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London Film Festival top picks: Documentary Competition

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

The Armstrong Lie

It started out as a Sony-financed, celebratory document on the rider’s return to Le Tour after an absence of four years. But a stream of persistent doping allegations during filming, followed by the seven-time Tour winner’s eventual admission of guilt, changed everything.

Read more about ‘The Armstrong Lie’

Cutie and the Boxer

Eighty year-old Ushio Shinohara is an artist who creates large-scale installations using boxing gloves and paint. His wife Noriko is an artist too, who has found her own voice through a collection of intricate illustrations and animations. Zachary Heinzerling’s forthcoming documentary chronicles the lives of these two eccentric Japanese New Yorkers.

Read more about ‘Cutie and the Boxer’

Here Be Dragons

Another thoughtful meditation on our emotional and political relationship to the screen, as Mark Cousins uses his visit to an Albanian film festival to explore that country’s often overlooked contribution to cinema.

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My Fathers, My Mother and Me

The late Sixties spawned a variety of weird communes but perhaps none quite so large, bizarre and isolated as Friedrichshof in Austria. Founded by Viennese actionist Otto Muehl, its aim was the destruction of the nuclear family. It was all going well until, in the 1990s, the commune revolted and Muehl was arrested and jailed for sexual offences.

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Inspired by punk historian Jon Savage’s 2007 book ‘Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture’, US documentarist Matt Wolf’s film uses a quartet of actors (Jena Malone, Ben Whishaw, Julia Hummer and Jessie Usher) along with a multitude of archival film clips to illustrate the concept that ‘teenagers didn’t always exist’.

Read more about ‘Teenage’

Named for legendary Scottish documentary maker John Grierson, this award selects the best in international docs. Among the subjects on offer this year are a disgraced cycling champ, a pair of uncompromising Japanese artists, an unorthodox Austrian commune and the cinema of Albania.