Leeds International Film Festival: our picks

With the renowned Leeds International Film Festival reaching its landmark 30th birthday, In the Middle gives you a quick preview of this year‘s most exciting offerings…


The new film from indie scene titan Jim Jarmusch (Only Lovers Left Alive, Broken Flowers), serves as the opener to the LIFF30. The much lauded film stars Adam Driver as the titular Paterson, a poet/bus driver living in the city of the same name. The Telegraph’s Tim Robey described the film as ‘a treasure for years to come’. By all accounts the film quietly and tenderly observes the triumphs and defeats of daily life, as well as poetry in its smallest details. This is a wonderful work by one of the medium’s best.
3rd November @ Leeds Town Hall.

The Red Turtle

Screened as part of the festival’s Animation Day, The Red Turtle is a visually stunning new animated feature from Dutch filmmaker Michael Dudok de Wit. Entirely dialogue free, the film combines realism with fairy tales and magical realist storytelling. The Red Turtle follows a man who is stranded on a beautiful but dangerous deserted island, struggling to survive. He tries to build a boat to escape, whilst experiencing a series of encounters with a mysterious red turtle. A true oddity in being the first non-Japanese co-production from the legendary Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away), The Red Turtle is one to watch.
6th November @ Leeds Town Hall 

Under the Skin

A new chance to see a film that since its release in 2013 has gone from art-house darling, to cult hit, to bonafide modern classic. Jonathan Glazer’s (Sexy Beast) eerily beautiful, yet haunting Under the Skin stars Scarlett Johansson as the alien seductress traversing Scotland in a transit van, preying upon men who fall under her spell. Astoundingly shot and accompanied by a lovelorn, disquieting and always mesmerising score by Mica Levi, Under the Skin is a film which demands to be seen.
11th November @ Leeds Town Hall.

Blue Velvet: New Digital Cinema Restoration

Arguably David Lynch’s greatest work, Blue Velvet has intrigued and shocked audiences for 30 years – much like the LIFF itself. Truly one of the most intense cinematic experiences of all time, this is one that can’t be missed. The screening of this digitally remastered version is a chance to get in early before the full re-release on the 2nd December. It is also a chance, if you haven’t already, to have the pleasure of seeing a great film in one of the country’s most beloved independent cinemas. 17th November @ The Hyde Park Picture House

Toni Erdmann

Absolutely fawned over by critics at Cannes, and in the eyes of many robbed of the Palme D’or Toni Erdmann has the honour of closing LIFF30. The ground-breaking comedy-drama from German director Maren Ade follows an ambitious young businesswoman and the unpredictable relationship with her eccentric, practical-joke loving father. In equal parts poignant and hilarious, Toni Erdmann is a rare gem. It is the perfect film to celebrate the 30th year of the Leeds International Film Festival.
17th November @ Leeds Town Hall

Jonathan Atkinson

(Image courtesy of Under The Skin, Studio Canal)


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