Thursday, 7 November 2013

Film: Leeds International Film Festival round-up

Yorkshire's film fans are a lucky bunch. With a great selection of independent cinemas and film festivals across the region, and of course the National media museum on our doorstep, there's plenty to keep even the most discerning film buffs interested.

Perhaps the jewel in the crown of Yorkshire's ilm calendar is the Leeds International Film Festival.

Now into its 27th year, the festival attracts ilmmakers and movie lovers from around the world for a fortnight of cinematic bliss – and this year's line-up doesn't disappoint.

For the festival's gala opening at Everyman cinema last night, audiences were treated to the Uk premiere of Alfonso Cuarón's glorious science fiction saga Gravity, screened in breathtaking 3D.

Tonight Hyde Park Picture house will be screening sign Painters, Faythe Levine and Sam Macon's follow-up to their 2009 film Handmade Nation. Exploring the art and craft behind the painting of shop signs might sound a litle bit niche, but the film highlights the passion and artistry required by the sign painters, and the almost indelible mark that painted signs have let on our towns and cities.

If you prefer something a litle more mystical, then a special screening of the 1968 sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A space odyssey on November 9 in the grandiose surroundings of Leeds Town Hall might be just the ticket.

Directed by stanley kubrick and written in partnership with legendary science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A space odyssey tells the story of human interactions with mysterious black monoliths which appear to influence the development of human evolution.

For something more contemporary there's Blue is the Warmest Colour. A hit with this year's Cannes film festival jury, chaired by one Steven Spielberg, this powerful love story about a deeply passionate relationship between two young women features extraordinary performances from Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos as Adèle.

Music fans will be intrigued by Vikram Jayant's2009 film The Agony and the ecstasy of Phil Spector which will be screened on November 10 and 14 in Leeds Town hall's Albert Room. Spector stands with Nile Rodgers and Joe Meek as one of the most important music producers of the 20th century, rising to fame with his ‘Wall of Sound' method of production.

Spector became headline news in 2003 after shooting actress Lana Clarkson in his California home, and was convicted of her murder in 2009.

For something a bit more light-hearted, there's always the UK premiere of Japanese martial arts comedy, Takanori Tsujimoto's Bushido Man which will be shown at Hyde Park Picture House on November 9 and Vue in the light on November 19.

With its wacky storyline which teaches the understanding of one's opponent through studying their favourite foods and its over-the-top fight choreography, this film is proof if ever proof were needed that Japanese cinema is possibly the most entertaining and imaginative in the world.

Andrew Bujalski's funny and inventive Computer Chess will be shown on November 9 and 13 at Everyman Cinema and November 16 at Vue in the Light. Set in the early 80s, the film is centred around a tournament between computer programmers pitting their chess programmes against each other.

Documentaries critical of capitalism and ‘evil' corporations are the staple of any film festival worth its salt. Showing on November 14 and 18 at leeds Town hall's Albert Room, Michael Chanan's 2012 documentary Secret City is somewhat subtler.

The film exposes the role of the ancient Corporation of London in the recent global economic crisis, shedding light on the inner-workings of London's financial centre.

The UK premiere of Hungarian director György Páli's Final Cut, Ladies and Gentlemen will be shown at the festival's closing gala at Leeds Town hall on November 21.

The 27th Leeds International Film Festival runs from November 6 to 21. For more information visit

This article was published in the Yorkshire Evening Post on November 7, 2013.b

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