The director was in attendance along with stars Ralph Fiennes,Rachel Weisz, Danny Huston, and author John Le Carre, who wrote the novel onwhich the film is based. New York-based Focus Features executives John Lyonsand James Schamus also attended.
Sandra Hebron, the festival's artistic director, noted that thefilm "has many of the qualities that we're aspiring to as a festival -
Theusually predictable speeches got an extra dose of excitement because actorRalph Fiennes was unexpectedly delayed several hours on a flight from
"I was hoping that the LFF might haveparachuted me in wearing a tuxedo but I'm not Bond," Fiennes joked afterrunning on stage.
BFI chairman AnthonyMinghella praised The Constant Gardenerfor being "what a film should be - a celebration of international creativetalents." The film does have quite a worldly pedigree - theUS-UK-Germany-Canada co-production was shot in
The LFF will run through to November 3, when George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck will closethe event. More than 180 feature films will screen during the festival,including the world premieres of Richard Jobson's A Woman in Winter and Serge Le Peron's I Saw Ben Barka GetKilled (J'ai vu tue Ben Barka).
Other gala presentations will be James Mangold's Johnny Cashbiopic Walk the Line, Julian Fellowes' directorial debut SeparateLies, Shane Black's murder mystery Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, TerryGilliam's fantastical The Brothers Grimm, Australian western TheProposition,
This year's festival should be typically star-studded, withexpected attendees including Gwyneth Paltrow, Gael Garcia Bernal, TerryGilliam, Shane Black, Kirsten Dunst, Cameron Crowe, John Madden, DamienLewis, Julian Fellowes, Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt, Atom Egoyan, Francois Ozon,Nick Cave, the Dardenne Brothers, and others.