BFI London Film Festival 2023: The most exciting films to watch out for

The event is on now until 15 October

Poor Things, Killers of the Flower Moon, One Life, Maestro, and Chicken Run will be find new audiences at the BFI London Film Festival 2023. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News)
Poor Things, Killers of the Flower Moon, One Life, Maestro, and Chicken Run will be find new audiences at the BFI London Film Festival 2023. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News)

The BFI London Film Festival is one of the most prestigious global events celebrating cinema, with some of the most exciting blockbusters, indie hits, and more being shown over the course of 12 days.

It is often where the movies that go on to set awards season alight are screened, and the festival will give many cinephiles their first glimpse at some of the best movies in the calendar months before their official release date.

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Screenings are taking place in the British capital and in multiple locations across the UK, and while the red carpet glamour may be a bit different this year amid the actor's strike there will be several films to look out for from 4 to 15 October.

Here is Yahoo's guide to the most exciting films to watch out for.


Saltburn is directed by Emerald Fennell (Prime Video)
Saltburn is directed by Emerald Fennell (Prime Video)

Emerald Fennell's follow-up to Promising Young Woman has been the subject of much buzz since it was first revealed to be coming out, and it will open this year's London Film Festival.

Starring Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elrodi, Saltburn is described as a "wicked tale" of the dark side of wealth and opulence as it follows a student at Oxford University struggling to fit in who finds himself drawn into the world of his aristocratic classmate.

The film has been hailed for its intense narrative and stunning visuals, as well as the skills of its cast in bringing Fennell's world to life. After opening this year's festival, reviews quickly made their way online. Read a batch of them below:

The Guardian: Hot Brideshead soup needs more seasoPeterning (3-min read)

The Telegraph: Brideshead regurgitated – in the most outrageously watchable way (3-min read)

Total Film: "Barry Keoghan excels in a lavish but ludicrous psychodrama" (2-min read)

Evening Standard: Emerald Fennell’s latest is a deliciously twisty tale of grotesque overprivilege (2-min read)

Killers of the Flower Moon

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone in Killers of the Flower Moon. (Apple TV+)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone in Killers of the Flower Moon. (Apple TV+)

Martin Scorsese's latest film is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival ahead of its theatrical release on 20 October, and its streaming debut on Apple TV+.

The true crime thriller follows the tragic real life killings of members of the Osage Nation in the 1920s, the period — known as the Reign of Terror — saw the Native American tribe be targeted by outsiders trying to steal their wealth.

Killers of the Flower Moon stars Scorsese's frequent collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, and also stars Lily Gladstone who has been hailed by critics for her standout performance.


Priscilla (A24)
Priscilla (A24)

Elvis may have gotten a biopic last year courtesy of Baz Luhrmann but now it is time for Priscilla Presley, the singer's ex-wife, to have her story told.

Sofia Coppola explores Priscilla's life and relationship with the King of Rock 'N Roll in a unique and thoughtful way, with the real woman giving her approval for the movie.

Cailee Spaeny stars as Priscilla while Elrodi takes on the role of Elvis in this biopic. Following its London Film Festival debut, Coppola's latest has received rave reviews. Read a few of them below:

The Telegraph: Sofia Coppola shunts Elvis to the shadows, to beautiful effect (3-min read)

The Independent: Sofia Coppola drama will be very uncomfortable viewing for Elvis fans (4-min read)

IndieWire: Sofia Coppola’s Inert but Sensitive Biopic Offers a Much-Needed Antidote to ‘Elvis’ (11-min read)

The Guardian: Sofia Coppola paints an absorbing, intimate portrait of Elvis’s wife (3-min read)

The Bikeriders

Austin Butler as Benny in The Bikeriders. (20th Century Studios)
Austin Butler as Benny in The Bikeriders. (20th Century Studios)

Austin Butler swaps Elvis for something a bit different in The Bikeriders, a crime thriller that also stars Tom Hardy, Jodie Comer, and Michael Shannon among its A-list cast.

The film explores the lives of a Chicago motorcycle gang during the 1960s and '70s and it has been described as a thrilling exploration of the Americana.

With the film landing at London Film Festival, reviews have started pouring in with many commending Butler's latest role. Read some reviews for The Bikeriders below:

The Guardian: Potent ode to the violent lives of 60s biker gangs (4-min read)

Evening Standard: Jodie Comer roars into this full-throttle drama (2-min read)

The Telegraph: Tom Hardy channels Marlon Brando in a grubby blast of underworld machismo (2-min read)

Variety: Austin Butler and Tom Hardy Are Cool Personified in the ‘Godfather’ of Biker Movies (6-min read)

The Book of Clarence

USA. LaKeith Stanfield in the (C)Columbia Pictures new film: The Book of Clarence (2023) .  Plot: Struggling to find a better life, Clarence is captivated by the power of the rising Messiah and soon risks everything to carve a path to a divine existence. Ref: LMK106-J10172-060923 Supplied by LMKMEDIA. Editorial Only. Landmark Media is not the copyright owner of these Film or TV stills but provides a service only for recognised Media outlets.
LaKeith Stanfield in The Book of Clarence (Columbia Pictures).

Jeymes Samuel follows up his electrifying Western The Harder They Fall with a new drama that explores the Gospels and gives it a comedic, punk-rock twist.

LaKeith Stanfield plays Clarence, a man who is hardly religious but decides to take advantage of Jesus Christ's popularity to earn a life of glory for himself.

Poor Things

Ramy Youssef and Emma Stone in Yorgos Lanthimos' Poor Things. (Searchlight Pictures)
Ramy Youssef and Emma Stone in Yorgos Lanthimos' Poor Things. (Searchlight Pictures)

Another movie that has already received early awards buzz is Poor Things, directed by one of the entertainment industry's most unique voices, Yorgos Lanthimos.

Read more: Emma Stone's Frankenstein fantasy Poor Things debuts to 100% on Rotten Tomatoes

The filmmaker reunites with The Favourite star Emma Stone for a new take on the story of Frankenstein, with Stone portraying a woman brought back to life and her journey of self discovery after being given this second chance.

The Boy and the Heron

THE BOY AND THE HERON (2023) -Original title: KIMITACHI WA DO IKIRU KA-, directed by HAYAO MIYAZAKI. Credit: STUDIO GHIBLI / Album
The Boy and the Heron (Studio Ghibli)

Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki comes out of retirement once more with The Boy and the Heron, which follows a young boy named Mahito as he travels to a world shared by the living and dead following the passing of his mother.

A touching exploration of grief, the movie has been hailed by critics as one of Miyazaki's best — though the director has always been one of the most prolific voices in the anime industry.

Occupied City

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 01: Steve McQueen introduces
Steve McQueen's new film Occupied City will premiere at the London Film Festival (Getty Images)

Steve McQueen turns his sights on documentary filmmaking in Occupied City, which examines the tragic events of the Holocaust by revisiting 130 locations in present day Amsterdam and their significance to the Jewish community before and during the Nazi occupation.


Hirokazu Koreeda, holds the award for best screenplay for 'Monster,' which Koreeda accepted on behalf of Yuji Sakamoto, during a photo call following the awards ceremony at the 76th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 27, 2023. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
Hirokazu Koreeda's film Monster has already earned awards at Cannes, and it will be screened at the London Film Festival. (AP)

Oscar winner Hirokazu Kore-eda returns with a gripping drama about the power of a mother's love in the face of disturbing changes in her son's behaviour.

The film is the last to be scored by Ryuichi Sakamoto, who died in March this year, and it earned critical acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival where it was awarded with the Queer Palm and Best Screenplay prizes.

All of Us Strangers

RELEASE DATE: October 1, 2023. TITLE: All of Us Strangers. STUDIO: Searchlight Pictures. DIRECTOR: Andrew Haigh. PLOT: It tells the story of a screenwriter who, after an encounter with his neighbor, is pulled back to his childhood home where he discovers that his long-dead parents are living and look the same age as the day they died. STARRING: ANDREW SCOTT as Adam, PAUL MESCAL as Harry. (Credit Image: © Searchlight Pictures/Entertainment Pictures/ EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE!
All of Us Strangers (Searchlight Pictures)

Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott star in Andrew Haigh's latest film All of Us Strangers, which follows the lives of Adam and Harry and the relationship that develops between them.

The queer drama is based on Taichi Yamada's novel Strangers, and it has received huge critical acclaim ahead of its general release, with many particularly highlighting Scott's central performance.

The BFI London Film Festival takes place from 4 to 15 October.

Watch: The trailer for The Bikeriders