Film Festivals,


Wednesday, May 16, 2012 Craig Grobler 2 Comments

film4 summer screenIt's that time of year again when, the stately yet uber cool Somerset House plays host to one of the grandest film festivals to grace London - the Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House. The chance to watch a film in the magnificent surroundings of Somerset House under the stars.

Having a look at this year’s programme it certainly looks to be one of the most exciting, with an extraordinary balance of old and new films to enjoy. Must sees include: Wim Wenders's Paris, Texas, Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle ThievesAlfred Hitchcock's The BirdsFrancis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse NowJonathan Glazer's Sexy Beast, Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive and Gaspar Noé’s psychedelic existential shocker Enter The Void. Sadly no Bond this year?

Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House will also present two highly anticipated UK premieres; John Hillcoat’s Lawless and Walter Salles’s On the Road as well as The Watch. Their Behind the Screen talks continue with a great line up - more info here!

As a regular attendee of Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House here are some of my tips for a better Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House experience.

Here are some tips to make your Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House a little better.

1. Book early
Tickets for Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House will be available to public from Friday 18 May from over here and they go faster than hot cakes at a place that everyone wants to buy hot cakes so to avoid an Olympic sized disappointment book as soon as you can.

2.  Be mentally prepared
Like going into a Game of Thrones - half the battle is being mentally prepared. The truth is unless you are in the VIP area (which is marginally better), Summer Screen at Somerset House is a bit like being on a slightly less crowded train or tube, albeit a lot more mellow. So if you get your mind in the right frame to be dropped into a throng of oddly territorial hipsters incapable of adhering to any semblance of internationally recognised rules of personal space, you’ll be fine.  Arrive early and be prepared to stand around waiting, before finally being allowed to sit around and wait.

To avoid additional disappointment after standing in queues for: - entry, - food, - drinks, - the loos (all of which are worth the wait, particularly the drinks which you’ll need to numb your survival instincts when they eventually overcome your foolhardiness) and you still manage to lay claim to a small kingdom or rather a piece of uncomfortable cobblestone to be used for watching your film – be prepared for the Wildlings - whose idea of planning to avoid all the aforementioned unpleasantness is to arrive while the titles are rolling and engage in a land grab thereby forcing you to halve your tiny kingdom and adopt a body position out of the Kama Sutra for the duration of the evening.

3. Be physically prepared
No I’m not advocating a course of Krav Maga or close quarters conflict resolution I’m obviously talking about your comfort here. Dress warmly. Fleece and Cashmere work well, shell suits less so. Layer and prepare for a torrential storm or a heat wave or a mixture of the two - this is London. In previous years Film4 have supplied wet weather ponchos but best be prepared. Comfortable shoes are essential.

Take something soft to sit on. Whilst preparing for your screening and weighing up the “carrying cushions doesn't match my outfit (or look cool)/carrying cushions is too much effort vs. comfort” argument - consider that the Royal courtyard that serves as your seating for the Film4 Summer Screenings is made from granite carved out of the volcanic rock of Mordor during the mid 1500s. It has survived a Civil War, a Plague, The Great fire of London, The Blitz, the filming of Goldeneye & a Lupe Fiasco gig, during winter Thames river water is thrown onto the courtyard to create the world famous Somerset House open air ice rink. So you can imagine what chance your posterior has - bring something comfortable to sit on.

Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House with American Express®
London’s most beautiful open air cinema is back with an exciting and eclectic line-up of films. Featuring a mix of UK premieres, cinematic classics, cult favourites and recent releases - all shown under the stars on a giant screen with full surround sound.

To enjoy more than just the movies book for Behind the Screen, our programme of talks illuminating the films, or arrive early to hear sets from some of London's finest DJs, providing the ideal soundtrack to your picnic.

UK Premiere: On the Road - Thursday 16 August 2012
The freedom of the open road and friendships that change lives provide the fuel for this stirring and quite beautiful adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s classic novel of the Beat Generation. Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund are the attractive threesome who share everything together, with Brazilian director Walter Salles vividly capturing the thrill of Kerouac’s writing and the intensity of his experiences. It’s taken more than 50 years for this Road to reach the screen; the long and winding wait ends with the UK Premiere at Summer Screen.

The Birds - Friday 17 August 2012
Just when you thought it was safe to watch a film outdoors, Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece of sky-high suspense swoops onto the big-screen at Somerset House. Presenting the first-ever screening of the brand-new digital print, specially restored by Universal Pictures to celebrate their 100th anniversary, the evening will be even more memorable thanks to a personal appearance by Tippi Hedren, as part of our collaboration with the BFI’s The Genius of Hitchcock season.

Enter the Void (18) plus Chemical Brothers: Don't Think (PG) - Saturday 18 August 2012
Join us on a journey to the outer-limits of cinema, a double-bill loaded with visionary filmmaking, wild ideas, eye-popping imagery, and block-rockin’ beats. Director Gaspar Noé takes you on a hallucinogenic trip in Enter the Void, before Don’t Think drops you into the beating heart of the ultimate nocturnal rave with one of the most formidable live acts in the world – the Chemical Brothers.

Video: Enter the Void Trailer

Enter the Void
A drug dealer becomes interested in death and re-incarnation after reading "The Tibetan Book of the Dead". Suddenly dead, his soul floats though Tokyo observing the dramas of his friends and foes. An oath determines his next step 'as a soul'.

Director: Gaspar Noé
Writers: Gaspar Noé, Lucile Hadzihalilovic
Stars: Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta and Cyril Roy

People's Premiere: The Watch - Sunday 19 August 2012
An outrageous new comedy starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade as four men who form a neighbourhood watch group as a means to escape their humdrum lives.  When they discover that their town has been overrun with aliens posing as humans, they have no choice but to take action. Make sure you’re part of the first audience to discover the film’s secrets as Somerset House hosts the hilarious People’s Premiere.

Apocalypse Now - Monday 20 August 2012
 “The horror. The horror…”. The grand scale and nightmarish intensity of Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam epic can only be fully appreciated on a huge screen, with the cacophony of wartime chaos, the meditations of Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen and the music of Wagner and The Doors engulfing you. One of the biggest and boldest films ever made, this trip up-river into the heart of darkness is alive with remarkable set-pieces and unexpected sights and sensations.

Video: Apocalypse Now Trailer

Apocalypse Now
During the on-going Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade Green Beret who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Writers: Joseph Conrad, John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Herr
Stars: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando and Robert Duvall

Bicycle Thieves - Tuesday 21 August 2012
One of the all-time greats, this classic of social cinema follows one man’s desperate bid to reclaim his livelihood – the bicycle that allows him to work – after it’s stolen from under his nose. As the man searches the streets of post-war Rome with his young son, tension and tenderness blend beautifully in a film that exemplifies the Italian cinematic movement ‘neorealism’. To see Vittorio De Sica’s film today is to be reminded of how subtle yet how powerful cinema can be.

Video: The Bicycle Thief Trailer

Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette)
A man and his son search for a stolen bicycle vital for his job.

Director: Vittorio De Sica
Writers: Luigi Bartolini, Cesare Zavattini, Suso Cecchi D'Amico, Vittorio De Sica, Oreste Biancoli, Adolfo Franci, Gerardo Guerrieri
Stars: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola and Lianella Carell

Paris, Texas - Wednesday 22 August 2012
A man walks alone in the desert, seemingly content to remain lost forever, only to find his past catching up with him in Wim Wenders’ haunting tale of redemption and reconciliation. Harry Dean Stanton plays Travis in an iconic performance that gradually reveals layers of hidden emotion; his progress back to life is charted by Ry Cooder’s evocative and expansive guitar score. A beautiful film in so many ways, from the wide-open blue sky of the opening to the intimate secret at the film’s heart.

Video: PARIS, TEXAS Trailer (1984) - The Criterion Collection

Paris, Texas
A man wanders out of the desert not knowing who he is. His brother finds him, and helps to pull his memory back of the life he led before he walked out on his wife and son four years before. As his memory returns, he makes contact with various people from his past.

Director: Wim Wenders
Writers: L.M. Kit Carson, Sam Shepard
Stars: Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski and Dean Stockwell

Pretty in Pink - Thursday 23 August 2012
A high-school romantic-comedy from the mind of John Hughes and starring Molly Ringwald, the filmmaker-and-muse pairing that came to define ‘80s teen movies. Molly is the quirky girl from the wrong side of town, while dreamy Andrew McCarthy is the rich kid who finds himself drawn to her. Oh, it’s all so complicated! But no doubt true love will find a way, especially when helped along by a sharp soundtrack, supportive friends and, of course, trusty teen-movie conventions…

Boogie Nights (18) plus Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (18) - Friday 24 August 2012
A night of cinematic hedonism transporting you back to the swingin’ 60s and sleazy ‘70s in southern California. Sex, drugs and disco sets the scene for Mark Wahlberg’s attempt to make it big in the porn industry. And then the ultimate cult movie - legendary director Russ Meyer’s tale of an innocent but ambitious girl-group that falls into a swirling psychedelic rabbit-hole and goes Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Sexy Beast (18) plus Drive (18) Saturday 25 August 2012
Cool heads, safe hands and not a little charm ensure that both of this evening’s jobs will go off without a hitch as we bring you a cracking double-bill of contemporary crime classics. Ray Winstone has to haul himself off a Spanish sun-lounger for one final heist when Sir Ben Kingsley comes calling – and swearing - in British director Jonathan Glazer’s stylish Sexy Beast, before strong, silent type Ryan Gosling saunters onto the scene of the crime to provide protection for Carey Mulligan in the no-fuss, no-frills four-wheeled thriller Drive.

Video: Sexy Beast Trailer

Sexy Beast
Brutal gangster Don Logan recruits "retired" safecracker Gal for one last job, but it goes badly for both of them.

Director: Jonathan Glazer
Writers: Louis Mellis, David Scinto, Andrew Michael Jolley
Stars: Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley and Ian McShane

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - Sunday 26 August 2012
The man in the hat is back! Three years after Raiders of the Lost Ark screened at Somerset House, Harrison Ford returns as Indiana Jones in Steven Spielberg's wild, whip-cracking sequel. The action comes thicker and faster second time around, as Indy’s search for a mystical stone leads him to a dangerous subterranean world and pits him against a sinister religious cult.

UK Premiere: Lawless - Monday 27 August 2012
The UK premiere of this tough new action-drama, with an impressive cast including Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Guy Pearce. The prohibition-era action kicks off when three brothers strike back after their family business is threatened in a compelling story that mixes blood ties with illicit liquor. Bold director John Hillcoat (The Road) and screenwriter Nick Cave (who also provides the soundtrack) team up to make this one of the most exciting films of 2012.

Video: Lawless Trailer

Set in the Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a bootlegging gang is threatened by authorities who want a cut of their profits.

Director: John Hillcoat
Writers: Nick Cave, Matt Bondurant
Stars: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearce

Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House
Thursday 16 August - Monday 27 August 2012

Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA

For more info and tickets head over to the Somerset House website:


Wanna fight?
Craig's is a retired superhero, an obsessive hobbyist, comics fan, gadget lover & flâneur who knows an unhealthy amount about Ian Fleming's James Bond.

When not watching or making films he takes pictures, eats, drinks, dives, mentally storyboards the greatest film ever made & sometimes utilises owl-themed gadgets to fight crime. 

A list of his 131 favourite films can be found hereIf you would still like to contact Craig please use any of the buttons below: 

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