16 World Premieres, 9 International Premieres, 38 European Premieres and 19 Archive films. That's the London Film Festival 2014 line-up in a nutshell.
Running from Wednesday 8th to Sunday 19th October 2014, it's a typically diverse round-up of global cinema, from an old restoration of a Chinese silent to new films from debut British directors. The process of selection from the best of the rest of the year's festivals feels as enjoyably idiosyncratic as ever. Hoped for Christopher Nolan's Intersteller at the BFI IMAX? You won't get that. You will get Jean-Luc Godard's 3D Goodbye to Language. Hoped for Birdman? You won't get that. You will get the European premiere of The Duke of Burgundy, the new film from Berberian Sound Studio's Peter Strickland.
This is a celebraton of creativity in all its forms, whether it's an old master experimenting with new technology or Reese Witherspoon delivering what could be the performance of her career in biopic-drama Wild.
It's telling that there's an entire competition strand at the LFF devoted to first-timers, from Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy's The Tribe - a Ukrainian film entirely in sign language with no subtitles - to Daniel Wolfe and Matthe Wolf's Catch Me Daddy - a Yorkshire-moors thriller with cinematography from Robbie Ryan.
As for the more established names, the LFF gala selection is both what you'd expect and what you wouldn't. There's Bennett Miller's wrestling film Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, drumming thriller Whiplash, starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, the return of festival favourite Jason Reitman with Men, Women and Children, the second directorial feature from Alan Rickman (A Little Chaos - heading up the Love strand), Jon Stewart's debut flick Rosewater (starring Gael Garcia Bernal - heading up the Debate strand), Xavier Daolan's Mommy (heading up the Dare strand), Western The Salvation (the Cult strand), but there's also, let's not forget, the concert film Björk: Biophilia Live.
Live music is becoming an increasingly important part of the London festival calender, as is its love of old cinema: both world premiere restorations (yes, there's still the Treasures strand too) will have live scores. The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Island will screen at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as the Archive Gala with a new soundtrack from award-winning composer Simon Dobson and will be performed by 24 members of the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, while The Goddess, a Chinese Golden Age silent film, will have a new score by Chinese composer Zou Ye performed live by the English Chamber Orchestra.
Where else can you find an event that adores familiar faces (Michael Winterbottom's The Face of an Angel will screen) and also profiles new filmmakers? A schedule that includes audiences (the Opening Gala of Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game and the Closing Gala of Brad Pitt in Fury will both have simultaneous screenings at cinemas across the UK) while still retaining that exclusive, unique voice? A film festival that gives the stage to Chinese silent film and shines a sequinned spotlight on a singer who once attended the Oscars dressed as a swan?
The BFI press release (which spans a whopping 4,610 words) presents the LFF as an festival that positions London as the world’s leading creative city. The London Film Festival 2014 line-up in a nutshell? From Godard to Björk in 12 days. That'll do it.
For more information - and the countless films I haven't been able to mention here - visit the official website: bfi.org.uk/lff.