If you enjoy films, especially documentaries, then you should head down to London. Running all through this week is the wonderful London International Documentary Festival; an interesting mix of more than 130 films (on topics as diverse as Happiness, Berlin Cabaret, Morris men, Women in Afghanistan, Cueca in London, embedded journalism, migration, and World Music) from 44 countries.
One particular highlight will be Martin Scorsese’s Letter to Elia. Described by Scorsese as “a labour of love”, this highly personal feature documentary shows growing up as a young man in Little Italy.. Scorsese appears on and off camera, taking us through the lead’s, Kazan, life and his own as well, and his growing realisation that there was an artist behind the camera, “someone who knew me better than I knew myself.”
…there are hardcore films and also sets of short films…
Letter to Elia is about being exposed to the right movies at the right moment in your adolescent life, being spurred on by the work up there on the screen, and then, maybe, to chart a course toward making your own movies.
Back to the festival, there are hardcore films and also sets of short films if you like a bit of a mix in your viewing. Also a majority of the films are accompanied by debates and discussions with well-chosen, articulate commentators, who provide further insight and context. And, of course, audiences have ample opportunity to have their say. The LIDF quote it as “a truly public sphere for debate, analysis, and entertainment”.
…if you like something a little different or wish to open your eyes…
From an assemblage of images on the theme of water to the revealing look at the outspoken, flamboyant founder of the Playboy empire, if you like something a little different or wish to open your eyes to a new film experience I recommend grabbing some tickets (some of them are free) and spending an evening in the hands of a renowned festival doing what they do best.
The Festival runs until 28 May 2011
Image courtesy of Angelo Orsi