LONDON FILM FESTIVAL

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The Independent Culture
It may not have the glamour of Venice or Cannes, but the London Film Festival has always been good to its audience. The 15-day festival charges into the capital's cinemas with a packed programme.

For those with a taste for the American independent movie, there are rich pickings. Worth a look is Hal Hartley's gleefully scatological fable, Henry Fool (today). John The Last Seduction Dahl makes an appearance with Rounders (Fri 13, Sat 14, above), a story of card sharks starring Matt Damon, Edward Norton and John Malkovich.

Other US films to watch out for are Tamara Jenkin's romp The Slums of Beverley Hills (Wed 11, Thu 12) and Darren Aronofsky's mathematical thriller Pi (Sun 8, Mon 9). But for sheer sexiness you can't beat Elmore Leonard's Out of Sight (Thu 12, Fri 13), a romantic thriller which marks an upturn in the careers of both its director Steven Soderburgh and star, George Clooney.

New British Cinema worth seeing includes Fast Food (today), a dark and witty no-budget British gem which sees Douglas Henshaw returning to London and striking up a friendship with phone-sex worker Emily Woof. For the more adventurous, Danish director Thomas Vinterberg's nightmarish family reunion Festen (Fri 13, Sun 15) comes recommended, along with Francois Ozon's spin on bourgeois family values, Sitcom (today, Wed 11).

Liese Spencer

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