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Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 08:23 GMT
Altman kickstarts bumper festival
Gosford Park
Gosford Park is Robert Altman's first British film
London's 45th film festival had a strong start on Wednesday with the world première of acclaimed director Robert Altman's lavish Gosford Park.

Set in the 30s, Altman's eagerly-awaited first British movie is a ironic dissection of English society between the wars.

It includes multiple plotlines of intrigue, sexual trysts and murder, played out by an all-star cast, including Alan Bates, Dame Maggie Smith and Charles Dance.

Mulhollland Drive s
Mulhollland Drive sees David Lynch return to mystery and suspense
Gosford Park - which had a gala screening in London's Leicester Square - is one of the highlights of this year's festival, which runs from 7 until 22 November.

The public festival will screen almost 200 feature films from around the world - including eight world premières.

Reworking

David Lynch, whose last film The Straight Story marked a departure into conventional storytelling, returns to more familiar dark and mysterious territory with Mulholland Drive.

In the style of Lynch's Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet, the movie is a glossy but nightmarish Hollywood-set thriller.

Francis Ford Coppola is to show a reworked version of his award-winning Vietnam-set epic, Apocalypse Now Redux.

Monsters Inc i
Monsters Inc is from the Toy Story team
Based on Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness and starring Martin Sheen, the traumatic Apocalyse Now has become a 70s classic.

Twenty-two years later, Coppola has re-edited the movie to restore cut sequences which make it longer and, many critics believe, better.

At the other end of the movie-making career ladder, director Todd Field makes his feature film debut with the emotional and poignant drama In the Bedroom.

Starring Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson, it tells the story of a married couple trying to cope with the loss of their murdered teenage son.

Send-off

From the world of animation, Monsters Inc looks set to make as big an impact on London as Shrek did on Cannes earlier this year.

Monsters Inc - which is already doing well in US cinemas - is a comedy from Walt Disney and Pixar, the team who made Toy Story, and is voiced by stars including Billy Crystal and John Goodman.

Last Orders
Last Orders champions British film-making
British movie-making is championed by Last Orders, starring Sir Michael Caine and Ray Winstone.

Based on a Graham Swift novel, it centres on a group of male friends who gather to give a send-off to a recently deceased friend by fulfilling his curious last wishes.

Another strong film from the British stable is Me Without You, a bittersweet comedy about the friendship between two girls starring Anna Friel and Michelle Williams.

Prize-winners

French cinema also stands out strongly in this year's festival. In particular, Eloge de l'Amour is a difficult but thought-compelling work on the nature of love from legendary film-maker Jean-Luc Godard.

The Piano Teacher, starring Isabelle Huppert, is definitely not for the coy or squeamish as it deals with sexual frustration and sado-masochism.

Nanni Moretti
Nanni Moretti won at Cannes

World cinema again provides an impressive array of titles from East Asia, Argentina and Iran, including Sorum, Smell of Camphor and Freedom.

American independent cinema also re-emerges this year with the notable inclusion of films such as Manic, Jackpot and Tape.

And as London's film event is one of the last major movie festivals of the year, audiences can enjoy the pick of recent festival prize-winners, including Nanni Moretti's The Son's Room - winner of the Cannes Palme d'Or.

Links to more Film stories are at the foot of the page.


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