Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House returns for two weeks in August, with a carefully-curated and distinctive selection of classic films, contemporary hits, cult favourites and red-carpet premieres...
All the films in this year’s festival line-up reflect on the theme of ‘dreams, fantasies, nocturnes and reveries’and feature inspirational stories of ambition, freedom and equality, celebrations of love, nostalgia and desire, presenting some of the most fantastical narratives and scenery ever seen in film on London’s largest state-of-the-art outdoor screen with full surround sound.
Unlike any other open-air season, Film4 Summer Screen offers the chance to get closer to the people that create cinema. 2018’s programme presents Behind the Screen, a series of insightful talks from the brightest minds in film making, such as director Bart Layton discussing his cinematic inspirations and influences ahead of the UK premiere of his second feature film AMERICAN ANIMALS (the full Behind the Screen line-up will be announced in June). Also as part of the East Wing Edit, Little White Lies will run a residency of hands-on workshops on the art of films. For the final week of the season, this takeover offers visitors an opportunity to discover the processes behind the creation of the eminent movie magazine.
2018 FESTIVAL LINE UP IN FULL
Thu 9 Aug OPENING NIGHT UK PREMIERE: THE WIFE, INTRODUCED BY GLENN CLOSE AND DIRECTOR BJÖRN RUNGE IN PERSON AT SOMERSET HOUSE
Fri 10 Aug INCEPTION
Sat 11 Aug LABYRINTH + THE WIZARD OF OZ
Sun 12 Aug REBECCA
Mon 13 Aug BEING JOHN MALKOVICH
Tue 14 Aug 20 FEET FROM STARDOM
Wed 15 Aug CAROL
Thu 16 Aug BLUE VELVET
Fri 17 Aug LA BELLE ET LA BETE + BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN
Sat 18 Aug TOTAL RECALL + A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
Sun 19 Aug SLEEPING BEAUTY
Mon 20 Aug CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Tues 21 Aug SELMA
Wed 22 Aug CLOSING NIGHT UK PREMIERE: AMERICAN ANIMALS, INTRODUCED BY DIRECTOR BART LAYTON IN PERSON AT SOMERSET HOUSE
Each evening includes an exclusive screening of original short film ‘FOR SOOTH’, commissioned by Somerset House and created by Somerset House Studios artists Mel Brimfield and Ewan Jones Morris.
Film4 Summer Screen opens with the UK premiere of one of 2018’s most anticipated films, THE WIFE. In one of her finest performances, Glenn Close plays Joan Castleman, the faithful wife of a feted writer (Jonathan Pryce), who is starting to emerge from her husband’s famous shadow, in this compelling and emotional drama. On the eve of his Nobel Prize for Literature, Joan will confront the biggest sacrifice of her life along with some long-buried secrets. A celebration of womanhood, self-discovery and liberation THE WIFE is based on the best-selling book by Meg Wolitzer and features a stunning cast that also includes Christian Slater, Elizabeth McGovern and Max Irons. Film4 Summer Screen is thrilled to announce that Glenn Close and director Björn Runge will introduce the premiere in person at Somerset House.
The season closes with white-knuckle heist thriller AMERICAN ANIMALS, the unbelievable true story of four students who mistake their lives for a movie and attempt to pull off one of the most audacious art-thefts in recent US history. AMERICAN ANIMALS features rising young stars Evan Peters (American Horror Story; the X-Men series) and Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk; The Killing of a Sacred Deer) and is from the BAFTA-winning director of The Imposter Bart Layton, who will introduce the premiere at Film4 Summer Screen on the final evening.
A highlight of Film4 Summer Screen are the fun back-to-back screenings on Saturday nights. The first finds the popular fantasies LABYRINTH and THE WIZARD OF OZ, two magical musical adventures into weird and wonderful dream worlds brought together on the same bill. And the second Saturday ventures into the darker side of dreams with the extravagant science-fiction favourite TOTAL RECALL, directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, teamed up with the ‘80s horror hit A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET from director Wes Craven.
On Friday 17 August, a special celebration of classic black-and-white fantasy cinema will make for a magical escape from contemporary reality. Film4 Summer Screen marries LA BELLE ET LA BETE, the first-ever film adaptation of the perennially popular story of Beauty and the Beast, with BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, considered to be one of the greatest sequels of all time. The former, directed by writer, artist, poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau and originally released in 1946, brings the familiar fairytale to life with some of the most beautiful and memorable images ever created for the screen. The latter follows Dr. Frankenstein, as he builds a mate for his monster, played by Boris Karloff, and gives audiences an opportunity to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s dream-inspired original novel Frankenstein.
Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream…’ speech is one of history’s most famous inspirational public addresses. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of the civil rights leader, Film4 Summer Screen presents Ava DuVernay’s SELMA, which chronicles in electrifying fashion the 1965 march for equal voting rights that were to take demonstrators fifty miles from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital of Montgomery.
Having attracted much acclaim during this year’s awards season, Film4 Summer Screen offers another chance to catch the ultimate romantic reverie CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, in similarly scenic surroundings to those shown on screen. Another achingly poignant and visually ravishing romance comes with CAROL, a further story of forbidden love and powerful yet unspoken feelings, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in 1950s New York.
Other modern classics include INCEPTION, director Christopher Nolan’s visually stunning dream-heist thriller with an all-star cast on the first Friday night of the season; director Spike Jonze’s wild and inventive comedy that takes you inside the head of a movie star with BEING JOHN MALKOVICH; and BLUE VELVET, the mesmerising Oscar-nominated mystery that takes the form of a dark dream directed by David Lynch.
There are further award-winners in 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, an Oscar-winning documentary on the world’s biggest unsung female voices. The film is a touching tribute to the backing singers who, despite having helped to shape the sound of legendary soul music, have always been one step away from their dream of their spotlight. To make the most of this night, film fans are invited to step into The Influence Project too. As part of Somerset House’s East Wing Edit throughout the summer, The Influence Project features never-seen-before photographic portraits of pioneers of R&B, Funk, Soul, Afrobeat and Hip Hop, who – like the subjects of 20 FEET FROM STARDOM – have contributed so much to contemporary sound and culture.
For a magical family Sunday film night, Film4 Summer Screen features a Disney animated classic for the first time in the form of 1959’s SLEEPING BEAUTY. Audiences of all ages will be transported by one of the studio’s most cinematic films, only the second full-length animated feature film to be presented in widescreen. Gloriously colourful, with the wonderfully wicked Maleficent character and music adapted from Tchaikovsky, this promises to be the sort of evening that only comes along ‘Once Upon a Dream’. During the day, an array of hands-on activities for all the family will celebrate the art of animation.
For many, classic Hollywood represents the ultimate ‘dream factory’. This golden age is represented by none other than Alfred Hitchcock and his first American film REBECCA, a Gothic mystery which won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1940. Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine star in this tortured romantic tale, adapted from Daphne Du Maurier’s beloved novel which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.
SHORT FILM, FOR SOOTH
New this year, Somerset House has commissioned a short film to be screened ahead of each evening’s feature film, setting the atmosphere for the fantastical stories ahead. Starring David Cann (Brass Eye), FOR SOOTH has been created by performance artist Mel Brimfield and filmmaker Ewan Jones Morris - both are artists in Somerset House Studios, the experimental workspace inside Somerset House, which encourages multi-disciplinary collaboration. FOR SOOTH temporarily transforms Somerset House’s courtyard into an ancient ruined temple housing the vast disembodied head of an Oracle. Casting the filmgoers as attendants from the four corners of the city to hear his Word, the film features elaborate psychedelic animated sequences, combined with live action and centres on the virtuoso performance of a scripted monologue.
MORE TO DO ON THE NIGHT
Film4 Summer Screen audiences are advised to come early to take advantage of the associated events – including Behind the Screen – or simply soak up the sounds of a different live DJ every evening, chosen for a set inspired by the upcoming film.
Film4 Summer Screen audiences are welcome to bring along snacks for screenings, though to make it an extra special experience, handcrafted hampers from Bryn Williams – Somerset House’s new restaurant – can be ordered and ready on arrival. They feature a feast of picnic favourites from Loch Fyne Smoked Salmon platters with soda bread and pear chutney, Ham, pea and mint tarts, Rahut squash and quinoa salad, Truffle crisps, Strawberry and Chantilly cream and Macarons. A full bar and fantastic hot food, from artisan sourdough pizzas to showstopper nachos with homemade salsas, is also served up on site throughout the season.
For the ultimate experience, back-rests and blankets for extra comfort and warmth can be pre-ordered in advance and for those who want a seat, a very limited number of seated tickets are available at the rear of the courtyard for all screenings.
Tickets from £19.75 (£17.00 + booking fee) available from somersethouse.org.uk
Image - © James Bryant Photography, Somerset House