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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- The source book of Orson Welles, and still a marvellous movie. Thematically less resonant than some of Welles' later meditations on the nature of power, perhaps, but still absolutely riveting as an investigation of a citizen - newspaper tycoon Wil...Read more
- British director John Boorman’s 1967 Hollywood debut (he was hired off the back of Dave Clark Five vehicle ‘Catch us if you Can’, amazingly) is a slippery beast. The story – from Donald E Westlake’s frequently adapted novel ‘The Hunter’ – is magni...Read more
- Reactionary pap the story may be, but Wise’s blockbuster musical is still grossly underrated (and frequently knocked by those who’ve never seen it). It’s superbly edited and shot, Ernest Lehman’s script keeps things moving along nicely, the Nazi t...Read more
- Werner Herzog’s mad masterpiece from 1972 still has its hallucinatory charge. Its star, Klaus Kinski, terrorised his fellow cast and crew, and in its own way ‘Aguirre’ has become cinema legend (director Herzog says the only way he could keep Kinsk...Read more
- On the face of it, this crime saga, Claude Sautet’s 1960 directorial debut that’s re-released this season, seems worlds away from the elegant chamber dramas (‘Un Coeur en Hiver’, ‘Nelly et Monsieur Arnaud’) that later made his reputation outside F...Read more
- Miyazaki's first digitally animated feature (the highest-grossing Japanese film ever) initially seems like a Through the Looking-Glass fantasy, but rapidly picks up a resonance, weight and complexity that make it all but Shakespearean. Chihiro, a ...Read more
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McKellen: Playing the Part
'McKellen: Playing The Part' is a new, fully authorised documentary film about the life and work of acting legend Sir Ian. After this special screening at the BFI, the man himself will join Graham Norton on stage for a Q&A which will be broadcast live...Film events Sunday May 27 2018
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Absolute love the BFI - events, movies, the place is always buzzing, has a convenient scooter parking and a great program as well as a great location
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.