Stan & Ollie
For the festival’s Closing Night Gala, comedy giants Steven Coogan and John C Reilly embody the world’s most famous comedy odd couple in this darkly humorous but bittersweet tale. Director Jon S Baird, most famous for his interpretation of the Irvine Welsh crime caper Filth, tells the tale of the duo’s final attempt to regain some former glory as their legend begins to wane.
Based on real-life memoirs by father and son David and Nic Sheff, this star-studded film details a family’s journey coping with addiction. The title characters are played by Steve Carell and Timothee Chamalet as they navigate a cycle of relapse and recovery over many years. Beautiful Boy provides brutally-honest insight as to how life-long addiction can weave itself into a relationship, questioning how far we will go for the ones we love.
A Private War
For this year’s Mayor of London Gala, Matthew Heineman makes his dramatic debut with the tale of one of the world’s most celebrated war correspondents, Marie Colvin. Most known for his harrowing documentaries Cartel Land and City of Ghost’s, this time Heineman directs Rosamund Pike in her portrayal of the eminent Colvin, who was sadly killed while reporting on the war in Syria in 2012.
The White Crow
Until now, the backstory of world-renown Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev has remained largely ambiguous, with many distracted by his famously flamboyant persona. This film leaves the showbiz behind, instead exploring the sacrifices he made for dance – from clashes with family over his choice to train as a child to defecting from his country and seeking asylum in Paris during the Cold War.
This quietly chilling documentary follows a group of hotel staff in once booming, now abandoned Egyptian holiday resort Sharm El Sheikh. The stark contrast between the lives they hope to have and the situations they currently face mirrors that seen between the legacy of the fantastical “Arab Spring” and the current state of its struggling economy. And yet the workers remain, DJing empty clubs and maintaining deserted buildings as their dreams for the future leave them behind.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Brothers Ethan and Joel Coen return in fine form with their enrapturing vision of the Wild West. Following on from previous successful explorations of the great American western – True Grit, No Country For Old Men – this six-part anthology tells various and unique tales of life on the frontier in the inimitable Coen Brothers style. An unmissable feature, guaranteed to draw attention with help from the likes of James Franco, Liam Neeson and rock and blues stalwart Tom Waits.