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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 September, 2003, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Female stars lead London festival
By Neil Smith
BBC News Online

Gwyneth Paltrow as Sylvia Plath
Gwyneth Paltrow plays poet Sylvia Plath in Sylvia
Meg Ryan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicole Kidman head a strong female line-up at this year's London Film Festival.

Ryan's thriller In The Cut directed by Jane Campion opens the festival on 22 October. It will close two weeks later with Sylvia, starring Paltrow as American poet Sylvia Plath.

Kidman has two titles in the festival, which also features films directed by Sofia Coppola, Emily Young and Iranian sisters Samira and Hana Makhmalbaf.

The festival also marks Sandra Hebron's first as its sole artistic director.

Speaking at the programme launch in London's Leicester Square on Wednesday, Ms Hebron said this year's line-up had "both glamour and substance".

It featured films that were "bold, intelligent and profoundly cinematic", she said, describing it as "one of our strongest ever programmes".

Meg Ryan in In the Cut
Meg Ryan stars in Jane Campion's erotic thriller In the Cut
Sylvia is the anticipated film of the relationship between Plath and husband Ted Hughes, played by Road To Perdition star Daniel Craig.

Kidman's two films are Dogville, directed by Lars von Trier, and The Human Stain, in which she stars alongside Anthony Hopkins.

The festival's gala section features new works from Bernardo Bertolucci, John Sayles, Notting Hill's Roger Michell and Amores Perros director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

The more commercial Film on the Square strand includes the US horse-racing hit Seabiscuit, Wonderland - in which Val Kilmer plays legendary porn actor John Holmes - and A Mighty Wind, the latest satire from the Spinal Tap team.

And Cheeky, the first film directed by actor David Thewlis - who plays Professor Remus Lupin in Harry Potter 3 - will also be screened.

Among the more esoteric offerings are the world's first text message movie and Star Spangled To Death, a six-hour video started 50 years ago by director Ken Jacobs.

BFI director Amanda Nevill said more than 45 countries were represented at the festival, which has a new sponsorship deal with The Times newspaper, and more than 100,000 filmgoers are expected to attend.

Toronto debut for Ryan thriller
01 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Kidman's star turn at Toronto
07 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Plath film angers daughter
03 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
Q&A: Film festival director
07 Nov 02  |  Entertainment
Women directors fight back
08 Nov 02  |  Entertainment
Director's film dropped after punch-up
11 Nov 02  |  Entertainment

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