You wouldn’t know it from the listings of pretty much any multiplex over the summer, but films can inform as well as entertain (in the case of many blockbusters, managing either would be a triumph). After sitting through countless new releases over the past couple of weeks, we’re here to bring you our accumulated wisdom from the 59th London Film Festival. Here’s the five key lessons to take away. Make sure you put them to good use.
1. Anything can be a weaponHumans are nothing if not inventive. We have a great capacity for designing, building and using weapons of great destructive potency, but not every fight has to be settled with guns and knives. In Men & Chicken, everyone has a favoured weapon, some traditional – planks of wood – others not so much. Søren Malling’s character wields a mean stuffed bird that you don’t want to be on the receiving end of. And don’t even get him started with the stuffed fox.
2. Take more care when attempting to hide from armed racistsWhen you’re a poor migrant trying to avoid booze guzzling, confederate flag waving lunatics on the US/Mexico border, it pays to keep quiet, especially when the lunatic is tracking you stealthily around rocky outcrops. In this situation, avoid carrying volatile toy rabbits liable to burst into song at any moment. Sound advice you’d think, and yet Gael García Bernal pays no heed in Desierto. If you’re foolish enough to follow his lead, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
3. If you find yourself in the home of a Nazi Sympathiser, run!When said sympathiser is Hank from Breaking Bad, it may seem like an obvious reaction, but that didn’t stop Christopher Plummer from outstaying his welcome in Remember. Thankfully, even at his age, Plummer was a perfect shot, proving that you should never underestimate an OAP carrying a gun.
4. How some people reach the boardroom will remain a mysteryThe great myth of capitalism is that is engenders a meritocratic system allowing only the righteous to rise to the top. If the advice Chow Yun-fat’s Chairman dishes out to his daughter in Office is anything to go by, either the system broke or there’s no hope for humanity. His whole philosophy seems to be based on the belief that if you get into trouble just stare at someone until they come to your rescue. That might explain why his company is stumbling towards the brink.
5. Berlin is an unforgettable nightspotWhen failed concert pianist turned organic café employee Victoria set out on a night of solo clubbing, she probably didn’t expect it to end in armed robbery and hostage taking. After meeting a bunch of dubious guys on the way home, she manages to ignore a lot of red flags – attempted car theft, actual car theft and shoplifting – before joining them on an ever more illegal transformation into coked up bank robbers. Having stolen a baby, made off with a bag of cash and watched corpses mount up around her, she might regret her nocturnal activities, but she’s unlikely to forget them.