In the midst of rising inequality, this year’s BFI London Film Festival (LFF) sees filmmakers tackle complex, dark material about the world we live in. As the rich become richer and the poor become poorer, they’re tackling global inequality in all its intersecting forms: economic, gender, race, power and beyond.
Keen to kick off a conversation around inequality and class division, LFF Director Tricia Tuttle has programmed a space for conversation in their Eat The Rich panel event at LFF For Free, on October 16. Here she explains how cinema can help us face the darkness in our times… and picks out seven films to start you thinking about inequality.
It’s been a very dark year in cinema. Filmmakers are grappling with incredibly complex ideas and quite dark stories about the world we live in.
One of the reasons that we wanted to have an ‘Eat The Rich’ event at this year’s LFF is that it keeps coming up in different ways in the programme. And it’s not just inequality in terms of economic inequality. Filmmakers are grappling with racial inequality, gender inequality, global inequality, inequalities that arise because of climate emergency issues. The idea behind the LFF for Free events is that with the talks and panels we can create a discursive space around the films. That talk is sold out, but because they are free events, there’s always drop off. So I would encourage people who want to be part of that conversation to come along.
Very few films in the festival this year are escapist fun. Filmmakers just aren’t making those kinds of stories. Even something like Matilda, our opening night film, or Glass Onion, our closing night film – you can just escape and enjoy being in the cinema but they both ask you to think a little bit more deeply about the world we live in.
LFF Director Tricia Tuttle picks the London Film Festival’s best movies that tackle inequality
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
I feel like I might give something away by even saying this, but the highest profile spur for this [Eat the Rich] theme is our closing night film, Glass Onion. I don’t want to say too much because it is a murder mystery and the less you know about it the better – but global wealth inequality is at the heart of the story. It’s very sharp, very biting, very satirical, very smart. I think that was part of Knives Out too, so I’m not giving too much away. Rian Johnson is one of the most cine-literate of our major commercial filmmakers. He knows how to craft a great pop film, but he also has a lot of depth. And he’s done it again here. You could watch it and just enjoy it. Or you can watch it and peel back its layers. That glass onion metaphor is a good one.