News: BFI Southbank announces December 2020 programme

This December, BFI Southbank celebrates one of the screen’s most enduring icons with a new season MARLENE DIETRICH: FALLING IN LOVE AGAIN, programmed by film critic and writer Pamela Hutchinson. We invite audiences to discover Dietrich from one of her finest silent roles, THE THREE LOVERS (Curtis Bernhardt, 1929), to her most compelling appearances in both European and Hollywood cinema, including THE BLUE ANGEL (Josef von Sternberg, 1930), A FOREIGN AFFAIR (Billy Wilder, 1948) and RANCHO NOTORIOUS (Fritz Lang, 1952). It wouldn’t be December without an offering of the finest FESTIVE FILMS ever made, and after a year like no other, a life-affirming Christmas trip to the movies to see IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (Frank Capra, 1946), THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL (Brian Henson, 1992) or ELF (Jon Favreau, 2003) has never felt more needed. In the true spirit of escapism, BFI Southbank also present CINEMATIC ESCAPES, a small series of films chosen to lift your spirts, broaden your horizons and offer a thrilling big screen experience – from LA DOLCE VITA (Federico Fellini, 1960) and BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT (Ridley Scott, 1982/2007) to BLACK PANTHER (Ryan Coogler, 2018) and PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (Céline Sciamma, 2019).

During December there will be screenings of the BFI Distribution release of COUNTY LINES (2019), writer/director Henry Blake’s hugely topical feature which recounts the experiences of troubled teenager Tyler who is groomed into ‘county lines’ drug-dealing. Released in selected cinemas UK-wide on 20 November, COUNTY LINES is inspired by Blake’s first-hand experience as a youth worker, helping young people already taking part in or at risk of county lines exploitation. Vivid, moving and authentic, the film has powerful performances by impressive newcomer Conrad Khan as Tyler, rising star Harris Dickinson and Ashley Madekwe, who is heartbreaking as a struggling young single mum. Also screening at BFI Southbank from 4 December will be LAST AND FIRST MEN (Jóhann Jóhannsson, 2020). Based on the cult sci-fi novel by Olaf Stapledon, LAST AND FIRST MEN is the first and only feature-length film directed by the late acclaimed composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. Jóhannsson artfully combined music, beautiful 16mm black-and-white photography, and Tilda Swinton’s mesmerising narration, to form a powerful, poetic meditation on memory and loss.

After the success of last year’s CINDERELLA: AFTER EVER AFTER, BFI Southbank are delighted to welcome David Walliams back to talk about his new re-imagining of another classic fable. A preview of JACK AND THE BEANSTALK: AFTER EVER AFTER (Sky One, King Bert Productions, 2020) on 19 December will be followed by a Q&A with David Walliams. Also in December will be a WOMAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA preview of dark coming-of-age story SLALOM (Charlène Favier, 2020), which follows fifteen-year-old Lyz, a driven and talented skier, who gets accepted into a competitive training academy in the French Alps. BFI Southbank’s ongoing AFRICAN ODYSSEYS series will return in December with screenings of MARIGHELLA (2019), an urgent and intense debut from journalist, musician and actor Wagner Moura, about the highly controversial African-Brazilian poet and politician Carlos Marighella.

BFI Southbank’s ongoing BIG SCREEN CLASSICS series, where we screen essential titles on a daily basis for just £8, will this month take a look at TOGETHERNESS… THE PROS AND CONS, from celebratory alliances with others, to the challenging relationships we have with those we’re closest to. Titles include DANCE, GIRL, DANCE (Dorothy Arzner, 1940), ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER (Pedro Almodóvar, 1999), THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (Orson Welles, 1942), 35 SHOTS OF RUM (Claire Denis, 2008), WILD STRAWBERRIES (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) and many more. In addition to our £8 ticket offer for BIG SCREEN CLASSICS, audience members aged 25 and Under can sign up and take advantage of £3 tickets to any film in the BFI Southbank programme, available to book in advance or on the day of the screening.

Throughout December BFI Southbank continues to operate with exhaustive health and safety measures including social distancing throughout the venue, face coverings as standard for all visitors and staff, increased frequency of deep cleans, e-ticketing, scheduling of staggered screenings and more. These measures continue to be informed by ongoing consultation with the industry, our staff, and our customers, with health and safety the highest priority in the operation of the venue.

Tickets for screenings at BFI Southbank in December will go on sale to BFI Patrons and Champions on 9 November, BFI Members on 10 November and to the general public on 12 November.

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