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London film festival: why students are addicted to Lff

4 October 2011 6:19 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Ahead of its 55th outing, Alastair Dant goes back to 1995 to work out what first got him hooked on the BFI London film festival

As per much of our second year at Ucl, Phil and I sat cross-legged beneath the Japanese table in our Camden flat, scheming. The table was heated; a luxury that suited our mode of repose. Conversation typically ranged between which half-cocked Britpop band had been lurking in our local or who'd won most games of pool. On this occasion, a more important matter was at hand: the table bore the programme for the 1995 BFI London film festival.

It's not clear where we got it. It could have been a record shop counter or a Soho cafe. What mattered was how neatly this event celebrated student life. It slipped easily into a schedule of late lectures and misspent afternoons. It coaxed us with the promise of world cinema and cheap matinee tickets. »

- Alastair Dant

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