As a BFI member I had the edge but it did take some seriously efficient planning skills though. Flow charts and spreadsheets were involved, as well as a very frantic morning when the returned tickets went on general sale and we had a fire alarm at work.
After much anticipation (and telling everyone in the office who stood still for more than two minutes that I was going) the day came and I did have to get up with that pesky lark at 4am for my flight.
Thankfully it all went smoothly as I was due to land 2 hours before my first film. I went straight to the huge temporary 800 seat cinema at Embankment to meet one of the friends I would be staying with.
We saw KNIVES OUT which we both thought was fantastic. What a relief since my friend had entrusted the film selection to me. He had specified robots, a heist or a prison break and this film was about none of those.
KNIVES OUT is a stylish murder mystery whodunnit with Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans. We were guessing right up to the end and it was so funny too. The audience was really roaring with laughter at some points.
We had a quick sushi lunch then I went back in alone to see PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE. It's late 1700s remote coastal France and a woman is hired to paint the portrait of another woman without her knowledge. They fall into doomed-love.
It was pristinely acted, intense, striking cinematography. About 75% of the story is subtext and unspoken so see it in the right mood. It narrowly missed out on being France's Oscar nomination in favour of Les Miserables.
The two main actors and the director Celina Sciamma did an introduction too and it was brilliant to get their insight.
The Embankment Garden Cinema was very well designed and there weren't any seats with a bad view which is more than I can say for my local chain cinemas.
The only issue was the police helicopter circling above, monitoring the protests and parliament buildings nearby. It does break the spell of 18th century France but let's consider the priorities.
I managed to get across town and find my friends' house deep in the heart of London. Their cat gave me an apparently uncharacteristically friendly welcome and immediately became my furry pal. We shared a wonderful homemade dinner and I was very grateful that their hospitality made it possible for me to come.
Then we went back out to see THE WHISTLERS which is Romania's entry for the Best International Picture Oscar entry. It was supposed to be about criminals using a secret whistle language to communicate but in fact they rarely actually used it. I actually had a number of issues with the way women were treated but I'll distill it into two;
Neither of us were impressed but the quality of KNIVES OUT made up for it so on balance we were still happy.
Straight to bed ready for another day at LFF.
Hi, I'm Caz. I live in Edinburgh and I watch a lot of films. My reviews focus mainly on women in film - female directors or how women are represented on screen.