London Film Festival: Days one to six

Our diarist rounds up some of his favourite moments.

by Paul Griffiths

As the London Film Festival enters its second week, our man on the street, rounds up some of his favourite moments from the mayhem.

Day 1: Wednesday 17th Leicester Square, about 3.30pm. A forklift truck sets down another pallet of metal railings to be put up to partition this evening’s crowds from the 7pm red carpet premiere of Eastern Promises. A man and a woman are standing behind three lonely railings, for some reason already set up. “Do you think we’ll have to wait long?” he asks loudly.

Day 2: Thursday 18th After Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go, an emotional documentary about a residential school working to support children seriously traumatised by their upbringings and integrate them back with their relatives, I overhear: “I still don’t think that institutions make very good families.”!!?

Day 3: Friday 19th During La Influenica, an artistic piece about a single mother succumbing to deep depression and leaving her young children to cope, given over to long bleak silences: “Brorrrrrrererererer.” “Groooooaarrghhh.” “Blarrrrrrrrrrrrarrra.” “Durrrdedededededurrrrrrr.” “Bwwworebwwworebwwworebwworerrrrrrrrbwe. Boorwer.” The moral? Never inhale a large cheese sandwich seconds before an arthouse screening.

Day 4: Saturday 20th “When you watch a lot of films you realise just how many really bad ones are out there! You see all these germs of a good idea, just so BADLY executed!” Judging by the tone and VOLUME of the voice, rollerballing around Leicester Square, I’m guessing industry bod and not press.

Day 5: Sunday 21st Two middle-aged women, one Japanese, one eastern European, are queuing for the new post-apocalyptic anime action adventure, Vexille. “This film is only showing twice?” “Yes. But this is the last time you can see it.” “Yes. It is on tomorrow and now.” “No, it was on last night.” “It was on last night?” “Yes. So this is the last time you can see it.” “It is not on tomorrow?” “No, it was on last night.” “Yes, so it’s on twice.” “Yes.” “No tomorrow.” “No. No tomorrow.”

Day 6: Monday 22nd Tom Cruise hits the red carpet for Lions For Lambs.

A man with a camera phone trying to get a shot of The Cruise: “Lower your umbrellas! Lower your umbrellas! This is England. It’s raining!”

“But I don’t I want to go around. I just want to walk straight that way!” The 7ft tall flashjacketed policeman, standing in front of innumerable other similarly attired officers, an avenue of metal railings, hundreds of baying photographers, a thousand shouting fans, a brigade of security and one Tom Cruise, replied: “You’ll have to go around, sir.” “ But why??”

As the drizzle falls a mother approaches, hoisting her young daughter onto her shoulder. The daughter coughs. “Oh look, Izzy. This is really exciting. That’s Tom Cruise!”

“Cough, cough.”

“Can you see him, see that man there?”

“Cough, cough.”

“There he is, he’s shaking hands with that man in the grey suit. Can you see him?” “Is he wearing the yellow top?”

“What? No, You see that man with the dark hair. He’s shaking hands with that lady in red coat over there NOW!”


“There he is! He’s waving! He’s waving to those people! HE’S WAVING!”

“Cough, cough”

“… ahhh … Tom Croooooooooose.”

“… cough.”

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