BFI Southbank today reveals the programme for May 2023, including the previously announced Dario Argento: Doors into Darkness , presented in partnership with Cinecittà and celebrating the hugely influential filmmaker behind Suspiria (1977), Deep Red (1975), Tenebrae (1982) and many more.
Also taking place in May will be Cinematic Sorceress: The Films of Nina Menkes, a season exploring the work of one of most original voices in American independent filmmaking, with screenings of Menkes’ films including The Great Sadness of Zohara (1983), Queen of Diamonds (1991) and her latest documentary Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power (2022), which is released by BFI Distribution on 12 May. Nina Menkes in conversation on 10 May will see the cinematic feminist pioneer discuss her wide-ranging career following a preview of her new film, a compelling cine-essay that takes the viewer through the history of the male gaze in film.
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Despite being an accomplished screenwriter and Britain’s most prolific female director, Muriel Box is little remembered today. Muriel Box: A Woman’s Take, programmed by BFI National Archive curator Josephine Botting, will be a month-long season that seeks to right that wrong – illuminating audiences about a filmmaker who led the vanguard for women battling industry prejudice to become a director and used her position to convey her radical ideas about women’s place in society. Films screening in the season will include The Seventh Veil (Compton Bennett, 1941), Good-Time Girl (David Macdonald, 1947), The Happy Family (1952), Street Corner (1953) and many more.
Completing the season line-up in May is Forgotten Television Drama: Rediscovering the Half-Hour Play, a focus on a once-prevalent form of TV drama that opened up opportunities for new writers and directors, as well as countless actors. The season will feature early work from a wide range of practitioners including Ridley Scott, Alan Clarke, Fay Weldon, Alan Bleasdale, Andrea Newman, Andrew Davies and more.
Special events taking place at BFI Southbank will include two special screenings, on 1 May, of Enys Men (Mark Jenkin, 2022) with a live score that sonically reimagines its source material by The Cornish Sound Unit. The score will be performed by writer-director Mark Jenkin and Dion Star, known under the banner of their collaborative music project ‘The Cornish Sound Unit’, who employ improvised and composed pieces using tape machines, analogue synths, feedback and field recordings. These screenings launch the release of Jenkin’s acclaimed Cornish folk horror on BFI Blu-ray/ DVD (dual format edition) and as a subscription exclusive on BFI Player, both on 1 May.
On 19 May and 21 May, BFI Southbank will celebrate one of the most significant comedy shows on UK television The Comic Strip Presents, with special guests including the man behind the show, Peter Richardson. A richly illustrated event on 19 May will feature clip reels, compiled by Richardson, featuring some of the best-loved moments from the show, which will be interspersed with conversation and surprise guests. On 21 May there will be two further events, beginning with The Comic Strip Presents: The Strike and GLC : The Carnage Continues… (Peter Richardson, 1988/90).
On 27 May, BFI Southbank will host the UK premiere of Straight 8 2023, showcasing the best films submitted to the annual Straight 8 Super 8 in-camera filmmaking competition. Since 1999, the annual premieres of the Straight 8 films have excited audiences worldwide, in part because the filmmakers also sit in the auditorium, watching their work for the first time. Despite the challenge of editing in-camera without re-takes, the quality is exceptional.
Also in May, BFI Southbank will welcome back the UK Asian Film Festival to celebrate their 25 th anniversary and host their opening night film, a selection of shorts, a special awards event and more. The full programme will be released soon.
On 26 May there will be a preview of The Old Man Movie: Lactopalypse! (2019), an absurdly funny, gleefully deranged, gross-out stop-motion adventure from Estonia that might be one of the wildest films of this year. Directors Mikk Magi and Oskar Lehemaa will take part in a Q&A following the screening. BFI Southbank’s monthly event, Mark Kermode Live in 3D at the BFI , will take place on 15 May. A conversation between the audience and one of the nation’s favourite and most respected film critics, the event will see Kermode being joined by surprise guests from across the film industry to explore, critique and dissect current and upcoming releases, cinematic treasures, industry news and more.
Award-winning writer Jack Thorne’s compelling, thought-provoking TV drama Best Interests ( BBC , 2023) stars Sharon Horgan and Michael Sheen as a married couple whose daughter Marnie has a life-threatening condition. The girl’s doctors believe it is in her best interests to allow her to die, but Marnie’s loving family disagree. A preview of episode one of this powerful new drama will be followed by a Q&A with Sharon Horgan and Jack Thorne.
There will also be a TV preview of series 4 of the hit family drama Malory Towers ( CBBC , King Bert Productions, 2023) followed by a Q&A with members of the cast. The screening on 21 May will be preceded by a Funday Workshop, free for ticket holders, where audience members can indulge in the wonderful world of Malory Towers.
Tickets for screenings in May are on sale to BFI Patrons and Champions on 3 April, BFI Members on 4 April and to the general public on 6 April.
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