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Filmmakers including Edgar Wright, Gurinder Chada and Asif Kapadia curate new BFI season

Chris Olson

Chris Olson

Monday, May 10, 2021 at 11:48:42 AM UTC

Filmmakers including Edgar Wright, Gurinder Chada and Asif Kapadia curate new BFI season

Special guests appearing (some in person, some virtually) to introduce their choices include Edgar Wright, Gurinder Chadha, Luca Guadagnino, Asif Kapadia, Prano Bailey-Bond, Kirsten Johnson, Peter Strickland and many more.

With just one week to go until cinemas across the country are able to reopen, BFI Southbank’s new season DREAM PALACE: MOVIES MADE FOR THE BIG SCREEN is the perfect programme to get audiences excited about returning to cinemas. The season is inspired by the ongoing Sight & Sound editorial campaign ‘My Dream Palace’, which sees film industry luminaries pen their own love letters to cinemas; over the past year the campaign has celebrated and ‘kept a light burning’ while cinemas around the world were closed. The DREAM PALACE season, at BFI Southbank from 17 May – 30 June, has been curated by filmmakers including Edgar Wright, Gurinder Chadha, Luca Guadagnino, Asif Kapadia, Prano Bailey-Bond, Peter Strickland, Francis Lee and many more. Our special guests, some of whom will introduce their choices in person and some virtually, have all picked the film that they would most like to see at BFI Southbank; the result is a wonderfully eclectic mix, all of which will be glorious on our dreamy big screens.

This month’s issue of Sight & Sound, which is out digitally today (in shops on Thursday 13th May), features the latest love letter to a cinema from Gurinder Chadha, who writes about our very own BFI Southbank in the My Dream Palace column. She recalls: “I shot a scene for Bride & Prejudice (2004) in NFT1: somebody’s watching a movie and then a fight breaks out. I chose the NFT because it represents British cinema, it represents everything I aspired to as a filmmaker of colour on the margin at that time…it always felt like the NFT represented something bigger than the sum of its parts.” The cover of this month’s Sight & Sound is graced, by way of a major focus on video nasties, by Prano Bailey-Bond’s CENSOR (2020), which was developed and produced with the support of the BFI, using funds from the National Lottery. Bailey-Bond also takes part in the DREAM PALACE season, with her film choice, David Lynch’s THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980).

The full programme includes screenings of:

-  BLACK NARCISSUS (Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 1947) chosen by Edgar Wright (in person intro)

-  CAR WASH (Michael Schultz, 1976) chosen by Gurinder Chadha (in person intro)

-  THE WARRIORS (Walter Hill, 1979) chosen by Asif Kapadia (in person intro)

-  FOOTLOOSE (Herbert Ross, 1984) chosen by Francis Lee (pre-recorded intro)

-  BEAU TRAVAIL (Claire Denis, 1999) chosen by Kirsten Johnson (pre-recorded intro)

-  THE ELEPHANT MAN (David Lynch, 1980) chosen by Prano Bailey-Bond (pre-recorded intro)

-  MIRROR (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975) chosen by Małgorzata Szumowska (pre-recorded intro)

-  THE SHOUT (Jerzy Skolimowski, 1978) chosen by Mark Jenkin (pre-recorded intro)

-  GOODBYE, DRAGON INN (Tsai Ming-liang, 2003) chosen by Peter Strickland (in person intro)

-  BEGINNING (Dea Kulumbegashvili, 2020) chosen by Luca Guadagnino (pre-recorded intro)

-  THE GLEANERS & I (Agnès Varda, 2000) chosen by Zhu Shengze (pre-recorded intro)

-  HAIR (Milos Forman, 1979) chosen by Kleber Mendonça Filho (pre-recorded intro)

-  BROADCAST NEWS (James L Brooks, 1987) chosen by Sarah Smith (in person intro)

-  THE WONDERS (Alice Rohrwacher, 2014) chosen by Mark Cousins (pre-recorded intro)

-  SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006) chosen by Chaitanya Tamhane (pre-recorded intro)

The season also includes screenings introduced by BFI staff including: BFI CEO Ben Roberts, who has chosen BLOW OUT (Brian De Palma, John G Fox, 1979), BFI Creative Director Heather Stewart who has chosen a double bill of MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (Douglas Sirk, 1954) and FEARS EATS THE SOUL (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974) and BFI Festivals Director Tricia Tuttle, who has chosen DAVID BYRNE’S AMERICAN UTOPIA (Spike Lee, 2020). Full listings, including screening dates and times can be on the BFI website.


During the most recent lockdown BFI Southbank’s technical team have used this prolonged period of closure to make some upgrades and improvements to our biggest cinema, the 450 seat NFT1. This work has included a new screen, new sound system, improved lighting, and the imminent installation of a new laser projector. The NFT1 stage has also been adapted with a new permanent ramp to ensure the stage is completely accessible at all times; this complex piece of work (which has involved dropping the stage and raising the floor) means that event-specific temporary solutions are a thing of the past.


Audience members aged 25 and 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. Tickets for screenings between 17 May – 30 June are on sale now:


BFI Southbank will reopen on 17 May (pending confirmation that restrictions will be relaxed as planned), with health and safety measures including social distancing and the wearing of face coverings, continuing until government guidance advises otherwise. Full details of all measures in place to protect visitors and staff are available on the BFI website.

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