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Selected highlights of the London Film Festival.

by Rajul on September 28, 2009

The London Film Festival serves up a real feast for movie buffs in cinemas across London

The London Film Festival serves up a real feast for movie buffs in cinemas across London: Leicester Square and the South Bank are special hotspots

In mid-October, the BFI (British Film Institute) London Film Festival returns for its 53rd annual event.

Promising an exhilarating line-up of films ranging from the latest Hollywood offerings to lesser-known short films by first-time directors, it takes place between 14th and 29th October in a range of cinemas across the capital.

As well as showcasing world class films, the London Film Festival also plays host to a series of ‘screen talk’ events with celebrated directors and actors.

These will give insight into the work of world-class talent including Clive Owen, Oscar-winning director Jane Campion and actress Julianne Moore.

A much-anticipated highlight is the world premiere of Wes Anderson’s stop-motion adaption of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, The Fantastic Mr Fox, starring George Clooney in the title role and a great supporting cast of talent, including Meryl Streep, Bill Murray and Jarvis Cocker.

Screening at Leicester Square’s world famous Odeon, the film will definitely be a talking point amongst critics and festival goers.

There's something to suit all tastes at this year's London Film Festival

There's something to suit all tastes at this year's London Film Festival

Indeed, the area around Leicester Square probably has the highest concentration of cinemas in London, so movie buffs are well-advised to consider choosing a hotel within walking distance.

One option near Leicester Square currently sitting pretty in TripAdvisor’s top 10 London hotels is the Sofitel St James – great service with French flair.

Check the best rate for the Sofitel St James from 30+ hotel booking sites

The Sofitel St James is known for its extra-comfy beds and refined atmosphere (with live piano in the lobby!) just a few minutes walk from Leicester Square

The Sofitel St James is known for its extra-comfy beds and refined atmosphere (with live piano in the lobby!) just a few minutes walk from Leicester Square

Another Festival highlight sees the first screening of the British-made American: The Bill Hicks Story at Southbank’s NFT1 BFI screen.

An innovative documentary about the legendary counter-culture comic, the film combines rare stand-up material and interviews with those closest to him to present a touching portrait of the greatly-missed comedian.

Also at the BFI Centre in the South Bank, The Ape portrays a man’s descent into violent madness among the alienation of modern society.

The area around the South Bank is a wonderful place to stay, even outside the Festival.  If you want a reasonably-priced hotel that is near the London Eye then you might do well to consider the Premier Inn County Hall (it has particularly good guest reviews from families).

The Premier Inn County Hall offers good value rooms right by the London Eye!

The Premier Inn County Hall offers good value rooms right by the London Eye!

Check the best rate for Premier Inn County Hall from 30+ hotel booking sites

Another solid choice of hotel on the South Bank would be the well-positioned Marriott County Hall (though its reviews on TripAdvisor are not as consistent as the Premier Inn mentioned above).

Check the best rate for Marriott County Hall from 30+ hotel booking sites

Trafalgar Square will meanwhile feature a free screening of a series of short films from days gone by, in a special outdoor event entitled London Moves Me, celebrating a century of transportation in the nation’s capital.

Another free Festival event (in the Delegates Centre of the South Bank complex) sees an intriguing TimeOut-hosted discussion on Iranian Cinema.  Entry is on a first come first serve basis, so be sure to arrive early.

There are far more screenings and events than we can cover here, so head over to the official BFI London Film Festival website for a full programme.

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Photo credits: Sofitel St James, Premier Inn County Hall.

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