Of all the movies already unveiled at film festivals this year, there’s been one very notable absence, one that you’d think would be a dead cert for a high-profile bow: “Serena,” a period melodrama re-teaming “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle” duo Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, under the stewardship of Danish director Susanne Bier. The film was shot back in 2012, and given the A-list talent involved, the film was widely touted for a major premiere at Cannes, Venice or TIFF, but it has been nowhere to be found.
Until now, that is: the line-up for the 2014 BFI London Film Festival was announced this morning, and “Serena” will bow there ahead of its October 24th release date in the UK. But the film’s appearance at the fest will not receive much fanfare, whereas “The Imitation Game” will open and “Fury” will close. This appears to be the world premiere of the movie, but the long delays and negative buzz around the film seem to suggest again that it’s being sneaked out for the most part.
BFI hasn’t boasted a massive world premiere along the lines of “Fantastic Mr. Fox” or “Saving Mr Banks” in recent years, but this year’s fest has a number of enticing movies not found at other festivals, including WW1 drama “Testament Of Youth” starring Alicia Vikander and Kit Harington, genre sequel “Monsters: Dark Continent,” Carol Morley‘s “The Falling” starring “Game Of Thrones” actress Maisie Williams, art documentary “Hockney,” Damian Lewis drama “Silent Storm,” low-budget family sci-fi “Robot Overlords” with Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, gritty drama “Honeytrap,” horror remake “The Town That Dreaded Sundown,” and political thriller “War Book,” from “Scouting Book For Boys” duo Jack Thorne and Tom Harper.
Otherwise, the festival’s 250-strong slate picks out the best of other festivals, with “Foxcatcher,” “Whiplash,” “Men Women & Children,” “Wild,” “Mr. Turner,” “Rosewater,” “Wild Tales,” “Winter Sleep” and “Mommy” all receiving gala screenings. Peter Strickland, Francois Ozon, Christian Petzold and Andrey Zvyagintsev are among the films duking it out in the official competition, and “71,” “Catch Me Daddy and Cannes favorite “The Tribe” are competing for the Sutherland Award for First Feature. There’s a huge amount beyond those films, including an IMAX 3D screening of Jean-Luc Godard‘s new film “Goodbye To Language,” Sundance favorite “Dear White People” and Tom Hardy in “The Drop,” along with masterclasses from Bennett Miller, Abderrahmane Sissako and Frederick Wiseman.
It’s a hell of a line-up, which you can read more about here, and we’ll be covering it on the ground as well: look for our coverage when the festival kicks off October 8th through to its conclusion on October 19th.