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Spare a bit of sympathy for Helen Dewitt.

On one hand, Dewitt has one of the coolest jobs on the planet. She’s the producer of the upcoming London Film Festival, a 15-day homage to the world of movies that incorporates more than 180 films with workshops, appearances by top actors and directors, discussions and gala screenings.

But on the other, she experiences what you might call “delayed screening syndrome.” Business comes first, and she must forego the must-see films at the event until it’s over.

“We’re so busy running around during the festival that we can’t watch any of the films,” she said in a telephone interview. “So after the festival, after a good, long sleep, I can’t wait to sit down, relax and watch a film.”

The event’s formal name is the Times bfi 49th London Film Festival. The bfi is the British Film Institute. Screenings and other events are open to the general public.

Everything kicks off Oct. 19, with the opening gala screening of “The Constant Gardener,” a political mystery filmed partly in Kenya and starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. Closing the festival on Nov. 3 is George Clooney’s latest directorial effort, “Good Night, and Good Luck.”

This is no single-track event. The categories of film being shown this year are New British Cinema, French Revolutions, Cinema Europa, World Cinema, Experimenta, Treasures From the Archives, Short Cuts and Animation. Additional special events range from panel discussions about film to interviews with famous directors.

Film-wise, there is something for everyone. For mainstream moviegoers, there is Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest, “Proof.” Lovers of musical oldies-but-goldies may want to catch the 1950s classic “Carousel.” Families might enjoy “Cave of the Yellow Dog,” about a Mongolian nomad clan and their pet. Socially conscious filmgoers won’t want to miss “Delwende,” a contribution from Burkina Faso-France-Switzerland based on a true story of a woman torn from her family in West Africa and forced to live in a village with others accused of being witches.

The 2005 festival also offers a rich selection of films for music lovers.

Among them is “Walk the Line,” a film biography of Johnny Cash starring Joaquin Phoenix. Another offering is by Australian musician Nick Cave, whose first scriptwriting effort is “The Proposition.” The Australian Outback western, starring Guy Pearce, will be shown at the MTV Special Screening, and Cave will appear at a platform discussion.

Also among the several platform interviews with directors and actors this year is director Terry Gilliam, a longtime cult hero for his membership in Monty Python’s Flying Circus. His latest movie “The Brothers Grimm,” starring Matt Damon, will be screened.

The festival also has a participative element. So-called master classes and debates about film (“Is Home the New Cinema?”) are intended to reach all segments of the moviegoing audience.

DeeDee Doke is a freelance writer living in Ely.

Ticket info

Tickets available:

Online: at [BOLDFACE]www.lff.org.uk[/BOLDFACE] (full-price tickets only).Postal: PDF booking forms available on the Web site above.Telephone: (+44) (0)20-7928-3232 daily 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.At all festival venues. Tickets for the day available 30 minutes before the first screening.Admission prices for films:

National Film Theatre, ICA Cinema and other venues, 8.20 poundsOdeon West End, 10 poundsAdmission prices for events:

Galas/special screenings, 12.50 poundsOpening and closing night galas, 25 poundsThe Times Screen Talks, 12 poundsMaster classes, 9 poundsAdditional information available at: www.scriptfactory.co.uk

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