52nd Times BFI London Film Festival – first look at this year’s lineup

I’ve just returned hotfoot from the press launch of this year’s Times BFI London Film Festival, clutching a copy of the hefty programme. It’s over a hundred pages, so it will take me a while to get to grips with the 15 world premieres, 20 European premieres and 119 UK premieres that are going to be showcased in cinemas across London from 15th – 30th October. In the meantime, here are some of the films that caught my eye during the 30-minute clip reel introduced by festival director Sandra Hebron at the Odeon West End this morning.

Frost/Nixon Frost/Nixon – the world premiere of Ron Howard’s screen version of Peter Morgan’s hit play is the festival Opening Night Gala. (Wed 15 & Sat 18 Oct)

Slumdog MillionaireSlumdog Millionaire – Danny Boyle’s film about an 18-year-old Mumbai orphan competing in India’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire is the Closing Night Gala. (Thu 30 Oct)

W. - Oliver Stone’s film about George W. BushW. – Oliver Stone’s ‘fair, true portrait’ of George W Bush, from his roistering younger years to his first term in office. (Thu 23 & Fri 24 Oct)

Vicky Cristina BarcelonaVicky Cristina Barcelona – Woody Allen’s latest comedy drama, starring Scarlett Johanssen, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem. Fingers crossed that it’s a return to form after the dismal Cassandra’s Dream. (Tue 21 & Sat 25 Oct)

Gonzo - The Life and Work of Hunter S. ThompsonGonzo: The Life and Work of Dr Hunter S. Thompson – documentary on the late great Hunter S. from the director of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. (Mon 27 & Tue 28 Oct)

Of Time and the CityOf Time and the City – Terence Davies’ lyrical and deeply personal documentary collage of archive footage of Liverpool, made to mark the city’s status as European Capital of Culture. (Sat 18 & Tue 21 Oct)

Quantum of SolaceQuantum of Solace – a surprise showcase for the first public screening of the new Bond movie. (Wed 29 Oct)

More on the festival next week, after I’ve pored over the programme.

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