Florence Pugh looks stunning on the red carpet.
KS Cast

Dispatches from the BFI London Film Festival

On the nine Netflix movies, star's looks, and British bites from the most recent film festival.

Opening photograph by Misan Harriman
19 October 20227 min read

London was in exceptionally fine form this October — perfect weather and so much energy as people flocked to attend the Frieze Art Fair and the NFL’s international regular-season game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Not only that, but actors, filmmakers, and cinephiles were also converging in one of the world's greatest cities for the annual BFI London Film Festival. One of the final stops on the fall festival calendar, the prestigious gathering was a busy one for the Netflix family, which had nine films in the star-studded lineup and hosted some 51 events. It was exhausting in all the best possible ways.

My trip began with a 7 a.m. wake-up call to journey to Camden’s Big Sky Studios where Jem Mitchell was photographing the supernova that is Florence Pugh for Queue — her revelatory performance in Sebastián Lelio’s The Wonder proves yet again that her singular talent is undeniable. The following night was all about White Noise, writer-director Noah Baumbach’s ultra-relevant adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel about materialism and anxiety in the modern era. Star Greta Gerwig wowed onscreen and on the red carpet, going back to her roots by wearing a spectacular purple cape dress by fellow California natives Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. The next evening, she chatted with Bridgerton’s Lady Whistledown herself, Nicola Coughlan, at the Wes Anderson-hosted screening of White Noise. (Look for excerpts from the conversation between old friends Anderson and Baumbach in Queue later this fall). 

Who knew that London had so many Soho Houses! I feel like I visited them all this festival, including 180 House, located in the heart of the city. There, on the rooftop, was a brunch feting Netflix talent — Tobias Lindholm, director of The Good Nurse, mingled with his drama’s star Eddie Redmayne, BARDO filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Swimmers star Matthias Schweighöfer, and White Noise’s Raffey Cassidy, among others.

The festivities continued with a gala premiere for BARDO and an AMPAS cocktail party at the National Portrait Gallery, where the film’s Ximena Lamadrid looked like she literally stepped out of one of the paintings to join the soirée in a spectacular Fendi gown. Redmayne’s The Good Nurse co-star Jessica Chastain was there as well as Pugh and Stranger Things’s star Gaten Matarazzo, who was in London for the premiere of the must-see animated fable My Father’s Dragon. French director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover premiere was a homegrown celebration for stars Emma Corrin, Jack O’Connell, and Joely Richardson. The night was only getting started as we then proceeded to the BARDO afterparty at the impossibly chic Mark’s Club in Mayfair, where I got to chat with the film’s breakout Iker Sánchez Solano.

The following Saturday, Guillermo del Toro lit up the red carpet to the sounds of screams from the crowd for the world premiere of his stop-motion animated fairy tale, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. Joining him were voice actors Cate Blanchett, in an eye-catching Alexander McQueen suit, Christoph Waltz, and newcomer Gregory Mann who stars in the title role. Perhaps the biggest hit was the little wooden boy himself making his way into the hands of all his fans. In addition to the film garnering early, widespread acclaim, the cast and creators had plenty of other reasons to celebrate, as Libras del Toro, co-director Mark Gustafson, and Mann — who turned 13 — all had birthdays fall during the festival. That meant a lot of singing and a lot of cake!

The final night brought together the entire cast of Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery to ignite the crowd for the Closing Night Gala. Daniel Craig led the cast — all in black-tie attire — to commemorate the special occasion. It was a visual treat and a fan favorite, with onlookers lining up (dare we say queuing) for hours to catch a glimpse of the powerhouse ensemble, which included Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Madelyn Cline, Kate Hudson, and Dave Bautista. Monáe, in a custom Christian Siriano creation, and Grace Jones shared an iconic moment on the carpet that none in attendance will forget. Photographer Misan Harriman was there for Queue to document it all.

Despite the whirlwind, I was able to squeeze in an amazing lunch at The Wolseley (on the day that we lost Dame Angela Lansbury), watch the Liverpool vs. Arsenal game in real time, stop by the hot spot HJEM in Kensington for a flat white and a cardamom bun, and swing through Marks & Spencer, the beloved shopping hub, for one of their famous sandwiches. According to Florence Pugh, the Christmas sandwiches are the best, but with the holiday still weeks away, I settled for a cheese and onion and an egg salad and watercress.

Last but not least, I enjoyed fish and chips at a Fulham pub with a pint (no martinis allowed) and played a few rounds of the Pub Quiz — winning with the answer to this question: What are the five most populated states in the U.S.? As I said, exhilarating and exhausting, in all the best possible ways.

Cheers, until next time.