Eight Picks at LIFF29 - From Classic Horror to Unkillable Teachers

It's time for the Leeds International Film Festival to once more offer a veritable treasure trove of films from all over the world to those willing to sift through and find themselves a few gems. LIFF29 gets underway today, running for fifteen days throughout November, and Film Intel will be there once again marking our fifth year covering the festival (although only the third year for me personally).

Just as in previous years, there's a huge amount of films being shown throughout LIFF29, so here are eight picks from me to look out for at the festival, or elsewhere if you can't make it to Leeds. Have a look back at our coverage of LIFF28 from last year to see what Sam and I made of 2014's event.

Fri 6th Nov, 2015, 19:00 @ Leeds Town Hall - Victoria Hall 

Part of LIFF29's programme will celebrate the work of John Carpenter, with many of the director's films, such as The Fog, They Live and Escape From New York, playing throughout the festival. The screening of Carpenter's sci-fi-horror classic The Thing promises to be perhaps the most enticing of all, however, as it will have an exclusive interview (recorded, not live) with Carpenter himself played before the film. The questions asked will be selected from those submitted by fans to the LIFF website, and will hopefully make for a fascinating insight into the director's experiences and imagination.

Fri 6th Nov, 2015, 21:00 @ Everyman Leeds Trinity
Mon 9th Nov, 2015, 16:00 @ Everyman Leeds Trinity

Described as a "playful docufiction", there is something of Ben Wheatley's A Field In England about the apparent tone and execution of By Our Selves. With the ever-reliable Toby Jones in the cast alongside his son Freddie, this is one I'll be very eager to catch. However, with only two showings both at the Everyman - notorious for its limited seating - I'll have to do all I can to ensure I don't miss out.

Sat 7th Nov, 2015, 14:00 @ Vue in the Light
Mon 9th Nov, 2015, 14:30 @ Vue in the Light
Sun 15th Nov, 2015, 12:00 @ Vue in the Light

Exactly the kind of film I've come to expect to discover at LIFF through my attendance during the last two years. Made by Spanish director Miguel Llansó but set in Ethiopia, Crumbs is "a post-apocalyptic surreal love story" with a protagonist who thinks he's an alien seeking out Santa Claus to help him return to his home planet. It sounds crackers, which at Leeds usually means it's worth a look.

Sat 7th Nov, 2015, 17:00 @ Leeds Town Hall - Victoria Hall

With What We Do In The Shadows winning the audience award at last year's LIFF, Therapy For A Vampire is bound to do well. An Austrian comedy focusing on a vampire's relationship with Sigmund Freud in the 1930s, this looks imaginative and different enough to escape Shadows', er, shadow.

Sat 14th Nov, 2015, 19:00 @ Hyde Park Picture House
Tue 17th Nov, 2015, 21:00 @ Hyde Park Picture House

Whilst the LIFF website describes The Club as "a riveting and complex moral drama", I can't help but think of it as a gritty, foreign language feature length version of Father Ted. Not only does it focus on a group of isolated priests living together, but they even have a female caretaker. The synopsis doesn't sound as though it will include a great deal of Catholicism-related comedy, however, with more serious themes of sin and escaping the past taking prominence. I'm guessing the cups of tea and appearances by Graham Norton will probably be kept to a minimum too.

Sat 14th Nov, 2015, 20:30 @ Leeds Town Hall - Victoria Hall

Showing at LIFF29 just ahead of its UK release date at the end of November, Black Mass looks in many ways like a straightforward gangster film. What makes it stand out for me, however, is Johnny Depp cast in the lead role. An undoubtedly talented actor, Depp has in recent years fallen foul of a few iffy parts (Transcendence) and rehashing his Jack Sparrow persona with limited success (The Lone Ranger). His casting as "Whitey" Bulger here is certainly transformative in terms of Depp's appearance, and from the looks of his performance in the trailer, it could be the role that takes Depp back to his brilliant best as an actor. 

Sat 14th Nov, 2015, 01:00 @ Hyde Park Picture House

One you'll have to stay up late for to catch its only showing during Night Of The Dead, Bone Tomahawk looks worth it. A Western starring Kurt Russell - could this be the perfect lead into his role in Tarantino's The Hateful Eight at the end of the year? - with an unusual horror-inspired twist, this could well be one to watch out for.

Sun 15th Nov, 2015, 14:30 @ Cottage Road Cinema

One of only two films playing at Cottage Road this year, Assassination Classroom is the kind of utterly insane idea that could only come from Japanese cinema. "Unkillable Teacher", taking the form of a yellow octopus-shaped alien, destroys part of the moon and then threatens to wipe out Earth, whilst the human race fights back in the hope of transforming it into, er, "Killable Teacher". It's playing as a double bill with Tokyo Tribe director Sion Sono's latest film, which should help to give you an idea of how loopy this is likely to be.

The 29th Leeds International Film Festival runs from 5th-19th November 2015 at venues around the city, including Hyde Park Picture House, Cottage Road Cinema and Leeds Town Hall. Tickets and more information are available via the official LIFF website.

By Ben Broadribb. Ben is a regular contributor to Film Intel, having previously written at Some Like It Hot Fuzz. He is normally seen in the wild wearing t-shirts containing obscure film references. He is a geek, often unashamedly so. He's also on and Twitter.

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