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BFI London Film Festival 2021
Institute of Contemporary Arts
6 – 17 October 2021

The 65th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express is all across the UK, inviting you to experience the world’s best new films, series and XR wherever you are.

From 6 – 17 October, enjoy a special selection of the programme in Cinema 1 at the ICA.

Get tickets from the BFI London Film Festival website or by calling 020 7928 3232 (11:30am – 8:30pm daily).

12 days of UK premieres will also be available online via BFI Player throughout this time.

Explore the full programme at bfi.org.uk/lff

Friday 8 October 2021, 8:45pm
Omar Amiralay: Sorrow, Time, Silence
Veteran Syrian director Hala Alabdalla returns to LFF with a moving portrait of her late friend and pioneer of Arab non-fiction cinema.

Saturday 9 October 2021, 12pm
A group of Spanish trans women go on a road trip and share openly about their life experiences in this warm and honest documentary.

Thursday 14 October 2021, 9pm
Wood and Water
Jonas Bak’s debut is a compassionate and precise record of a woman exploring Hong Kong and awakening to a new side of herself, performed by the director’s mother.

Sunday 17 October 2021, 5:50pm
Eliza Scanlen stars in this Australian series about the catastrophic bushfires that swept across the country in 2019 – 2020, leaving devastation in their wake.


Wednesday 6 October 2021, 6:15pm
Witty and provocative, Maung Sun’s confident feature debut takes us on a journey to the turbulent centre of the Burmese film world.

Wednesday 6 October 2021, 9pm
Humidity Alert
A farcical yet highly perceptive satire of the indie film scene in South Korea, set on one long, hot summer’s day.

Thursday 7 October 2021, 5:30pm
What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?
(Ras vkhedavt, rodesac cas vukurebt?)

When Lisa and Georgi fall in love their future is threatened by the Evil Eye, which unaccountably changes their appearance overnight.

Thursday 7 October 2021, 9:10pm
Nudo Mixteco
A trio of intersecting narratives show three Indigenous women challenging the toxicity of a patriarchal culture that all too often sanctions abuse and injustice.

Friday 8 October 2021, 6pm
Memory Box
A package of keepsakes from 1980s wartime Beirut arrives in contemporary Montreal, in this stylish intergenerational drama from acclaimed directors Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige.

Saturday 9 October 2021, 2:35pm
Small Body
(Piccolo Corpo)

This strikingly original and enthralling feature debut from Laura Samani details the odyssey of a young mother as she tries to save her baby’s soul.

Saturday 9 October 2021, 5:10pm
A Cop Movie
(Una película de policías)

Be prepared to be surprised by this wildly inventive, hybrid documentary drama by Mexican director Alonso Ruizpalacios, following two Mexico City police officers on the beat.

Saturday 9 October 2021, 8pm
The Story of Film: A New Generation
Mark Cousins returns with another journey across the landscape of film, examining what changes the 21st century has brought.

Sunday 10 October 2021, 12:30pm
The Tsugua Diaries
(Diários de Otsoga)

A collaboration between Miguel Gomes and Maureen Fazendeiro, this joyful and elaborately constructed work finds us counting the days of lockdown in the Portuguese countryside.

Sunday 10 October 2021, 3:20pm
White Building
Remarkably nuanced and emotionally engaging, Kavich Neang’s film delves into the impact of gentrification in Phnom Penh and pays homage to the enduring memory of the iconic White Building.

Sunday 10 October 2021, 6pm
Citizen Ashe
An ultimate origin story, Arthur Ashe was not only a pioneer within the world of tennis but a revolutionary social activist for many global causes.

Sunday 10 October 2021, 8:45pm
Andrea Arnold takes you on a seemingly simple, yet ultimately radical journey, offering an insight into the life of a dairy cow.

Monday 11 October 2021, 2:30pm
Leave No Traces
(Żeby Nie Było Śladów)

After the brutal killing of a Polish student by security police in 1983, the State’s supposedly ‘independent’ legal system finds itself under intense political pressure.

Monday 11 October 2021, 6:15pm
The Odd-Job Men
(Sis Dies Corrents)

It’s plumber and electrician Moha’s first week in a new job and colleague Valero isn’t proving too welcoming, in Neus Ballús’ wry, funny documentary.

Monday 11 October 2021, 8:45pm
Ripples of Life
Following Striding Into the Wind (LFF 2020), Wei Shujun returns with this impressive meta commentary on filmmaking that’s full of insight and deadpan humour.

Tuesday 12 October 2021, 3:30pm
Welcome to Spain
(Bienvenidos a España)

Spain is viewed through the eyes of recently arrived immigrants, revealing an acute perspective on the refugee experience.

Tuesday 12 October 2021, 6:30pm
Historya ni Ha
Lav Diaz’s sharp political fable testifies to the ongoing reality of exploitation, channelled through Ha, a ventriloquist’s puppet who embodies art’s redemptive potential.

Wednesday 13 October 2021, 3:20pm
Becoming Cousteau
Get your woolly red beanie ready. This riveting doc brings a fresh take on the life of the inspiring inventor, explorer, environmentalist and filmmaker Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

Wednesday 13 October 2021, 6:15pm
Liesbeth De Ceulaer’s hybrid film captures the otherworldly landscape of Yakutia with its fast-melting permafrost, and in doing so asks vital questions about extinction.

Wednesday 13 October 2021, 8:40pm
Fabrice du Welz (Adoration, LFF 2019) returns to the Festival with a psychosexual thriller that will leave your nerves shredded.

Thursday 14 October 2021, 2:45pm
Two Friends

Two 8-year-old boys navigate a growing religious divide in this beautifully observed portrait of childhood set after the destruction of India’s Babri Mosque.

Thursday 14 October 2021, 6pm
The Sea Ahead
Expanding on his 2015 Camera d’Or winning short Waves 98, Ely Dagher’s compelling debut feature takes the pulse of present day Beirut to extraordinarily prescient and chilling effect.

Friday 15 October 2021, 3pm
Little Palestine (Diary of a Siege)
Yarmouk Camp in Damascus, Syria was once home to the largest concentration of Palestinian refugees. Abdallah Al-Khatib’s record of its brutal siege is vital viewing.

Friday 15 October 2021, 5:45pm
The Gravedigger’s Wife
With his deceptively simple but heartfelt feature debut, director Khadar Ahmed follows a man as he desperately tries to seek help for his ailing wife.

Friday 15 October 2021, 8:15pm
French cinema’s dream weaver Lucile Hadžihalilović returns with her latest eerie vision about a child with teeth of ice and her anxious guardian.

Saturday 16 October 2021, 12:30pm
Anachronic Chronicles: Voyages Inside/Out Asia
An inventive rewriting of the filmmakers’ home videos leaves us with the urge to open up boxes of old video cassettes.

Saturday 16 October 2021, 3:20pm
What Are You Looking At?
Defiantly non-conformist, this selection of shorts offers multi-perspective musings on existence, from the humorous to the sublime.

Saturday 16 October 2021, 6:30pm
Invisible Demons
An environmental disaster is brewing in New Delhi and this unsettling documentary details the profound impact of pollution and climate change.

Saturday 16 October 2021, 8:45pm
Neptune Frost
The directorial debut of poet-musician Saul Williams and actor-playwright Anisia Uzeyman is an exhilarating anti-capitalist sci-fi musical entirely shot in Rwanda.

Sunday 17 October 2021, 12pm
A Tale of Love and Desire
Ahmed’s world is thrown off balance when he encounters Farah, newly arrived from Tunis, who challenges everything he thought he knew of his origins, and of love.

Sunday 17 October 2021, 2:50pm
Ahed’s Knee
A high-intensity political drama/satire from Israeli director Nadav Lapid, about a filmmaker coming face-to-face with his conscience and the state of a nation’s culture.

Sunday 17 October 2021, 8:30pm
Petrov’s Flu
A comic book artist contracts the flu during an epidemic and subsequently embarks on a strange journey through Russian society.