Shots of Midge, the pregnant doll in Greta Gerwig’s billion-dollar winner Barbie, are so brief that you might not have noticed that she’s played by Emerald Fennell. As an actress, Fennell is best known for her starring role in Call the Midwife (2013–2017), and she played Camilla Parker-Bowles in two seasons of The Crown (2019–2020). She was the showrunner during the second season of Killing Eve (2019), and her first feature, Promising Young Woman (2020), was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture. Fennell won one for Best Original Screenplay. On October 4, her second feature, Saltburn, will open the sixty-seventh BFI London Film Festival.
Barry Keoghan plays Oliver Quick, a student who can’t seem to find a social footing at Oxford until he meets Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), a charming and rich lad who invites him to Saltburn, his eccentric family’s sprawling estate. The BFI calls Saltburn, which is set in the mid-2000s, “a beautifully wicked tale of privilege and desire.” The cast also includes Carey Mulligan, who played the clever but traumatized lead in Promising Young Woman, as well as Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Alison Oliver, and Archie Madekwe. The producers behind Promising Young Woman—Fennell and Barbie coproducers Margot Robbie and Josey McNamara—have reunited for Saltburn.
London 2023, running through October 15, will be the first edition overseen by the new BFI Festivals director, Kristy Matheson, who says that the moment the credits rolled on Saltburn, she and her team knew they’d just seen their opening night film. “With its exceptional performances, delicious plot twists, and a soundtrack of early twenty-first century pop bangers,” she says, “this hugely ambitious film immediately stole our hearts.” The BFI notes that the October 4 screening will be the international premiere, which suggests, since Saltburn is not heading to Venice and is so far not part of Toronto’s lineup, that the world premiere will be at Telluride.
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