Programme highlights announced for June and July 2024 at BFI Southbank and BFI IMAX

Seasons include Tigritudes, a major exploration of Pan-African cinema; the conclusion of a focus on Italian neorealism; and Discomfort Movies – a season of films which are the antithesis of the ‘comfort’ watch.

Night of the Kings (2020), screening as part of our season Tigritudes, a celebration of Pan-African cinema


The BFI Southbank programme for 1 June to 31 July begins with Tigritudes. Originally launched in France, before touring across the African continent, Tirgitudes is a subjective and chronological anthology of Pan-African cinema, offering a broad, accessible and eclectic programme to share the range, inventiveness, and vitality of a moving image culture afflicted by chronic international under-distribution. Throughout June and July, BFI Southbank will present a selection of films from the vast anthology (the complete project comprises 128 films from 42 countries), chosen by curators and filmmakers Dyana Gaye and Valérie Osouf. The season will feature works from critically acclaimed directors such as Julie Dash, Med Hondo and Souleymane Cissé, as well as artists whose names are less recognisable, but whose work contributes to the myriad richly diverse and powerful film cultures across Africa and its diasporas.

Discomfort Movies

Running throughout July will be Discomfort Movies, a season of films which are the antithesis of the ‘comfort’ watch. Through a variety of content and styles, they induce feelings of fear, stress, anxiety and despair, from Gena Rowland’s intense and heartbreaking portrayal of a woman unravelling in A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes, 1974), to the excoriating portrait of cruelty in Funny Games (Michael Haneke, 1997) and the wince-inducing body horror of Titane (Julia Ducournau, 2022). These films may veer towards the dark, but they remain boldly cinematic and are often transformative – offering big rewards to open-minded audiences. The programme kicks off on 1 July with the unique and disturbing Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1977), with the screening being preceded by an extended introduction to Discomfort Movies from season curator Kimberley Sheehan. 

Chasing the Real: Italian Neorealism

Journey to Italy (1954)

Completing the line-up of seasons is the second part of a two-month exploration of Italian neorealism. Beginning in May, and running until the end of June, Chasing the Real: Italian Neorealism features 20 titles, from rarely shown gems to seminal works, with part two in June including screenings of Journey to Italy (Roberto Rossellini, 1954), Bellisimia (Luchino Visconti, 1951), Rome 11:00 (Giuseppe De Santis, 1952), Umberto D. (Vittorio De Sica, 1952) and many more. The season also includes a BFI re-release of Rome, Open City (1945), Roberto Rossellini’s groundbreaking film, planned in secret during the Nazi occupation of Rome, and widely recognised as the very first neorealist film. Rome, Open City is re-released in selected cinemas UK wide, including BFI Southbank, from 17 May.  

Special events

Special events will include Melvyn Bragg: Broadcasting the Arts on 16 June. Over the course of an incredible 60-year broadcasting career, Melvyn Bragg has unfailingly championed the arts on television. More than this, he has revolutionised the way the arts are presented and perceived on the small screen, harnessing the power of ITV to reach a wider and more diverse audience. Illustrated with clips from across a unique career, this interview with Lord Bragg celebrates his enormous influence and rich legacy. Following the interview, audiences will be able to watch two of Melvyn Bragg’s personal choices from his career – The South Bank Show: Francis Bacon (David Hinton, ITV, 1985) and Without Walls: An Interview with Dennis Potter (Nigel Wattis, Channel 4/ITV, 1994).

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Actor, producer and director Griffin Dunne has appeared in some of the most iconic American films of the last five decades, collaborating with esteemed directors such as Martin Scorsese, John Landis, Joan Micklin Silver and Robert Redford. At Griffin Dunne in Conversation on 3 July he will share memories of his 50-year career and discuss his new memoir, The Friday Afternoon Club. On the same night, there will be a screening of An American Werewolf in London (John Landis, 1981), which Dunne will also introduce. Dunne starred in the film alongside David Naughton as two backpacking students who are attacked by a ferocious creature as they make their way across the Yorkshire Moors.  

On 18 June there will be a TV preview of the new series from renowned screenwriter Steven Moffat; Douglas Is Cancelled (Ben Palmer, ITV/SkyShowtime, 2024) follows a beloved middle-aged news anchor who, after he makes an ill-advised joke at his cousin’s wedding, struggles to escape the ensuing controversy and on-going digital storm. With an all-star cast including Hugh Bonneville, Karen Gillan, Ben Miles, Alex Kingston, Nick Mohammed and Simon Russell Beale, the preview of Douglas Is Cancelled will be followed by a Q&A with writer Steven Moffat, producer Sue Vertue and members of the cast.

BFI’s Woman with a Movie Camera series presents previews of Next Sohee (July Jung, 2022) on 11 June and The Nature of Love (Monia Chokri, 2023) on 11 July. In Next Sohee, Sohee is required to complete an internship before she can graduate high school. She is placed in a local call centre with a stressful metric-driven environment so toxic it drives one of her colleagues to suicide; July Jung’s compelling drama exposes the harrowing impacts of capitalism, particularly on the young and disadvantaged. The Nature of Love follows philosophy professor Sophia and her partner of 10 years, Xavier. Their relationship is intellectually stimulating, however when she meets rugged carpenter Sylvain, an intense physical chemistry erupts. Monia Chokri’s fun romantic comedy is packed with laughs and some razor-sharp truths about desire, social class and codependency. 

A monthly conversation between the audience and one of the nation’s favourite and most respected film critics, Mark Kermode in 3D takes place at BFI IMAX on 17 June and 15 July. Joined by surprise guests from across the film industry, Kermode explores, critiques and dissects current and upcoming releases, cinematic treasures, industry news and even some guilty pleasures. 

Focus Hong Kong 

Annual event Focus Hong Kong returns to BFI Southbank to celebrate the exciting cinema and filmmakers of Hong Kong, with screenings of contemporary and classic movies. Documentary Winter Chants (2023) sees award-winning filmmaker Tsang Tsui-shan return to her home village for a once-in-a-decade event that brings villagers back from all over the world, but when the global pandemic hits, the long-awaited reunion is threatened. Made amid great change in Hong Kong and the filmmaker’s own life, Tsang’s latest love letter to her home is rapturous, melancholy and wistful; the screening on 30 June will be followed by a virtual Q&A with the director. Critically acclaimed drama In Broad Daylight (Lawrence Kwan, 2023), screening on 28 June, focuses on the shocking state of care homes in Hong Kong. It follows a dogged journalist whose investigation reveals alarming levels of abuse and corruption, but her exposé comes at great personal cost. This probing work about journalism’s ability to unearth the truth is a call for compassion and respect for the most vulnerable in society. 

Also screening on 27 June will be the UK premiere of the 4K restoration of The Wild, Wild Rose (Wong Tin-lam, 1960), starring Grace Chang as a variation on Carmen, a nightclub singer involved in a tragic romance with a pianist. Shot in high-contrast black and white, the film paints an enticing portrait of the smoky, alcohol-spiked atmosphere of 1950s nightlife. Meticulously restored in stunning 4K, the film features a jazz-inspired score combining Chinese and Western elements, alongside Chang’s iconic performance. Completing the line-up on 29 June is the UK premiere of a new 2K restoration The Sword (Patrick Tam, 1980), a dazzling take on the classic wuxia adventure that deconstructs the time-honoured plot of martial arts masters battling for the title of top swordsman. Director Patrick Tam makes stunning use of visual language, orchestrating colour and composition in a way that revolutionised the form. At the same time, the film honours the genre through its spectacular fight scenes, choreographed by masters Tony Ching Siu-Tung and Tang Tak-Cheung. 

Refugee Week

Taking place from 17 to 23 June, this year’s Refugee Week will screen Talking with Rivers (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 2023), a film essay featuring a poetic conversation between two neighbouring nations, Iran and Afghanistan, as they consider their shared and troubled history. Screening alongside it will be The List (Hana Makhmalbaf, 2023), which follows Mohsen Makhmalbaf, as he negotiates with international agencies and embassies for refugee relief in an unsettling portrait of artists attempting to flee Afghanistan following the sudden US and allied withdrawal in 2021. The screenings on 23 June will be followed by a Q&A with directors Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Hana Makhmalbaf. 

Also being screening during Refugee Week on 17 June, in association with the BFI’s African Odysseys series, Matteo Garrone’s Io capitano (2023) follows Senegalese youngsters Seydou and Moussa, who leave Dakar for Europe, keen to pursue a music career. Their journey takes them across a vast expanse of desert, where they encounter vicious bandits and brutal authorities, then face the perils of a dangerous Mediterranean crossing. Garrone’s powerful drama was thoroughly researched, using first-hand accounts of the journey to map out the youngster’s plight. The heart of the film is Seydou Sarr’s extraordinary performance, aided in no small part by breathtaking cinematography, moments of magical realism and a compassion that gives voice to the voiceless.  

New and re-releases at BFI Southbank

Àma Gloria (2023)

New films playing at BFI Southbank in June and July will include Marie Amachoukeli’s solo-directorial debut, Ama Gloria (2023). Released by BFI Distribution on 14 June, this child’s-eye view of a world of innocence and turmoil follows six-year-old Cléo, who is devastated when the nanny she is devoted to returns to Cape Verde. Granted one last summer to share with Gloria, the girl leaves her family in Paris to stay with the nanny and the family she has long been separated from. Heartbreaking and heart-warming in equal measure, this coming-of-age tale employs imaginative use of animation and intimate camerawork to explore questions of class, culture and race, all with a childlike wonder.

Léa Seydoux and George MacKay are two souls who find each other in different lifetimes, in The Beast (2023), a sweeping and wonderfully strange odyssey from Bertrand Bonello which screens from 7 June. In the future, AI offers humans the opportunity to cleanse themselves of inherited trauma and to ‘purify’ strong emotions from their genetics. Gabrielle meets Louis when she attempts this procedure and discovers that they share a powerful connection – as if they’ve known each other forever. The Beast has been compared to the work of David Lynch and David Cronenberg, but it journeys into a world that is uniquely its own.  

Screening from 21 June, Agnieszka Holland’s Green Border is a powerful and timely film that speaks to the heart as it addresses global migration with striking urgency. Unflinching in its exploration of the current migrant crisis, Holland draws on real-life experiences of refugees journeying through the primeval forest on the Polish-Belarusian border to seek asylum in the EU. Working with refugees and professional actors, she presents a variety of perspectives – refugees, aid workers and border guards – challenging audiences to confront complex moral choices. Shot in stark monochrome, Green Border is a call for compassion for those who desperately need it and a plea for humanity toward those who withhold it.  

Winner of Best Documentary at the BFI London Film Festival in 2023, Lina Soualem’s Bye Bye Tiberias (2023), which screens from 28 June, follows the filmmaker’s mother Hiam Abbass, the star of Succession and films including Lemon Tree and Blade Runner 2049, as she undertakes a journey back to her native Palestinian village. In her early twenties, Abbass departed Palestine for Europe to follow her dreams of becoming an actress. She left behind her mother, grandmother and seven sisters. Some 30 years later, Lina Soualem employs archival footage, photographs and poetry to excavate her family’s history and four generations of women who each had to make difficult decisions regarding their future. The result, as Hiam and Lina reconnect with their homeland, is a moving story of motherhood, fractured identity and lost homes, made with warmth and humour.  

The debut feature of Jason Yu, an acolyte of Bong Joon-ho and Lee Chang-dong, Sleep (2023) is a supremely entertaining and impressively claustrophobic psychological thriller. Late one night, as recently married Hyun-su sleeps, he whispers to his wife, ‘Someone’s inside’. Sleep talking soon escalates to sleepwalking and signs of something much more troubling. Spooky and stylish, Sleep is a confident feature by a promising new director and screens at BFI Southbank from 12 July.   

Screening from 26 July, About Dry Grasses (2023) is the latest work from Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Once upon a Time in Anatolia, Winter Sleep), screening from 26 July. Samet, an art teacher assigned to a small school in Eastern Anatolia, is weary of his remote surroundings and tedious village life, and longs to be reposted to his native Istanbul. He finds distraction in his favourite student and protégée Sevim, who receives special attention from him. However, this leads to an accusation of inappropriate behaviour. As the arrogant and nihilistic Samet unravels when faced with the charges, Ceylan delves into the man’s self-absorption and bitterness.

In addition to the previously mentioned BFI Distribution re-release of Rome, Open City (Roberto Rossellini, 1945), re-releases screening at BFI Southbank in June and July will include, from 28 June, Sidney Lumet’s era-defining satire Network (1976), starring Peter Finch as veteran news anchor Howard Beale, who’s ‘mad as hell’ and ‘not going to take it anymore’. Having been given two weeks’ notice due to his evening news show’s falling ratings, Beale announces that he will kill himself live on air. With the show’s fortunes reversing due to his outburst, Beale’s mental health, distress and anger are exploited by the network, who indulge his ranting, turning him into a populist entertainer. But as the network searches for viewers in increasingly outrageous ways, things begin to take a very dark turn. Writer Paddy Chayefsky’s satirical masterpiece, directed with brio by Lumet, is a prescient portrait of the media and entertainment world’s push for profit over quality, presaging the rise of reality television and a world in which anything is up for grabs. 

Also screening from 5 July will be Francis Ford Coppola’s Palme d’Or-winning surveillance thriller The Conversation (1974), which marks its 50th anniversary this year. Gene Hackman has rarely been better than in this conspiracy thriller, playing surveillance expert Harry Caul. A solitary, intensely private individual, Harry strives for an ethical approach to his work, even as he struggles with pangs of guilt for his past mistakes. His obsession with his latest job, believing he has been privy to a murder plot, makes him increasingly paranoid. Coppola wrings every last drop of tension from his lean screenplay while an impressive supporting cast and David Shire’s celebrated score help magnify the sense of unease. Released at the height of the Watergate Scandal in the US, the film now feels prophetic in its portrait of an all-pervasive surveillance culture. 


New releases screening at BFI IMAX in June and July will include, from 28 June, A Quiet Place: Day One (2024), in which Michael Sarnoski, one of the writers of the previous two entries in this impressive invasion thriller series, takes over directing duties from John Krasinski, to take audiences back to the day the voracious flesh-eaters landed on Earth and replaced humanity at the top of the planet’s food chain. Also screening from 25 July, will be Deadpool & Wolverine (Shawn Levy, 2023), the third film in the Deadpool franchise, with Ryan Reynolds starring as the potty-mouthed (mostly) do-gooder, joined by Hugh Jackman’s X-Man Wolverine, last seen on-screen in James Mangold’s Logan (2017).

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Special screenings at BFI IMAX in June will include, on 16 June, Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones Trilogy, comprising Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). Channelling the episodic adventure series of their youth, producer George Lucas and director Spielberg created one of the great matinee icons of the action genre.  Hot off the success of his star-making role as Han Solo, Harrison Ford fits perfectly into the shoes of adventure-seeking archaeologist Indiana Jones. The first three films in the series, which proved one of the major box office successes of the 1980s, find our hero traveling the world and taking on crazed cults from Egypt and India to Venice and the heart of Nazi Germany. 

There will also be special centenary screenings of The Great White Silence (Herbert Ponting, 1924) on 9 June and The Epic of Everest (Captain John Noel, 1924) on 23 June, both of which were restored by the BFI National Archive. One of pre-sound cinema’s most majestic documentaries, The Great White Silence is an account of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s voyage to Antarctica and his ill-fated mission to the South Pole. Herbert Ponting was a skilled photographer and his plates of the mission he accompanied are a sight to behold. Recording images was an afterthought, but on his return to the UK, what he shot would become an extraordinary record of a magnificent, precarious and visually breathtaking undertaking. A record of the 1924 British Mount Everest expedition, The Epic of Everest is also a tribute to mountaineers George Mallory and Andrew ‘Sandy’ Irvine who disappeared on the third attempt to climb the world’s highest mountain. But it is more than an account of a failed mission. Captain John Noel was the official photographer and what he captured with his camera was a culture that few knew about and a landscape that resembled the roof of the world.

BFI Southbank on-sale dates

Tickets for BFI Southbank screenings in June and July are on sale to BFI Patrons on 20 May, BFI Members on 21 May and to the general public on 23 May. 

These seasons and events all take place while the BFI embark on essential maintenance work to improve and modernise BFI Southbank, beginning at the end of March and continuing until the summer. While some spaces around the building will be closed during the works, including NFT1 (to improve the NFT1 foyer and toilets) and NFT3 (to install new seating), BFI Southbank will remain open throughout, with a rich and varied programme of film and television still screening for audiences every day while these improvements are made.