This year’s BFI London Film Festival features full-length movies, many short films to watch free online, and plenty of free events including screen talks (one with musician David Byrne, amongst many others), Q and As and much more both online and in person.

Actors on a Dorset beach.
Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite.

This Saturday, 17 October, sees a special one-off screening at the Regent Street Cinema of Ammonite. Written and directed by Francis Lee whose first film, God’s Own Country, was very well received in 2017, Ammonite stars Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan and looks set to scoop awards, having been selected for Cannes, Toronto and other festivals. Set in 1840s Dorset, it explores the relationship between a jaded fossil hunter (no pun intended) struggling to support her sick mother, and a visiting rich young bride. The film boasts a subtly crafted score by Volker Bertelmann, which frames this tale of connection, nature and the geology of both, without being intrusive.

Amongst the dozens of great shorts on offer to view free of charge on the BFI Player, are a strand called “Kids Will Be Kids”: films from all around the world exploring the commonality of children’s experiences of growing up, despite hugely diverse conditions. There is also a collection under the heading of “This Is The Rhythm Of My Life”, which deals with the importance of music, art, cinema, fashion and spirituality as essentials of an interesting life. It is to be hoped that Rishi Sunak and other government ministers recently instructing those in the arts to give up their passions and retrain, might find time to watch these!

We strongly recommend all readers to explore the LFF website thoroughly and without delay, to take advantage of all the great offerings. BFI London Film Festival 2020 runs until Sunday 18 October.

Clifford Slapper is a musician and author of Bowie’s Piano Man: The Life of Mike Garson.