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London Film Festival top picks: ‘Dare’

Time Out's critics select five films to look out for in the London Film Festival's ‘Dare’ strand

As I Lay Dying

In some family ensemble dramas, the mother is the pump that keeps things flowing. Here, she's the cause of stagnation, rot and inertia, as she passes away some 20 minutes into the story, leaving behind her a request that her impoverished family bury her in Jefferson, her hometown.

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Camille Claudel 1915

This film from Bruno Dumont, the director of ‘L’Humanité’ and ‘Hadewijch’, depicts the titular sculptor's later life incarceration in an asylum near Avignon. It’s arguably the writer-director’s finest achievement yet.

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Joanna Hogg's third film, after ‘Unrelated’ and ‘Archipelago’, is her first set in London and tells of two artists who have been living in the same designer modernist home for 18 years and who have decided to sell the home.

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Half a Yellow Sun

It’s great to see an African story being told by an African filmmaker and cast, for a mainstream global audience. Based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s bestselling novel, ‘Half a Yellow Sun’ is set during the Nigerian-Biafran war in the late 1960s, and follows two middle class Nigerian twins as their settled lives are torn apart by the conflict.

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Jeune et Jolie

François Ozon tiptoes gracefully through a minefield in with the story of a 17-year-old girl, Isabelle (former model Marine Vacth), from a comfortable Parisian background, who decides to become a high-class prostitute in between school and negotiating the normal ups and downs of family life.

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The ‘dare’ strand confronts the audience with striking visions and difficult topics. This year’s films include James Franco’s tricksy take on a classic American novel, another stark vision of modern relationships from London-based director Joanna Hogg and the latest provocation from the crafty Francois Ozon.