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10 Incredible Films You Need To See This Autumn

·7-min read

It’s that time of the year again. To take the sting off what appears to be a swift descent into the colder season, the BFI London Film Festival is back between 6th and 17th October, and with it – a triumphant celebration of all things film and a line-up of incredible movies to boot.

Last year’s challenging lockdown inevitably saw the festival go hybrid with fewer physical screenings, and this year’s proceedings have followed suit with a large digital focus. Yes, that means now you can catch some of the premieres virtually from the comfort of your sofa. In order to make the festival more accessible across the country this year, the 159-film-strong programme will be hitting cinema screens not just in the capital, but all across the UK, including Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff.

Of late, LFF has made efforts to address the issue of gender disparity within cinema, and this year, 39% of the programme is led by female and non-binary filmmakers (down 1% on last year's offering).

From explosive Black westerns, to tearjerking biopics and Paul Mescal dramas, here are the 10 films not to miss...

<strong><h2><em>The French Dispatch</em></h2></strong><br>You might need to take a deep breath before attempting the gargantuan star-studded list of names attached to <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2020/02/9403846/wes-anderson-french-dispatch-trailer-release-date" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Wes Anderson’s latest film" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Wes Anderson’s latest film</a>, which includes Timothée Chalamet, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton and Saoirse Ronan, to name a few. Inspired by the director’s lifelong love of <em>The New Yorker</em>, it follows a fictional American magazine based in France, whose eccentric staff muse upon their most celebrated stories once faced with the death of its founder and its imminent closure. A love letter to journalists, expect Wes Anderson’s signature immaculate visuals, quirky characters and deadpan comedic timing.<br><br><em>Out 22nd October.</em> <span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy Of BFI</span>

The French Dispatch


You might need to take a deep breath before attempting the gargantuan star-studded list of names attached to Wes Anderson’s latest film, which includes Timothée Chalamet, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton and Saoirse Ronan, to name a few. Inspired by the director’s lifelong love of The New Yorker, it follows a fictional American magazine based in France, whose eccentric staff muse upon their most celebrated stories once faced with the death of its founder and its imminent closure. A love letter to journalists, expect Wes Anderson’s signature immaculate visuals, quirky characters and deadpan comedic timing.

Out 22nd October. Photo Courtesy Of BFI
<strong><h2><em>Last Night In Soho</em></h2></strong><br>This time-travelling horror fantasy unites a strong ensemble cast of <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2021/05/10491689/last-night-in-soho-trailer-anya-taylor-joy" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, and Matt Smith" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, and Matt Smith</a>. After taking up residency in a creaky attic in London’s West End, Eloise (McKenzie) is a wide-eyed aspiring fashion designer who finds herself transported by night back to the Swinging Sixties and into the body of Sandy (Taylor-Joy), an ambitious young singer. At first enamoured with the fast-paced glamour of the era, Eloise soon has to navigate the terrifying reality of the widespread misogyny of the time and the predatory men that roamed its smoke-filled nightclubs. Edgar Wright’s neon-soaked and ultra stylish film is a love letter to London and, at the same time, an observation of the ills the city has borne witness to.<br> <br><em>Out 29th October.</em> <span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy Of BFI</span>

Last Night In Soho


This time-travelling horror fantasy unites a strong ensemble cast of Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, and Matt Smith. After taking up residency in a creaky attic in London’s West End, Eloise (McKenzie) is a wide-eyed aspiring fashion designer who finds herself transported by night back to the Swinging Sixties and into the body of Sandy (Taylor-Joy), an ambitious young singer. At first enamoured with the fast-paced glamour of the era, Eloise soon has to navigate the terrifying reality of the widespread misogyny of the time and the predatory men that roamed its smoke-filled nightclubs. Edgar Wright’s neon-soaked and ultra stylish film is a love letter to London and, at the same time, an observation of the ills the city has borne witness to.

Out 29th October. Photo Courtesy Of BFI
<strong><h2><em>Spencer</em></h2></strong><br>Probably one of the most meme-ified films of the past year, but that doesn’t detract from Pablo Larraín’s sweepingly beautiful and tragic glimpse into the life of <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/kristen-stewart-princess-diana-spencer-reviews" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Princess Diana" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Princess Diana</a>, with a haunting Kristen Stewart at the helm. The film imagines a Christmas weekend at Sandringham in the early 1990s. Diana roams the castle-like confines of the estate alone. Once celebrated, she is now scrutinised by the press, which is awash with very public reports that her husband Prince Charles is in love with someone else. She is – and always has been – an outsider, and the isolation has pushed her to breaking point. A heartbreaking and raw portrait of the loneliest royal figure there ever was, sure to stoke the fires of the public's obsession for years to come.<br> <br><em>Out 5th November.</em> <span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy Of BFI</span>

Spencer


Probably one of the most meme-ified films of the past year, but that doesn’t detract from Pablo Larraín’s sweepingly beautiful and tragic glimpse into the life of Princess Diana, with a haunting Kristen Stewart at the helm. The film imagines a Christmas weekend at Sandringham in the early 1990s. Diana roams the castle-like confines of the estate alone. Once celebrated, she is now scrutinised by the press, which is awash with very public reports that her husband Prince Charles is in love with someone else. She is – and always has been – an outsider, and the isolation has pushed her to breaking point. A heartbreaking and raw portrait of the loneliest royal figure there ever was, sure to stoke the fires of the public's obsession for years to come.

Out 5th November. Photo Courtesy Of BFI
<strong><em><h2>King Richard</h2></em></strong><br>Will Smith is expected to give the performance of a lifetime in this moving <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2021/08/10635200/serena-williams-interview-migraines-king-richard-olympia" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:biopic spotlighting the true story of Richard Williams" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">biopic spotlighting the true story of Richard Williams</a>, the father of sporting legends Venus and Serena Williams. A tale of triumph over adversity, we see the gruelling lengths a determined father will go to turn his daughters into world champions in the overwhelmingly white world of tennis, starting in the rundown local courts of Compton in the early 1990s. We already know this one’s going to be a tearjerker.<br><br><em>Out 19th November.</em> <span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy Of BFI</span>

King Richard


Will Smith is expected to give the performance of a lifetime in this moving biopic spotlighting the true story of Richard Williams, the father of sporting legends Venus and Serena Williams. A tale of triumph over adversity, we see the gruelling lengths a determined father will go to turn his daughters into world champions in the overwhelmingly white world of tennis, starting in the rundown local courts of Compton in the early 1990s. We already know this one’s going to be a tearjerker.

Out 19th November. Photo Courtesy Of BFI
<strong><em><h2>The Lost Daughter</h2></em></strong><br>Chances are, at some point or another, you’ll have been swept up by Ferrante fever. The intensely evocative books by <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2016/10/125081/elena-ferrante-identified-italian-reporter-new-york-review-of-books" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:enigmatic Italian novelist Elena Ferrante" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">enigmatic Italian novelist Elena Ferrante</a> have revolutionised portrayals of female friendship, motherhood and family – and naturally make perfect <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2018/11/217140/my-brilliant-friend-hbo-series-elena-ferrante-book-fans" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:fodder for the big screen" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">fodder for the big screen</a>. Enter Maggie Gyllenhaal, adapting the author's third novel <em>The Lost Daughter</em> for her directorial debut. It follows Leda (Olivia Colman), a middle-aged divorcée holidaying in a quiet area in Greece, who is disturbed when a brash American family arrives, including a young mother (Dakota Johnson). When the daughter of the family is momentarily lost, it triggers unsettling memories within Leda of her own choices in motherhood and a messy traumatic past. Also starring Jessie Buckley and Paul Mescal. <br><br><em>Out 13th October (BFI). </em><span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy Of BFI</span>

The Lost Daughter


Chances are, at some point or another, you’ll have been swept up by Ferrante fever. The intensely evocative books by enigmatic Italian novelist Elena Ferrante have revolutionised portrayals of female friendship, motherhood and family – and naturally make perfect fodder for the big screen. Enter Maggie Gyllenhaal, adapting the author's third novel The Lost Daughter for her directorial debut. It follows Leda (Olivia Colman), a middle-aged divorcée holidaying in a quiet area in Greece, who is disturbed when a brash American family arrives, including a young mother (Dakota Johnson). When the daughter of the family is momentarily lost, it triggers unsettling memories within Leda of her own choices in motherhood and a messy traumatic past. Also starring Jessie Buckley and Paul Mescal.

Out 13th October (BFI). Photo Courtesy Of BFI
<strong><h2><em>The Harder They Fall</em></h2></strong><br>Inspired by the forgotten real-life stories of African-American cowboys, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Lakeith Stanfield and Regina King unite for an explosive and stylish film, dusting down the hackneyed genre for a “righteously new school Western”. Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) is an outlaw who assembles a cutthroat posse to take down the gang who murdered his parents in front of him (led by Elba). Revenge is a dish best served smoking-gun-hot, and delivered up by horseback-riding, sharpshooting outlaws in this Jay-Z produced action-packed film.<br><br><em>Out 22nd October. </em><span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy Of BFI</span>

The Harder They Fall


Inspired by the forgotten real-life stories of African-American cowboys, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Lakeith Stanfield and Regina King unite for an explosive and stylish film, dusting down the hackneyed genre for a “righteously new school Western”. Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) is an outlaw who assembles a cutthroat posse to take down the gang who murdered his parents in front of him (led by Elba). Revenge is a dish best served smoking-gun-hot, and delivered up by horseback-riding, sharpshooting outlaws in this Jay-Z produced action-packed film.

Out 22nd October. Photo Courtesy Of BFI
<strong><h2><em>Passing</em></h2></strong><br>For Rebecca Hall’s thought-provoking directorial debut, <em>Passing</em> is the ambitious adaptation of Nella Larsen’s much celebrated 1929 novel about race of the same name, uniting Hollywood heavyweights Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson. One day, when Irene (Thompson) is out running errands, she spots childhood friend Clare (Negga) – now unrecognisably glamorous – and is shocked to find she has been “passing” as a white person for years, even deceiving her racist white husband (Alexander Skarsgard). The pair are drawn together through this chance encounter, which has far-reaching consequences. A simmering and gorgeously-shot meditation of racial identity, class and sexuality.<br><br><em>Out 29th October. </em><span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy Of BFI</span>

Passing


For Rebecca Hall’s thought-provoking directorial debut, Passing is the ambitious adaptation of Nella Larsen’s much celebrated 1929 novel about race of the same name, uniting Hollywood heavyweights Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson. One day, when Irene (Thompson) is out running errands, she spots childhood friend Clare (Negga) – now unrecognisably glamorous – and is shocked to find she has been “passing” as a white person for years, even deceiving her racist white husband (Alexander Skarsgard). The pair are drawn together through this chance encounter, which has far-reaching consequences. A simmering and gorgeously-shot meditation of racial identity, class and sexuality.

Out 29th October. Photo Courtesy Of BFI
<strong><h2><em>Drive My Car </em></h2></strong><br>It might be hard to imagine how a three-hour film with much of its action taking place – see title – in an old red Saab, could possibly be engrossing, but this serene exploration of a marriage quietly splintering does exactly just this. Inspired by Haruki Murakami’s short story of the same name, the Japanese drama follows Yûsuke (Hidetoshi Nishijima) a successful actor and theatre director, who hires a chauffeur when he learns he may lose the sight in one of his eyes. Expect incredible performances and a unique storytelling experience, filled with life epiphanies, plus explorations of grief and sexuality.<br><br><em>Out 19th November. </em><span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy Of BFI</span>

Drive My Car


It might be hard to imagine how a three-hour film with much of its action taking place – see title – in an old red Saab, could possibly be engrossing, but this serene exploration of a marriage quietly splintering does exactly just this. Inspired by Haruki Murakami’s short story of the same name, the Japanese drama follows Yûsuke (Hidetoshi Nishijima) a successful actor and theatre director, who hires a chauffeur when he learns he may lose the sight in one of his eyes. Expect incredible performances and a unique storytelling experience, filled with life epiphanies, plus explorations of grief and sexuality.

Out 19th November. Photo Courtesy Of BFI
<strong><h2><em>Titane</em></h2></strong><br>French filmmaker Julia Ducournau turned our stomachs with the coming-of-age cannibal-themed debut <em>Raw</em> (2016), and is now back with utterly unhinged <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2021/jul/17/cannes-palme-dor-goes-to-female-director-for-only-the-second-time" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Palme D’Or winner Titane" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Palme D’Or winner <em>Titane</em></a> (she is the second ever female director to scoop the prestigious prize). Amid thumping techno, nightmarish gore and neon-lit visuals, it follows Alexia (Agathe Rousselle) – who, after a traumatising childhood car accident has a titanium head plate fitted during life-saving brain surgery – and develops, let’s say, a bit of a fetish for motorised vehicles as well as murderous tendencies. A hallucinogenic celebration of all the batshit crazy things that cinema can be, but warning – not for those with a delicate disposition.<br><br><em>Out 9th October. </em><span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy Of BFI</span>

Titane


French filmmaker Julia Ducournau turned our stomachs with the coming-of-age cannibal-themed debut Raw (2016), and is now back with utterly unhinged Palme D’Or winner Titane (she is the second ever female director to scoop the prestigious prize). Amid thumping techno, nightmarish gore and neon-lit visuals, it follows Alexia (Agathe Rousselle) – who, after a traumatising childhood car accident has a titanium head plate fitted during life-saving brain surgery – and develops, let’s say, a bit of a fetish for motorised vehicles as well as murderous tendencies. A hallucinogenic celebration of all the batshit crazy things that cinema can be, but warning – not for those with a delicate disposition.

Out 9th October. Photo Courtesy Of BFI
<strong><h2><em>Petite Maman</em></h2></strong><br>If you found yourself utterly arrested by Céline Sciamma’s breathtaking love story <em>Portrait of a Lady on Fire</em>, her next feature is just as mesmerising and tender. Following the death of her grandmother, eight-year-old Nelly is helping her parents clear out her home, when she meets a little girl in the surrounding forest – and a strange new world of possibilities opens up. A ghost story and a fairytale in the same breath, the film has much to say about the weight of grief, secrets, and mother and daughter relationships. Bring the tissues out in full force for this one.<br><br><em>Out 19th November.</em> <span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy Of BFI</span>

Petite Maman


If you found yourself utterly arrested by Céline Sciamma’s breathtaking love story Portrait of a Lady on Fire, her next feature is just as mesmerising and tender. Following the death of her grandmother, eight-year-old Nelly is helping her parents clear out her home, when she meets a little girl in the surrounding forest – and a strange new world of possibilities opens up. A ghost story and a fairytale in the same breath, the film has much to say about the weight of grief, secrets, and mother and daughter relationships. Bring the tissues out in full force for this one.

Out 19th November. Photo Courtesy Of BFI

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