Women take center stage at this year’s London Film Festival

The past few years have been incredibly difficult for the UK arts and entertainment industries. Film, television, radio and photography have lost around £ 2.6 billion, and although cinemas and theaters are reopening; many of us are still afraid of live events. That said, after nearly two years of intermittent shutdowns, the cinema is slowly starting to get back on its feet. Daniel Craig’s latest Bond film, No Time to Die, just broke box office records, and this fall there’s a whole slew of new releases to get you excited.

© Provided by Grazia

The London Film Festival is one event that highlights this. From Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, to Rebecca Hall, who transformed Nella Larsen’s 1929 book: Passing in a film starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga; This year’s lineup features a wide range of compelling stories, with women in mind and off-screen.

From tonight until October 17, the festival will present 159 films. “It’s absolutely amazing to be back to a full-scale live event, even though it has plenty of entry points for people who can’t make it to London or aren’t ready to go yet. go back to live events, ”said the festival director. , Tricia Tuttle.

People lack shared cultural moments – theater, live music, exhibitions and cinema. There is something truly magical that happens when you see art with other people.

She wants this year’s festival to catch up on the shared moments that we have missed. “We may have read great books and watched great movies and televisions at home over the past 20 months, but people are missing out on shared cultural moments – theater, live music, exhibits and cinema. There is something truly magical that happens when you see art with other people and this is especially true of film. Your heart races, you can cry or laugh, you sit in the dark and experience moments of true intimacy and transformation with other people. I love it and can’t wait to share these amazing movies during the 12 days of LFF. ‘

She reassures the public by saying that “we are still in a pandemic and our LFF planning must have reflected this – my team must have become experts on the Covid protocol”. She also admits having to bring back some elements of the 2020 festival such as a selection of feature films online; good news for viewers who cannot attend the London screenings.

“Covid has exposed a lot of inequalities and people have become much more aware of systemic racism and the many prejudices that work against inclusion. We have to hold on to the awareness and act on it. UK industry needs to address the lack of diversity and inclusion, especially at senior levels and in cultural leadership positions. The past year really highlighted how much the film industry – and festivals – must do to become more inclusive of audiences who may have access requirements that are not being met. ‘

This year’s festival features a record number of female directors we’ve seen, a number that has increased from previous years 40% of filmmakers. Whether you’re heading to the festival, watching online, or just planning your next trip to the movies, here is Grazia’s pick of the best female-centric films among female-led films.


Sadie Frost’s film career spans over four decades and during that time she also launched her own fashion brands including FrostFrench which may have given her unique insight into the inspiration of his new movie. quantitative; documentary film about fashion designer Dame Mary Quant.

Mary Quant was one of the most influential designers of the 20th century and was largely responsible for the style revolution of the 60s and 70s. Famous for moving away from conservative styles, she has designed pieces that are today emblematic; hotpants and microphone mini skirts not too different from those presented on the Miu Miu podium this week.

One of the reasons Frost wanted to include today’s cultural figures is the recurring trendy Quant designs in 2021. Stars such as Kate Moss, Vivienne Westwood and the makeup legend Charlotte tilbury everything is in the film. “I really wanted the people who are in the spotlight now to recognize the relevance of Mary and her work in fashion and beauty today,” says Frost. “The three women are powers just like Mary and their careers have spanned decades.”

Audiences will get an intimate glimpse into Quant’s life and how she managed to build an empire while juggling motherhood. Frost told Grazia: “She was a revolutionary who empowered women and was a leading figure in the British invasion.” What surprised me the most was how she fought for her privacy doing all of this and being a loving mother.

Get tickets for Quant, October 9-10, Curzon Mayfair and Curzon Soho


Ali & Ava is written and directed by Clio Barnard who is renowned for his authentic portrayal of the north of England. With Adeel Akhtar and Claire Rushbrook, it takes place in Bradford, West Yorkshire; close to home for Clio Barnard who was born in Leeds.

The film centers around a middle-aged love story and portraying the diversity of ages was a priority for the director. “It was important. I’m not sure middle aged women get a lot of attention when it comes to the big screen – especially when it comes to love stories. ‘

Music and humor play an important role in Ali & Ava, “which we always do when we fall in love, don’t we?” said Clio. “My first kiss was at the Bradford rink when I was a teenager. It was my birthday. A boy I didn’t know, a stranger, took me out of the ice and down the small hallway that led to the DJ booth. He kissed me and then left skating – so I’ve always associated Bradford with music and romance. ‘

Buy tickets for Ali & Ava, October 13-14 at the Southbank Center.


Jane Campion made history by becoming the first woman to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993 with The Piano. The Power of the Dog is his long-awaited and highly anticipated second feature film.

Shot in New Zealand (where Campion is from), the film is set in 1925 and focuses on the tension between the two brothers Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George (Jesse Plemons). It promises to be both a slow-burning psychodrama and a modern western.

Buy tickets for The Power of the Dog, October 11-12 at the Southbank Center.


Dealing with race, sexuality, marriage and relationships, Passing follows two childhood friends and their fascination with each other’s lives. Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut may have been based on Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel, but it couldn’t be more relevant today. Following a woman posing as white in Harlem in the early 1920s, the black-and-white drama explores the ways we all come across as something …

Get tickets for Passing, October 12 at Southbank Center

Gerald R. Schneider

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