Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House celebrates its 10th anniversary this August with 14 nights of open-air screenings
Celebrating ten years of classic, cult, and contemporary films in its open-air courtyard, Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House is back for a bumper birthday season in August. For 14 nights, back-to-back great films will feature on London’s largest screen with full surround sound in the spectacular neoclassical setting of Somerset House. To mark its milestone season, an array of anniversary activities will also accompany around the site including industry insider
talks, workshops, family events, and a film poster print exhibition.
Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House will stage a typically eclectic mix of movies, ranging from red-carpet premieres, comedy, romance and musicals to thrillers, action, horrors and foreign-language films. Film aficionados will appreciate that part of the programme will be projected from 35mm film reels as well as digitally. This year’s line-up will include the John Waters’ musical with big hair and a big heart Hairspray, the deliciously dysfunctional family comedy from Wes Anderson, The Royal Tenenbaums, the dazzling double trouble of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and the award-winning modern Italian masterpiece The Great Beauty.
David Cox, channel editor of Film4 and programmer of Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, said: “We’re proud that Film4 and Somerset House have forged such a close and productive partnership over the course of a decade. When we kicked off Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House with Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 2005, we had no idea that we’d still be working out what films to show ten years later, having since screened more than 100 titles without repeating one. Going out to see a film, be it something old or something new, should always be a special and social experience; we hope this year’s Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House delivers that once again on our 10th anniversary.”
While the sun sets over Somerset House, live DJs spin a soundtrack inspired by the upcoming screening. Cinema-goers can chill out in the courtyard with picnics and drinks, and pop into the Summer Screen Prints exhibition. Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House has commissioned screen-printing fanatics Print Club London to curate a series of contemporary screen-print posters, based on the films shown in the anniversary season. Open during the day
and for each evening event, the Summer Screen Prints exhibition will feature the great and good of the graphic arts world.
Each exhibiting artist will reimagine a poster for one of films in this season’s line-up, taking particular scenes, quotes, characters or anything else from their selected title as inspiration. Renowned for curating and dealing screen-printed artworks, as well as its workshops, Print Club London has hand-picked an assortment of artists and styles, including Kate Moross, Steve Wilson, Kate Gibb and Michael Gillette, to reflect the veritable variety of films featuring on the big screen. Each of the posters will be limited-edition and exclusively available to buy from the exhibition at Somerset House.
During the two weeks of Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, film fans will also be able to come along to Behind the Screen. This diverse and entertaining programme of talks, workshops and family events brings the world of cinema into sharper focus, with special guests providing unique insights into a world that usually only exists up on the big screen.
Over the course of the past decade, Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House has become one of London’s favourite summertime experiences under the stars. It has shown more than 100 films, never scheduling the same one again, to almost 200,000 people. Films have been introduced by their stars including Alan Rickman for Die Hard, Tippi Hedren for The Birds, Simon Pegg for Shaun of the Dead and Brian Blessed for Flash Gordon, who joined the crowd and commenced to recite lines live.
Directors have brought their latest creations to the screen for the first time at Somerset House and hit the red carpet with their cast, including Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz (who enjoyed his UK Premiere of Broken Embraces so much at Somerset House, he decided to do the same with The Skin I Live In) and Richard Curtis, whose romantic hit About Time received its World Premiere at Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House last year with the entire cast in attendance. Curtis said: “The premiere of About Time at Somerset House was one of the most sublime movie moments I’ve had. Open skies, open hearts, warm jumpers, warm reception – it felt like the dream of how watching movies is meant to be. I liked it so much, in fact, that a few days later, I snuck into someone else’s premiere just to live the experience again, without any nerves.”
The full programme of films will be announced in May, with more details of anniversary events to follow. The synopses for the first four films announced are below:
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
An unforgettable and irrepressibly bold burst of music, comedy and colour, with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell playing a pair of showgirls balancing their gold-digging instincts with romantic dreams. ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ may be the film’s best-known number but each scene is ablaze with camp wit and old-school glamour, with the silly, sexy, screwball energy moving the story swiftly from one show-stopping musical set-piece to another.
It’s Madison Time! Cult director John Waters’ joyful musical-comedy swings into Somerset House, displaying the infectious energy and subversive wit that helped transform it into a stage sensation. It’s 1962, and Baltimore teen Traci Turnblad is about to become the queen of a local TV dance show. However, when she turns her newfound stardom to the cause of racial integration, Traci stirs up both rivalry in the studio and prejudice in the streets. The fabulous
Ricki Lake takes the lead, while a fun and unpredictable supporting cast (including Divine and Debbie Harry) adds plenty of character.
The Great Beauty
This modern Italian masterpiece – winner of both the Oscar and BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film – takes the audience on a dazzling trip through present-day Rome, exploring both high society and the demi-monde through the seen-it-all-before eyes of society columnist Jep (Toni Servillo). The parties are dizzying but the comedown can be hard, as Jep discovers when the past starts to catch up with him on his 65th birthday. An extravagant and often
overwhelming cinematic experience that more than lives up to its title.
The Royal Tenenbaums
An eccentric comedy from the wonderful Wes Anderson, director of this year’s hit Grand Budapest Hotel. Former child prodigies Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson – the Tenenbaum children – are already struggling to adapt to adulthood, but the re-emergence of estranged father Royal (Gene Hackman) only complicates their lives further. This emotional and expansive film contains a multitude of beautifully-drawn characters and comic scenes, with
each big laugh accompanied by a hard tug on the heartstrings.