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The 2014 London Film Festival: what the critics can’t wait to see

With over 200 films to choose from and everything from Oscar contenders to hidden arthouse treasures jostling for your attention, where do you start?

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London Film Festival, Catherine Bray

Catherine Bray, editorial director, Film4 Online

‘The Immortalists’ (Oct 15 & 18)

Obviously I would like to live forever, so I’ll be heading along to Jason Sussberg’s documentary ‘The Immortalists’ to find out how science is progressing on that front. Judging from the promo pic, our scientist-guides into the world of the immortals are a fitness freak à la Rob Lowe in ‘Parks and Recreation’, and a dude who resembles a wizard. Sold.

London Film Festival, Dave Calhoun

Dave Calhoun, global film editor, Time Out

New films by directors I love

Top of my list is ‘Eden’, the incredibly talented French director Mia Hansen-Løve’s drama about the French electronic music scene. I’m really looking forward to the latest from Mark Cousins, ‘6 Desires: DH Lawrence and Sardinia’, and Frederick Wiseman’s doc ‘National Gallery’. I’m also curious to see Damian Lewis in ‘Silent Storm’, the drama debut of Corinna McFarlane, who made the 2006 doc ‘Three Miles North of Molkom’.

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London Film Festival, Cath Clarke

Cath Clarke, deputy film editor, Time Out

Mouthwatering performances

I can’t wait to see Steve Carell doing proper acting in the psychological thriller ‘Foxcatcher’. I’ve read only good things about Reese Witherspoon in ‘Wild’, playing a woman on a solo 1,100-mile trek (sounds like ‘127 Hours’ without the hacking-off-the-arm bit). And forget boring Bella: Kristen Stewart’s performance as a Guantanamo Bay rookie in ‘Camp X-Ray’ has been compared with Jodie Foster’s in ‘The Silence of the Lambs’.

London Film Festival, Robbie Collin

Robbie Collin, chief film critic, The Telegraph

Tokyo Tribe’ (Oct 9, 11, 15 & 17)

Shion Sono is the most viscerally exciting Japanese filmmaker working today, a supreme pop stylist who couldn’t shoot a dull frame in the (unlikely) event that his life depended on it. His new film, ‘Tokyo Tribe’, is a DayGlo, sci-fi, hip-hop martial-arts musical: think ‘West Side Story’ crossed with ‘Scott Pilgrim’ and the ‘Jet Set Radio Future’ video game. This is a too-rare opportunity to see Sono on a UK cinema screen, and one I certainly won’t be passing up.

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London Film Festival, Tom Huddleston

Tom Huddleston, film writer, Time Out

Bone-chilling horror flicks

There hasn’t been much to shout about on the horror scene recently, but that looks set to change. The LFF’s big horror film is Iranian-American vampire tragedy ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’. But I’m more excited about ‘It Follows’, a low-budget US indie which rewrites the slasher-movie rulebook. And don’t miss the toothsome pair of animal-transformation movies, Belgium’s ‘Cub’ and Danish curio ‘When Animals Dream’.

London Film Festival, David Jenkins

David Jenkins, editor, Little White Lies

‘Eden’ (Oct 14, 15 & 17)

The great thing about the films of French director Mia Hansen-Løve is that they don’t just listlessly trudge forward, they kind of drift and float in the air. Yet it’s always clear that she’s in total control of the images we see. Her follow-up to 2011’s ‘Goodbye First Love’ takes place against the backdrop of the ’90s house music boom, and you can bet your bottom dollar that it’ll be a darn sight better than ‘Human Traffic’.

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London Film Festival, Rosie Fletcher

Rosie Fletcher, associate editor, Total Film

‘Foxcatcher’ (Oct 16 & 17)

Channing Tatum uglied up. Steve Carell playing a paranoid schizophrenic. Mark Ruffalo as an Olympic wrestler. This film is based on a true story that almost sounds too strange to be believed, and looks like it’s going to be dark, eerie and unpredictable. Director Bennett Miller has great form with ‘Capote’ and ‘Moneyball’, too. Could be an Oscar contender.

London Film Festival, Danny Leigh

Danny Leigh, presenter, ‘The Film Programme’

‘History of Fear’ (Oct 16 & 17)

In the new London of cloistered super-wealth, it seems like the right time to see ‘History of Fear’, an Argentine tale of a jittery gated community. Seemingly poised between the raging Mexican thriller ‘La Zona’ and the puzzle pieces of Lucrecia Martel, this might offer a reminder of the city outside the cinema.

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London Film Festival, Kate Muir

Kate Muir, chief film critic, The Times

‘The Falling’ (Oct 11, 13 & 19)

Floating in that eerie, hormonal teen territory once occupied by ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ and ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’, Carol Morley’s brilliantly observed feature is set in an English girls’ school in 1969, as a strange delirium takes hold of the pupils.

London Film Festival, Alex Plim

Alex Plim, senior digital content producer, Time Out

Oscar contenders

At last year’s LFF we got to see films like ‘Gravity’ that went on to snaffle enough gold to pave the streets of London. This year, critics are already hyperventilating over Benedict Cumberbatch and Timothy Spall in ‘The Imitation Game’ and ‘Mr Turner’ respectively, while ‘Fury’, ‘Foxcatcher’ and ‘Whiplash’ are all bursting with Oscar potential. Can’t wait.

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