London Film Festival: A Bluffer’s Guide

bfi300The BFI London what?
Well, to be exact, it’s the British Film Institute’s 54th London Film Festival.
Oh cool, when can I go to that?
It started yesterday but don’t worry – it’s on until October 26th so you have plenty of time to catch up.
It’s not just arty farty avant-garde black and white crap is it?
Not at all. In fact, the festival was launched today by Never Let Me Go which stars Keira Knightley and Michelle Williams – hardly underground personalities. On top of that there’s plenty of mainstream American fare but for the demographic of hardcore cineastes there’s also some arty farty avant-garde black and white crap.
That all sounds well and good but my local cinema is really expensive. I can’t afford to fork out £12 every time I want to see a movie.
Jeez, tell me about it. Whilst there are films being shown that’ll cost you a fair bit there are also plenty of titles you can see for £7/£9. It’s also a good opportunity to become a member of the BFI and you can save £1 on every ticket purchase.
Do you per chance happen to work for the BFI ?
Yeah sorry, that sounded a bit like a sales pitch. But I am a member of the BFI and highly recommend joining this fine institution.
Well, I’ll take your word for it. So what do you suggest I check out if I can only go see 5 films?
Hands Up, A Screaming Man, Lemmy, Never Let Me Go & The Peddler. You can find more information about these and other titles at
I bet those are arty farty avant-garde black and white movies and you’re just a snobby pretentious critic trying to persuade ordinary blokes like me to go watch them.
Are you that guy who keeps leaving me abusive comments on my articles? None of them are black and white or particularly pretentious. Why don’t you go read about them and then come back to me?
Oooh, sor-ry if you were offended by the comments I left. Tell me, why should I bother going to a film festival when I can just pop down to my local cinema?
Are you taking the piss? Your local headache-inducing multiplex is probably showing the 3D remastering of Transformers 2 on 8 screens. A select group of BFI minions have been scouring the world for the best there is to offer and slapped it altogether in a festival so the quality is bound to be better. Plus, you get tons of opportunities to see films that may never get a nationwide or even local release. You never know, you could stumble upon a gem.
I liked Transformers 2…
Oh dear…
Got any festival tips for saving money?
Like any cinema visit you want to avoid buying any food or drink on site. Now, you’ll see plenty of signs about not bringing your own booze into the auditorium but screw that. Do what every self respecting tramp does and get yourself down to the off-license and equip yourself with a couple of cans of Special Brew (probably best to stick them up your jumper to avoid detection). If you’re a bit more upmarket than that grab a bottle of wine or a couple of Stellas and you’re away.
Alright, you’ve persuaded me. Where can I get more information about all this?
Well, you can go to the official BFI London Film Festival website at or you can hop on the tube and go to the BFI itself and pick up a programme. Just head on down to Waterloo on the Jubilee Line and follow all signs to South Bank.
Oh, it’s in London. I can’t make that. I live in the Northern Hebrides where I tend a flock of sheep. I could never take the time off.
That’s unfortunate. Hang on, didn’t I see a film about you yesterday?