Variety is the spice of life, and that statement certainly proves true for the second group of films I've seen at the London Film Festival.
First,A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, the first ever Iranian vampire movie. It was beautiful and hypnotic with a brilliant performance from Sheila Vand as "The Girl". Set in Bad City, the kind of place where nobody comments on the ditch full of dead bodies on the edge of town, it's dark, mysterious, creepy and often funny, making you question ideas of good and evil and the kind of film that will have you talking for hours after. Want two more things that make this movie a must-see? It contains the best performance by a cat in the history of cinema, and a very different role for Marshall Manesh, aka Ranjit from How I Met Your Mother. As if all that wasn't enough, the director, Ana Lily Amirpour was brilliant at the Q&A and is producing a graphic novel to accompany the film which is bound to be amazing.
Later that same day I went to a talk celebrating the twentieth birthday of Dreamworks, including interviews with producer Bonnie Arnold (Last of the Mohicans, Toy Story, How to Train Your Dragon) and a very excited Cressida Cowell (author of How to Train Your Dragon). It was really interesting to hear a bit about the process of turning a book into an animated film, and even more exciting to be part of the first audience in the world to see the first twenty minutes of Penguins of Madagascar, which was hilarious and I'll definitely attempt to find a late-night, child-free viewing when it comes out in December.
Finally, for this installment at least, I got old-school with Only Angels Have Wings, the greatest screen adventure of 1939, according to the poster. I've seen it before, most probably on a rainy afternoon when I should have been at school. It's so much fun. The romance between Cary Grant and Jean Arthur bubbles up beautifully in the background to a genuinely exciting story about pilots flying crazily dangerous missions just to keep their business alive (sometimes at the cost of themselves). If you've not seen it, give it a go. It was brilliant to watch on a big screen, even if it did give you an alarmingly clear view of Grant's distressingly short trousers.