Programme Notes

BFI Southbank

Lightyear

What’s it about? Young astronaut Buzz Lightyear is the member of a spaceship crew who are stranded on a planet 4.2 million light years from Earth. His repeated attempts to return home backfire, but...

The Harder They Come

Jimmy Cliff brings a knockout soundtrack and charisma aplenty to this classic crime drama. A film that needs no introduction to anyone with so much as the slightest interest in reggae or Jamaican c...

Charulata

SPOILER WARNING The following notes give away the film’s ending. Two hands, a man’s and a woman’s, reach tentatively out to each other. But just before they meet, the frame freezes. Reconciliation...

Rockers

‘Greetings and love to one and all.’ Originally conceived as a documentary about the late 70s scene, Theodoros Bafaloukos’s wonderfully loose, quirky and free-wheeling film gradually morphed into a...

Gaslight

Following the success of his first two films, The High Command in 1936 and The Arsenal Stadium Mystery in 1939, director Thorold Dickinson was offered the opportunity to direct the adaptation of Pa...

Forever a Woman

SPOILER WARNING The following notes give away some of the plot. Inspired by the life of celebrated female poet Fumiko Nakajō, who met an untimely death aged 32 from breast cancer, Tanaka embarked ...

Dance, Girl, Dance

Dance, Girl, Dance, a glorious and subversively feminist film from the Golden Age of Hollywood, had inauspicious beginnings. In 1940, RKO had a film in production that was going off the rails – a r...

Sweet Smell of Success

Franc Roddam on ‘Sweet Smell of Success’ Sweet Smell of Success is a film that is sympathetic to the anger that I feel about the way in which the public is bamboozled into believing half-truths and...

M

Some years ago – we’re talking about the mid-80s to the mid-90s – serial killer movies were, for want of a better phrase, all the rage. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986), Manhunter (1986), ...

The Music Room

‘The Music Room is a deeply felt, extremely tedious film. On the one hand its western derivations are patent (the Greek-revival mansion no more than the Chekhovian theme). On the other hand its chi...

The Manchurian Candidate

In September 1961, Frank Sinatra – the most widely publicised of the president’s friends – was a weekend guest at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port. Among other things, Sinatra used his visit to...

Love Letter

Love Letter is the first film of legendary actor turned director Kinuyo Tanaka. The man writes love letters to make a living. One of the women who asks him to do so is someone he’s been searching f...

Inna de Yard

While recording a collaborative album in Stony Hill, Jamaica, and preparing for a concert in Paris, a group of reggae veterans including Cedric Myton, Ken Boothe, Judy Mowatt and Lloyd Parks discus...

Conscientious Protectors

Conscientious Protectors puts you right in the middle of the beginnings of the Extinction Rebellion movement. The film follows the founding members of the non-violent direct action climate change g...

Elizabeth R

After the great public and critical success of The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970), the BBC turned hopefully to the turbulent life of the King’s daughter, Elizabeth. The approach was essentially th...

Paris, Texas

Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton) walks out of the desert after four years, to the amazement of his brother, Walt (Dean Stockwell). Reunited with Hunter, his seven-year-old son, Travis decides ...

Hit the Road

If modern Iranian cinema already has one family filmmaking dynasty established in the Makhmalbafs (father Mohsen, followed by daughters Samira and Hana), step forward a second second-generation tal...

Grey Gardens

‘The most incredible documentary of all time.’ (Jenny Newman, BFI Member) It’s a documentary, but you couldn’t make it up. Imagine if John Waters shot a script by Tennessee Williams and it was bro...

Elizabeth Is Missing

Glenda Jackson made a triumphant return to UK TV after an absence of over 25 years with this astonishing performance, for which she won a BAFTA. Andrea Gibb’s script (based on a novel by Emma Heale...

Touki Bouki

John Akomfrah on ‘Touki Bouki’ Until I saw Touki Bouki, I hadn’t understood an African Cinema to be political by its very nature, being born out of the process of cultural and post-colonial renewal...