The 63rd BFI London Film Festival
Nonfiction makes up about a fifth of this notable UK event’s 200+ lineup.
The festival’s Documentary Competition includes a mix of both recent festival favorites and less familiar titles – among the latter are Rubika Shah’s WHITE RIOT
, about 1970s protest movement Rock Against Racism; José Filipe Costa’s hybrid A PLEASURE, COMRADES!
, which revisits the dawning sexual liberation of post-dictatorship Portugal of the mid-1970s; and Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian’s I AM (NOT) A MONSTER
, a survey of alternative thinkers around the world.
SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME
Nonfiction is sprinkled throughout the event’s various one-word thematic sections, including, in Love, Dermot Lavery and Michael Hewitt’s LOST LIVES
, which pays tribute to those who have died as part of Northern Ireland’s Troubles; in Create, Mike Figgis’ SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME
, a portrait of The Rolling Stones’ guitarist Ronnie Wood; and, in Debate, Sasha Joseph Neulinger’s REWIND
, in which the director recounts the childhood sexual abuse his sister and he endured; Nuno Escudeiro’s THE VALLEY
, documenting the face-off on the France/Italy border between authorities and those who would help refugees; and Zed Nelson’s THE STREET
, on the gentrifying new businesses that threaten longtime shopowners of a London street.
I DIE OF SADNESS CRYING FOR YOU
More innovative work appears in Journey, including John Skoog’s hybrid RIDGE
, a free-associative portrait of life in southern Sweden; and Ridham Janve’s THE GOLD-LADEN SHEEP & THE SACRED MOUNTAIN
, which blends observational doc with metaphysical fable to follow the quest of a shepherd in search of treasure. Finally, experimental projects are showcased in Experimenta, including Nina Danino’s I DIE OF SADNESS CRYING FOR YOU
, an essay film exploring a once popular Spanish music genre devoted to unrequited love; Roz Mortimer’s THE DEATHLESS WOMAN
, which takes a mythological approach to the genocide of the Roma by the Nazis; and Louis Henderson and Olivier Marboeuf with The Living and The Dead Ensemble’s OUVERTURES
, a complex, performative history of Haiti’s foundation.