Oct/Nov at BFI – Edgar Wright curates new Soho season

The BFI today announces full details of the BFI Southbank programme from 18 October – 30 November, with a packed line-up that includes BFI JAPAN 2021: 100 YEARS OF JAPANESE CINEMA. This major UK-wide celebration of Japanese film, which launched online last year, arrives on the big screen at BFI Southbank from 18 October. Highlights this month include the BFI re-release of Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece SEVEN SAMURAI (1954) and a preview of DRIVE MY CAR (2021), Ryūsuke Hamaguchi’s engrossing adaptation of a Haruki Murakami short story, which won the prize for Best Screenplay at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Also this month, the BFI celebrate the career of multi-award winning writer/director MIKE LEIGH, one of Britain’s most internationally recognised and critically acclaimed filmmakers. The UK-wide celebration, which includes a BFI re-release of the BFI National Archive 4K remastering of NAKED (1993), comes to BFI Southbank with a complete retrospective of Leigh’s work from 18 October – 30 November. The season will feature screenings of all his films and television works and multiple Q&As with Leigh and his close collaborators, including Mike Leigh In Conversation with writer Amy Raphael on 28 October.

To coincide with the release of Edgar Wright’s new film, the glorious homage to 60s Soho, LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (2021), BFI Southbank will host a special season curated by the director – EDGAR WRIGHT’S LONDON AFTER DARK will introduce audiences to the films that inspired his latest work. Running from 18 October – 29 November, with selected titles available to watch on BFI Player, the season will feature ripped-from-the-headlines tabloid documentary PRIMITIVE LONDON (Arnold L Miller, 1965), cult hit BEAT GIRL (Edmond T Gréville, 1960), Hitchcock’s last great shocker FRENZY (1972), fun and gritty time capsule of the 1960s THE SMALL WORLD OF SAMMY LEE (Ken Hughes, 1963) and many more. There will also be a preview of LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (2021) ahead of its UK-wide release on 29 October. The highly anticipated film stars Thomasin McKenzie as Eloise, who leaves her life in a remote village to become a fashion student in London, where home becomes a top-floor flat amid Soho’s neon lights. Eloise soon learns that life in the capital is not without its dangers as she learns secrets about Soho in the past and must face some ghosts that are lurking in the present. Full details of the season will be announced soon.

During November, BFI AFRICAN ODYSSEYS will present a programme exploring the work of activist and broadcaster DARCUS HOWE. Born in Trinidad during the dying days of British colonialism, Howe settled in the UK in the 1960s. As an activist, he was central to organising political campaigns, including the historic Mangrove Nine trial and The Black Peoples’ Day of Action, 1981. Howe also became a household name with a career in broadcasting that spanned three decades from the 1980s. This programme will include special events and discussions with guests including Tony Warner, of Black History Walks, writer and exec producer Farrukh Dhondy, and Race Today Collective founding member and activist, Leila Hassan. Screenings will include TRAVELS WITH MY CAMERA: IS THIS MY COUNTRY? (Channel 4/Diverse, 2007), WHITE TRIBE (Channel 4/Diverse, 2000), TROUBLE IN PARADISE (Channel 4/Diverse, 2000) and DARCUS HOWE: SON OF MINE (Channel 4/Diverse, 2006).During October and November BFI Southbank’s regular programme strands all spotlight and celebrate black history and black talent – further details can be found below.

Special events during October and November will include MARK KERMODE LIVE IN 3D AT THE BFI, on 18 October and 8 November, in which critic and broadcaster Mark Kermode is joined by surprise guests from across the film industry to explore, critique and dissect current and upcoming releases, cinematic treasures and industry news. The BFI’s Screen Epiphany series returns on 24 October with special guest Adjoa Andoh, whose rich body of work includes performing on stage at the RSC, the National and the Royal Court, and on screen in BridgertonInvictus and Doctor Who. In this special event, Andoh will introduce a screening of her ‘epiphany’ film – a film that has influenced and inspired her. Andoh’s choice is a landmark of African cinema, Ousmane Sembène’s highly engaging and sharp-witted drama MANDABI (1968). There will also be a TV Preview of THE AMAZING MR BLUNDEN (Sky One, 2021)on 29 November followed by a Q&A with Mark Gatiss and Tamsin Grieg; in this family adventure teenagers Jamie and Lucy join their mum who has become caretaker of an old country house – one that’s said to be haunted. We’ll also mark the 20th anniversary of HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE (Chris Columbus, 2001) with a BFI FAMILY FUNDAY screening on 14 November; the screening will be preceded by a children’s Funday Workshop for ticket holders, in which attendees will write spells, create their own wands and have a go at some witchy animation.


Health and safety measures continue at BFI Southbank, with up- to- date guidance available on the BFI website.


This month, BFI Southbank’s regular programme strands, including PROJECTING THE ARCHIVESILENT CINEMA and BFI FLARE, all spotlight and celebrate black history and black talent on both sides of the camera. There will be a WOMAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA powered by Jaguar preview of the touching and powerful documentary ANATOMY OF WINGS (Kirsten D’Andrea Hollander, Nikiea Redmond, 2020)on 28 October. The film follows a group of Black girls who, in 2008, sign up to an after-school programme, Wings, where they are taught filmmaking. As we follow the girls through their teens and into adulthood over an 11 year period, we’re given a frank and authentic look not just at the experiences of young Black women, but at the way in which filmmaking becomes an outlet for them to tell their stories. BFI Southbank’s regular RELAXED SCREENINGS for those in the neuro-diverse community and their assistants and carers, this month features SUMMER OF SOUL (Questlove, 2020), the new award-winning documentary that depicts the joyous 1969 Harlem Music Festival, featuring Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and more.

This month’s BFI FLARE screenings shine a light on the legendary black gay filmmaker Marlon Riggs, who pulled no punches in examining the relationship between race, gender, sexuality, capitalism and the media. Programmer Rico Johnson-Sinclair will introduce screenings of the poignant, yet playful, TONGUES UNTIED (1989) and Riggs’ final film BLACK IS… BLACK AIN’T (1994), made as the filmmaker died from AIDS-related complications. The latter film directly addresses issues with misogyny and homophobia in the Black community that still exist to this day; interviews with Marlon himself, from his hospital bed, are interspersed throughout the film and serve as testimony to the work that still needs to done.

Further events include a SILENT CINEMA screening of Oscar Micheaux’s BODY AND SOUL (1925), famous for being the film debut of Paul Robeson; an EXPERIMENTA screening of Isaac Julien’s rich and powerful depiction of the life of Afro-Caribbean psychiatrist, philosopher and revolutionary, Frantz Fanon in FRANTZ FANON: BLACK SKIN WHITE MASK (1995); and a PROJECTING THE ARCHIVE screening of DUTCHMAN (Anthony Harvey, 1966), a powerful and affecting adaptation of the award-winning play by Black activist Amiri Baraka (aka LeRoi Jones). The screening of DUTCHMAN on 19 October will be introduced by curator and writer Karen Alexander, who will be joined by academic Clive James Nwonka for a post-screening discussion chaired by Voice4Change Director Kunle Olulode.


BFI Southbank’s ongoing BIG SCREEN CLASSICS series – where we show classic films on a daily basis for the special price of £8 – will continues to invite audiences to revel in WATCHING THE DETECTIVES. Not every detective is a full time sleuth; besides professional private eyes and police officers, films have followed insurance investigators, tax inspectors, journalists and all manner of amateurs in their pursuit of the truth. WATCHING THE DETECTIVES will celebrate curiosity, courage and cunning, deduction and downright determination. This month’s line-up will include Robert Altman’s LA noir THE LONG GOODBYE (1973), conspiracy thriller ILLUSTRIOUS CORPSES (Francesco Rosi, 1976) Kathryn Bigelow’s account of the CIA’s lengthy search for Osama bin Laden, ZERO DARK THIRTY (2012), Spike Lee’s slick and stylish crime thriller INSIDE MAN (2006) and many more. In addition to our £8 ticket offer for BIG SCREEN CLASSICS, audience members aged 25 & under are able to buy tickets for BFI Southbank screenings, in advance or on the day, for just £3, through our ongoing ticket scheme for young audiences.


New releases on extended run will include a brilliant and refreshing story of UK post-punk dyke culture, told by those who lived it, REBEL DYKES (Harri Shanahan, Siân A Williams, 2021), which will be released in cinemas UK-wide by the BFI from 26 November. A heady mash-up of animation, archive footage and interviews, it tells the story of a radical scene including squatters; BDSM nightclubs; anti-Thatcher rallies; protests demanding action around AIDS, and the fierce ties of chosen family. Céline Sciamma returns to her roots with another beautifully crafted coming-of-age story PETITE MAMAN (2021), on extended run from 26 November. The film follows eight-year-old Nelly, who is taken by her parents to help pack up her recently deceased grandmother’s house; Sciamma evokes great tenderness and draws out astonishing performances from her young actors to create a magical, delicate fairy-tale of a film. Completing the line-up of new releases is NEVER GONNA SNOW AGAIN (Malgorzata Szumowska, Michal Englert, 2020) from 22 October; this fresh, funny and thought-provoking tale highlighting the indiscreet charms of the Polish bourgeoisie is enigmatic, engrossing and hugely enjoyable.