London 2018: Documentary Overview

The 62nd BFI London Film Festival

October 10-21

This noted UK event presents more than 200 new features, but has reduced the number of nonfiction offerings substantially this year, with just over 40 docs compared to last year’s nearly 60.


Among the three docs in the fest’s Special Presentations is the world premiere of Peter Jackson’s THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD, an exploration of WWI archival imagery enhanced by modern technology; while the ten-strong Documentary Competition includes the world premieres of Orlando von Einsiedel’s EVELYN, which follows the Oscar winner and his family on a trek to cope with a tragic loss; and of Steve Sprung’s THE PLAN THAT CAME FROM THE BOTTOM UP, an expansive essay exploring capitalism’s resistance to serve the many over the wealthy few.


Remaning nonfiction appears in the fest’s various one word thematic sections, most notably in the Create strand, which includes: Nicolas Jack Davies’ RUDEBOY: THE STORY OF TROJAN RECORDS, which explores the pioneering label that popularized Jamaican music in the UK and beyond; Joe Pearlman and David Soutar’s AFTER THE SCREAMING STOPS, a humorous look at life after teenage pop stardom; Sarah Lewis’ NO IFS OR BUTS, a subcultural portrait of a Soho hair salon; and Xiaolu Guo’s FIVE MEN AND A CARAVAGGIO, an essay inspired by Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.


Other docs include several in the Experimenta strand, such as Richard Squires’ DOOZY, exploring Hollywood’s repressed queerness through Paul Lynde’s cartoon villainry; Ross Lipman’s BETWEEN TWO CINEMAS, an experimental essay reflection on artistic preservation; and Dora Garcia’s SECOND TIME AROUND, which re-stages the work of an Argentine avant-garde artist; as well as Iain Cunningham’s IRENE’S GHOST, the filmmaker’s attempt to learn about his mother, of whom he has no memories, in the Love strand; and Valéry Rosier and Méryl Fortunat-Rossi’s HOLY TOUR, which follows French seniors as they camp out to watch Tour de France riders pass by, in the Journey strand.


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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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