Arts & Culture

BFI London Film Festival: My Top Picks

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm | 04 October 2019
Vue West End |

Founded in 1953 the annual film Festival takes place over two weeks in October. This years event runs from the 2nd to the 13th of October with cooperation from the British Film Institute. The Festival screens more than 300 films, documentaries and shorts from approximately 50 countries.

My top picks:

ATLANTICS – Ada and Souleiman are in love. But Souleiman is tired of labouring without pay on the gleaming towers of Dakar. He sets out across the sea with friends, leaving Ada to face impending marriage to another man. But as the women gather in the bar where the men used to drink, it seems that something has returned after all. Employing mystical symbolism and an evocative synth score by Fatima Al Qadiri, the film flows from social drama into supernatural waters and makes lyrical use of the figure of the djinn to process a harrowing reality. French- Senegalese Mati Diop, known for her acting collaborations with Claire Denis, follows a string of fascinating short films with this bold feature debut that not only poses, but answers, the question: to whom does the future belong?

Purchase your ticket here


  • Friday 4th October, 6:00 PM – Screen 7, Vue West End, 3 Cranbourn St, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7AL
  • Saturday 5th October, 8:40 PM – Cine Lumiere, 17 Queensberry Place, South Kensington, London SW7 2DT
  • Monday 7th October, 12:10 PM – NFT1, BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, Lambeth, London SE1 8XT

HARRIET – Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman nonetheless escaped the South of the US and travelled alone over 100 miles on foot to the first free state, Philadelphia. But finding it impossible to enjoy her freedom while others were enslaved, she returned as a fugitive over 13 times to dangerous Confederate states, helping more than 70 people escape in the years before the Civil War. In a performance that seems to glow from within, Cynthia Erivo embodies the scale of defiant, clear-minded will that helped Tubman achieve the seemingly impossible, and she’s ably abetted by an impressive ensemble including Janelle Monáe, Joe Alwyn and Clarke Peters. And who better to bring this story to the screen than Eve’s Bayou director Kasi Lemmons (whose own achievement of being one of the few female directors of colour in Hollywood for decades is also a defiant act of heroism). A timely and stirring reminder than sometimes the most powerful thing in the world is one individual with a will. Purchase your ticket here


  • Friday 11th October, 6:00 PM – Screen 1, Curzon Soho Cinema, 99 Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho, London W1D 5DY
  • Sunday 13th October, 2:15 PM – Embankment Garden Cinema, Victoria Embankment Gardens, Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NS

ROCKS – Olushola Joy Omotoso, ‘Rocks’ to her mates, is a London teenager with ordinary teenage cares; hanging with her crew and helping to look after her little brother keeps her grounded. But on returning from an ordinary day at secondary school, she discovers her mother isn’t home. There’s just a little cash and an apology note. Fearing that she and her brother will be separated if the authorities find out, Rocks decides not to tell anyone and instead copes with her brother alone. Based on a script from award-winning playwright Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson (Little Drummer Girl, LFF 2018), with a story line conceived by Ikoko, the drama was developed through extensive workshops with Sarah Gavron and the female cast, all of whom were discovered through casting sessions at schools. Hélène Louvart’s (Happy as Lazzaro, LFF 2018) fluid, intimate cinematography helps give Rocks a persuasive immediacy and naturalism, with the girls vividly bringing their characters to life. What’s remarkable is that far from feeling as if the film has been cast with ‘non-actors’, Rocks features magnetic performances across the board – particularly from the trio at the heart of the story. Kosar Ali and Shaneigha-Monik Greyson are great as the friends pulling Rocks in different directions, and Bukky Bakray is fearless and entrancing in the title role. Along with the whole film making team, they give voice to the London girls you see every day. Lean closer because they have something to say. Get your ticket here


  • Saturday 12 October 2:30 PM – Embankment Garden Cinema, Victoria Embankment Gardens, Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NS

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