The BFI London Film Festival returns for 2018 with a packed programme of the best in recent international cinema. As usual there are a fair few East Asian films on offer including the long awaited return from Lee Chang-dong, the latest from Jia Zhang-ke, and Bi Gan’s 3D followup to Kaili Blues.
- The Prey – Jimmy Henderson’s Jailbreak followup follows an undercover cop arrested during an operation who subsequently gets drawn into a corrupt prison warden’s sideline of sending prisoners out as targets for hunters while the Chinese military plan a rescue mission.
- Ash is Purest White – in the latest from Jia Zhang-ke, Zhao Tao plays a gangster’s moll who goes to prison on his behalf only to find that her loyalty has not been valued.
- Dead Pigs – Cathy Yan satirises the modern Chinese economy through the tales of a collection of people caught up in the machinations of a shady real estate conglomerate.
- Long Day’s Journey into Night – a man returns to his home village after many years for his father’s funeral and to look for lost love in Bi Gan’s Kaili Blues followup.
- Shadow – Zhang Yimou returns to the world of period epics with a tale of proxy war as a great general (Deng Chao) makes use of a double to combat palace intrigue.
- Suburban Birds – an engineer finds a diary of a boy with the same name giving way to a tale of adventure when one of the boy’s friends goes missing in Qiu Sheng’s debut feature.
- A Family Tour – A Chinese director living in exile in Hong Kong travels to Taipei to present a controversial film banned in the Mainland, but also to see her mother who is travelling around the island on an old persons’ package tour. Not wanting to attract attention, she follows the coach around pretending to be a local.
- May the Devil Take You – a young woman pays a long overdue visit to her estranged father who is dying. With doctors unable to identify a cause for his condition, the supernatural begins to raise its head.
- Asako I & II – Ryusuke Hamaguchi adapts Tomoka Shibasaki’s novel in which a young woman spots a man who looks exactly like her long absent lover in cafe, only he has a completely different personality.
- Mirai – a little boy learns to cope with the arrival of his baby sister in the latest from Mamoru Hosoda.
- Of Love & Law – Hikaru Toda reunites with Love Hotel’s Kazu and Fumi and explores their lives and work at an Osakan law firm specialising in minority issues. Review.
- Believer – Lee Hae-young offers a Korean take on Johnnie To’s Drug War.
- Burning – the long awaited return by Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong, Burning adapts a short story by Haruki Murakami and revolves around three people – a novelist, another man, and a fashion model, as they become embroiled in a strange incident.
- Last Child – moving drama in which a bereaved family takes in the boy their son died saving only to discover all is not as it seems. Review.
- Little Forest – gentle tale in which a wounded young woman retreats to her country home to figure things out. Review.
- The Spy Gone North – Yoon Jong-bin’s thriller follows a South Korean spy on an infiltration mission in the North.
The festival will also be previewing the first two episodes of Park Chan-wook’s BBC TV series, The Little Drummer Girl.
- Lee Chang-dong screentalk – director Lee Chang-dong will be taking part in a screentalk at the BFI on 20th October, 12pm
The BFI London Film Festival takes place at various venues across the city from 10th – 21st October 2018. Full details for all the films as well as screening times and ticketing information are available via the official website. Priority booking opens for Patrons on 4th September, for Champions on 5th September, and Members 6th September, with general ticket sales available from 13th September. You can also keep up to date with all the latest news via the festival’s Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram, and YouTube channels.