The latest edition of the London Film Festival has finally kicked off, and with it a host of films that have been on the tips of everyone’s tongues for several months now. For one, Martin Scorsese is back with his hotly anticipated and fantastic new feature Killers of the Flower Moon, Japanese maestro Hayao Miyazaki is at the festival with The Boy & The Heron, his first movie after a sorely felt (by us) ten year absence, and Sofia Coppola is looking to wow UK audiences with biopic Priscilla after being well received at Venice this year. Throw in the likes of Bradley Cooper’s Maestro, Richard Linklater’s Hit Man, Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn and Jeymes Samuel’s The Book of Clarence, among other heavy hitters, and you’ve got yourself a staggering lineup.

But it’s just as important to keep an eye out for the films from independent first-time filmmakers and underground arthouse auteurs as it is for those helmed by the  well-established cinematic titans, and every year there are more than a few gems that demand the spotlight. Here are five for you to watch out for over the coming weeks.


Don’t Expect Much From The End of The World (dir. Radu Jude)

Behind all the style and all the bark of Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude’s latest feature is a little bit of wisdom and a whole lot of bite. Don’t Expect Much From The World follows Angela, who drives around Bucharest interviewing various characters for a “safety at work” video she has been hired to produce by a large conglomerate, one of whom includes a man who reveals the company may be liable for an injury he sustained at work. Taking aim at everything from Andrew Tate to the Queen to the great corporate Evil we all bow and cower too, the two and a half hour black-comedy can sometimes feel like a test of endurance, but there’s a lot to gain from its hilarious, angry, and ultimately sad message.

Taste of Mango (Dir. Chloe Abrahams)

The fact that Chloe Abrahams’ Taste of Mango was filmed entirely with a home-video camera should hint at exactly how personal she’s willing to get with her debut feature and documentary. At once a gentle observation of generational bonds as it is a scarring portrait of generational trauma, the film sees Chloe trace the story of her mother and her grandmother through their mysterious estrangement and shaky reunion. During the film we’re treated to serene images of nature and comforting moments of tenderness between Chloe and the women in her family, and Abrahams unravels the nature of their shared trauma in a way that both hurts and heals.

Shortcomings (Dir. Randall Park)

You’ll recognise Randall Park from Fresh off the boat, Always Be My Maybe, and as “Asian Jim” from The Office, but if Shortcomings is any indication, the comedian, writer and actor is just as suited for the director’s chair. Adapting cartoonist Adrian Toomes’ graphic novel of the same name (Toomes also wrote the screenplay) the film follows a struggling Californian filmmaker (played by Justin H. Min) who becomes caught in a mid-life crisis after his girlfriend moves to New York. Park’s comedy shines through here, even as he sits behind the camera, and as a whole Shortcomings succeeds by becoming the antithesis of sorts of Past Lives, which has been criticised for its portrayal of the “perfect Asian immigrant” stereotype. Regardless of whether you think that’s true, it works well for Shortcomings that its characters are flawed, sometimes toxic, and are on a never-ending, always-stalling journey of growth.  

Hoard (Dir. Luna Carmoon)

Just over a month ago now Hoard became the surprise hit of the Venice Film Festival, with filmmaker Luna Carmoon receiving a lengthy standing ovation as the credits rolled. Carmoon may be a first-time director, but Hoard is a surprisingly mature journey through the throes of childhood trauma that will move you if given the chance. Starring Stranger Things’ Joseph Quinn and actress and playwright Hayley Squires, trust us, this isn’t one to miss.

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Opus (Dir. Neo Sora)

This year we lost one of the truly great composers of a generation in Ryuichi Sakamoto. The artist was a major pioneer in electronic music as a solo artist and member of Yellow Magic Orchestra, an Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA and two-time Golden Globe winner for his film compositions, and, as an actor, he was largely known for his turn as Capt. Yanoi in Nagisa Oshima’s classic Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, where he starred opposite David Bowie. His resume is one for the ages, but what makes Opus interesting is its focus on just a singular breathtaking performance from Sakamoto, his last before his death, that encapsulates so much of the composer’s genius. A concert film to be rewatched for years to come.