Sunday, June 16, 2024

Spring 2024 at the BFI

BFI Southbank’s programme for Monday 25 March – Friday 31 May presents an exciting lineup, featuring the first part of a major exploration of Italian Neorealism, alongside month-long retrospectives of Gene Tierney, Víctor Erice, and Lindsay Anderson. Running from the end of March until the end of April, “Out of the Shadows: The Films of Gene Tierney” will spotlight Tierney’s captivating performances, focusing on her 1940s work, including classics like “Laura” and “Leave Her to Heaven.” Coinciding with the release of “Close Your Eyes,” BFI Southbank will present “Of Time and Light: The Films of Víctor Erice,” showcasing features and shorts from the esteemed filmmaker. May will see “O Dreamland! Lindsay Anderson’s Dark British Cinema,” a comprehensive season dedicated to the singular director and film critic, Lindsay Anderson. Additionally, the first part of a two-month exploration of Italian Neorealism, “Chasing the Real: Italian Neorealism,” begins in May and runs until the end of June. The lineup includes screenings of seminal works such as “Bicycle Thieves” and “Rome, Open City.” Events during this period include a TV preview of “Michael Palin in Nigeria” and film previews of “Hoard” and “Billy Connolly: Big Banana Feet.” The BFI’s “Woman with a Movie Camera” series presents a preview of “Nezouh,” while “African Odysseys” presents “Omen.” Lastly, special events at BFI IMAX include the closing night gala screening of “The Peasants” and a special Earth Day 2024 screening of “Anthropocene: The Human Epoch.”

BFI Southbank presents exciting new seasons celebrating the cinematic achievements of Gene Tierney and Víctor Erice, along with retrospectives of Lindsay Anderson and Italian Neorealism. “Out of the Shadows: The Films of Gene Tierney,” running from March 25th to April 30th, explores Tierney’s captivating performances, particularly focusing on her prolific work in the 1940s. Highlights include screenings of classics like “Laura” and “Leave Her to Heaven,” showcasing Tierney’s elegance and grace on-screen. Meanwhile, “Of Time and Light: The Films of Víctor Erice,” from March 25th to April 30th, honors the distinguished career of Erice with a selection of his elegant, lyrical films, including “The Spirit of the Beehive” and “El Sur.” The seasons promise to offer audiences a rich cinematic experience, celebrating the timeless contributions of these talented filmmakers.

BFI Southbank is set to embark on a cinematic journey through Italian Neorealism, one of the most significant post-war developments in film history, with its two-month season titled “Chasing the Real: Italian Neorealism.” Running from May until the end of June, this season will shine a spotlight on a movement that defied traditional cinematic norms, emerging out of a moral imperative to uncover the hidden drama in everyday life. The season will feature a diverse selection of films, from rare gems to seminal works, showcasing the different formal approaches taken by directors who sought to make reality the spectacle of cinema. The season will kick off with the discussion event “Journey Through Italian Neorealism” on May 7th, offering a comprehensive exploration of the movement’s roots, context, and legacy. Season curator Giulia Saccogna and guest speakers will delve into the key figures behind the movement, the evolving portrayal of women in post-war Italian cinema, and the stylistic and thematic elements that defined Neorealism.

The program will include screenings of films that laid the groundwork for Neorealism, such as Alessandro Blasetti’s “Four Steps in the Clouds” (1942), Vittorio De Sica’s “The Children Are Watching Us” (1943), and Luchino Visconti’s “Ossessione” (1943). These films introduced a new kind of cinema that captured the raw realities of life with unprecedented authenticity. Roberto Rossellini’s “Rome, Open City” (1945), widely regarded as the first Neorealist film, will be re-released in selected cinemas across the UK, marking its 80th anniversary. This groundbreaking work, shot on the streets of Rome shortly after the city’s liberation from German occupation, masterfully blends fact and fiction to depict the struggles of ordinary Romans during wartime.

The season will also feature Rossellini’s “Paisà” (1946) and “Germany, Year Zero” (1948), completing his War Trilogy, which offers poignant reflections on the human cost of war and the challenges of rebuilding society in its aftermath. Other notable titles include Vittorio De Sica’s “Shoeshine” (1946) and “Bicycle Thieves” (1948), Alberto Lattuada’s “The Bandit” (1946) and “The Mill on the Po” (1949), and Giuseppe De Santis’s “A Tragic Hunt” (1946) and “Bitter Rice” (1949). These films explore themes of poverty, social injustice, and the resilience of the human spirit, capturing the essence of Neorealism’s commitment to portraying life as it is lived. The season concludes with Lattuada’s “La Terra Trema” (1948), a lyrical portrait of a fishing family struggling against economic oppression, reminding audiences of the enduring relevance of Neorealism’s humanistic vision. “Chasing the Real: Italian Neorealism” offers a rare opportunity to rediscover the films that revolutionized cinema and continue to inspire filmmakers and audiences alike with their unflinching portrayal of the human condition.

Visit: bfi.org.uk

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