Arrow Films will have a strong presence at this year’s London Film Festival, with three titles included, including a Headline Gala and a Special Presentation screening.
BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL – Headline Thrill Gala
Cult favourite Takashi Miike slices and slashes his way through this stunning swordplay adventure, the 100th title in the director’s extraordinary body of work.
In the Shogunate era, a samurai cursed with immortal life teams up with a young girl to avenge the murder of her parents. While fellow exploitation cinema connoisseur Quentin Tarantino has mooted his retirement from filmmaking, Japan’s Takashi Miike, just two years Tarantino’s senior, has passed triple figures as director. Though he has made several more since, Blade of the Immortal, based on the famous manga series by Hiroaki Samura, has the distinction of being Miike’s 100th feature. The speed of the film’s production notwithstanding, this is lean and mean Miike – a filmmaker at his controlled and bloody best. Takuya Kimura stars as Manji, a samurai saved by a witch following a vicious battle. She feeds him sacred bloodworms – fantastical creatures that rejoin severed limbs, heal gaping wounds and generally make it impossible for him to die. Haunted by the death of his sister, Manji sees a chance for redemption when he meets a young girl whose parents have been murdered. The culprits, a team of master swordsmen, come from the Ittō-ryū, a cruel school of fighting that demands victory by any means necessary. One by one, Manji tracks them down in this savage and inventive action thriller that makes an excellent companion piece to Miike’s earlier 13 Assassins.
Legendary director Takashi Miike will also be the subject of Screen Talk during the London Film Festival
DARK RIVER – Special Presentation
One of contemporary British cinema's most distinctive filmmakers, Clio Barnard follows The Selfish Giant and The Arbor with this searing and eloquent Yorkshire set drama exploring the fragility of familial relationships.
Inspired by Rose Tremain's novel Trespass, Dark River follows two siblings as they struggle to come to terms with their inheritance, following the death of their Father. Fiercely holding on to a promise made long-ago, independently-minded Alice (Ruth Wilson) returns home for the first time in 15 years to claim family farm. Her grieving brother Joe (Mark Stanley) has spent years looking after their father (Sean Bean) and has scarcely kept the property afloat. Estranged for so long they can barely communicate, Alice soon incurs her brother's wrath when she claims legal tenancy. As tensions mount, troubling memories surface and the real reason for her prolonged absence is revealed. Barnard's expressive use of landscape and Adriano Goldman's haunting camerawork amplify two commanding performances, Wilson's displaying all the power and vulnerability so evident in her recent TV (The Affair) and stage work (Hedda Gabler), with Stanley (Game of Thrones) equally compelling as a man who has squandered his life in denial of the past.
THE ENDLESS – Cult Strand
Come with an open mind. And prepare to have it blown.
The directors of acclaimed romance/horror/sci-fi hybrid Spring are back with another disorienting tale of the unexpected. Years after fleeing the New Age cult in which they were raised, brothers Justin and Aaron (played by directors Benson and Moorhead) live a humble existence in the real world, struggling each day to make ends meet. When they receive a strange message from their former ‘family’, the siblings make the tough decision to return home and investigate. Aaron’s initial excitement is tempered by Justin’s reticence and soon the pair witness a series of inexplicable events that lead them to believe all is not as it seems. As with their previous work, Benson and Moorhead expertly fuse ambitious genre storytelling with intricate human insight, keeping the film emotionally grounded even as its increasingly twisted timeframes and tricksy narratives unfold. And boy, do they unfold. What does it all mean? You tell us. The possibilities are endless.
Tickets can be purchased at https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff