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London fest is a global affair

September 16, 2006|From the Associated Press

LONDON — Dustin Hoffman, Tim Burton and Forest Whitaker are among the celluloid celebs lined up to attend the 50th London Film Festival.

The festival opens Oct. 18 with Kevin Macdonald's "The Last King of Scotland," which stars Whitaker as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. It closes Nov. 2 with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's multi-stranded saga "Babel," starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Gael Garcia Bernal.

Galas include Emilio Estevez's "Bobby," about ordinary people caught up in the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy; Richard Linklater's junk-food expose "Fast Food Nation"; and Anthony Minghella's "Breaking and Entering," a complex story of life in modern London, starring Jude Law.

Among the British entries are Roger Michell's "Venus," which stars Peter O'Toole as an aging actor; Andrea Arnold's "Red Road," about a woman who works in a security firm's surveillance center; and Shane Meadows' "This Is England," a coming-of-age story set within the ska and skinhead culture of the 1980s.

The lineup of 181 features and 131 shorts features work from about 50 countries, including films by India's Mira Nair, Finland's Aki Kaurismaki, Sweden's Lukas Moodysson, Italian director Nanni Moretti, Denmark's Lars von Trier and China's Jia Zhang-ke, whose "Still Life" won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month.

The London festival, founded in 1957, aims to show the best of the last year's world cinema to a British audience and bills itself as Europe's biggest public film event.

It is a popular fixture on London's busy cultural calendar, with more than 100,000 tickets sold each year.

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