52nd Times BFI London Film Festival

This week I have more news, as promised, on a late addition to the festival lineup, Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna. The addition of Lee’s movie to the programme has inspired me to highlight a handful of films in this year’s festival by fellow US mavericks who have also carved out interesting careers away (for the most part) from the Hollywood mainstream.

Miracle at St. Anna

Miracle at St. Anna

Spike Lee describes this World War II movie about members of an all-black US Army division trapped behind enemy lines in 1944 Tuscany as “a brutal mystery that deals with historic events and the stark reality of war. But it’s also a lyrical, mystical story of compassion and love.” (Thu 16 & Fri 17 Oct)

Rachel Getting Married

Rachel Getting Married
Jonathan Demme, the director of movies as diverse as Something Wild, Married to the Mob and The Silence of the Lambs, has come up this time with a drama about a troubled young woman (Annr Hathaway) who returns to her family home for her sister’s wedding. (20 & 30 October)


Che - Benicio del Toro as Che Guevara

Steven Soderbergh’s career has seen him switch back and forth between personal movies such as Sex, Lies and Videotape and such big-budget studio films as Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels. His new two-part biopic of revolutionary Che Guevara is epic in scale but far from typical Hollywood fare. (25 Oct; 27 Oct; 29 Oct)

The Brothers Bloom

The Brothers Bloom - Adrien Brody, Rahel Weisz & Mark Ruffalo

I’m not sure whether Rian Johnson will turn out to be a maverick, but his highly original debut movie, Brick, was a quirky mystery thriller (imagine Dawson’s Creek meets The Big Sleep) in which an archetypal film noir plot unfolded in a Californian high school and characters spoke the kind of hard-boiled dialogue you last heard on screen coming out of the mouth of Humphrey Bogart. I can’t wait to see what he brings to the genre of con man movies with his second feature film. (27 & 28 Oct)