BFI celebrates Disney and Egyptian filmmaking

BFI Southbank today announce the programme for July 2023, beginning with a major new season of screenings, talks, special events and singalongs to mark the centenary of The Walt Disney Company. A two-month season, MAKING MAGIC: 100 YEARS OF DISNEY, will open in July with the UK premiere of the new restoration of CINDERELLA (1950) and include screenings of much-loved classics spanning the century, from SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937) and FANTASIA (1940), to TOY STORY (1995) and FROZEN (2013), along with live-action treasures such as SPLASH (Ron Howard, 1984), WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (Robert Zemeckis, 1988) and the game-changing TRON (Steven Lisberger, 1982).

Also in July, BFI Southbank collaborate with the SAFAR Film Festival and the Ciné Lumière to celebrate the work of Egyptian master filmmaker Youssef Chahine, whose cinema is an audacious swirl of exuberance and energy, brimming with idiosyncratic characters and sweeping storylines. Curated by BAFTA nominated producer, writer and curator Elhum Shakerifar, the season is a rare chance to see work from his vast and eclectic career on the big screen, with titles screening including CAIRO STATION (1958), THE LAND (1969), THE BLAZING SUN (1954), ALEXANDRIA… WHY? (1978) and many more.

With the upcoming release of this summer’s hugely anticipated, first-ever big screen BARBIE (2023), there has never been a better time to revisit the work of the film’s director/co-writer/executive producer GRETA GERWIG. This month, BFI Southbank will host a season dedicated to her career on both sides of the camera, with titles including her acting breakthrough GREENBERG (Noah Baumbach, 2010), the cherished FRANCES HA (Noah Baumbach, 2012), and Gerwig’s much-celebrated directorial offerings LADY BIRD (2017) and LITTLE WOMEN (2019).

The events programme in July will include a preview of Shamira Raphaëla’s hilarious, upbeat, better-than-fiction documentary SHABU (2023), which premiered at last year’s BFI London Film Festival. Fourteen-year-old aspiring rapper Shabu is not having a good time. The Dutch-Surinamese teen stole and crashed his grandmother’s car, leaving her fuming and him having to work all summer to pay her back. Tired of odd jobs, Shabu decides to stage a block party to showcase his talents as a rapper and, most importantly, win his grandma over. The preview on 1 July will be followed by a Q&A with director Shamira Raphaëla, and then, in the BFI Bar, a DJ set. Also previewing following its BFI London Film Festival premiere is THE DAMNED DON’T CRY (2022) on 4 July, followed by a Q&A with director Fyzal Boulifa. Selim and his mother Fatima-Zahra live in close quarters, with so little money that a single moment of bad fortune is a crisis of survival. When a trip to her family village reveals some troubling secrets, a rift opens that will see them try to establish their independence from each other, but tests their fragile love.

The annual event FOCUS HONG KONG returns once again to BFI Southbank in July, with screenings from 12-15 July, beginning with the UK Premiere of WHERE THE WIND BLOWS (Philip Yung, 2022), a gripping epic that explores the complexity and danger present in 1960s Hong Kong starring screen icons Aaron Kwok and Tony Leung. Also screening will be one of the biggest hits of the year, the tense courtroom drama A GUILTY CONSCIENCE (Jack Ng, 2023), which combines sly social commentary and sharp humour; it follows a lawyer who takes on a corrupt elite as he tries to free an innocent woman jailed some years earlier as a result of his own negligence. Spooky comedies are one of the most beloved institutions of Hong Kong cinema and the debut feature LET IT GHOST (Wong Hoi, 2022), which will have its UK Premiere, is a delightful reinvention of the form. An anthology featuring three tales of haunted film crews, sex-obsessed spectres and ghosts wandering gentrified shopping malls, the film pays tribute to tales of old while offering a modern twist on the genre. The line-up is completed by the Director’s Cut of NOMAD (Patrick Tam, 1982), a new 4K restoration of which will have its UK Premiere; starring the immortal Leslie Cheung, this classic film returns to the screen, now in its original uncensored, director-authorised version. At once hopeful yet cynical, this colourful film blends rebellion, burgeoning sexuality and the culture clash of a place still under British Colonial rule but looking to China and Japan for its identity.

BFI Southbank’s monthly event, Mark Kermode Live in 3D at the BFI, will take place on 17 July. A conversation between the audience and one of the nation’s favourite and most respected film critics, Mark Kermode will be joined by surprise guests from across the film industry to explore, critique and dissect current and upcoming releases, cinematic treasures, industry news and more.




A major new two-month season, MAKING MAGIC: 100 YEARS OF DISNEY marks the centenary of The Walt Disney Company. The first month of screenings, talks, special events and singalongs will open with the UK premiere of the new restoration of CINDERELLA (1950) on 6 July, followed by a special panel discussion on the same night to introduce the key themes of the season which will run at BFI Southbank until the end of August, with selected screenings at BFI IMAX as well. For many cinema goers around the world, their first big screen experience was watching a Disney film – MAKING MAGIC will celebrate 100 years of great storytelling and artistic flair that started with brothers Walt and Roy Disney, but continues to delight today thanks to the many thousands of people who have delivered their vision.

The season, full details of which will be announced in a dedicated press release soon, is programmed by the BFI’s Justin Johnson and in July will be divided into three distinct strands – with all the features screening paired with harder to see short films from throughout Disney’s history.

And They All Lived Happily Ever After will feature big screen outings for some of Disney’s animated fairy tales – and their princesses – which have been at the heart of the Studio’s success since SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937). Other tales old as time playing at BFI Southbank in July include the aforementioned restoration of CINDERELLA (1950), Disney’s take on Lewis Carroll’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1951), the hand-inked masterpiece SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959), and beloved works from Disney’s fabled 90s Renaissance, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991) and POCAHONTAS (1995), along with more contemporary titles THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG (2009) and 3D animation favourites TANGLED (2010), FROZEN (2013) and MOANA (2016). There will also be a chance to belt out We Don’t Talk About Bruno during a SING-A-LONG screening of ENCANTO (2021) on 16 July.

Pushing the envelope – Disney and Technology will show how, from the outset, Walt Disney was a pioneer of innovation. From its advances in sound, all forms of animation and film formats, the Studio and its partners have continued to innovate ever since the release of the hugely ambitious FANTASIA (1940), which plays at BFI Southbank alongside FANTASIA 2000 (2000). Other ground-breaking titles included in the July programme are Pixar favourites TOY STORY (1995), TOY STORY 2 (1999) and WALL-E (2008), as well as Disney Animation’s DINOSAUR (2001), which saw the Studio fully embrace the advent of CGI. The influence of state-of-the-art live-action CGI hybrid TRON (Steven Lisberger, 1982) cannot be overstated and is a must-see during the season, alongside its long awaited sequel TRON LEGACY (Joseph Kosinski, 2010), cult favourite THE BLACK HOLE (Gary Nelson, 1979) and the genius, live-action animation triumph, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (Robert Zemeckis, 1988).

In order to ensure that Disney films continued to be associated with family content, the company created a new film brand geared towards a slightly older audience. Touchstone Pictures Presents will offer audiences the chance to see three live-action classics in July, including Touchstone’s first picture, SPLASH (Ron Howard, 1984), which was a huge hit with critics and audiences alike, as well as Robin William’s star turn in DEAD POET’S SOCIETY (Peter Weir, 1989) and cult Halloween favourite HOCUS POCUS (Kenny Ortega, 1993).

Rounding out the first month of MAKING MAGIC is a Relaxed Screening for those in the neuro-diverse community of FANTASIA (1940), a chance to see Disney’s award-winning SILLY SYMPHONIES on 1 July and 3 July – a series of shorts that delighted audiences with their combination of experimentation and joyous humour – and a DISNEY STUDY DAY on 22 July. The season will conclude in August, with further details of the programme to be announced soon.


Also in July, will be DRAMA AND DESIRE: THE FILMS OF YOUSSEF CHAHINE, a major season celebrating the work of Egyptian master filmmaker Youssef Chahine, whose cinema is an audacious swirl of exuberance and energy, brimming with idiosyncratic characters and sweeping storylines. Curated by Elhum Shakerifar, and presented in partnership with SAFAR Film Festival and the Ciné Lumière, the season will span his vast and eclectic career that often depicted the lives of ordinary Egyptians. SAFAR Film Festival, the UK’s largest festival of Arab cinema, which runs from 29 June – 9 July, will include Chahine’s short film CAIRO AS SEEN BY CHAHINE (1993), screening alongside the UK premiere of FROM CAIRO (Hala Galal, 2021), while the Ciné Lumière will also screen a selection of Chahine’s work this summer. A number of the films will also be available to watch UK-wide on BFI Player.

The season will include a special event, THE YOUSSEF CHAHINE STORY, on 3 July. In this richly illustrated talk, season curator Elhum Shakerifar and special guests will explore Chahine’s thematic preoccupations and stylistic characteristics, as well as the political and historical background of his work, and the autobiographical elements that run through a career that spanned five decades. Numerous screenings in the season will be introduced, with special guests including novelist Ahdaf Soueif, poet and essayist Momtaza Mehri and filmmaker May Abdalla, as well as the season curator Elhum Shakerifar.

The season’s sections will include An Artist at Heart – this section of the programme is dedicated to Chahine’s Alexandria trilogy, which form an essential part of his oeuvre; semi-autobiographical, playful, reflexive and self-referential, these films brim with audacious storytelling and powerful meditations on cinema. ALEXANDRIA… WHY? (1978), AN EGYPTIAN STORY (1982) and ALEXANDRIA AGAIN AND FOREVER (1989) follow Yehia from teenage dreams of studying cinema, to his trip to London to undergo open-heart surgery, and finally to his later years as an aging director, as he struggles with writers block and falls into existential questioning about making films.

Early Hollywood meets the Golden Age of Egyptian cinema in The Melodrama of Life section of the programme  musical numbers merge into twisting tales of love and revenge in Chahine’s early work. These include Chahine’s charming feature debut and moving tribute to his own father DADDY AMIN (1950), his enthralling musical THE DEVIL OF THE DESERT (1954) starring Omar Sharif as a dashing young man plotting to overthrow a tribe’s tyrannical ruler and MY ONE AND ONLY LOVE (1957), a visual feast that stars legendary singer Farid al-Atrash and screen icon Shadia as a couple forced into a marriage neither of them wants, solely to attain an inheritance.

Over 6 decades, and with captivating audacity, Chahine consistently held up a mirror to the personal and political lives of ordinary Egyptians, consistently reflecting on questions of class in Egyptian society. This section of the programme – An Egyptian Panorama: Contemporary Mirrors – will include Chahine’s socially anchored neo-realist works such as THE BLAZING SUN (1954) starring Faten Hamamah and Omar Sharif, the latter in his screen debut. Also screening is DARK WATERS (1955), about a man who returns to Alexandria to marry his cousin after years at sea, but finds his jealousy is unleashed when he learns that his affluent childhood friend has also fallen for her; and DAWN OF A NEW DAY (1964) about a passionate liaison between a woman and a student some 20 years her junior. Set against the backdrop of the 1967 Six-Day War, THE SPARROW (1972) weaves together a variety of voices and stories — from life in Cairo to a small village in Upper Egypt, and ordinary citizens to journalists and police officials — to paint a potent picture of thwarted hopes in a crumbling society.

Considered to be Chahine’s masterpiece, the dark genius of CAIRO STATION (1958) lies in the mood it creates, while remaining keenly attuned to the complexity of human emotion and desire, while in THE OTHER (1999) (which features a brief cameo from Palestinian intellectual and writer Edward Saïd), Adam falls in love and quickly marries a feisty local journalist while visiting Cairo on a research trip, but Adam’s unhealthily obsessive mother goes to tragic lengths to tear them apart. Also screening is RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON (1975), a political musical about a family torn apart by very different social perspectives, playing out in bright Technicolor while serving as a pointed allegory for the tragedy of regional disintegration.

The final thematic section of the programme is An Egyptian Panorama: Reimaginings of the Past – in which Chahine’s epic re-imaginings of the past re-centre a local perspective on well-known historical tales. These include SALADIN (1963), in which Chahine recounts the charismatic leader’s triumph against the Crusaders, albeit with the inclusion of love trysts and reflections on the male ego; and THE LAND (1969), Chahine’s powerful ode to the earth, which builds towards an unforgettable closing scene – one of the landmark moments in Egyptian cinematic history. Also screening will be Chahine’s adaptation of André Chedid’s novel THE SIXTH DAY (1986), which incorporates a lively Gene Kelly musical mash-up, in a frank reflection on desire and an ode to cinema. Greed, desire and honesty intersect in THE EMIGRANT (1994), Chahine’s retelling of the biblical tale of Joseph from an Egyptian perspective. Completing the programme is DESTINY (1997), a historical melodrama made in response to political and religious tensions in 1990s Egypt, and a hopeful musical epic that argues against violent extremism.

A household name across the Arab world and feted internationally throughout his career, Chahine continues to appeal to his Egyptian audience (at Cairo Airport his portrait welcomes you to the city); this season offers audiences in the UK a chance to better acquaint themselves with the work of a true master of cinema.


In anticipation of the filmmaker’s singular take on a global icon, BARBIE (2023), the BFI is excited to revisit the work of Greta Gerwig on the big screen. Join us for THE FILMS OF GRETA GERWIG and dance through Gerwig’s story so far, with a selection of films playing at BFI Southbank which encompass her improvisation and character-driven ‘mumblecore’ period, her development as an actor, the sharpening of her screenwriting wit, and her warm and emotionally frank work as a director.

HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS (Joe Swanberg, 2007) is one of the best examples of the largely improvised, low-budget ‘mumblecore’ movement. Gerwig’s performance powers this raw and funny reflection on the messy world of being in your early 20s, wanting to love and be loved in return. In her bigger budget breakout role in GREENBERG (Noah Baumbach, 2010), Gerwig is a perfect foil to Ben Stiller, ultimately stealing the show as the optimistic and charming Florence. Her performance was nominated for Gotham and Independent Spirit awards. Gerwig lights up every moment she is on screen in Whit Stillman’s sweet, eccentric and frequently hilarious comedy DAMSELS IN DISTRESS (Whit Stillman, 2011), which will also screen.

Gerwig’s first screenwriting collaboration with Noah Baumbach, FRANCES HA (Noah Baumbach, 2012) is a terrific portrait of an endearingly shambolic woman trying to figure her life out. Interwoven with affectionate references to the French New Wave and a twinkling soundtrack, it is an accurate embodiment of the highs, lows and overall confusion of feeling left behind in your 20s. MISTRESS AMERICA (Noah Baumbach, 2015) is a playful study of female friendship. Gerwig’s astute screenplay is driven by sharp wit and some delightful screwball moments, while she delivers a knock-out comedic performance as the alluring yet despairingly egocentric Brooke. In 20TH CENTURY WOMAN (Mike Mills, 2016), Gerwig portrays punk photographer and cancer patient Abbie with exquisite vulnerability, capturing the anger and energy of a woman on the New Wave scene. Gerwig has expressed that this film, one of her final roles before stepping into directing, was one of her favourite experiences as an actor.

Gerwig’s solo-directorial debut, LADY BIRD (Greta Gerwig, 2017), which saw her pick up Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, perfectly captures the interior life of a teenage girl (with the help of a stellar performance by Saoirse Ronan) and the universal experience of coming-of-age while grappling with our changing relationships with our parents. It’s a precious, nostalgia-tinged triumph which was followed by Gerwig’s take on LITTLE WOMEN (Greta Gerwig, 2019), the umpteenth adaptation of the beloved US literary classic, which once again secured her an Oscar nomination, this time for Adapted Screenplay. A fresh perspective, this is one of the best adaptations, full of warmth and love, Gerwig’s voice offers new rhythms and understandings of the March sisters while remaining loyal to the original spirit of author Louisa May Alcott’s creation.


New releases screening on extended run at BFI Southbank in July will include the BFI Distribution release NAME ME LAWAND (Edward Lovelace, 2022), in cinemas on 7 July. This powerful documentary, which was backed by the BFI Doc Society Fund awarding National Lottery money and premiered at last year’s BFI London Film Festival, follows a Kurdish family who, convinced of the potential of their deaf son Lawand, leave Iraq and arrive in Derby, where he joins the Royal School for the Deaf Derby. Empowered with British Sign Language, Lawand reveals himself to be a witty and popular student, while his family navigate a new common language and fight to remain in the community that has embraced them. A screening on 7 July will be followed by a Q&A with director Edward Lovelace, while the film will also the subject of the regular BFI Member Salon on 10 July. Screenings of NAME ME LAWAND will be presented with subtitles, including descriptions of non-dialogue audio, and audio description.

Having honed their craft on YouTube, Australian filmmaking brothers Danny and Michael Philippou’s feature film debut TALK TO ME (2022) nods to their background as viral-video sensations. Screening from 28 July, TALK TO ME is a smart spin on teens looking for an adrenaline rush. On the anniversary of her mother’s death, and looking for a distraction, 17-year-old Mia persuades her best friend to take her to a party where their school mates are apparently conjuring spirits. Realistic videos of teenagers convulsing, clutching an embalmed hand, while supposedly possessed by demons are circulating on social media, and Mia wants to give it a try.

BFI Southbank celebrate the 50th anniversary of THE WICKER MAN (Robin Hardy, 1973), the chilling British horror that just gets better with age, with screenings from 30 June courtesy of a new re-release from Studio Canal. Five decades after its first release, this story of a Police Sergeant investigating a missing schoolgirl on the Hebridean island of Summerislecontinues to thrill. Its plausibility is what makes the film so unsettling, while its eccentricities and folklore roots provide a chilling delight.

Screening at BFI IMAX this month will be MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING PART ONE (Christopher McQuarrie, 2023), the seventh instalment in the long-running franchise, which sees Tom Cruise reprise his role as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. Opening on 12 July, DEAD RECKONING brings more ghosts from Ethan’s past into the present as he battles imminent catastrophic danger. Expect nothing less than a series of fantastic, death-defying stunts, including Cruise’s trailered motorbike base jump off a cliff.

Also opening at BFI IMAX on 21 July will be Christopher Nolan’s new film OPPENHEIMER (2023), screening from an impeccable 70mm print, about the ‘father of the atomic bomb’, played by long-time Nolan collaborator Cillian Murphy. Seen as a hero to many, within a few years Oppenheimer would be vilified as a turncoat and a threat to his country. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of Robert Oppenheimer, Nolan’s film boasts an extraordinary cast and is the first IMAX film to be shot in colour and black-and-white. The release of OPPENHEIMER at BFI IMAX marks the culmination of the cinema’s Nolan mini-series, with other screenings including Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, which screens as an all-nighter on 70mm as part of the BFI FILM ON FILM FESTIVAL on June 10.


BFI Southbank’s regular programme strands have something for everyone – whether audiences are looking for silent treasures, experimental works or archive rarities.

This month’s WOMAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA screening is THE APPLE (Samira Makhmalbaf, 1998), screening on 6 July. In Tehran, 12-year-old twin sisters were found to have been imprisoned in their home by their parents since birth. This haunting fusion of documentary and fiction explores events following the discovery. Featuring those involved playing themselves, this key film from the Iranian New Wave was the astonishingly accomplished debut of filmmaker Samira Makhmalbaf, made when she was only 17 years old.

BFI Southbank’s ongoing AFRICAN ODYSSEYS series will this month feature a screening of PASSING THROUGH (Larry Clark, 1977), a moving drama that takes an uncompromising look at the lives of black jazz musicians who face immense adversity in creating one of the world’s greatest art forms. Also screening as part of the series will be WATTSTAX (Mel Stuart, 1973), an exciting, vibrant documentary record of the 1972 Wattstax music festival in the community of Watts in Los Angeles, featuring appearances from Rufus Thomas, Issac Hayes, The Staple Sisters and more. Both films will screen on 22 July.

On 2 July, BFI Southbank will screen the UK Premiere of a new restoration of the iconic Bollywood blockbuster AMAR, AKBAR, ANTHONY (Manmohan Desai, 1977), bringing together comedy, romance and drama, but also reflecting the trauma of Partition following India’s independence. Amar, Akbar and Anthony are separated from their family and each other as small children. They are raised separately and in different faiths and when they meet again, their lives are entwined in an incredible plot replete with coincidence, furious action sequences and unforgettable song-and-dance numbers.

This month’s SENIORS’ FREE MATINEE, screening on 24 July, is SUMMERTIME (David Lean, 1955) starring Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi; yearning for romance, secretary Jane Hudson takes a ‘holiday of a lifetime’ in Venice, where she encounters antiques dealer Ronato. THE SIGNAL TOWER (Clarence Brown, 1924) is our monthly SILENT CINEMA pick on 30 July, about a signalman who takes in an affable fellow railroad engineer as a lodger, little suspecting the threat to his wife when he is called away to deal with a runaway train. PROJECTING THE ARCHIVE, which screens rare British titles from the BFI National Archive, will this month feature SON OF A STRANGER (Ernest Morris, 1958), screening on 11 July, alongside MAN FROM INTERPOL: THE MAN WHO SOLD HOPE (Robert Lynn, 1960). The former is a B-movie starring James ‘Cosh Boy’ Kenney as a young delinquent frustrated with his lot and determined to track down his absent father, while the latter sees a crooked people trafficking ring lead to murder.

The ART IN THE MAKING series, which celebrates diverse artistic forms, movements and makers, will, on 25 July, feature a thoughtful exploration of the work and career of impressionist painter Walter Sickert, with screenings of SICKERT’S LONDON (Jake Auerbach, 1992) and WALTER SICKERT: PAINTER OF THE THIRD FLOOR BACK (John Read, 1954).  

Completing this month’s programme will be two programmes dedicated to the iconic musician, model and film star, Nico on 19 July – screening as part of the BFI’s ongoing EXPERIMENTA series. Nina Danino’s eagerly anticipated, darkly devotional SOLITUDE (2022)juxtaposes renditions of Nico numbers, swirling Ash Ra Tempel music and readings from Coleridge, Byron and Brontë, with intimate moments from Warhol’s Chelsea Girls and more. The screening will be followed by Nina Danino in conversation with BFI National Archive curator Will Fowler, while there will also be a screening of the seminal underground film KEY (1968), by the highly influential artist and theorist Peter Gidal. Songs from Nico’s brutally austere and arguably finest album The Desert Shore provide a musical soundtrack for Philippe Garrel’s landscape film THE INNER SCAR (1972) More brooding, enveloping, intense atmosphere than a traditional narrative, THE INNER SCAR provides a powerful vehicle for Nico’s voice while pushing the limits of storytelling and stylistic convention.


For June and July BFI Southbank’s ongoing BIG SCREEN CLASSICS series, where we screen essential titles on a daily basis for just £9, will feature films in which place plays a central role. Whereas June featured movies set in renowned cities, July’s resonant settings include small towns, provincial cities, villages, hamlets and the wilderness. Screenings in July will include ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (Douglas Sirk, 1955), THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE (Joel Coen, 2001), LES DEMOISELLES DE ROCHEFORT (Jacques Demy, 1967), THE HARDER THEY COME (Perry Henzell, 1972), THE PIANO (Jane Campion, 1993), WANDA (Barbara Loden, 1970), THE STRAIGHT STORY (David Lynch, 1999) and many more. In addition to our £9 ticket offer for BIG SCREEN CLASSICS, audience members aged 25 and under are able to buy tickets for BFI Southbank screenings (in advance or on the day) and special events and previews (on the day only), for just £3, through our ongoing ticket scheme for young audiences.

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