The London Film Festival opened today (October 13) with the European premiere of Never Let Me Go, a movie with a hauntingly off-kilter setting and a universal emotional punch.

Stars Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield were all smiles as they walked down the red carpet in Leicester Square before the gala evening screening that kicks off the two-week extravaganza of 300 movies from 67 countries.

Never Let Me Go is an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro‘s Booker Prize-nominated novel about three boarding school friends who discover complicated feelings for one another — and the dark fate that awaits them beyond the school grounds.

Set in a gentle English dystopia, the actors said they were struck by the emotional force of the tale.

Carey called it, “a love story about people who want very simple things from life and can’t get them.”

She added that she, Andrew and Keira were in awe of the novel and its author. She said: “Keira and I did Pride and Prejudice together. We’ve done lots of adaptations of Dickens and Austen and things where the author’s not around to tell you off if it’s rubbish. So this was sort of doubly intimidating.”

The 54th London film festival runs until October 28 and Danny Boyle‘s 127 Hours, based on the true story of climber Aron Ralston who amputated his own arm after it was trapped by a boulder in a Utah canyon, will close the annual event this year.


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