Three to see today: Friday 6 October
Three unmissable films with tickets still available at today’s BFI London Film Festival.
R C Sherriff’s acclaimed First World War drama reaches the screen in this all-star adaptation, directed by Saul Dibb (Bullet Boy).
Men await an attack in the trenches of the First World War in this outstanding, intensely claustrophobic adaption of R C Sherriff’s 1928 play. Monday, 18 March 1918. C Company, led by Captain Stanhope (Sam Claflin) is about to take its posting on the front line. Intelligence suggests an imminent German attack and having been all but abandoned by the Commanding Officers, Stanhope knows there is little chance of survival. Trench supplies and munitions are depleted, as is the troop’s morale. In these appalling conditions, each man’s character is laid bare. An adroit cast offer performances of great depth and texture, from Paul Bettany’s Osborne, the very definition of the English ‘stiff upper lip’, to Claflin’s Stanhope, whose own shredded nerves are steeled with alcohol. But the shattered heart of the film is Asa Butterfield as Raleigh – the tender new recruit who ardently requested a placement in order to be close to Stanhope, his sister’s fiancé. Saul Dibb’s taut, confident direction is dread-inducing from the start – set in the cramped, stifling spaces of the trenches, foregrounding the tense personal dramas in Simon Reade’s lean screenplay. Journey’s End brings a fresh and powerful sense of this terrible war’s cost to a generation.
‘Fame costs’. That old cliché is often so painfully true. Testament to this is prima ballerina Darling. How much is she willing to sacrifice for her art?
Showcasing a wealth of exquisite choreography and underpinned by a fine script, this provocative drama elegantly probes the nature of creative collaboration and the passage of success. International superstar ballerina ‘Darling’ (Danica Curcic) and her husband Frans (Gustaf Skarsgård, Vikings) return to the Royal Danish Ballet company in Copenhagen where Darling is to dance the lead in Giselle. The production, choreographed by Frans, is highly anticipated by the company and the couple themselves, for whom the job is all consuming – perhaps offering the only space where they can truly thrive together. Unquestionably talented but dangerously obsessive, Darling has already pushed herself beyond her limits, and her uncompromising behaviour threatens what promised to be a highpoint in her and Frans’ professional and personal lives. Curcic’s physically and emotionally powerful performance, guided by Birgitte Stærmose’s empathetic but always precise direction, provides an exhilarating depiction of creativity and the pressures of performance.
Leave your fear of heights at home before venturing to this exhilarating documentary, where six women take part in some vertiginous direct action.
How far would you go to save the Arctic? For six women, it saw them scale the 310 vertiginous metres of The Shard. In 2013, Greenpeace made headlines around the world by staging one of their most daring protests. An all-female team illegally ascended The Shard, Europe’s tallest building, which towers over the Thames. Emanating from different countries, none of the women were professional climbers. What they shared was a sense of outrage at petroleum giant Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. In his debut feature, Michael Woodward employs behind-the-scenes footage detailing the preparations, combined with personal interviews and contemporary newsreel to capture the experiences of the six (extra)ordinary women who volunteered for this perilous climb. They speak with candour and humour about their reasons for the protest and what kept them going in order to undertake this mission to save an essential part of our planet.
Find out about Discovery Passes