Ten Picks at LIFF30 - From A(utopsies) to Z(ombies)

As we near the start of November, Leeds is once again gearing up for just over two weeks of cinema past and present from all over the world. The 30th Leeds International Film Festival is set to begin this Thursday 3rd November with screenings at thirty different venues over the fortnight-and-a-bit.

Once again, Film Intel will be there to take in as much of the festival as possible, although for the first time since I began attending the festival in 2013 I will be our sole representative in Leeds. As with previous years, there is a colossal amount of cinema available for your viewing pleasure, so I've picked out ten films to look out for at LIFF30 to get you started. Whilst you're at it, have a look at our coverage of LIFF29 from November 2015 to whet your appetite in preparation for LIFF reaching the big three-oh.

Sat 5th Nov, 2016, 12:00 @ Vue at The Light
Sun 6th Nov, 2016, 20:45 @ Vue at The Light
Mon 7th Nov, 2016, 13:30 @ Vue at The Light

Mark Kermode has recently championed this 1980s set Iranian horror, awarding it five stars in his Guardian review. If that's not enough to get you interested, it's also the UK's foreign language film submission for the 2017 Academy Awards. One I'm incredibly eager to catch during my time in Leeds. 
Sat 5th Nov, 2016, 15:00 @ Leeds Town Hall - Victoria Hall

LIFF's annual Day Of The Dead event sees the Victoria Hall of Leeds Town Hall play host to a whole day of horror movies. Last year offered the chance to see Robert Eggers' The Witch for the first time, which ended up amongst my top films of the year, so this year's programme has a fair amount to live up to. On the surface, I Am Not A Serial Killer looks like a fairly straightforward indie horror, but the cast is what makes it stand out. Where The Wild Things Are's young talent Max Records (in his first role since featuring in 2011 Jonah Hill vehicle The Sitter) stars alongside veteran Christopher Lloyd in a role which the LIFF programme describes as being "about as far removed as possible from the lovable Doc Brown". I'll be in Leeds for Day Of The Dead once again, so this is another I'm certainly hoping to see.

Sat 5th Nov, 2016, 20:30 @ Leeds Town Hall - Victoria Hall
Sun 13th Nov, 2016, 14:30 @ Cottage Road 

As 2016 has already given us The Girl With All The Gifts, it's going to be hard for any other release this year to match that level of originality and craft within the zombie genre. That said, if any film can, it seems likely that Train To Busan will be it. The buzz around this Korean horror means it comes with some expectation, so hopefully it can deliver.

Sun 6th Nov, 2016, 15:45 @ Leeds Town Hall - Victoria Hall

At this point, I'm pretty much sold on anything involving Studio Ghibli at the very least offering solidly enjoyable animation. As the studio's first co-production outside Japan, this has the potential to offer something quite unique. The LIFF30 screening will also be paired with director Michael Dudok de Wit's short Father and Daughter, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2001, and the director is also scheduled to be in attendance on the day.

Thu 10th Nov, 2016, 19:00 @ Leeds Dock
Fri 11th Nov, 2016, 19:00 @ Leeds Dock

In celebration of this being the 30th year of the festival, LIFF has expanded its number of venues to thirty with a host of new and unusual places to watch the films on offer. One of the most creative has got to be screening Wes Anderson's 2004 quirky ocean-based tale on a barge at Leeds Dock. Whatever floats your boat...

Fri 11th Nov, 2016, 20:30 @ Vue at The Light
Sat 12th Nov, 2016, 12:00 @ Vue at The Light
Tue 15th Nov, 2016, 20:30 @ Vue at The Light

Argyris Papadimitropoulos' Suntan tells the story of a forty-year-old doctor working on a Greek island, who falls in with a group of tourists half his age and becomes infatuated with one young woman in particular. The film was named as the best international feature at the Edinburgh Film Festival earlier this year.

Fri 11th Nov, 2016, 20:30 @ Leeds Town Hall - Victoria Hall
Mon 14th Nov, 2016, 16:00 @ Leeds Town Hall - Victoria Hall

The latest film from Park Chan-Wook, The Handmaiden sees the director return to filmmaking in his native Korean after 2013's Stoker, his first foray into the English language on screen. Whilst his last film divided opinion, Park's previous form makes anything from him very much worthy of your attention.

Fri 11th Nov, 2016, 22:30 @ Hyde Park Picture House
Tue 15th Nov, 2016, 15:45 @ Hyde Park Picture House

Screening twice at Hyde Park, with the first as part of the cinema's Night Of The Dead event, The Autopsy Of Jane Doe is the first English language film from Troll Hunter director André Øvredal. Starring veteran Brian Cox as a man running a morgue out of his basement with his son, this is one to keep an eye on.

Sun 13th Nov, 2016, 11:15 @ Leeds Town Hall - Victoria Hall

LIFF has provided countless opportunities to take in classic cinema on the big screen in years gone by, and this year is no different. Clocking in at a whopping five-and-a-half hours, restoration of 1927's Napoleon has reportedly taken fifty years to complete and the film has now been re-released by the BFI with a new Dolby 7.1 surround soundtrack. And don't worry: there are three scheduled intervals during the screening, giving plenty of opportunities for leg-stretching and bladder-relieving.

Sun 13th Nov, 2016, 18:00 @ Hyde Park Picture House

Yûichi Fukuda's Kids Police spoofs crime dramas through the high concept of a police division who've been transformed into children by a mysterious terrorist organisation (yes, really). Even if Sam didn't get on with Fukuda's HK: Forbidden Super Hero - a film about a crimefighter who wears a mankini and pants on his head - at LIFF27, you can't fault the director for putting out films that aim to break the mould.

The 30th Leeds International Film Festival runs from 3rd-17th November 2016 at thirty venues across the city, including Hyde Park Picture House 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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