The Best Films of the 2015 BFI London Film Festival

Carol---Cate-Blanchett,-red-coat
That was the 59th BFI London Film Festival then. 12 days and hundreds of films.

This year Electric Shadows is teaming with Rob Wallis’ Of All The Film Blogs to present the LFF Top 10 and the inaugural Leccie Awards, honouring those films we believe made this year’s festival shine.

Plus, left-of-field awards to show we’re not just ripping off the Oscars.

Before we begin, a full disclosure statement.

We were unable to check out the following films: Room, Dheepan, Bone Tomahawk and this year’s LFF Best Film winner Chevalier. We feel all are highly likely to have placed in our round-up, so the below is the best of what we did see.

THE ELECTRIC SHADOWS & OF ALL THE FILM BLOGS’ LFF TOP 10

  1. Carol
    “Exquisite, raw and sublime, expect the heat to rise between now and Oscar time” – Rob D
    “With sapphic romantic drama Carol, Todd Haynes confirms himself as a master of forbidden love” — Rob W

  1. The Witch
    “This is how horror movies seemed when you were too young to watch them” – Rob D

  2. Steve Jobs
    “How successful biopics should be made” – Rob D
    “Sorkin’s screenplay uses the products [Jobs] created (or at least dreamed up) as a means to understand the soul of man himself, as, behind the scenes of three major product launches, [Fassbender] takes center stage, literally and figuratively” — Rob W

  3. The Lobster
    “Think Being John Malkovich meets The Notebook with script notes by Franz Kafka” – Rob D
    “… as a rhythmic meditation on love and loneliness, it might even provoke you to reconsider your current relationship status” — Rob W

  4. James White
    “James White is an unerringly personal, often devastating study of a fundamentally decent guy — if emotional mess — struggling magnificently to get out of his own way, and all in just 87 simmering minutes” — Rob W

  5. Green Room
    “A first class exercise in teeth-grinding suspense” – Rob D
    “More polished, less character-driven than its predecessor (Blue Ruin), Green Room has a nihilistic streak to it that may deter those who like a moral to their carnage. We can’t wait to see what’s next on the palette” — Rob W

  6. High-Rise
    “Wheatley’s best work after the still astounding Kill List” – Rob D
    “Cross-cutting between marauding children’s parties and endlessly mirrored elevators, High-Rise sets up a kaleidoscopic commentary on class and technology, order and chaos” — Rob W
    High-Rise---Tom-Hiddleston,-lift-mirror-reflection
  7. Son of Saul
    “Journeys to the very centre of Auschwitz’s extermination apparatus” – Rob D
    “Son of Saul‘s narrow scope provides unsensationalised, unsentimentalised, as-yet unseen look at life in the camps” — Rob W

  8. Trumbo
    “Warm and witty, and laden with bon mots… the film is an engaging, heartfelt romp through McCarthy’s America” — Rob W

  9. Truth
    “Expertly weaves in journalistic and political commentary without lapsing into strident speechifying” – Rob D
    “… a tightly scripted, neatly directed piece of populist entertainment” — Rob W

 

THE LECCIE AWARDS

BEST FILM: CAROL

BEST ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett (Carol)

BEST ACTOR: Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Robert Redford (Truth)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Rooney Mara (Carol)

BEST DIRECTOR: Todd Haynes (Carol)

BEST SCREENPLAY: The Witch (Robert Eggers)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Steve Jobs (Aaron Sorkin)

BEST FOREIGN FILM: Son of Saul

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: The Boy and the Beast

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Listen to Me Marlon

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Carol

BEST EDITING: High Rise

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: High Rise

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: Love and Peace (Love and Peace)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Carol

 

THE LECCIES ROUND-UP

THE “THANKS VERY MUCH” AWARD – Todd Haynes
Carol---Todd-Haynes,-Cate-Blanchett

“Guys, just wanted to say a huge thanks for the recognition you’ve given Carol this year. It was an important film for all of us, and it is great you have given it five awards. Wait, six awards? An even bigger thank you! The Oscars are the Oscars, but these are the prizes that really matter.”

Todd Haynes said none of the above. But, we feel it is in the spirit of what he would say if he saw how many Leccies Carol won. Which is why we have decided to print it.

THE “YOU’LL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN” AWARD – The Witch
The-Witch---Anya-Taylor-Joy

There are films that make you jump. Then there are films that terrify. Without spoiling its malevolent surprises, The Witch terrifies. Ideas and imagery seep deep under the skin, and it boasts the scariest hare in movie history plus a goat called Black Philip. Even its onscreen subtitle – “ A New-England Folktale” – delivers a small shiver. – Rob D

THE CATCH UP ON SLEEP AWARD – The Assassin
The-Assassin---Shu-Qi,-dagger

The Assassin looks beautiful. So soak in as much of that gorgeous cinematography as you can before the somnambulant pacing attaches invisible strings to your upper eye lids and gently pulls down. The Cannes Jury, headed by the Coens, gave Hou Hsiao-hsien best director at Cannes for this. Maybe they dreamed about a far more striking film? – Rob D

THE WELCOME BACK AWARD: Black Mass
Black-Mass---LFF-write-up
The trailer looks good, but I wonder if Johnny Depp will actually turned in a measured performance with genuine acting *choices* instead of the usual grab-bag of quirks and mannerisms on which he’s come to rely? Wait, he does? Well, that’s good. The prosthetics had me worried for a moment. — Rob W

THE MARMITE AWARD– High Rise
High-Rise---Tom-Hiddleston,-Elisabeth-Moss

Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s cruel, clever slice of brain wrong is what cinema is all about. Set in the 1970s but a savage skewering of David Cameron’s Big Society lie, High Rise is a kaleidoscopic barrage of decadence from a filmmaker at the top of his game. – Rob D

No it isn’t – Rob W

BEST “HEY GUYS, I’VE THOUGHT OF A GREAT IDEA” AWARD: 11 Minutes
11-Minutes---LFF-write-up

Jerzy Skolimowski, have you never seen Vantage Point? Rashomon? Pulp Fiction? Why use this device to tell this story? Why should we care about this delivery guy? Why is that couple watching porn? You probably can’t hear me over the sound of your film being Poland’s submission for Best Foreign Language Oscar. It won’t win. — Rob W

BIGGEST GASP AWARD: Green Room
Green-Room---Anton-Yelchin,-Imogen-Poots,-Alia-Shawkat

Jesus. That’s— she— he— that’s very specific— Jesus. Anyone who’s ever given themselves a paper cut may not want to check out the tsunami of body horror that’s inflicted on both the good guys and the bad in Jeremy Saulnier’s butt-clenchingly tense Neo-Nazi thriller. — Rob W & Rob D

MOST NAUSEA INDUCING MOVIE AWARD – Victoria
Victoria---LFF-write-up
Shot in a single, unbroken, no cheats take, Berlin crime flick Victoria is a technical achievement, no doubt. But, its handheld wobbly cam and loose focussing mean anyone even slightly prone to motion sickness may be giving the rest of the audience a special topping for their popcorn. Kwells tablet and rain macs are advised, because even though you may want to hurl, you won’t want to leave. – Rob D

BEST MOVIE NOT FOR MUM AWARD – The Corpse of Anna Fritz
The-Corpse-of-Anna-Fritz---body

Unless your mum likes a bit of necrophilia. In which case you may want to have a word. – Rob D

BEST UNEXPECTED NUDITY AWARD: Youth
Youth---LFF-Write-up
Oh, that’s a pair of tits. Well, the film is set in a spa so I was not not expecting tits, but why there? Why at that exact moment? Oh, that’s a cock. At least it’s equal opportunities nudity. I wonder if Harvey will get his out… He has precedent. — Rob W

BEST TAGLINE AWARD: “Winning Was In His Blood” (The Program)
The-Program---Lance-Armstrong,-Ben-Foster,-bike

Ha. That’s clever. ‘Cause Lance Armstrong did loads of drugs. Which were in his blood. And they helped him win. — Rob W

THE MOPEY MILLENIALS AWARD: James White
James-White---LFF-Write-up
Move out of your mum’s apartment and getting a fucking job, James. I know you’re filled with existential dread and rage, but come on, you’re in your late twenties and you can’t coast by on looking like some unholy cross of Josh Hartnett and Kit Harrington forever. — Rob W

 

And that’s a wrap until the BFI London Film Festival 2016!

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