UK 2023, 96 mins
Directors: Jane Giles, Ali Catterall

+ intro by co-director Ali Catterall

Fasten your seatbelts for the return of the homegrown hit of this year’s LFF, featuring John Waters along with John Akomfrah, Adam Buxton, Caroline Catz, Matt Johnson, Isaac Julien, Beeban Kidron, Stewart Lee, Peter Strickland, Ben Wheatley, Jah Wobble and many more. Archive footage, eye-popping movie clips, acid-crazed animation and some famous names combine to tell the story of London’s infamous, influential Scala cinema, in a film dedicated to evoking the true spirit of the place and what it felt like to be in the audience there. With its cracked marble floors, resident cats and mysterious, extrasensory rumblings, the Scala was both a magic place and a refuge from Britain during the Thatcher years. Hilarious, irreverent, and ultimately heart-breaking, with a fabulous original score by Barry Adamson, Scala!!! is more than mere nostalgia; it’s an X-rated love letter and a universal shout-out to the power of cinema to inspire impressionable young minds and create a sense of community for outsiders – a place where everyone is welcome.
Jason Wood, Season Curator

After this screening co-director Jane Giles will join Ali Catterall in the BFI Reuben Library Reading Room where attendees can look at her book Scala Cinema 1978–1993.

SCALA!!! Or, the Incredibly Strange Rise and Fall of the World’s Wildest Cinema and How It Influenced a Mixed-up Generation of Weirdos and Misfits
Directors: Jane Giles, Ali Catterall
©: Fifty Foot Woman Ltd.
Production Companies: Anti Worlds, Channel X
Based on the book Scala Cinema 1978-1993 by: Jane Giles

UK 2023
96 mins

A BFI release

We welcome your feedback on this screening.

BFI Southbank has been awarded the National Autistic Society’s Autism Friendly Award.

The next relaxed screening is: THE ENIGMA OF KASPAR HAUSER + intro and discussion Monday 29 January 2024 18:20 NFT3

Find out more at and

Relaxed Screenings

Screenings for neurodivergent audiences, with their companions and assistants.

• Customers can select their seats when they arrive in the auditorium.

• Please leave space between yourself and other groups and retain your selected seats for the duration of the performance if possible.

• We support you wearing a face covering if you choose to do so.

• You are welcome to take refreshments into the auditorium but no hot food please.

• Doors will open 30 minutes before the screening.

• No trailers will be shown.

• The programme will be introduced.

• Our house lights will remain on a low level throughout the screening, and the volume will be turned slightly down.

• You will be able to leave the auditorium and return during the screening.

• There will be a quiet space to use if you need to leave the auditorium.

• We understand you may make some noise.

• Please ask us if you need help.