London Film Festival: Something out of the ordinary
Of the 240 films screening across 16 cinemas, we've picked a shortlist featuring some of the more leftfield entries.
Film: Der Nachtmar
Who: Visual artist Akiz turns the anxieties of a teenage girl into an alarming little creature who stalks her every waking moment.
What: A coming of age film that plays out like a bad trip. Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth makes a cameo appearance as a school teacher and so do some samples of her music.
Why: An intense and often dizzying blast to the senses that features loud techno beats and disturbing sequences in nightclubs that perfectly capture the confusion and growing pains of a teenage girl.
Film: Yakuza Apocalypse
Who: Prolific Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike is back on form with a bizarre and violent tale about those in power sucking the life out of the general population.
What: When a vampiric gangster wages war against his rivals a mad battle ensues with random underworld monsters, including a giant frog, appearing to swell the chaos.
Why: Martial arts expert Yayan Ruhian (The Raid) appears in brutal and relentless fight sequences that will leave you feeling bruised and battered. But Miike also approaches his film with a frenzied sense of humour that delivers pure entertainment.
Film: The Forbidden Room
Who: If you’ve never had the pleasure of watching the delirious delights of a Guy Maddin production before here’s a good place to begin.
What: A hilarious and disorientating nightmarish fever dream plays out in the style of classic silent movies. A group of men aboard a submarine madly chew on flapjacks for air as they desperately attempt to decipher the world around them.
Why: This is a wild ride through the mind of a unique and endlessly inventive filmmaker unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. There are many memorable moments but Udo Kier in a musical number as a man obsessed with bottoms is unadulterated joy.
Who: First time filmmaker Bhaskar Hazarika reimagines four Assam folktales from Burhi Aair Sadhu’s Grandma’s Tales for the big screen.
What: A strange and macabre voyage into the fears and desires of four Indian women who are each bearing a heavy burden. A young girl is married off to a python, a weaver is mysteriously followed by a vegetable wherever she goes, a wicked stepmother plots to kill her daughter and a mother investigates her husband’s motives for burying her three babies.
Why: Hazarika skilfully layers menacing sounds and music to create an ambience of dread. He intermingles stunning shots of landscape with images of a surreal nature as a way to question the nature of greed and traditional roles under patriarchy.
Film: Men and Chicken
Who: Anders Thomas Jensen brings together a host of famous Danish faces such as Mads Mikkelsen and Soren Malling and renders them unrecognisable under impressive make-up and prosthetics.
What: A grotesque and strangely touching pitch black comedy about two brothers who head to the isolated and peculiar island of Ork in search of their estranged father. On arrival they come under attack from an aggressive clan of brethren who they move in with.
Why: Slapstick and bestiality slap up against one another in an outrageous exploration of brotherly love and hereditary that’s very funny and absolutely disgusting.
Also look out for genre author S. Craig Zahler's brutal Bone Tomahawk starring Kurt Russell and Patrick Wilson, idosyncratic Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos' first English language film The Lobster starring Colin Farrell and Jeremy Saulnier's punk rock horror, Green Room, that boasts an unsettling appearance from Patrick Stewart as a skinhead.