‘Supernova,’ ‘African Apocalypse,’ ‘Mogul Mowgli’ Among BFI London Film Festival Selections

Courtesy of The Bureau Sales

The 64th edition of the British Film Institute London Film Festival (LFF) revealed its full program Tuesday, containing a robust line-up of 58 features from around the world, as well as a range of extended reality (XR) projects and shorts.

As previously announced, Steve MacQueen’s “Mangrove” will open the festival and Francis Lee’s “Ammonite” will close it.

Highlights of the program include Harry Macqueen’s mature love story “Supernova,” starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci; Rob Lemkin’s “African Apocalypse,” where British-Nigerian poet, activist and the film’s co-writer Femi Nylander travels to West Africa to uncover the secrets of a colonial killer whose spirit lives on; and Bassam Tariq’s Berlin winner “Mogul Mowgli,” co-written with Riz Ahmed, that follows Ahmed’s British-Pakistani rapper whose life spirals out of control when he succumbs to a debilitating illness.

Fresh from Venice, LFF regular Malgorzata Szumowska returns with her chronicle of the indiscreet charms of the Polish bourgeoisie, “Never Gonna Snow Again”; Josephine Decker’s Sundance winner “Shirley” features a standout performance from Elisabeth Moss; and Natalia Meta’s Berlin title, the giallo-influenced psycho-thriller “The Intruder,” is a highlight from Argentina.

From South Asia, Chaitanya Tamhane’s Indian classical music-themed Venice competition title “The Disciple,” executive produced by Alfonso Cuaron, arrives in London on the back of universally ecstatic reviews, while Rezwan Sumit’s directorial debut “The Salt in Our Waters” follows a young artist who relocates to coastal Bangladesh to practice his art, but in doing so up-turns the local community’s age-old customs and taboos.

Elsewhere, in “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” Spike Lee transforms David Byrne’s popular Broadway show into dynamic cinema; Caroline Catz traces acoustic pathways on her archaeological dig into the resonant life of Delia Derbyshire, an audio exploration and psycho-acoustics pioneer and “Doctor Who” theme composer, in “Delia Derbyshire: The Myths and Legendary Tapes”; and in “Striding Into The Wind,” Wei Shujun presents an odyssey of the post-’90s generation in Beijing.

In this year’s hybrid version, 10 films will have physical cinema and virtual screenings, four titles, including the opening and closing films, will be at cinemas only, and the rest of the program virtual only. All films are geo-blocked to the U.K. while all the festival talks and the LFF Expanded XR program are available anywhere in the world.

Ben Roberts, CEO, BFI said: “Although it’s been born out of crisis, this year’s edition of the LFF will be our most accessible yet. Thanks to the many talented and dedicated teams across the BFI, and the encouragement of our partners and industry colleagues, we have shaped a festival that suggests a future for bringing filmmakers and film lovers together.”

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival director, added: “We all want to be back in cinemas, seeing films on the big screen, together, immersed. But we also want to keep seeing new cinematic storytelling from all parts of the world, hearing different voices and perspectives; this version of LFF delivers on both of those aims.”

The BFI London Film Festival runs Oct. 7-18.