Todd Haynes' Carol is this year’s BFI LFF AMEX Gala, Shooting Stars for LFF Archive Gala

The BFI London Film Festival is almost upon us, it's full programme to be announced on 1 September. Until then there are plenty of major announcements to get the pulse racing, not least the coveted American Express Gala slot announcement. This year the BFI have filled it wit ha critical darling backed by star appearances. The 59th BFI London Film Festival has announced Carol, Todd Haynes’ acclaimed 1950s set drama, as the Festival’s AMEX Gala, and director Todd Haynes, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara will be in attendance at the screening. The film will receive its UK premiere on Wednesday 14 October at the Odeon Leicester Square

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s seminal novel, adapted by screenwriter Phyllis Nagy, Carol follows Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), a young clerk in her 20s working in a Manhattan department store, who dreams of a more fulfilling life. When Therese meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage, an immediate connection sparks between them. As the innocence of their first encounter dims, their connection deepens and they embark on a journey of self discovery.

The film has been garnering rave reviews on the festival circuit, with a 92% critical aggregate score on Rottentomatoes and a actress win at Cannes for its leads, plus a director Palme d'Or nod for Haynes at the same festival.

In other news the BFI will be screening Anthony Asquith's Shooting Stars on Thursday 16 October 2015 at the Odeon Leicester Square,  as part of its regular Archive Gala slot at LFF 2015 where restored films play. Asquith’s first film as co-director and scriptwriter, Shooting Stars is a fascinating drama set behind the scenes at a contemporary film studio. Annette Benson (Mae Feather) and Brian Aherne (Julian Gordon) play two mis-matched, married stars and Donald Calthrop (Andy Wilkes) a Chaplin-esque star at the same studio, with whom Mae becomes romantically involved. The film manages to operate as a sophisticated, modern morality tale, while it’s also both an affectionate critique of the film industry and a celebration of its possibilities.

Newly restored by the BFI National Archive, Shooting Stars will be presented with a new live score by John Altman, BAFTA and Emmy award-winning composer whose work includes Titanic and GoldenEye. Read more here.

The BFI announces the full LFF 2015 line up on Tuesday 1 September.


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Owen Van Spall

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