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Home Blog Latest LFF 2013: Alternative strands / films to see
LFF 2013: Alternative strands / films to see Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Thursday, 03 October 2013 06:39

If you've so much as glanced at this year's London Film Festival line-up, you'll be well aware that's it's a good'un - and even more aware that's an understatement.

With so much solid gold stuff on show, simply diving into the programme in the usual way only seems to result in this:

So instead, I turned to Claire Stewart's themed strands as useful way to spot some must-sees off the beaten (aka. sold out) track. That was much more successful, but still, it wasn't quite what I wanted. Love? Cult? Thrill? Debate? They're all great categories for broad themes and genres, but what if I just want to watch a film about cats? Or mountains? Or swimming? What if I really like Tom Hiddleston and Tom Hardy and just want to know the opportune day and time to throw my sweaty undergarments at them?

So, as more London Film Festival tickets go on sale today - TODAY, QUICK, GO BUY SOME NOW - I present another way to find the best films to see at the festival. Offering something for all tastes, here are my alternative strands for the 2013 LFF:

Everything You Didn't Want to Know About Sex and Were Afraid to Ask

Sex is great and all that, but from porn addiction and strippers as house guests to blossoming lesbian relationships, these films are about more than the carnal act itself. Trust, modern society, emotion; expect them all to be explored under the covers.

Afternoon Delight
Jeune et Jolie
Don Jon
Blue Is the Warmest Colour

When Boats Go Wrong

They may not be a pirates theme this year, but the nautically-minded will still find their needs met by an ocean of aquatic adventures. From Captain Phillips' distressing Somali-set drama and Robert Redford's intense survival tale (All Is Lost) to a new thriller (Pioneer) from the director of the original Insomnia, if you've never been sailing before, this line-up makes sure you never will.

Captain Phillips
All Is Lost
12 Years a Slave
The Lady from Shanghai


If there's a film at this year's festival that takes your fancy, the chances are it involves someone called Tom. He may be a vampire (Only Lovers), a guy trapped in a car (Locke) or a bloke who works on a farm (Tom on the Farm), but they all have one thing in common: they look excellent. That and they're called Tom, obvs.

Only Lovers Left Alive
Captain Phillips
Tom on the Farm
Saving Mr. Banks


Still pretending to cling on to that New Year's Resolution to do more exercise? Give it up once and for all and watch one of these sporting titles instead. Hell, do one running, one swimming and cycling and you can tell your friends you did a triathlon.

Sarah Prefers to Run
Stranger by the Lake
Floating Skyscrapers
The Armstrong Lie


I love farms. The animals. The countryside. The farming. Farms are great. But unless you're a subscriber to LOVEFaRM, you never see them on the big screen. This year's LFF, though, is about to change all that: from being targets in an eco-terrorist plot (Night Moves) to the sparse landscape for a Western (Mystery Road) or the rural backdrop for two women hiding out in a ranch, this is their year. It's the London Farm Festival baby. Pull up a tractor.

Tom on the Farm It's All So Quiet
The Plague
Mystery Road
Night Moves
Vic + Flo Saw a Bear

Mia Wasikowska

Toms are everywhere these days, but Mia Wasikowska has the honour of being in the most films at this year's London Film Festival. Why not treat yourself to a triple bill? Especially when one of them is a vampire flick from Jim Jarmusch and the other is Richard Ayaode's new comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg.

Only Lovers Left Alive
The Double


Like farms, mountains never get enough attention in movies. But don't worry: if you can't make it to the Kendal Mountain Fest, there's some awesome orienteering action going down at the LFF - not least of which is the BFI's restoration of The Epic of Everest.

The Long Way Home
The Epic of Everest

Teen Movies

Between Easy A, Scott Pilgrim and Spring Breakers, teen movies are having a comeback. Some of the most exciting on offer at this year's festival include a musical revolution in the slums of Cairo, a Tel Aviv-set thriller, a documentary about youth culture spanning the start of the 20th Century through to the 1940s and, most of exciting of all, Kill Your Darlings, a beat generation drama starring Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Huston as Jack Kerouac. Tune in - and forget about your hormones.

Electro Chaabi
Kill Your Darlings
All Cheerleaders Die


With Michael Nyman performing at the festival and an on-stage chat with Clint Mansell - not to mention Simon Fisher Turner's new score to The Epic of Everest - this year's LFF is set to be a dream for your eardrums. But for music lovers, there are some equally appealing films on offer, including the Coen Bros' new folk-tinged tale to a thriller starring Elijah Wood as a pianist whose performance is hijacked by a sniper. Yes, really.

Grand Piano
Inside Llewyn Davis
We Are the Best!
The Punk Singer


I don't know Claire Stewart, but I like to think she's a massive geek: genre is bigger than ever at this year's line-up - and not just in the Cult strand. Tales range from Scarlett Johansson as a man-eating alien and Terry Gilliam's latest to a documentary about Jodorowsky’s attempt to make Dune and Ari Folman's follow-up to Waltz with Bashir. Gravity is top of the list - but what a list.

Under the Skin
The Congress
The Zero Theorem
Jodorowsky’s Dune


Writers are under the microscope this year as much as farms and mountains. Pick up a pen and make a note of these:

Saving Mr. Banks
Kill Your Darlings
Camille Claudel

Fathers and Mothers

Fathers. Mothers. Sons. George. If you're a family man, you're set for a grand time this October. Partly because you can stand in the queue and wait for someone to get them all confused and ask for a ticket to see Like Father, My Mother and Me, Myself and Mum of George.

My Fathers, My Mother and Me
Like Father, Like Son
Me, Myself and Mum
Mother of George

London Calling

There's no place like London - and with the BFI's fantastic archive footage wrapped up in an impressionist piece by Paul Kelly and Saint Etienne (How We Used to Live), there's no place like the LFF to admire it.

London Calling
How We Used to Live


There's no other Czech comedy about chess in the 1980s at the London Film Festival. Which makes Computer Chess a must-see.
Computer Chess

The BFI London Film Festival runs from Wednesday 9th October to Sunday 18th October. Visit the official LFF site for more information.