Throughout June the programme at BFI Southbank will be dedicated to championing work by and about women. It will include major seasons dedicated to the inimitable AGNÈS VARDA and the pioneering actor, director and producer IDA LUPINO, who took on the male-dominated Hollywood of the 1940s to set up her own production company and become one of the sole female directors of the age. The BFI’s new CLOSE UP series will this month screen all the work of one of the most important filmmakers working today, AVA DUVERNAY, who we hope to welcome to discuss her work via Skype, while audiences will also be able to discover pioneering women animators as part of the BFI’s year-long ANIMATION 2018 programme. At the heart of the programme will be a day-long venue-wide event exploring the theme of women and power; the WOMAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA SUMMIT will honour the courageous trailblazers of the past, explore the power and pitfalls of grassroots feminist cinephile activism, champion new voices in criticism and programming, explore movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, and, above all, celebrate the women who’ve not allowed themselves to be victimised or excluded from the conversation. The summit will take place on Saturday 16 June, and the line-up of discussions, events and screenings, which will include a special edition of The Guilty Feminist podcast and a screening of Working Girl (Mike Nichols, 1988) will be announced in full soon. This celebration of women ties in with the UK Parliament’s national Vote100 campaign as well as PROCESSIONS, a celebratory mass participation artwork, which will see women and girls across the country march wearing the colours of the suffrage movement on Sunday 10 June. Also in June, we’ll mark the 70th anniversary of Windrush, with a programme celebrating WINDRUSH WOMEN; this will include Testaments, an event that will bring together five generations of black women filmmakers in a day of intimate conversations. Also celebrating 70 years in 2018 is the NHS, and this landmark moment will be marked with a screening of a collection of rare archive films (which will also be made available on BFI Player).
Gaylene Gould, BFI Head of Cinema and Events said: “One hundred years ago British women marched to the voting booths for the first time. One hundred years later, Frances McDormand brandished a little gold man and instructed the women at the Oscars® ceremony to stand up. A continuum of action has brought about seismic change and, just like those women and men a century ago, we are witnessing a shift. This month, in honour of the Vote 100 campaign, we pay tribute to the women who transcended their worlds to expand ours, and present a programme bursting with female stories.”
Elsewhere in the June programme, the BAGRI FOUNDATION LONDON INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL will return with an exciting programme of screenings, Q&As and discussions, and REFUGEE WEEK will celebrate the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees from 18-24 June. We will also welcome the award-winning Italian director MARCO BELLOCCHIO for a rare UK appearance. Bellocchio will be in conversation on Saturday 23 June, ahead of a month-long retrospective dedicated to his work throughout July. Previews this month will include the hotly anticipated Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird, 2018) followed by a Q&A with the director, and a TV preview of Women’s Monologues (working title) (BBC Four, 2018), a film of monologues curated by Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre, and performed by a variety of well-known female stars. Another highlight of the programme in June will be an extended run of the 25th anniversary re-release of Jane Campion’s Palme d’Or winning The Piano (1993) starring Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill and Anna Paquin, which is back in selected cinemas UK-wide on Friday 15 June.
AGNÈS VARDA: VISION OF AN ARTIST PART ONE
· SAT 2 JUN, 12:00-15:00 – TALK: The Many Faces of Agnès Varda
· WED 20 JUN, 20:30 – DISCUSSION: Agnès Varda Salon: Political, Personal and Playful
Over six decades, AGNÈS VARDA has established herself at the vanguard of world cinema. On the eve of her presenting a new commissioned work at Liverpool Biennale 2018, BFI Southbank will present a two-month retrospective which foregrounds Varda as an artist experimenting with the moving image. AGNÈS VARDA: VISION OF AN ARTIST, which takes place from Friday 1 June – Tuesday 31 July, will include a re-release of Vagabond (1985), Varda’s powerful and heartbreaking account of a defiant and free-spirited woman, playing on extended run from Friday 29 June. Alongside films such as Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962) and Mur Murs (1981), part one of the season in June will also include contextualising talks The Many Faces of Agnès Varda which, in partnership with the film and feminism journal Cléo, will trace Varda’s career from her debut to her most recent collaboration, the Oscar-nominated Faces Places (2017); and Agnès Varda Salon: Political, Personal and Playful, an evening looking at Varda’s particularly strong eye for portraying social movements, cultures and overlooked communities. With her training in art history and her experience as a photographer, Agnès Varda pushed the boundaries of what cinema as an art form can achieve, creating her own singular style by blending reality with poetic imagery, and fiction with documentary.
Varda’s first feature La Pointe Courte (1955), a precursor to the French New Wave, signals her future stylistic and thematic interests. Set in a working-class fishing village, the story moves between the daily struggles of the villagers and a young married couple from the city contemplating their failing marriage. In Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962) Varda created an iconic female protagonist. Wandering the streets of Paris, pop singer Cléo goes on a journey of self-discovery as she awaits the results of an important medical test. Moving and lyrical, Cléo from 5 to 7 is Varda’s breakthrough feature and classic of the French New Wave. In her first colour film, Le Bonheur (1964) Varda becomes not only an observer of human behaviour and a commentator on the sexual revolution of the 1960s, but also a painter, utilising her palette on screen to enhance the story to great effect. It tells the story of Thérèse and François, who lead a seemingly pleasant married life, until he begins an affair with another woman, supposedly to enhance their mutual enjoyment.
A playful chronicle of 1960s American counter-culture, Lions Love (... and Lies) (1969) features performances from Andy Warhol’s muse Viva, authors of Broadway hit musical Hair James Rado and Gerome Ragni, and experimental filmmaker Shirley Clarke, capturing Hollywood’s hedonistic spirit of the times, with the social and political upheavals in the background. Set against the backdrop of the women’s lib movement, One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (1977) charts the friendship between two women over the course of 15 years. Suzanne and Pauline lead two different lives, but what unifies them is their commitment to women’s rights. A deeply personal film for Varda, it combines elements of a musical (with lyrics written by the director herself) with Varda’s usual blend of fiction and documentary. During her second extended stay in California, Varda turned her lens towards the outdoor murals of Los Angeles. Mur Murs (1981) is a visual journey through the city’s neighborhoods, documenting its extensive network of public art and introducing the individuals and communities behind the works, while at the same time revealing the systematic racial and economic divisions of the city. Mur Murs will screen alongside short film Uncle Yanco (1967), a portrait of a lost relative of Varda’s, an artist living in San Francisco. Completing the line-up for June will be Jane B. for Agnès V. (1987), an innovative portrait of British-French actor and singer Jane Birkin, which was made in the lead-up to her 40th birthday. The ‘imaginary biopic,’ as Varda calls it, shows Birkin in private moments that offer a glimpse into her personal life, and fictionalised scenes that play to viewers’ expectations of Birkin as a star. Together, Birkin and Varda reflect on what it means to be a cultural icon, exploring the creative actor-director relationship, and examine how women are often portrayed on screen. AGNÈS VARDA: VISION OF AN ARTIST will offer audiences a chance to explore the memorable and groundbreaking female protagonists, marginalised communities and rich portraits of other artists which Varda has created over her 60 year career.
IDA LUPINO: ACTOR, DIRECTOR, WRITER, PRODUCER, STAR
· TUE 5 JUN, 18:10 – TALK: Before and Behind the Camera: The Very Versatile Ida Lupino
During June BFI Southbank will celebrate the vastly talented and versatile IDA LUPINO, an actor, writer, director and producer who took on the male-dominated Hollywood of the 1940s and became a superstar. Lupino, who was born into a British theatrical family a hundred years ago, moved to Hollywood in the 1940s and found stardom, starring alongside leading men such as Humphrey Bogart in They Drive by Night (Raoul Walsh, 1940) and High Sierra (Raoul Walsh, 1941), and Edward G Robinson and John Garfield in The Sea Wolf (Michael Curtiz, 1941), films which will all screen during the season. Lupino was acutely aware of the risk of being typecast, turning down roles as result, and in the late 40s she set up her own production company, becoming Hollywood’s sole female director for many years. The season, which includes screenings of 14 of her best-loved films, will also include a talk – Before and Behind the Camera: the Very Versatile Ida Lupino – on Tuesday 5 June, which will consider Lupino’s many achievements as an actor, director, writer and producer who took charge of her career, leaving behind a rich body of cinematic work.
Other films screening during the season will include The Gay Desperado (Rouben Mamoulian, 1936) in which Lupino plays a spirited young woman who is kidnapped by Mexican bandits so besotted by gangster movies that they model themselves (disastrously) on Chicago mobsters; The Man I Love (Raoul Walsh, 1946) in which she excels as a New York nightclub singer who, recovering from an unhappy affair, decides to visit her family in California; and Never Fear (aka The Young Lovers) (1949), Lupino’s official directorial debut, following her uncredited direction of Not Wanted which she took over after director Elmer Clifton fell ill. Lupino’s pioneering second feature Outrage (1950) concerns the traumatic aftermath of rape – then still taboo as a movie subject – as experienced by a young woman assaulted on her way home from work.
Differing in tone from Lupino’s other films as writer-director, The Hitch-hiker (1953) is a taut, bleak thriller concerning two friends on a fishing trip to Mexico who are prevented from returning to California when a hitchhiker they pick up turns out to be a fugitive serial killer. Co-written and produced by Lupino with her former husband Collier Young, Private Hell 36 (Don Siegel, 1954) also co-starred Lupino’s husband Howard Duff as one of two cops who decide to keep the fortune they discover while investigating a robbery. Also screening will be The Big Knife (Robert Aldrich, 1955), one of Hollywood’s most savagely critical self-portraits, chronicling the clash between an actor (Jack Palance) reluctant to renew his contract, and his scheming studio boss (Rod Steiger), while Lupino plays the actor’s idealistic but disenchanted wife. The Trouble with Angels (1966) is a breezy, all-women coming-of-age comedy-drama, starring Rosalind Russell, Hayley Mills and June Harding, and focusing on the adventures of two rebellious students in a Catholic boarding school.
Other films screening will include: On Dangerous Ground (Nicholas Ray, 1951), Hard, Fast and Beautiful (Ida Lupino, 1951) and The Bigamist (Ida Lupino, 1953).
CLOSE UP: AVA DUVERNAY
· MON 11 JUN, 18:30 – SPECIAL EVENT: The Close Up Salon: Ava DuVernay
This month’s regular CLOSE UP will showcase the work of AVA DUVERNAY, who is forging her own path in the film industry, focusing on complex, profound and intelligent characters. Through both her own work and her distribution company ARRAY, DuVernay has championed stories about women and people of colour, and in just over 10 years since she directed her first feature, she has become one of the most important filmmakers working today. We hope to welcome Ava DuVernay to talk about her work via Skype at an event during the Close Up, and will announce details soon. The Close Up will also feature a Salon discussion on Monday 11 June, during which expert speakers will explore the range of DuVernay’s craft, the themes she explores in her films, and her impact as one of the few black female directors working at the highest levels in Hollywood today.
DuVernay’s first feature This Is the Life (2008) is a fascinating documentary charting the rise of The Good Life, a group of LA street poets who rejected gangster rap and dedicated themselves to pushing the creative boundaries of hip hop. In her first fiction feature I Will Follow (2010), DuVernay establishes a lot of her interests as a filmmaker: elevating people of colour, exploring the inner lives of women and the dynamics of caring. DuVernay picked up the Sundance Directing award for the stirring, character-driven drama Middle of Nowhere (2012) that shines a light on an infrequently explored part of African American life; Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi) was on her way to becoming a doctor when her husband was sentenced to eight years in prison. She drops out of med school to focus on his well-being while he’s incarcerated.
DuVernay’s breakout film Selma (2014) was the first major feature about Dr Martin Luther King Jr (David Oyelowo) and his campaign for equal voting rights, a campaign that culminated in an epic march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. DuVernay’s close collaborator David Oyelowo carries the film with a towering, unforgettable performance. The Oscar-nominated documentary 13th (2016), a long-term passion project for DuVernay, is an in-depth look at the legacy of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, highlighting the underlying issues of inequality and mass incarceration which have been created despite the amendment. Completing the line-up is DuVernay’s latest film A Wrinkle in Time (2018), based on Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 book about a young girl’s dangerous journey across the universe, assisted by a trio of astral travellers.
BAGRI FOUNDATION LONDON INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL
· FRI 22 JUN, 18:00 – SCREENING + Q&A: In the Shadows (Dipesh Jain, 2017) / Onstage: director Dipesh Jain
· SUN 24 JUN, 15:00 – SCREENING + Q&A: Bird of Dusk (Sangeeta Datta, 2018) / Onstage: director Sangeeta Datta
· WED 27 JUN, 18:20 – SCREENING + Q&A: Village Rockstars (Rima Das, 2017) / Onstage: director Rima Das
· FRI 29 JUN, 18:15 – CLOSING NIGHT SCREENING + Q&A: Venus (Eisha Marjara, 2017) / Onstage: director Eisha Marjara
The BAGRI FOUNDATION LONDON INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL will return to BFI Southbank for its 9th edition from 21-29 June, to present the best new Indian and South Asian independent cinema. Supported by the BFI’s National Lottery Audience Fund and the Bagri Foundation, the programme for 2018 focuses on work by women filmmakers, including the Closing Night film Venus (Eisha Marjara, 2017) an award-winning comedy about Sid, a Canadian Punjabi, who after years of identity struggles decides to have a sex change. A hitch in Sid’s plan appears when a 14-year-old boy arrives on the scene, insisting that Sid is his long-lost father. The Closing Night screening of Venus on Friday 29 June will be followed by a Q&A with director Eisha Marjara.
Also screening at BFI Southbank during the Festival will be the beautiful and poignant Bird of Dusk (2018) by British director Sangeeta Datta, about the late, great Bengali auteur Rituparno Ghosh, who died young during gender transitioning. Meanwhile, Teen Aur Aadha (Dar Gai, 2018) is a beautifully layered saga which tells the story of one house in three different eras, through just three camera takes. Recipient of multiple international awards, Village Rockstars (Rima Das, 2017) is one of the most lauded Indian films in recent years and an instant crowd-pleaser. At the heart of it is a mother-daughter story where a 10-year-old girl from a poor village family braves seemingly insurmountable odds to realise her dream of forming a band. Completing the line-up is In the Shadows (Dipesh Jain, 2017) about a reclusive shopkeeper who spends his days obsessively watching people through hidden CCTV. When he overhears a boy being beaten, he begins to frantically search for the child. As he becomes lost in the labyrinthine alleys of the city, his grasp on reality falters, until he eventually stumbles across a shocking truth.
Directors Sangeeta Datta (Bird of Dusk), Rima Das (Village Rockstars) and Dipesh Jain (In the Shadows) will all take part in Q&As following screenings of their new films.
Further information about the programme for the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival can be found online: www.londonindianfimfestival.co.uk
ANIMATION 2018: THE FEMALE PIONEERS
BFI Southbank’s year-long focus on animation continues with a look at the pioneering women who have made diverse and provocative animations, from the scissor-sculpted fairy tales of Lotte Reiniger to the personal films of Alison De Vere. Like the screen industry as a whole, the commercial animation sector has been historically dominated by men; all the more reason to underline the achievement of pioneers like Joy Batchelor, who co-directed Britain’s first two animated features and enjoyed a 40-year career, as well as contemporary studios Lupus Films and Locksmith Animation, who are putting women at the centre of contemporary British animation.
Alison De Vere’s five-decade career may well be Britain’s greatest contribution to world animation. Her first regular job was with the Halas and Batchelor Studio in 1951, and from there she moved into directing and designing TV commercials before venturing into more personal filmmaking with her own work. A compilation of films by De Vere, showing an overlooked artist of profound warmth, wit, experience and intelligence will be screened in a special event The View from the Café Bar: Remembering Alison De Vere. The season will also celebrate the work of Joy Batchelor with a rare screening of Ruddigore (1966), an adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera which is Britain’s second animated feature (after Animal Farm, which Batchelor co-directed with her husband John Halas).
Making Animated Features in the UK will be a discussion event during which audiences will be able to hear some of the UK’s success stories including Sarah Smith, director of Arthur Christmas and CEO of Locksmith Animation, and Camilla Deakin, producer of Ethel & Ernest and MD of Lupus Films. Though it is best known as the world’s earliest surviving animated feature, it’s time to reclaim the landmark classic The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) as a thoroughly modern work by a 27-year-old woman of extraordinary skill and vision. Lotte Reiniger was the creative heart of this collaboration between some of the finest talents of Weimar film culture, and the work remains a visual and narrative feast ideal for the big screen.
EVENTS, PREVIEWS AND REGULAR STRANDS
· SUN 3 JUN, 13:00 – SILENT CINEMA: Mothers of Men (aka Every Woman’s Problem) (Willis Robards, 1917)
· MON 4 JUN, 11:00 – SENIORS’ FREE TALK: Windrush Women / Onstage: writer Stephen Bourne – part of a celebration of Windrush Women, tying in with the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush from the Caribbean
· MON 4 JUN, 14:00 – SENIORS’ FREE MATINEE + INTRO: Small Island (BBC, 2008) / Onstage: writer Stephen Bourne – part of a celebration of Windrush Women, tying in with the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush from the Caribbean
· THU 7 JUN, 18:20 – MEMBER EXCLUSIVE: Behind the Scenes – a new quarterly event giving BFI members a look behind the scenes at the BFI
· SUN 10 JUN, 12:00-21:25 – SCREENING + Q&A: Shoulder to Shoulder (BBC, 1974) / Onstage: actors Dame Siân Phillips and Patricia Quinn and directors Moira Armstrong and Waris Hussein
· MON 11 JUN, 18:15 – TV PREVIEW + Q&A: Women’s Monologues (working title) (BBC Four, 2018) / Onstage: Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director of the Royal Court, and cast TBA
· TUE 12 JUN, 18:10 – BFI FLARE SCREENING + Q&A: Nina’s Heavenly Delights (Pratibha Parmar, 2006) / Onstage: director Pratibha Parmar
· TUE 12 JUN, 20:30 – SCREEN EPIPHANY: Baroness Shami Chakrabarti introduces Suffragette (Sarah Gavron, 2015) / Onstage: Barrister and politician Shami Chakrabarti
· WED 13 JUN, 18:00 – EXPERIMENTA SCREENING + Q&A: Lek and the Dogs (Andrew Kotting, 2017) / director Andrew Kotting
· WED 13 JUN, 20:30 – FILM PREVIEW: The Bookshop (Isabel Coixet, 2017)
· SAT 16 JUN, ALL DAY: Women With a Movie Camera Summit – full details to be announced soon
· SAT 16 JUN, 18:00 – SPECIAL EVENT: The Guilty Feminist Live – the popular podcast hosted by Deborah Frances-White, live and unedited from BFI Southbank
· SUN 17 JUN, 12:00 – FILM PREVIEW + Q&A: The Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird, 2018) / Onstage: director Brad Bird
· MON 18 JUN – SUN 24 JUN: REFUGEE WEEK 2018 – featuring screenings, discussions and Q&As (see listings for full details)
· SAT 23 JUN, 11:00-17:00 – SPECIAL EVENT: Testaments: Stories and their Makers – part of a celebration of Windrush Women, tying in with the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush from the Caribbean
· SAT 23 JUN, 18:00 – SCREENING + Q&A: Philomela’s Chorus (2017) / Onstage: BFI Head of Cinemas and Events Gaylene Gould – part of a celebration of Windrush Women, tying in with the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush from the Caribbean
· SAT 23 JUN, 18:30 – SPECIAL EVENT: Marco Bellocchio in Conversation / Onstage: actor, writer and director Marco Bellocchio
· SUN 24 JUN, 12:00 – FAMILY FUNDAY: Mary Poppins (Robert Stevenson, 1964)
· MON 25 JUN, 18:30 – SPECIAL EVENT: Mark Kermode Live in 3D at the BFI / Onstage: Writer and broadcaster Mark Kermode
· TUE 26 JUN, 18:30 – SPECIAL EVENT: Here’s Health: The NHS on Film – marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS
· WED 27 JUN, 18:15 – PROJECTING THE ARCHIVE: My Daughter Joy (Gregory Ratoff, 1950)
· WED 27 JUN, 20:15 – SCREEN EPIPHANY: Val McDermid introduces All the President’s Men (Alan J Pakula, 1976) / Onstage: writer Val McDermid
· THU 28 JUN, 18:10 – PROJECTING THE ARCHIVE SCREENING + INTRO: My Daughter Joy (Gregory Ratoff, 1950) – programmed in tribute to its star Peggy Cummins, who died in December 2017 / Onstage: BFI curator Jo Botting
· THU 28 JUN, 20:10 – FILM PREVIEW: The Endless (Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, 2017)
· THU 28 JUN, 20:45 – CULT SCREENING: Mirror, Mirror (Marina Sargenti, 1990)
· SAT 30 JUN, 13:30 – SPECIAL EVENT: Life in Their Hands: The NHS of the 1950s – marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS
NEW AND RE-RELEASES
· CONTINUES FROM FRI 25 MAY: Zama (Lucrecia Martel, 2017) – part of CLOSE UP: LUCRECIA MARTEL
· FROM FRI 1 JUN: Pandora’s Box Die Buchse der Pandora (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1929) – a BFI release, part of BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: IT GIRLS
· FROM FRI 8 JUN: The Breadwinner (Nora Twomey, 2017)
· FROM FRI 15 JUN: The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993)
· FROM THU 21 JUN: Arcadia (Paul Wright, 2017) – a BFI release
· FROM FRI 29 JUN: Vagabond Sans toit ni loi (Agnès Varda, 1985) – part of ANGÈS VARDA: VISION OF AN ARTIST
BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: THE TIMELESS FILMS WE URGE YOU TO SEE
What is ‘it’? Introduced into popular language in the 1920s, coined by screenwriter Elinor Glyn, ‘it’ is not just sex appeal, but a certain je ne sais quoi, an undeniable magnetic force that draws the eye. The ‘it girls’ of cinema history have that certain something, an on-screen magnetism that captures the zeitgeist of an era. A film from BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: It Girls will screen every day for the special price of £8:
· It (Clarence Badger, 1927)
· Piccadilly (EA Dupont, 1929)
· Siren of the Tropics La sirène des tropiques (Mario Nalpas, Henri Étiévant, 1927)
· Bombshell (Victor Fleming, 1933)
· Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946)
· Bus Stop (Joshua Logan, 1956)
· Bonjour Tristesse (Otto Preminger, 1958)
· Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Blake Edwards, 1961)
· Barefoot in the Park (Gene Saks, 1967)
· Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972)
· The Night Porter Il portiere di note (Liliana Cavani, 1974)
· Shampoo (Hal Ashby, 1975)