Programme Notes

BFI Southbank

La terra trema

With La terra trema, Visconti developed the neorealist approach to a dramatic subject in its most extreme form: the players, the lines they speak, the places they live in, the whole social backgrou...

In Collaboration
Anderson and Others

‘The Pleasure Garden’: contemporary reviews This light extravaganza by the Californian poet James Broughton, whose 16mm films (Mothers’ Day, Loony Tom, etc.) have been seen over here, was financed ...

There's Still Tomorrow

It is more than a little ironic that it took a highly commercial feminist film to outdo Barbie. Paola Cortellesi’s There’s Still Tomorrow was the No. 1 attraction in Italian cinemas last year, gros...

Never Apologize
A Personal Visit with
Lindsay Anderson

No actor was more associated with Anderson than Malcolm McDowell, the ‘Mick Travis’ of the director’s great trilogy, and friend through thick and thin. In this filmed one-man stage performance, fir...

La chimera

At one point in Alice Rohrwacher’s La chimera, Josh O’Connor’s brooding English grave-robber grips a makeshift divining rod with both hands and slowly, reverently, walks through the local Tuscan wo...

Stand Up! Stand Up!

Momma Don’t Allow In March 1954, Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson submitted a proposal to the BFI Experimental Film Fund for a short documentary. At the time, Reisz was working for the BFI as progra...

Lindsay Anderson vs
the Short Films Industry

+ intro by Patrick Russell, Senior Curator of Non-fiction, BFI National Archive Anderson spent some time toiling in Britain’s sponsored shorts industry. This screening explores the intriguing rela...

The Magic Flute

Originally produced for television, Ingmar Bergman’s rendering of Mozart’s beloved opera is a cinematic spectacle. The film blurs the boundaries of theatre, between audience and stage, as Tamino ...

Chi-Raq

In more than three decades as a filmmaker, Spike Lee has tackled topics as far-ranging as college fraternities, jazz music, the Son of Sam murder spree and influential Black nationalist Malcolm X, ...

Billy Connolly - Big Banana Feet

Murray Grigor on ‘Big Banana Feet’ Billy Connolly was already the talk of the town in the late 60s with his wry, outrageous re-enactments of the Crucifixion, complete with such heresies as Christ b...

The Vagabond Queen

+ intro by BFI curator Bryony Dixon Before we had the universes of Star Wars, DC, Marvel etc, there was the fantasy land of Ruritania, a make-believe central-European kingdom in which princesses w...

Germany Year Zero

SPOILER WARNING The following notes give away the film’s ending. ‘The city was deserted, the grey of the sky seemed to run in the streets and, from the height of a man, you could look out over all...

Bicycle Thieves

A contemporary review Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves, like Rossellini’s Paisà, came to London with a fabulous reputation to live up to, and, in a way, to live down. To Paisà, a film made in a s...

You've Got Mail

You’ve Got Mail began with executive producer Julie Durk, who, after watching the classic film The Shop around the Corner, thought it would be a great movie to remake. She brought it to the attenti...

Rome, Open City

‘The overwhelming experience of 1945 was Rome, Open City,’ wrote influential film critic David Shipman in his book Cinema: The First Hundred Years, ‘it made every movie made until then seem old-fas...

Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry

After I Am Truly a Drop of Sun on Earth (2017) and Wet Sand (2021), it’s no surprise that the title of Elene Naveriani’s third feature makes poetry of natural imagery. If Ingmar Bergman hadn’t got ...

Shoeshine

The screening of Shoeshine on Tuesday 14 May will be introduced by season curator Giulia Saccogna. In the devastation of post-war Rome, two street kids shine shoes to escape starvation. Dreaming t...

La Règle du jeu

‘For us there was only one French director, and that was Jean Renoir’, said Claude Chabrol, while François Truffaut called Renoir ‘the greatest filmmaker in the world’. New Wave directors, as criti...

Mulholland Dr.

SPOILER WARNING The following notes give away some of the plot. For all its mood shifts from black wit to sheer terror (Peter Deming’s camerawork creeps around corners and into darkened rooms to d...

Cinema Is Evil
Welcome to the World of Legendary, Queer Occult Filmmaker Kenneth Anger

Kenneth Anger, who died on 11 May 2023 in Yucca Valley, California, produced a body of work unique in cinema. His films never brought him a mass audience, even though they are as beautiful and tech...