This year’s film festival is a mixed bag of carefully curated new directions with an enticing assortment of old classics thrown in, enough to keep any and all film enthusiasts satisfied for the two weeks between the 3 -17 November. There's new, there's old, and for those with a discerning eye there's also some hidden gold, with the official programme nearly 100 pages long, we’ve condensed it to our pick of the bunch.
The opening and closing films of the festival have a reputation of going on to smash box office statistics, and do pretty well at the awards ceremonies too, with recent years curations featuring the likes of 'The King's Speech', 'Argo' and 2013's 3D space sensation 'Gravity'.
While this year's offerings might be a little more on the quirky side, 2015's best picture Oscar winner 'Birdman' showed us that quirky is often gripping, intelligent and thoroughly entertaining.
This years opening film, Paterson sees the fluffy white haired rock star of American independent film making, Jim Jarmusch, return with a film about a small town bus driver who - much like Jim in his early days - writes poetry in a notebook. With meditative moments and well metered verse laid over routinous life, Paterson also features the intricate personal connections of small town life. A film likely to be much bigger and bolder than the life it portrays.
Leeds Town Hall Victoria Hall, Thurday 3 November, 19:00 (113mins) £10/8
Hyde Park Picture House, Saturday 5 November, 20:30 (113mins) £8.50/6.50
German's aren't exactly known for their sense of humour, but when it’s dark, intelligent and about the awkward but loving relationship between a father and his hard working daughter, it has the possibility of putting a large wry smile on your face.
This year’s closing film comes in on a wave of film festival hype and critical appreciation, Toni Erdmann threatens to redefine the family comedy-drama and prove to you that German's do indeed have a sense of humour.
Leeds Town Hall Victoria Hall, Thursday 17 November 19:30 (162mins) £10/8
Mel Gibson might be guilty of not knowing when to put the cork back in the bottle, but in Apocalypto he’s shown that he can direct, and with a story as compelling as the one in Hacksaw Ridge this film has the potential to be both moving and powerful.
Based on the true story of WWII American Army Medic Desmond Doss; a conscientious objector awarded the congressional Medal of Honour for saving the lives of 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa, this is a film about the heart and soul of a man determined to do good against all odds.
Hyde Park Picture House Sunday 13 November 15:15 (131mins) £8.50/6.50
A chance for all you young'uns to see some of cinemas all time classics on the big screen, and a chance for the rest of us to relive some of our favourites with full surround sound. If you've not seen these before, then you're the lucky ones, ‘cos cinema doesn't get much better than this.
2001: A Space Odyssey
The LIFF film programme argues 'You haven't really seen 2001: A Space Odyssey until you've seen it on the big screen' and I'd argue you haven't heard it either until you're surrounded on all sides by the intense cacophony of sounds that emanate from this stunning visual masterpiece. Given that they're showing this in the fine acoustic environment of the orchestral concert venue Victoria Hall, makes this even more of a must-see and at two and half hours long, you're definitely getting your money’s worth.
Leeds Town Hall Victoria Hall, Wednesday 16 November, 19:30, (149mins), £10/8
One of the coolest things in Aliens is Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) running around shooting up hostile alien creatures with her 'personal friend' the M41A Pulse Rifle, and not only do you get the chance to see Aliens in the splendour of Victoria Hall, but Jonathan Ferguson, Curator of Firearms at the Royal Armouries will also be giving a short talk about the pulse rifle to go along with the screening.
Leeds Town Hall Victoria Hall, Wednesday 9 November, 20:15 (137mins), £8.50/6.50
I know our editor Thom got pretty excited when he saw that the original Jurassic Park was playing at this years film festival and rightly so. This is an outright classic, who doesn’t remember the lawyer being eaten off the toilet by the T-Rex while the two kids watched from the safety of the car, Newman from Seinfeld getting blinded by a (grossly misrepresented) Dilophosaurus, or hearing the "Dyathinkysaurus" joke for the first time?
Showing at the Vue Cinema and costing just £2 for 15s & under, you can take the kids along and pretend that it's a treat for them, and not because you want to experience 'clever girl'-related goosebumps one more time.
Vue, The Light, Friday 4 November 13:00 / Sunday 6 November 11:00 (127mins), £6.50/5.50 £2 for 15s & under
What is in that suitcase!? and what would cinema be without the enigmatic and masterful Quentin Tarrantino? This years film festival has Pulp Fiction showing on a Saturday morning at 10am, so grab yourself a coffee - some of that gourmet shit - and a hamburger - the cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast - and make your way up to the town hall to watch John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson delivering performances of a lifetime, weaving 'endlessly quotable' dialogue in between impeccably selected soundtracks in one of the most irresistibly watchable and cool films of all time.
Leeds Town Hall Victoria Hall, Saturday 12 November 10:00 (154mins), £6.50/5.50
The Hidden Gold
At every film festival there’s some hidden gold, some unexpected gems and some unique film experiences tucked in amongst those big name films with wonderful qualities that often get lost…. in translation (sorry).
Here’s my pick of the ones you may have overlooked or films for the contrarians and adventurers out there who fancy something a little different.
Do you remember how good Daft Punk’s discovery album was? Well here is your opportunity to listen to those soaring incendiary beats for 68 minutes straight, while having your visual faculties entertained by a battle of the planets style animation adventure. Not one ounce of dialogue is there to interrupt this musical extravaganza as you're hurled into an epic space thriller.
Leeds Town Hall Victoria Hall, Friday 4 November, 21:15 (68mins) £6.50/5.50
Succinct, dramatic and powerful, Reggio Godfrey's masterpiece eschews traditional documentary narrative instead opting to offer meditative glimpses at the effects of urban life and technology on our environment through subtly expressive and familiar imagery.
This documentary says a lot about our world, without really saying anything at all. They do say a picture paints a thousand words and with the soundtrack directed by Philip Glass this film speaks volumes too.
Leeds Town Hall Victoria Hall, Sunday 13 November, 18:15/Wednesday 16 November, 17:00 (86mins) £8.50/6.50
Fantastic Mr Fox
Leeds Dock have devoted the second weekend of the festival to showing exclusively Wes Anderson films, with the wonderfully animated Fantastic Mr Fox screening twice on the Saturday.
Showing on board a barge, this entertaining favourite of all ages is the perfect highlight to a fun filled family day out, before taking advantage of all the other things Leeds Dock has to offer - Just don't let too much of the Fox's rebellious and sneaky charm brush off on your kids otherwise you can say goodbye to your Sunday peace and quiet.
Barge at Leeds Dock, Saturday 12 November, 10:00 & 14:00 (87mins), £6.50/5.50