The 62nd BFI London Film Festival ended just under a week ago, but many films from the festival’s expansive lineup are still lingering on our minds. We loved the buzz-worthy titles including The Favourite, Beautiful Boy and Rafiki, but we also caught a few gems hidden in the mix. Iana and Megan make their picks from the lesser known films from the festival.
Daughter of Mine, dir. Laura Bispuri
Sparse in dialogue and slow in action, Daughter of Mine is more than worth a viewer’s attention. In Laura Bispuri’s Sardianian drama, a young girl must choose between the woman who raised her, and the woman who gave birth to her. Beautiful and stripped-back, Daughter of Mine never falls cruelly on either side of the argument, and instead treats its characters with dignity as they battle through the heartache of unexpected love.
Jinn, dir. Nilja Mu’min
Jinn is a vibrant look at dual identities, and examines how difficult it can be for youth to balance the expectations laid upon them by certain labels. Protagonist Summer is a seventeen-year-old girl who loves dancing and hanging out with her friends, but her life is changed irrevocably when her mother decides to convert to Islam. Emotive topics are provoked with gentleness and respect in equal measure, as Summer finds herself changing in ways she did not initially expect.
Museo, dir. Alonso Ruizpalacios
Heist movies are having something of a moment, but none of them are as inventive or as daring as Museo. Based on the unbelievable true story, Gael García Bernal stars as one half of a pair of friends who decide to steal 140 artifacts from Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology. It has a lot of style to it, but its intent to set itself apart from other films in the genre can be seen through and through — the heist itself is one of the most extraordinary sequences I’ve seen this year.
Only You, dir. Harry Wootliff
Romantic and mature in equal measure, Only You follows the relationship between Elena (Laia Costa) and Jake (Josh O’Connor), who meet on New Year’s Day on the streets of Glasgow. Elena initially lies about her age, but their relationship only becomes stronger when Jake assures her he doesn’t care. “We’re made for each other,” he says, while I swoon, hopelessly lost in Josh O’Connor’s beautiful smile. Their age difference only becomes an issue when they begin trying for a baby, a decision which forms fissures in the once rock-solid couple. The film is a strong debut from Harry Wootliff, and I’m excited to see more from her.
Rosie, dir. Paddy Breathnach
A bleak but emotionally honest depiction of the Dublin housing crisis, Rosie is social issue filmmaking at its very finest. With characters that feel so real they could be your neighbours, your cousins, your friends, your siblings, or even yourself, Paddy Breathnach delivers a harrowing message without ever succumbing to melodrama. As the eponymous mother-of-four tries valiantly to find shelter for her family, it is impossible not to be moved; expect tears, and a solemn consideration of the current status quo for many.
United Skates, dir. Dyana Winkler, Tina Brown
One of the festival’s low key gems was this documentary about the vibrant roller skating scene in the United States. While the skating is fantastic (a highlight is a montage of the skating styles from America’s major cities), the film is really about how racism has fought against the black community’s outlets for creativity for decades. Microaggressions come in the form of dress codes, strict rules on modifications, and closures of black-owned skating rinks. United Skates is an illuminating portrait on a subculture rarely been put to screen before, and what you see is exhilarating.