Top five’s are the hardest lists to compose especially when throughout the festival you saw 47 films and you are a person who likes many genres and is always wanting to explore more. The festival was filled to the brim with films that had so much emotion and passion that you feel filled with creativity coming out of it!
When the festival ended, I drew up a top five films I loved which started with The Harder They Fall, an epic scale western that has a twisting plot and a powerful black central cast that steal the film with Jonathan Majors leading the charge. At number two sat The French Dispatch, the latest Wes Anderson film that pays a beautiful homage to journalists and the peculiar stories they find. It is filled with the most star-studded cast where it seems like they all had a lot of fun making it with subtle commentaries on society. In the middle is The Last Night In Soho which is directed by Edgar Wright a creepy new thriller set both in the present and 60s connecting two women through an apartment. It is the glitz and the glamour that whisk you away to a spooky ending. At number four is The Power Of The Dog, in keeping with the part western theme of the festival this unsettling film shows the power of revenge and manipulation in masculinity. Understanding the life of a cowboy through this gripping tale of love and family originally a book by Thomas Savage. Last on the list is Ron’s Gone Wrong which is the perfect animation film to help boost your mood and make you believe in people again. It is also a fantastic social commentary on how addicted we are to our mobile phones and specific social groups which we think is required to exist in this society.
Now as time has gone by my list has changed due to seeing a lot of these films again with family and friends but also just sitting and thinking about them with a nice cup of tea as thoughts develop.
In terms of the number one spot that has not changed, the masterpiece The Harder They Fall completely captured my heart in its story and soundtrack with one incredible song by my favourite artist Koffee of the same name as the film which is such an empowering song. Also, the women in this film are legendary in their parts in the story and performances.
Number two spot goes to the second western in the festival, which has moved up two spots, called The Power of the Dog. The film had me on the edge of my seat throughout with an unnerving performance by Kodi-Smit McPhee who you can’t help wondering what he will do next because you know he has tricks up his sleeve. While Benedict Cumberbatch turns into this never-ending bully with a secret tucked deep in his heart. You become totally immersed in their lives and their limited possibilities in life.
In the middle we have a newcomer which is a French film called Paris, 13th District. It follows people’s loves and lives in Paris and how easily intertwined they are through each other’s circles. This is a beautiful black and white film that immerses yourself in these people’s struggles and journey to understanding themselves. I loved Émilie and Camille’s journey and how they dipped in and out of their lives in a needy way that you were rooting for them but knew it would never stick. In fact, all of the characters I wanted to know more about where they ended up. This film gave me a longing for their stories and some passionate scenes.
At number four is Ron’s Gone Wrong which after seeing it many more times it is up there as one of my all-time favourite animated films. I also have an awesome story behind this film as it was made in the flat below me! Not only is it a perfect heart-warming story that tells you to be different, to go with it, to not conform, to change the world and enjoy its beauty and the people in it.
Lastly is another newcomer called Wild Indian which after seeing it has constantly haunted me since. A film about a man, Michael, who leaves his reservation after an incident when he was young but sooner or later his past will come back to haunt him in the form of someone who knows his secret. This film talks a lot about Native American culture and the changes when you leave your home and then come back. At the same time, it is a thrilling ride you don’t want to miss a second of it as the consequences are deadly.
There you have it those are my top five films of the festival I will leave details of where to find and watch them below. Here are some honourable mentions you should also check out: Ali & Ava, Azor, The Boiling Point, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon and The Hand of God.
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© 2020 Emily Claire Cannings
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Photos reproduced with kind permission of the BFI London Film Festival 2021