‘Frost/Nixon’ to bow at London fest

Posted by · 12:42 am · June 26th, 2008

Good news for me and my fellow Brits: for once, we’re going to get something first. Although Ron Howard’s baity “Frost/Nixon” hasn’t been kept that tightly under wraps, confirmation has arrived that the film will have its world premiere at the 52nd London Film Festival, where it will open proceedings on October 15.

It’s an auspicious slot, as LFF artistic director Sandra Hebron has a habit of picking successful films to kick off the fest. Previous openers include “Almost Famous,” “Gosford Park,” “Vera Drake,” “The Constant Gardener,” “The Last King of Scotland” and last year’s very London-centric “Eastern Promises.”

As you can see, prestige films with a UK element are favoured, so the selection of Howard’s film, an adaptation of a very British stage hit, comes as no surprise. There have been a couple of misfires in the opening slot over the years (Ang Lee’s strangely forgotten “Ride With the Devil,” Jane Campion’s underrated “In the Cut”), but for now, the odds are against “Frost/Nixon” going the same way.

Either way, it’s a nice feather in the cap for a lovely, very public-friendly festival that gets stronger with each year: last year’s dynamite lineup included “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” “Lust, Caution,” “4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days,” “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” and, in the surprise-screening slot that I was lucky enough to attend, “No Country for Old Men.” Hebron has done a brilliant job thus far; I expect her streak to continue in 2008.

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