February 2016 at BFI Southbank




At BFI Southbank



  • UNFAITHFULLY YOURS: THE COMEDIES OF PRESTON STURGES – a season that offers the opportunity for audiences to discover some of the funniest films ever made. From audacious screwball comedies to divine lunacy and biting satire.
  • Tuesday 2 February, 18:10 – TALK: Sarah Churchwell on Preston Sturges and the Art of the Classic Comedy
  • JEAN-LUC GODARD PART TWO (Three part season runs Jan – Mar) – BFI Southbank continues its celebration of one of the godfathers of the French New Wave, with part two of the season, focusing on his more experimental work of the 1970s through to the end of the 1980s
  • Wednesday 13 January, 20:30 – TALK: Jean-Luc Godard as Architect
  • Wednesday 10 February, 18:20 – TALK: Nicole Brenez on Godard as Experimental Filmmaker
  • Monday 22 February, 18:30 – TALK: Albertine Fox on Godard as Sound Artist
  • AND THE OSCAR® GOES TO... – Your chance to watch the films in contention ahead of 2016’s ceremony
  • Friday 5 February – Short Film: Animated
  • Saturday 6 February – Live Action Shorts
  • Sunday 7 February – Documentary Shorts
  • Monday 8, Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10 February – Documentary Features
  • Saturday 13, Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 February – Foreign Language Film
  • Wednesday 3, Thursday 11, Wednesday 17, Friday 19, Saturday 20, Sunday 21, Tuesday 23, Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 February – Best Picture
  • LANDSCAPE BURNING: THE TV PLAYS OF DAVID RUDKIN – The acclaimed writer of cult classic Penda’s Fen is celebrated with a dedicated season, one of the most extensive ever held.
  • Wednesday 24 February, 18:10 – TALK: David Rudkin in Conversation with critic Michael Billington



  • Wednesday 17 – Sunday 21 February – BFI FUTURE FILM FESTIVAL. The BFI Future Film Festival returns for its ninth year with its biggest and best line-up yet of screenings and workshops for 15-25 year olds. Details of the festival will be released in the New Year. 
  • Monday 1 February, 20:40 – UK PREMIERE: Rams Hrútar (Grímur Hákonarson, 2015) / Onstage: director Grímur Hákonarson
  • Wednesday 3 February, 18:00 – PREVIEW: Trumbo (Jay Roach, 2015)
  • Wednesday 17 February, 20:45 – PREVIEW: Freehold (Peter Sollett, 2015)
  • Thursday 18 February, 18:30 – PREVIEW: Chronic (Michel Franco. 2015)
  • BFI FAMILIES – JOHN LASSETER: A DECADE AT DISNEY – with screenings throughout the month including Q&As with directors Byron Howard (Tangled) and Rich Moore (Wreck it Ralph) onSunday 7 February
  • Thursday 18 February, 18:30 – BFI FLARE 2016 PREVIEW
  • Monday 22 February, 18:20 – TALK: Mark Kermode Live in 3D at the BFI / Onstage: Mark Kermode
  • Sunday 14 February – VALENTINE’S DAY SCREENINGS: Screenings include – The Quiet Man (John Ford, 1952), Top Hat (Mark Sandrich, 1935), The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960), Jules et Jim(François Truffaut, 1962)
  • Satruday 13 February – CHINESE NEW YEAR: Screenings include – The Chinese Mayor Datong (Zhou Hao, 2015) and UK PREMIERE of The Calligraphy Master Qi Gong (Yinnan Ding & Zhen Ding, 2015)
  • Sunday 28 February, 20:40 – AUDIENCE CHOICE: on the theme of The Coen Brothers, to compliment the Preston Sturges season and the release of Hail, Caesar!
  • Wednesday 3 February, 18:10 & 20:30 – EXPERIMENTA: Peter Gidal’s Experimental Film Programmes at the London Film Co-op Cinema 1971-1974



  • NEW RELEASES – The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 2015), Hail, Caesar! (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2016), The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941) and The Palm Beach Story (Preston Sturges, 1942)
  • PLUS RUNS OF RECENT TITLES – Sunset Song (Terence Davies, 2015), Taxi Tehran Taxi (Jafar Panahi, 2015), Innocence of Memories (Grant Gee, 2015), The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin, 2015), Lady in the Van Room (Nicholas Hytner, 2015) and Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015)



BFI Southbank will mount an extensive season dedicated to one of the most innovative film directors in the world, the godfather of the French New Wave Jean-Luc Godard, from Friday 1 January – Wednesday 16 March; the season will include over 100 examples of his vast and varied output, including feature films, short films, self-portraits, experimental TV productions and a number of rarities. The season will be structured chronologically so audiences can appreciate the evolution of Godard’s craft over the past five decades. Born in 1930, and active as a critic from 1950 before making his first feature À bout de souffle in 1960, Jean-Luc Godard is a seminal director who has influenced filmmakers as diverse as Martin Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch, Bernardo Bertolucci and Quentin Tarantino.

Part two of the season in February covers a period of extraordinary diversity and radical changes in Godard’s methods and artistic output. Following collaborations with Jean-Pierre Gorin including Lotte in Italia (1970), Vladimir et Rosa (1970), Tout va bien (1972) and Letter to Jane (1972), Godard embarked on the most significant and long-lasting creative partnership in his career. Working with his current partner Anne-Marie Miéville, not only did his political philosophy take a new turn – focusing less on abstract revolutionary principles and more on the everyday experiences of life under capitalism – but also the very tools of his art changed. Godard and Miéville enthusiastically embraced video technology as a fresh way of seeing the world and of thinking with images and sounds. Films such as Numéro deux (1975) and Comment ça va? (1976) saw Godard and Miéville combine film and video techniques to produce a wide-ranging essay that announces the key themes of their subsequent work, including the sexual politics of work and the family and the ideological domination of the mass media.

There will be a rare opportunity to see Godard’s experiments with television in the late 1970s - Six fois deux (1976) was a six part series which used the screen less as a window than as a blackboard for the analysis of contemporary communication processes, often using a video pen to write directly over the imagery; the ambitious a twelve part series France tour détour deux enfants (1979) was a poetic study on childhood, school, TV, French language, and society. But Godard did not abandon cinema, he simply reinvigorated it with this new audiovisual dialogue, which exploded into life in the 80s with a series of brilliant features that are as richly suggestive and as sensuously captivating as anything he produced in the 60s. Features from the 1980s being screened in the season will include Passion (1982) starring Isabelle Huppert and Jerzy Radziwilowicz, a lateral take on the Carmen story First Name: Carmen (1983), a return to noir for the first time since Made in USA Détective (1985) and King Lear(1987), which Godard presented as a ‘study’ of the source material, and features William Shakespeare Jr. the Fifth (Peter Sellars) on the trail of traces of his ancestor’s work in an age of cultural amnesia.



To mark the prestigious 88th Academy Awards, BFI Southbank will host screenings of all the films in the running from several categories. The nominated films will be unveiled by the Academy on Thursday 14 January and the BFI Southbank screening programme will be announced on Friday 15 January. The season will feature the cream of the crop from the documentary and short filmmaking worlds, Foreign Language Film and Best Picture nominees. 

Short Film – Animated: Fri 5 Feb

Live Action Shorts: Sat 6 Feb

Documentary Shorts: Sun 7 Feb

Documentary Features: Mon 8, Tue 9, Wed 10 Feb

Foreign Language Film: Sat 13, Mon 15, Tue 16 Feb

Best Picture: Wed 3, Thu 11, Wed 17, Fri 19, Sat 20, Sun 21, Tue 23, Wed 24, Thu 25 Feb

Visit bfi.org.uk for further information and updates



Running from 1 February – 16 March, Unfaithfully Yours: The Comedies of Preston Sturges will be an opportunity for audiences to discover some of the funniest films ever made. From audacious screwball comedies to divine lunacy and biting satire, Preston Sturges can claim to be the first writer-director, selling his Oscar-winning screenplay for The Great McGinty (1940) to Paramount for $10 in return for being able to direct the film. The season will include classic comedies such as Sullivan’s Travels (1941), The Lady Eve (1941) and The Palm Beach Story (1942), with the latter two playing on extended run. Last year, four of his seven hits made between 1940 and 1944 – The Lady Eve, Sullivan’s Travels, The Palm Beach Story and The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek – made the Writers’ Guild of America’s 101 Funniest Screenplays poll. Only Woody Allen had more.

Part one of this season focuses on Sturges’ accomplishments as a writer and his successful transition to directing when he negotiated the first writer-director credit in Hollywood by selling his screenplay for The Great McGinty. The season will kick off with Sarah Churchwell on Preston Sturges and the Art of the Classic Comedy; this introductory talk will offer an overview of his career, insights into the context in which he worked, celebrate his craft, and discuss highlights for the weeks ahead. Sturges’ first solo screenplay The Power and the Glory (1933) was a sophisticated depression-era drama about the rise and fall of a railroad tycoon (played by Spencer Tracy), and was later acclaimed as a major influence on Welles’ Citizen Kane, while Easy Living (1937) starred Jean Arthur as a working-class girl catapulted into the high-life when she collides with an expensive fur coat tossed away by a Wall Street banker in a fit of anger. As with many of Sturges’ screenplays, the consequence of a single action or decision escalates into an increasingly absurd – and hilarious – sequence of events. Remember the Night (1940) was the first film to benefit from the charismatic pairing of Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray (whose next together was Double Indemnity) was the last Sturges would write before taking the director’s chair.

American politics got a thrashing The Great McGinty (1940), a corrosive satire about a bum who cheats his way to become State Governor, only to come unstuck when he actually tells the truth. His first film as director won Sturges his only Oscar® – for original screenplay in the year the Academy introduced the category. Sturges then lightened the tone with the riotously funny critique of consumerismChristmas in July (1940), and achieved the perfect balance between playful and serious in his celebrated masterwork Sullivan’s Travels (1941). Sullivan’s Travels told the story of a comedy film director who goes on the road in search of more socially significant material for his next film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a film title the Cohen Brothers would go on to directly reference in their satirical comedy of the same name.

Extended runs playing during the season are The Lady Eve (1941) and The Palm Beach Story (1942). The Lady Eve is a wild, unruly screwball which is as mad, funny and romantic as Sturges gets. Gorgeous con artist Jean (Barbara Stanwyck) – accompanied by her ‘father’ Colonel Harrington (Coburn) – sets her sights on ‘Hopsie’ (Henry Fonda), an awkward snake expert and heir to an ale fortune. Her ruse comes undone when she genuinely falls for him, at which point Sturges flips the script and doubles the stakes. The Palm Beach Story is a sexy and cynical take on marriage and money, and is one of Sturges’ most outlandish and irresistible films, with a brilliant cast including Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea. The season will continue in February with films from the latter part of Sturges’ career.



Throughout February BFI Southbank will host one of the most extensive season’s to date of the work of David Rudkin, a prolific screenwriter who has worked for over 50 years across a variety of mediums including TV, film and most notably, the stage. Critically celebrated by The Guardian’s Michael Billington, who described him as an ‘uncompromising’ author of ‘fierce dark imagination’ and The Observer who dubbed him as Britain’s ‘greatest living dramatic poet’, Rudkin is probably most famous for the cult classic Penda’s Fen (BBC, 1974). A highlight of the season will include David Rudkin in conversation with Michael Billington, following a screening of Leap in the Dark: The Living Grave (BBC, 1980).

Rudkin’s TV dramas are infused with ancient myth and contemporary meaning, with many achieving cult status. Rudkin himself sums up the significance of his plays, commenting: ‘at the beginning of my writing career the TV set was a small object in the corner of the living room, and the image black and white… I see now that my creative impulse was already drawing me, unawares, toward an unorthodox use of TV’.

Penda’s Fen is a magnificently ambiguous metaphysical journey, quite unlike any other TV play; directed by Alan Clarke, this is very rare opportunity to see what many regard as Rudkin’s finest work on the big screen. Artemis 81 (BBC, 1981) sees Rudkin push the boundaries of TV drama to achieve epic scale and power. This part-gothic fantasy and part-mythic sci-fi stars Sting and was championed by the great drama producer David Rose. Also screening will be two episodes from the ambitious TV series which adapted Winston Churchill’s complex book A History of the English-Speaking People: Churchill’s People: Pritan (BBC, 1974) and Churchill’s People: The Coming of the Cross (BBC, 1975) were both written by Rudkin and demonstrate his love of ancient history and myth. Other titles that will screen during the retrospective will include Across the Water (BBC, 1983), White Lady (BBC, 1987) and December Bride (1990).


Author: cfwebmaster

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