The 60th BFI London Film Festival is in full swing; some say it’s the biggest, brightest and best event in the capital’s film-goers calendar, screening everything from swanky star-studded red carpet Hollywood premiers to the very best in world cinema. You can still get your hands on last minute tickets by heading to bfi.org.uk (but hurry as it all comes to an end on Sunday).
I for one am a huge fan of cinema, and as you may have realised by now – a huge fan of my home city, so when I see any part of London up there on the big screen I feel proud, excited and a little bit emotional! London has played a starring role in many blockbuster movies thanks to its awesome skyline, atmospheric streets and royal palaces.
London galleries have proved popular with film location managers, with the Tate Modern being featured in several films – Match Point (Scarlett Johansson), Children of Men (Michael Caine) and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Ewan McGregor). The Portrait Restaurant at the National Portrait Gallery was featured in the Julia Roberts’ brilliant film Closer.
Numerous London icons have often been featured, our red phone boxes and double decker buses, Big Ben and London’s spectacular bridges have featured in The Da Vinci Code, Bond’s Skyfall, and in 28 Days Later Jim – the protagonist walks across a deserted Westminster Bridge in one earie scene with the Houses of Parliament behind him.
Leafy Greenwich has played host to the epic riot scenes in the live film version of Les Miserables (Eddie Redmayne), as well as the opening carriage chase in Pirates of the Caribbean (Jonny Depp – as if you needed the reminder).
Trafalgar Square – home to Nelson’s Column and what seems to be London’s pigeon population –is possibly the world’s most recognisable landmark and was bound to pop up in a film or two – Captain America, St Trinian’s and the Tom Cruise film Edge of Tomorrow, to name but three.
The film Notting Hill shows, well Notting Hill in all its glory! Portobello Road, Notting Hill Coronet cinema, and of course that now extremely famous book shop to which tourists flock.
Now I couldn’t let our dear old Tube go without a mention – us commuters may have a love/hate relationship with it but we’d be lost without it! It played a key role in Gwyneth Paltrow’s character’s fate in Sliding Doors. That soppiest of romcoms Love Actually included scenes on the London underground too and scenes from The Bourne Identity with Matt Damon were shot in Charing Cross underground station.
Lastly but by no means least, if you find yourself at a certain train platform in Kings Cross station you might discover a bit of magic, but not any old magic – a bit of Harry Potter magic….