London Film Festival 2009

The best from around the globe.

View other London Film Festival Films by strand: Cinema Europa, Experimenta, Film On The Square, French Revolutions, Galas And Special Screenings, New British Cinema, Short Cuts & Animation, Treasures From The Archives

City Of Life And Death City Of Life And Death
City Of Life And Death and Blank City
45365 (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Bill Ross, Turner Ross)
Documentary charting life in a small American town.
The Absence (Country: France, Senegal; Year: 2009; Director: Mama Keïta; Stars: William Nadylam, Ibrahima Mbaye, Jackie Tavernier)
A man returns to his Senegalese family after 15 years in Paris and uncovers his sister is harbouring a sordid secret.
Ajami (Country: Germany, Israel; Year: 2009; Director: Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani; Writer: Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani; Stars: Fouad Habash, Shahir Kabaha, Ebrahim Frege, Eran Naim, Scandar Copti, Ranin Karim, Youssef Sahwani, Elias Saba, Hilal Kabob, Moshe Yerushalmi, Tamar Yerushalmi)
Crime drama sees clan violence spiral out of control in Israel.
Alexander The Last (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Joe Swanberg; Writer: Joe Swanberg, David Lowery, Jess Weixler, Justin Rice, Barlow Jacobs, Amy Seimetz; Stars: Jess Weixler, Justin Rice, Barlow Jacobs, Amy Seimetz, Jane Adams, Josh Hamilton, Jo Schornikow, Christopher Denham, Molly Hawkins, Sean Price Williams, Ellen Stagg, Kent Osborne, Randy Bell)
An aspiring actress fights with her feelings for a co-star while her musician husband is away on tour.
At The End Of Daybreak (Sham moh) (Country: South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong; Year: 2009; Director: Yuhang Ho; Writer: Yuhang Ho; Stars: Tien You Chui, Meng Hui Ng, Ying-Hong Wai)
A juvenile 23-year-old begins a relationship with an underage schoolgirl... meaning he faces jail if they are caught.
Nymph Nymph
Nymph and Ajami
Bare Essence Of Life Ultra-Miracle Love Story (Urutora mirakuru rabu sutôrî) (Country: Japan; Year: 2009; Director: Satoko Yokohama; Writer: Satoko Yokohama; Stars: Ken'ichi Matsuyama, Kumiko Aso, Arata, Yumiko Fujita, Yoshio Harada, Seiji Nozoe, Misako Watanabe)
A traumatised school teacher attracts the attentions of a 'differently wired' young man.
Blank City (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Celine Danhier; Stars: Amos Poe, Ann Magnuson, Becky Johnston, Beth B., Bette Gordon, Casandra Stark, Charlie Ahearn, Daze, Deborah Harry, Eric Mitchell, Fab 5 Freddy, Glenn O'Brien, James Chance, James Nares, Jim Jarmusch)
Documentary on the DIY independent film movement that emerged in tandem with punk rock and No Wave in late Seventies downtown New York.
Beeswax (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Andrew Bujalski; Writer: Andrew Bujalski; Stars: Tilly Hatcher, Maggie Hatcher, Alex Karpovsky, Katy O'Connor, David Zellner, Kyle Henry, S.J. Anderson, Anne Dodge, Betty Blackwell, Bryan Poyser)
Two twins face choices as they reach adulthood.
Behind The Rainbow (Country: South Africa, France, Egypt; Year: 2008; Director: Jihan El-Tahri; Writer: Jihan El-Tahri; Stars: Kader Asmal, Pallo Jordan, Ronnie Kasrils, Mac Maharaj, Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe, Siphiwe Nyanda, Blade Nzimande, Sue Rabkin, Jacob Zuma)
Documentary tracing the ANC from its liberation roots to its position as South Africa's ruling party.
Burning Down The House: The Story Of CBGB (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Mandy Stein)
Charting the history of iconic New York club and its fight for survival.
Eyes Wide Open Eyes Wide Open
Eyes Wide Open and Plan B
City Of Life And Death (Nanjing Nanjing) (Country: China, Hong Kong; Year: 2009; Director: Chuan Lu; Writer: Chuan Lu; Stars: Ye Liu, Yuanyuan Gao, Hideo Nakaizumi, Wei Fan, Yiyan Jiang, Ryu Kohata, Bin Liu, John Paisley, Beverly Peckous, Lan Qin, Sam Voutas, Di Yao, Yisui Zhao, Junichi Kajioka), Official Site, Trailer
Dramatisation of the Rape of Nanjing, seen from a dual perspective.
Dear Lemon Lima (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Suzi Yoonessi; Writer: Suzi Yoonessi; Stars: Chase Wright Vanek, Meaghan Jette Martin, Beth Grant, Melissa Leo, Elaine Hendrix, Vanessa Marano, Kari Nissena, Zane Huett, Elaine Lee, Emma Dumont, Eleanor Hutchins, Crystal Rainbow Mort, Shayne Topp, Bob McCracken, Jessi Canlas)
A shy 13-year-old and her gang of misfits enter a Snowstorm Survivor competition to try to win back her - suddenly super popular - ex-boyfriend.
Defamation (Hashmatsa) (Country: Israel, Austria; Year: 2009; Director: Yoav Shamir)
The filmmaker's personal quest to determine the role that anti-Semitism plays today.
The Exploding Girl (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Bradley Rust Gray; Writer: Bradley Rust Gray; Stars: Zoe Kazan, Mark Rendall, Franklin Pipp, Maryann Urbano)
Two long-time confidants negotiate feelings and friendships during their college break.
Eyes Wide Open (Einayim Petukhoth) (Country: Israel/Germany/France; Year: 2009; Director: Haim Tabakman; Writer: Merav Doster; Stars: Zohar Strauss, Ran Danker, Tinkerbell Ravit Rozen, Tzahi Grad, Isaac Sharry, Avi Grayinik)
A married butcher in ultra-orthodox Jerusalem has a passionate gay love affair with an itinerant student.
Beeswax Beeswax
Beeswax and 45365
Feast Of Villains (Country: China; Year: 2008; Director: Pan Jianlin; Writer: Pan Jianlin; Stars: Cast Zhou Cheng, Li Geng)
A man desperate to pay his dad's hospital bills decides to sell his kidneys on the black market.
Fire Of Mansaré (Country: Senegal; Year: 2009; Director: Mansour Sora Wade; Writer: Boubacar Boris Diop; Stars: Ibrahima Mbaye, Khady Ndiaye Bijou)
A man returns to his village with the aim of marrying a woman he 'tagged' at birth... but she is in love with someone else sparking tensions that rock their community.
Forbidden Door (Pintu terlarang) (Country: Indonesia; Year: 2009; Director: Joko Anwar; Writer: Joko Anwar, Sekar Ayu Asmara; Stars: Fachry Albar, Marsha Timothy, Ario Bayu, Tio Pakusodewo, Henidar Amroe, Verdi Solaiman, Putri Sukardi, Ade Firza Paloh, Atiqah Hasiholan, James Awuy, Jesse Awuy, Rio Dewanto, Otto Djauhari, Reza Dwiputranto, Vivian Idris)
Psycho thriller centring on a sculptor trying to rescue and abused child - who might, actually, be himself.
Gigante (Country: Uruguay, Argentina, Germany, Spain; Year: 2009; Director: Adrián Biniez; Writer: Adrián Biniez; Stars: Horacio Camandule, Leonor Svarcas)
A store security guard becomes obssessed with a cleaner.
Gulaal (Country: India; Year: 2009; Director: Anurag Kashyap; Writer: Raj Singh Chaudhary, Anurag Kashyap, Rahul Maharya, Aparnaa Malhotra, Sanjay Maurya; Stars: Kay Kay Menon, Jesse Randhawa, Deepak Dobriyal, Ayesha Mohan, Mahie Gill, Piyush Mishra, Mukesh Bhatt, Raj Singh Chaudhary, Jyoti Dogra, Pankaj Jha, Abhimanyu Singh, Aditya Srivastava)
Dark drama explores student and state politics in modern India.
Passenger Side Passenger Side
Passenger Side and Trash Humpers
Have You Heard From Johannesburg?: The Bottom Line (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Connie Field; Stars: Connie Field, Gregory Scharpen)
Exploration of the mass protests against Apartheid in South Africa as the anit-apartheid movement reaches 50 years of age.
Kamui gaiden (Country: Japan; Year: 2009; Director: Yoichi Sai; Writer: Sampei Shirato, Kankurô Kudô; Stars: Ken'ichi Matsuyama, Koyuki, Kaoru Kobayashi, Kôichi Satô, Hideaki Ito, Sei Ashina, Ekin Cheng, Naoyuki Morita, Shigeru Nakano, Suzuka Ohgo, Daisuke Ryu, Gorô Tamiya, Anna Tsuchiya, Tsutomu Yamazaki)
Ninja-tastic adaptation of the famous manga.
Karaoke (Country: Malaysia; Year: 2009; Director: Chris Chong Chan Fui; Writer: Shanon Shah; Stars: Zahiril Adzim, Amerul Affendi, Hariry Jalil, Mislina Mustapha, Nadiya Nissa)
Exploration of change in modern-day Malaysia seen through the eyes of a boy who returns to his home town expecting to run a karaoke bar.
Kinatay (Country: Philippines, France; Year: 2009; Director: Brillante Mendoza; Writer: Armando Lao; Stars: Mercedes Cabral, Julio Diaz, Jhong Hilario, Maria Isabel Lopez, Coco Martin, Mark Meily, Lauren Novero, John Regala)
When a man tries to make a quick buck so he can marry his girlfriend, he finds the task is murder.
Like You Know It All (Jal aljido mothamyeonseo) (Country: South Korea; Year: 2009; Director: Hong Sang-soo; Writer: Hong Sang-soo; Stars: Kim Tae-woo, Uhm Ji-won, Go Hyun-jung, Kong Hyeong-jin, Ha Jung-woo, Jeong Yu-mi)
Comic look at relationships, centring on two affairs of the heart for a film director.
Polytechnique Polytechnique
Polytechnique and Wah Do Dem
Nymph (Nang mai) (Country: Thailand; Year: 2009; Director: Pen-Ek Ratanaruang; Writer: Pen-ek Ratanaruang; Stars: Wanida Termtanaporn, Jayanama Nopachai, Phornthip Papanai, Chamanun Wanwinwatsera)
Poetic exploration of marital breakdown.
One-Zero (Country: Egypt; Year: 2009; Director: Kamla Abu Zekry; Writer: Mariam Naoom; Stars: Khaled Abol Naga, Ilham Shaheen, Nelly Karim, Ahmed El Feshawy, Entessar, Zeina, Lotfi Labieb, Hussien El Imam, Aida Riad, Kamel El Sherif)
Eight characters, one day and one footy match in Cairo.
Passenger Side (Country: Canada; Year: 2009; Director: Matt Bissonnette; Writer: Matt Bissonnette; Stars: Adam Scott, Joel Bissonnette, Robin Tunney, Gale Harold, Greg Dulli, Rachael Santhon, Kimberley Huie), Official Site
When a man gets a call from his estranged addicted brother on the morning of his birthday it leads to an odyssey through the LA suburbs.
Plan B (Country: Argentina; Year: 2009; Director: Marco Berger; Writer: Marco Berger; Stars: Manuel Vignau, Lucas Ferraro, Mercedes Quinteros)
When a man is dumped by his girlfriend, he determines to win her back... even if he has to get her new man out of the way.
Polytechnique (Country: Canada; Year: 2009; Director: Denis Villeneuve; Writer: Jacques Davidts; Stars: Maxim Gaudette, Sébastien Huberdeau, Karine Vanasse, Marie-Évelyne Baribeau, Evelyne Brochu, Mireille Brullemans, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Larissa Corriveau, Sophie Desmarais, Jonathan Dubsky, Marina Eva, Emmanuelle Girard, Nathalie Girard, Natalie Hamel-Roy, Adam Kosh)
Multi-textual examination of a mass-murder
Gigante Gigante
Gigante and The Exploding Girl
Power Of The Poor (Country: Mali; Year: 2009; Director: Adama Drabo, Ladji Diakité; Writer: Adama Drabo; Stars: Djénébou Koné, Souleymane Diakité, Modibo Dily Traoré)
Second film of a planned trilogy exploring the plight of albinos in Mali.
Ride The Wave Johnny (Country: India; Year: 2009; Director: Sudhir Mishra; Writer: Sudhir Mishra; Stars: Neil Nitin Mukesh, Soha Ali Khan, K K Menon)
A youngster working as a drug dealer in the Mumbai slums dreams of escape.
The Search (Country: China; Year: 2009; Director: Pema Tseden; Writer: Pema Tseden)
A filmmaker searches the Himalayas for an actor and actress to play the lead roles in his Tibetan opera.
Sergio (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Greg Barker)
Documentary examining the role of the United Nations and the international community through the life and experiences of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, including interviews with those who knew and worked with him over the course of his extraordinary career.
A Shine Of Rainbows (Country: Canada, Ireland; Year: 2009; Director: Vic Sarin; Writer: Vic Sarin, Catherine Spear, Dennis Foon, Lillian Beckwith; Stars: Connie Nielsen, Aidan Quinn, John Bell, Jack Gleeson, Tara Alice Scully, Niamh Shaw, Bonnie Bollivar, Gerald Boner, Laura Doherty, Adam Downey, Gary Healy, Kieran Lagan, Shane Mahon, Joy McBrinn, Ian McElhinney)
An orphan's life is transformed by a magical island.
Sweethearts Of The Prison Rodeo Sweethearts Of The Prison Rodeo
Sweethearts Of The Prison Rodeo and Sergio
Shirley Adams (Country: South Africa, US, UK; Year: 2009; Director: Oliver Hermanus; Writer: Oliver Hermanus, Stavros Pamballis; Stars: Denise Newman, Keenan Arrison, Emily Child, Theresa Sedras, Gamiet Peterson, Travis Snyders, Lee-Ann Van Rooi, David Muller, Adrian Galley, Sasha Lee, Lu Chase, Ruth Mpukwana, Suzanne Elizabeth Duncan, Mntuwelilizwe Ndamane, Marlene Hyland)
A woman cares for her disabled son after he becomes a victim of gun violence in Cape Town's slums.
Sightseeing (Excursiones) (Country: Argentina; Year: 2009; Director: Ezequiel Acuña; Writer: Matías Castelli, Ezequiel Acuña, Alberto Rojas Apel; Stars: Matías Castelli, Martina Juncadella, Santiago Pedrero, Martín Piroyansky, Ignacio Rogers, Alberto Rojas Apel)
Two old school pals meet up a decade later to collaborate on a play.
Still Bill (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Damani Baker, Alex Vlack; Stars: Bill Withers, Cornel West, Tavis Smiley, Jim James, Angélique Kidjo)
Documentary portrait of singer Bill Withers.
Sweethearts Of The Prison Rodeo (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Bradley Beesley; Writer: Bradley Beesley; Stars: Danny Liles, Jamie Brooks, Brandy Witte, Crystal Herrington, Monty Baker, Rhonda Buffalo, Irven Box), Official Site, Trailer
Documentary tracks the preparations for the Oklahoma State Penitentiary Rodeo in the second year that female cons are allowed to take part.
Today's Special (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: David Kaplan; Writer: Jonathan Bines, Aasif Mandvi; Stars: Kevin Corrigan, Dean Winters, Aasif Mandvi, Jess Weixler, Ajay Naidu, Kevin Breznahan, Naseeruddin Shah, Kumar Pallana, Harish Patel, Lee Wong, Amir Arison, Ranjit Chowdhry, Madhur Jaffrey, Sean T. Krishnan, Debargo Sanyal)
The comic trials and tribulations of a top sous chef.
Burning Down The House: The Story Of CBGB Burning Down The House: The Story Of CBGB
Burning Down The House: The Story Of CBGB and Defamation
Trash Humpers (Country: US, UK; Year: 2009; Director: Harmony Korine; Writer: Harmony Korine; Stars: Rachel Korine, Harmony Korine, Brian Kotzur, Travis Nicholson, Charles Ezell)
A group of elderly people film themselves fornicating with the debris of society.
The Traveller (Al Mosafer) (Country: Egypt, Italy; Year: 2009; Director: Ahmed Maher; Stars: Cyrine AbdelNour, Khaled Nabawy, Sherif Ramzzy, Omar Sharif, Amr Waked)
An Egyptian returning to his homeland reflects on his life.
Trimpin: The Sound Of Invention (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Peter Esmonde; Stars: Charles Amirkhanian, Hank Dutt, Kyle Gann, David Harrington, Jacob MacMurray, Cork Marcheschi, Conlon Nancarrow, John Sherba, Trimpin, Jeffrey Zeigler)
A portrait of the 'sonic experimenter' artist.
Visitors (Country: South Korea; Year: 2009; Stars: Jung Yu-Mi, Moon Sung-Kuen, Kazuki Kitamura)
Triptych of tales linked by the theme of a home-coming outsider.
Wah Do Dem (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Ben Chace, Sam Fleischner; Writer: Ben Chace, Sam Fleischner; Stars: Sean Bones, Norah Jones, Carl Bradshaw, The Congos)
A young American tourist is robbed in Jamaica and his attempts to reach the American Embassy in Kingston turn into a surreal odyssey.
The Well (Country: India; Year: 2009; Director: Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni; Writer: Girish Pandurang Kulkarni, Sati Bhave; Stars: Madan Deodhar, Alok Rajwade, Renuka Daptardar)
Bittersweet coming-of-age tale, centring on an arranged marriage.
Well Done Abba (Country: India; Year: 2009; Director: Shyam Benegal; Writer: Shyam Benegal, Ashok Mishra; Stars: Ila Arun, Sammir Dattani, Boman Irani, Ravi Jhankal, Rajit Kapoor, Ravi Kishan, Sonali Kulkarni, Minissha Lamba, Akhil Mishra, Yashpal Sharma)
When a driver arrives back from his holidays two months' late, he spins a fabulous tale to explain his delay.
The Window (Janala) (Country: India; Year: 2009; Director: Buddhadev Dasgupta; Writer: Buddhadev Dasgupta; Stars: Swastika Mukherjee, Tapas Pal, Indraneil Sengupta)
A man whose girlfriend is pregnant gets into hot water as he tries to scrape the money together for a window at his former school.
The Wind Journeys (Los viajes del viento) (Country: Colombia, Netherlands, Argentina, Germany; Year: 2009; Director: Ciro Guerra; Writer: Ciro Guerra; Stars: Marciano Martínez, Yull Núñez)
The adventures of a wandering minstrel who is travelling Colombia to return his instrument to the man who taught him.
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