Formerly the National Film Theatre, this much-loved four-screen venue on the South Bank in Waterloo became the BFI Southbank in 2007. For film lovers who know their Kubrick from their Kurosawa, this is London's best cinema. Certainly, it's the city’s foremost cinema for director retrospectives and seasons programmed to showcase international work or films of specific genres or themes. It’s the flagship venue of the British Film Institute and plays home each year to the BFI’s London Film Festival and to the BFI’s seasons, such as 2014’s celebration of sci-fi. BFI Southbank also regularly hosts Q&As with some of the world’s leading filmmakers. The venue itself is a hot spot, with two bar-restaurants (one overlooking the river, nestled under Waterloo Bridge), a bookshop (good for DVDs too) and a library.
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- In one of the most gorgeous images in ‘Volver’, white blossoms into crimson as a sheet of kitchen towel saturates with blood. Housework here is murder and a woman’s work is never done – not after killing, not even after dying. Almodóvar has long b...Read more
- Chile, 1973: the world of 11-year-old Gonzalo Infante (Matías Quer) is changing apace. For one, mum and dad aren’t getting on that well. For another, his headmaster has given scholarships to several new boys from a nearby shanty town, despite so...Read more
- Wittier, a lot more enjoyable and infinitely richer than the year's major Oscar contenders, this is clearly a blood brother to Anderson's Rushmore. The Tenenbaums are New York high society gone to seed. Scandalous Royal (Hackman) separated from w...Read more
- All you ‘Concerned of Actons’ can put down those Biros and half-cocked sawn-offs right now: yes, two stars for one of the Greatest Films of All Time may seem a little derisive, but what a time to reissue this bleak and emotionally manipulative (so...Read more
- Vertigo via Buñuel. Saura's ambitions may have been a bit loftier than his talent back in 1967, but this slice of art house surrealism insinuated itself past Franco's censors to give a welcome glimpse of a Spanish film culture dominated by the sha...Read more
- It’s hard to argue with the fact that the central conceit of Kurosawa’s global breakthrough – presenting divergent perspectives on a single contentious incident – provides such a strikingly insightful way of looking at the world that the term ‘Ras...Read more
- Originally released in Britain as Young Man of Music, lest anyone got the wrong idea about Kirk Douglas' instrumentation, this Warner Bros biopic plays typically fast and loose with the life of its inspiration, legendary jazzer Bix Beiderbecke. Do...Read more
- This free but sensitive adaptation of Ruth Rendell's thriller is Almodóvar's most impressive film to date - darker, straighter and far more controlled than his camp extravaganzas. A story of obsession, hatred, jealousy and revenge, it concerns a y...Read more
- A restored print of the lesser-known sequel to classic British war reconstruction 'The Battle of the Somme'.Read more
Average User Rating
4.9 / 5
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There's simply no rival in London if you're looking for a cinema that specialises in retrospectives and special seasons on directors or themed work or work from a particular country. Their special events (Q&As etc) are strong, and the venue has massively improved in recent years in terms of being a place to eat and drink before or after a film. Many people now simply use it as a place to hang out without even seeing a film.
The home of London cinema. It is a place where you can feel part of a community of film lovers, young and old, rich and poor, of every background. There is no bigger thrill than seeing your cinematic icons where they belong: on the big screen in front of a packed house. Seeing 'It's a Wonderful Life' at the BFI should be a London rite-of-passage.