This year 184 features and 133 shorts from 43 countries will be screened in venues across the city, including Leicester Square, BFI Southbank, ICA, Ritzy and Tricycle (plus free screenings of vintage films in Trafalgar Square), not to mention a series of talks, interviews and masterclasses, involving many of the most talented film-makers from all over the globe.
The LFF does not tend to make news headlines - probably because, although it does present a few specialist competitions and awards such as the Grierson Award for best feature-length documentary, it does not have the equivalent of a Palme d'Or, Golden Lion or Golden Bear for films to win acclaim or stir up controversy in a general competition.
However, with 7 world, 29 European and 128 British premieres this year, the LFF gives us the chance to see many movies for the first time and, while some will of course be released in cinemas here later, for others this will be the only big-screen showing in the UK.
The Opening Night Gala features David Cronenberg's cracking gangster thriller Eastern Promises, about the Russian mafia in London and starring Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts. Written by Steve Knight (who wrote the screenplay for Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things), it revolves around people trafficking and gang warfare, with a brooding atmosphere punctured by bouts of visceral violence.
The Closing Night Gala is a totally different kettle of fish. Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited follows three estranged American brothers on a train journey across India, where they hope to find themselves and bond with each other. Like his previous films such as The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic, it blends offbeat comedy with melancholic thoughtfulness in a distinctive style.
Other gala screenings include Lions for Lambs, Robert Redford's complex political thriller about the war in Afghanistan (starring himself, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise); Lust, Caution, Ang Lee's espionage thriller set in 1940s Shanghai (which won the Golden Lion at Venice); I'm Not There, Todd Haynes' bizarrely inspiring portrait of Bob Dylan (played by six actors including Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett); The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Andrew Dominik's hauntingly poetic version of the Western myth, starring Brad Pitt as the outlaw hero; and Sicko, Michael Moore's latest satirical dissection of American society, this time focusing on its inequitable health-care system.
Also screening in Leicester Square - minus the glitzy red-carpet treatment but sometimes introduced by the film-makers concerned - are a number of diversely intriguing movies. A couple of literary period films by French directors look an enticing prospect: veteran nouvelle vague auteur Jacques Rivette has taken on Balzac's novel Don't Touch the Axe (featuring Depardieu Junior - Guillaume), set in the aristocratic salons of 1820s Paris, while François Ozon has filmed Elizabeth Taylor's acclaimed novel Angel, a rags to riches melodrama about a romantic novelist in Edwardian England (played by Romola Garai).
And - extremely rarely - there are two remakes by the directors of the original films: Michael (Hidden) Haneke has transposed his 1997 Austrian pyschological thriller Funny Games to the US (starring Naomi Watts and Tim Roth), and in Rescue Dawn, Werner Herzog has made a fictionalized version of his 1997 documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly, with Christian Bale as a German-born US fighter pilot captured in the Vietnam War.
In terms of home-grown talent, three movies in particular take the eye: the irrepressibly youthful octogenerian Richard Attenborough has made Closing the Ring, an epic romance with its origins in the Second World War, spanning 50 years and two continents (starring Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer); Sarah Gavron's Brick Lane is based on Monica Ali's prize-winning novel about love and racism in the Bangladeshi community in the East End; and Nick Broomfield's Battle for Haditha is a controversial dramatization of an alleged massacre by US Marines in the Iraq war.
The latter will make a fascinating comparison with Brian De Palma's Redacted, another fictionalized version of a reported American atrocity in Iraq. The lines between drama and documentary, fact and fiction, truth and propaganda, are increasingly blurred. But then that is what the LFF is all about: breaking down the barriers between different genres and between national boundaries, challenging our preconceptions and prejudices in a truly imaginative international experience. Enjoy!