are onsale now – and you don’t want to miss these films

Phil de Semlyen
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The BFI London Film Festival hits the capital – and a fair few other UK cities – on October 4  and tickets are now onsale to the general public. There are more than 230 movies, shorts and XR works on the bill, including the latest from legendary filmmakers (Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Sofia Coppola, Yorgos Lanthimos, Ryusuke Hamaguchi), hometown heroes (Steve McQueen, Jonathan Glazer, Emerald Fennell, Jeymes Samuel), and a slew of exciting new voices (Moin Hussain, Luna Carmoon, Amanda Nell Eu).

The only question is where to direct your hard-earned cash? We’ve take​n a fine-tooth comb to the programme to narrow down the choices to a dozen diamonds that won’t let you down. But be quick – LFF tickets always sell out fast. 

📍Everything you need to know about this year’s London Film Festival

12 movies to see at the LFF

  • Film
  • Drama

If you’re into deeply unsettling visions delivered by master filmmakers, ‘The Zone of Interest’ should be high on your must-book list. Jonathan ‘Sexy Beast’ Glazer adapts a Martin Amis novel with the same kind of extreme dispassion that has us still thinking about ‘Under the Skin’s baby-on-a-beach scene a full ten years on. Expect more of the same in a Holocaust drama that follows Auschwitz camp commandant Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel) and his wife (Sandra Hüller) and draws the darkest kind of horror through the cracks of daily life.

9pm, Thu Oct 12 
2.15pm, Fri Oct 13 

  • Film
  • Drama

West London’s Molly Manning Walker was the talk of Cannes with her award-winning debut ‘How to Have Sex’, and it’ll make its UK bow at the fest. A film we’re almost obliged to call ‘this year’s Aftersun’, it’s set in a Greek resort where GCSE student Tara (Mia McKenna Bruce) feels the pressure to lose her virginity to one of a group of lads in the apartment next door. By turns giddily euphoric, tender and achingly melancholy, it’s not to be missed. 

8.45pm, Tue Oct 10 
6.10pm, Thu Oct 12 

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3. Grime Kids

The LFF isn’t just about films, as this boisterous grime origin story from ‘Rocks’ screenwriter Theresa Ikoko proves. It’s a loose adaptation of DJ Target’s non-fiction book about the scene’s early days that follows five young, wannabe grime artists trying to cut through on pirate radio. Catch the first two episodes on the LFF big screen, then take a month or two to gloat to your mates about it before it hits the BBC later this year.

9pm, Fri Oct 13

4. The End We Start From

Jodie Comer and Benedict Cumberbatch star in a dystopian sci-fi that won’t make you feel better about the planet, but should make for a powerful, provocative LFF screening. Based on Megan Hunter’s novel, it has Comer playing a new mum and her baby fleeing a flooded London for the (supposed) safety of the countryside. It should be a triumphant homecoming for director Mahalia Belo, whose film school graduation short was shown at the LFF a decade ago. 

6pm, Fri Oct 13
11.30am, Sat Oct 14 

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5. The Boy and the Heron

With no trailer and no images released, the new one from Hayao Miyazaki kept the world on tenterhooks for months. The genie is out of the bottle now and by all accounts, the Studio Ghibli founder’s return to moviemaking is a typical triumph from the man behind ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ and ‘Spirited Away’. His latest anime tells the story of a grieving boy searching for his missing mum – with some help from a chatty heron.

2.45pm, Sun Oct 8
2.30pm, Sun Oct 15

  • Film

Opening and closing galas aside, Yorgos Lanthimos’s (‘The Favourite’) latest is the hottest ticket in town. The Greek genius’s laugh-til-it-hurts Frankenstein comedy just picked up Venice’s Golden Lion and should dazzle Londoners equally. It’s a jaw-dropping blend of sex farce, slapstick and sci-fi weirdness in which Emma Stone’s corpse is reanimated by Willem Dafoe’s eccentric scientist and embarks on a dizzying odyssey around 19th century Europe. Seriously, do not miss it. 

5.30pm, Sat Oct 14
10.30am, Sun Oct 15
7.50pm, Sun Oct 15

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  • Film
  • Comedy

One of our favourite comedies of 2023 is Richard Linklater’s kinda-sorta-based-on-real-life yarn about a meek philosophy professor (Glen Powell) who moonlights as a very convincing fake assassin to snare would-be murderers for the New Orleans Police Department. It’s everything a trip to the movies should be: funny, charming, a bit dark, and closely involving Glen Powell. 

9pm, Fri Oct 6
3.15pm, Wed Oct 11

8. Hoard

This autobiographical debut by south London filmmaker Luna Carmoon was the talk of the Venice Film Festival, picking up three awards. Full of static and syncopation, it’s one of the most vivid films at LFF – a mother-daughter relationship set in the 1980s and ’90s that turns into an offbeat coming-of-age story fuelled by a weird/relatable search for love. It stars ‘Stranger Things’ Joseph Quinn like you’ve never seen him, alongside excellent newbie Saura Lightfoot Leon.

8.30pm, Mon Oct 9
3.20pm, Sun Oct 15

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  • Film

Playing queen to the King of Rock and Roll was no picnic, judging by Sofia Coppola’s immaculate imagining of Priscilla Presleys’ memoir of her marriage to Elvis. Cailee Spaeny, the Best Actress winner at Venice, is terrific as the young Mrs P, and ‘Euphoria’s Jacob Elordi nails the accent and physicality of the hip-shaking rocker/sexist dinosaur. If you’re a fan of Coppola’s movies – especially ‘The Virgin Suicides’ – this one is not to be missed.

9.10pm, Mon Oct 9
2.45pm, Tue Oct 10

  • Film
  • Thrillers

Martin Scorsese’s true-crime epic lands at the LFF on the back of some gushing reviews (ahem, guilty) and a marketing campaign we could swear began around the time of the movie’s 1920s timeframe itself. With Robert De Niro as a rich oilman and Leonard DiCaprio as his slippery nephew, there’s not the slightest sign of the great New Yorker’s powers waning in its three-and-a-bit-hours of murder and intrigue. 

5pm, Sat Oct 7
10.30am, Sun Oct 8 
13.20pm, Tue Oct 10 

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11. Sky Peals

Proof that mentoring schemes are worth their weight in gold, one-time ‘Top Boy’ intern Moin Hussain brings his first feature film to the LFF this year. Previously called ‘Birchanger Green’, after the M11 services at which it’s set, it follows Adam (Faraz Ayub), a young British-Pakistani man who does the night-shift at a burger joint and promises a brilliantly singular and hypnotic head trip. A, erm, ‘welcome break’ from the daily grind, you might say.

5.50pm, Wed Oct 11
8.40pm, Fri Oct 13

  • Film

Time Out’s own LFF gala and a big favourite in these parts (naturally), this gastronomic treat pairs Juliette Binoche with ‘Pacifiction’ star Benoît Magimel in a swooning romance that’s also a culinary love letter to just saying to ‘hell with it’ and using all the butter. It’s the latest by ‘The Scent of Green Papaya’ director Tran Anh Hung and it’s made with the kind of gliding elegance and glorious charm that will make you fall in love with movies all over again.

6pm, Fri Oct 13 
4.30pm, Sun Oct 15

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