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London Film Festival 2009: Top 10 must-sees (2)

An Education

Feature by Rob Carnevale

Film: An Education
What’s it about? Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is a young woman full of promise and intent on succeeding at Oxford. But after meeting an older man (Peter Sarsgaard) she comes to believe that she can learn things outside the classroom, casting doubt on her future plans.

Why so essential? Based on the popular novel by Nick Hornby, Lone Scherfig’s film has already won a lot of friends from festival appearances thanks to its witty script and top-drawer ensemble cast. Mulligan builds on the success of her performance in Bleak House to shine as Jenny, while high-calibre support comes from Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina and Rosamund Pike.

Pre-LFF buzz: Coming-of-age story offers an ageless lesson in life, but An Education is ever fresh, never didactic, and very entertaining – Film Journal International

A Prophet

Film: A Prophet (Un Prophete)
What’s it about? A young Arab man is sent to a French prison where he becomes a mafia kingpin.

Why so essential? In a year that has already delivered some top-notch crime dramas (Mesrine: Parts 1 and 2, Public Enemies), A Prophet could even top the lot. The film debuted at Cannes, where critics fell over themselves to heap praise upon director Jacques Audiard for his unflinching depiction of prison life, and upon Tahar Rahim for the intensity of his career-defining central performance. It’s tough stuff, but one for any fan of the crime genre.

Pre-LFF buzz: This is exhilarating filmmaking, a movie which instantly takes its place alongside the greats of the crime movie genre – The Times

Next: The Road and A Serious Man