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Times BFI London Film Festival Kicks Off 50th Anniversary Celebration

Excitement is building in London, one of the world's great film cities, as details are being revealed for the upcoming Times BFI London Film Festival, which celebrates its milestone 50th anniversary this year.

While the Festival doesn't have its official launch until October 18th, the celebrations have already begun this summer, with an ambitious screening of films from the Festival's first 50 years.

The National Film Theater, the cinematheque treasure run by the British Film Institute, which also presents the annual Festival, has presented a glorious program of highlights from the first Festival program, way back in 1957.

London audiences have reveled in rare screenings of such film classics as Federico Fellini's NIGHTS OF CABIRIA, Luchino Visconti's WHITE NIGHTS, Rene Clair's PORTE DES LILAS, Grigori Chukrai's THE FORTY-FIRST and Satjayit Ray's APARAJITO in an intoxicating hommage to the Festival's inaugural year.

Throughout September, the National Film Theatre celebrates neglected gems from the fifty year history of the Festival, featuring unfamiliar titles by established directors and some long-forgotten sleepers with stars whose status has now waned. Highlights of the program include Leopoldo Torre Nilsson's SUMMER SKIN and Amir Naderi's THE RUNNER - one of first and best films to emerge from a post-revolutionary Iran.

A must-see of the retrospective series is the rare screening of American independent director Lodge Kerrigan's controversial film debut CLEAN, SHAVEN. The film is a companion piece to the extended run of Kerrigan's latest film, KEANE, which screens at the National Film Theater in September and October.

But the Festival is not resting on its historic laurels. This year's edition promises to one of the Fall's most exciting film events, with special programs being planned at the National Film Theater, gala screenings in London's famed West End , and in public spaces around the city. Details to be announced in the coming weeks.

Sandy Mandelberger
Executive Editor

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