London Film fest seeks beauty and controversy

Wed Sep 7, 2011 1:31pm EDT
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By Alice Baghdjian

LONDON (Reuters) - George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes and David Cronenberg will parade the red carpet of the British Film Institute's (BFI) 55th London Film Festival, which is set to showcase a varied line up of big titles and emerging talent, organizers said Wednesday.

The European premiere "360" directed by Fernando Meirelles with a glittering cast including Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law and Rachel Weisz, will launch the 16-day festival in October, and "The Deep Blue Sea," also starring Weisz and directed by Terence Davies, will round off Britain's largest cinematic celebration.

"London has a strong reputation as a center for creativity and innovation in the film industry and I'm particularly pleased to see that the high profile films selected for the opening and closing nights have been shot in the capital with great British talent," London Mayor Boris Johnson said in a statement.

Following in the wake of Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), London faces stiff competition from these high-profile and higher-ranking magnets for the big studios and A-listers.

Many big titles of the London Festival, such as George Clooney's hotly anticipated work "The Ides of March" have already had a run in Venice, while the opening and closing films in London festival are set to make their world premiere at TIFF.

But organizers stressed the "variety and richness" of the London roster this year, which will showcase 13 world premieres, including "Hut in the Woods" - a new film from Germany's Hans Weingartner, who also directed "The Edukators."

"The festival will present a broad program of the best and most significant films ranging from beautifully crafted narrative to boundary pushing experiments and we hope we've found richness in diversity," festival Artistic Director Sandra Hebron said.

The celebration of film will look at art and cinematic heritage as well as crowd-pleasers. The Archive Gala will offer film lovers a return to cinematic roots with a showcase of restored reels from archives around the world.   Continued...