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London Film Festival 2011: It's All Happening

London Confidential's daily LFF diary, live from the BFI

Written by . Published on October 4th 2011.

London Film Festival 2011: It's All Happening

THERE is a week to go until the start of this year’s London Film Festival. A veritable cornucopia for film fans with some of the best new movies from around the world including experimental, animation and shorts, archive classics and special events.  A couple of films that will be showing are Martha Marcy May Marlene starring Elizabeth Olsen and the haunted house flick The Awakening.


Martha Marcy May Marlene
Elizabeth Olsen plays Martha, a girl who gets involved with a cult in a remote part of the Catskills before escaping to being reunited with older sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson). The movie flicks between Martha’s previous skewed goings-on as part of the cult and adapting to living with her sister Lucy and her husband Ted (Hugh Dancy). The film explores the relationship of the two sisters.  Lucy feels guilty for not being around for Martha after their mother died. On the surface Martha tries to play down her feelings towards her sister but occasionally she is unable to suppress them. Olsen is pretty good as the messed up girl trying to adapt to a more normal existence but deeply scared after her life in the cult. I felt the movie dealt with how confused and weary Marcy had become because of her experiences in an intelligent way with enough post movie discussion material. Olsen and the movie got rave reviews when showed at Sundance and overall it’s a decent effort.

Martha Marcy May Marlene is showing on the 21, 22 & 24 October at the London Film Festival


The Awakening
I needed awakening myself quite a bit watching this turgid haunted house movie. Rebecca Hall plays Florence Cathcart a kind of part-time ghost hunter who likes nothing better than to expose any mumbo jumbo supernatural nonsense. She is hired by Schoolmaster Robert Mallory (Dominic West) to investigate alleged spooky going-ons at a boy’s school where a pupil has recently died. Cathcart turns up with her scientific contraptions and the movie’s production music/sound team does their best to create an illusion of suspense and foreboding to give us the creeps. I’m sure the movie had grand pretensions in someone’s head and obviously enticed the likes of Hall and West to get involved but it just ends up muddled and not very scary at any stage. The conclusion at the end is very unsatisfactory for any one that invested any expectations and why would you with such a prelude? The only horror here is how bad the movie actually is.  

The Awakening is showing on the 25 & 26 October at the London Film Festival

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