Monday, October 10, 2011


Last weekend, the 25th annual Leeds International Film Festival launched its programme, ahead of the festival in November. There's heaps and heaps of exciting things to look forward to in what is, surely, one of the UK's premiere film festivals, so I thought I'd do a (very) brief preview here.

The Official Selection is the home of the big names, high-art and gruelling drama but really does host all sorts of things. It's nice to see the festival score the coup of a whole bunch of UK premier showings of European and World cinema as well as a handful of very exciting retrospectives. Psycho on the big screen is surely one not to be missed and, though I've seen them before, Waltz With Bashir and Persepolis are both great and worth a cinema trip. For the more hardy, Bela Tarr's epic Sátántangó - which is seven and a half hours long! - is screening in the Hyde Park Picture House. Thankfully it comes with two interval breaks!

In the gleefully brutal and bloody Fanomenon strand, meanwhile, there are also a few exciting treats to look forward to. Heading up the classic genre film retrospectives are Alien, Aliens and Invasion of the Body Snatchers but even these treats don't seem so tasty when compared to the bounties on offer in the new films selection. Monster Brawl, which pitches all the horror favourites against each other, looks too-good-to-miss whilst Exit Humanity's American Civil War zombie apocalypse would surely be the most gloriously insane zombie adventure imaginable, were it not for it being partnered up with Yoshihiro Nishimura's Hell Driver and Cuba's very first zombie film, Juan of the Dead. Oh my! That's three slices of very different but very exciting ZOMBIE ACTION! Hurrah!

Thirdly, and no less excitingly, comes the fabulous news that all Cherry Kino film screenings are FREE (!) this year! Cherry Kino is the semi-independent experimental film strand of the festival and hosts screenings and workshops of 'wondermental' films all year round. CK has it's own web presence in a blog (HERE!) and should bring some reliably curious, strangely beautiful experimentation to the screen. And it's FREEEEEE!

This is, obviously, a brief and over-excited preview. I didn't even find space to squeeze in a mention of the exquisitely bonkers-looking Japanese sub-section of the Fanomenon strand (hint: it'll be weird!), the Cinema Versa documentary strand or the short films strand. And the Official Selection definitely demands some more attention too. More to come soon!

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