Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 274: Wed Oct 5

Under the Fig Trees (Sehiri, 2022): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.50pm

66th LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (5th - 16th October 2022) DAY 1

Today is the opening day of the London Film Festival. With its date at the end of the year, London is a "festival of festivals", as the new Telegraph film critic Robbie Collin put it in one of his previews, so the films shown have mostly been seen and commented on by critics who have watched the features at such high-profile festivals as Cannes, Venice, Toronto and Berlin.

So I'm making it simple with one recommendation a day. I will be concentrating on the repertory choices but I've also read the reviews of the contemporary releases and talked to and listened to the trusted critics all year and I am as confident as I can be that this is the pick of the movies within the parameters I have set. Firstly, there's no point highlighting the major gala films - they will be sold out quickly. Secondly, there is little to be gained in paying the higher Festival ticket prices to see films that are out in Britain soon. I will be returning to the London Festival films worthy of seeing and set to be released in the coming months on this blog as and when they get a general release in London.

Here then (from October 5th to October 16th) are the films you are likely to be able to get tickets for and the movies you are unlikely to see in London very soon unless you go the Festival. Here is the LFF's main website for the general information you need. Don't worry if some of the recommended films are sold out as there are always some tickets on offer which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. Here is the information you need to get those standby tickets and here are all the details on ticket availability.

Today's choice also screens at Curzon Soho on Thursday October 6th. Details here.

Film Comment review:
In Directors’ Fortnight, a gentle gust of sheer simplicity: the Tunisian-set
Under the Fig Trees, by Erige Sehiri, which tracks a day out with a group of orchard workers, basically shooting the breeze under the boughs. What makes it special, apart from the brilliantly controlled and varied way in which Sehiri uses this very basic locale, is the nonprofessional cast, ranging from an eccentric old-timer to a group of teenagers recruited from a local high school, who radiate charm and life—notably the three Fdilhi sisters, Ameni, Fide, and Feten. The teenagers chat about who fancies whom, who’s broken whose heart, the usual high-school stuff—but in the context of an Islamic culture, it flouts expectations (and of course, the way headscarves are tied or let loose speaks volumes about the girls’ desire). In a Cannes of somewhat thin pickings, this quietly emerged as one of the most flavorful fruits in the orchard.
Jonathan Romney

Here (and above) is the trailer.

No comments: