Comment: BFI London Film Festival

The 59th BFI London Film Festival opens on Wednesday showcasing the world’s best new films at venues across the capital. Ingenious is delighted to have backed a number of these films, including Suffragette (which will open the prestigious festival), as well as CarolHigh-Rise and Brooklyn. Founded in 1933 as a charity to support and fund the arts, the BFI awards Lottery funded money to film production, distribution, education, audience development and market intelligence and research.

Opening the festival this year is Suffragette: a moving biopic that traces the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement as they fought for their right to vote. Featuring an all-star cast that includes Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham-Carter and Meryl Streep, critics have praised Mulligan for her ‘electric’ and ‘brilliantly understated’ lead performance. The film was heavily endorsed by the Pankhurst family and is the first ever to be allowed to film within the Houses of Parliament. As the centenary approaches of this most important of women’s movements, Suffragette’s position in opening the film festival is an fitting one. Watch the trailer

Across the Atlantic, dilemma and decision sits at the heart of Brooklyn, Nick Hornby’s stirring adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s number one bestseller of the same name. With few opportunities in post-war, rural Ireland Eilis (Saorise Ronan) emigrates to 1950s New York, falling in love with an Italian-American, Tony (Emory Cohen). However, when a family tragedy forces her home she attracts the attention of Jim (Domhnall Gleeson) and the decision of which life to choose creates a story of suspense that leaves lives hanging in the balance. Brooklyn has been much acclaimed for its casting, from lead to small roles, including Julie Walters as Eilis’ strict and opinionated land-lady in New York. Watch the trailer

Based on the 1975 social critique by J.G. Ballad, High-Rise tells the story of the lives and inhabitants of an ultra-modern high-rise block in the 1970s. The well-off live in the lower floors, the rich – like Dr Robert Laing (played by Tom Hiddleston) – in the middle and the super-rich at the top. While initially idyllic, the power structure starts to shift in the block as the lower residents climb the high rise and all hell breaks loose. A dystopian thriller directed by Ben Wheatley (and starring Sienna Miller and Jeremy Irons alongside Hiddleston) High Rise has been praised for its ‘complex and fluid interpretation’ of the original novel.

Carol has been receiving five star reviews from critics since it premiered at Cannes in May. An adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1950s novel The Price of SaltCarol is set in 1950s New York and tells the story of a department-store clerk, Therese (Rooney Mara) who falls for an older, married woman, Carol (Cate Blanchett). Blanchett’s performance has been widely commended as the best of her career; with the Telegraph commenting that Blanchett ‘leaps over her own highest standards with a subtlety that’s little short of phenomenal’. Watch the trailer

The BFI London Film Festival opens on 7 October and will bring 238 films to 16 cinemas across the UK. View the complete programme