Explore the best of reggae on film at the BFI

This August BFI Southbank celebrates Reggae music and culture and explores its relationship to Cinema with a month-long season – FROM JAMAICA TO THE WORLD: REGGAE ON FILM.

Programmed by Lloyd Bradley, writer of Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King and Sounds Like London: 100 Years of Black Music in the Capital, the season coincides with 60 years of Jamaican independence from Great Britain, a period in which the new nation remade itself culturally and creatively as well as politically.

The season covers all aspects of that culture, as depicted in films such as BURNING AN ILLUSION (Menelik Shabazz, 1981), SPRINTER (Storm Saulter, 2018), DANCEHALL QUEEN (Don Letts, Rick Elgood, 1997), RUDEBOY: THE STORY OF TROJAN RECORDS (Nicolas Jack Davies, 2018) and many more.

BFI Distribution will re-release the classic crime drama THE HARDER THEY COME (Perry Henzell, 1972), starring legendary musician Jimmy Cliff as part of the season. The film, which marks its 50th anniversary this year, will be released in selected cinemas UK-wide on 5 August and play on extended run at BFI Southbank.

Event highlights during the season will include a screening of BOB MARLEY: THE MAKING OF A LEGEND (2011) followed by a Q&A with directors Esther Anderson and Gian Godoy on 30 August and a screening of BEING BLACKER (2018) followed by a Q&A with director Molly Dineen, the eponymous Brixton-based music producer Blacker Dread and musician Naptali on 9 August.

There will also be an event dedicated to exploring dancehall culture on 6 August, which will include a screening of Cori Wapnowska’s BRUK OUT (2017); and an event on 20 August exploring the uniquely British approach to contemporary reggae on, looking at how reggae and reggae culture informs such black British music as grime, jungle and dubstep.

The season is presented by AFRICAN ODYSSEYS, which programmes monthly events at BFI Southbank, as well as larger seasons and celebrations of work by and about the African diaspora, and is celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2022.

Also in August is the first part of a two-month season dedicated to KINUYO TANAKA, an actor and filmmaker who played an essential role in the history of Japanese cinema. Screenings in August will focus on Tanaka’s work as a director, a role she seized as societal roles for women were radically shifting with Japan’s emergence from the devastation of the Second World War.

Screenings in September will focus on Tanaka’s work as an actor, working with major directors such as Yasujirō Ozu, Mikio Naruse and Kenji Mizoguchi. The season, which was first conceived by Lili Hinstin and presented at the Lumière Festival in 2021, is presented in partnership with the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Janus Films – complete details will be announced soon.

Completing the line-up of seasons in August will be the second part of BFI Southbank’s complete retrospective of SATYAJIT RAY, one of the true masters of world cinema, with a remarkable body of work as a director (but also a polymath who wrote, designed and composed as well).

Arranged thematically by season programmer Sangeeta Datta, the retrospective is presented in association with the Academy Film Archive and will include numerous restorations on 35mm from their archives, as well as three 4K restorations made by the Criterion Collection and the UK premiere of four brand new 4K restorations presented by NFDC – National Film Archive of India. Complete details for the season are available in a dedicated press release on the BFI website.

Special events in August will include a film preview of MY OLD SCHOOL (Jono McLeod, 2022), a joyful documentary about Scotland’s most notorious imposter, a 16-year-old called Brandon who enrolled at a Glasgow high school in 1993.

The preview on 12 August will be followed by a Q&A with director Jono McLeod and actor Alan Cumming, who stars as Brandon in scenes that re-enact this stranger-than-fiction story. On 15 August there will be a preview of THE FEAST (Lee Haven Jones, 2021), a terrific slow burn, Welsh-language folk horror, laced with twisted humour, brutal body horror, supernatural frights and extreme gore. The preview will be followed by a Q&A with director Lee Haven Jones and producer-screenwriter Roger Williams, before playing on extended run at BFI Southbank from 19 August.

There will be a TV preview of AM I BEING UNREASONABLE? (BBC, 2022), a new series written by and starring Daisy May Cooper and Selin Hizli, who with both take part in a Q&A alongside exec producer Jack Thorne following the preview on 31 August.

This comedy thriller brilliantly hones in on female friendship, marital angst and maternal paranoia. This month, BFI Southbank will also remember one of Britain’s most beloved comics with TONY HANCOCK: ODDITIES AND RARITIES on 13 August.

This special event will take audiences behind Hancock the comedian, and tell his life story through the phenomenal archive amassed by the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society.

The BFI’s year-round BFI EXPANDED programme will present a virtual reality experience, CHILD OF EMPIRE (Lead Artists: Sparsh Ahuja, Erfan Saadati, Omi Zola Gupta, Stephen Stephenson, 2021), at BFI Southbank from 1-7 August.

14 August 1947 marked the birth of Pakistan and an independent India. British colonialism ended and the confrontation between the two nations led to the displacement of some 15 million people and tragic death of more than a million. CHILD OF EMPIRE, which is free to view via walk-up on the day, offers a deeply personal view of this devastating moment.

Two men from the Partition generation, an Indian Hindu who migrated from Pakistan to India, and a Pakistani Muslim who made the opposite journey, share childhood memories of their experiences.

Also in the BFI EXPANDED programme this month is the World Premiere of LOST MIGRATIONS (Lead artists: Project Dastaan, Puffball Studios and Spitting Image Studios, 2022) on 1 August; this three-part animated series tells the untold stories of the Partition through the voices of the colonised. Each episode sheds light on a community that has been excluded from South Asian literature and historiography: women, the Chettiar diaspora and the stateless.



Complete details of FROM JAMAICA TO THE WORLD: REGGAE ON FILM and KINUYO TANAKA will be announced in dedicated press releases soon.

Compete details of the SATYAJIT RAY season are available in a dedicated press release on the BFI website.


New releases screening on extended run this month will include Panah Panahi’s award-winning debut, HIT THE ROAD (2021), which takes the classic family car journey to a mysterious, chaotic and unexpected destination.

This joyful and beautifully crafted film, which won the Best Film Award at the BFI London Film Festival in 2021, will screen from 29 July, while on 2 August, BFI Southbank’s monthly BFI Member Salon will focus on the film, giving Members and their guests a chance to reflect on this charming and moving piece of work.

Opening on 19 August will be the latest film from the director of WALTZ WITH BASHIR Ari Folman, WHERE IS ANNE FRANK (2021), an extraordinary animated film that keeps the hopes and legacy of Anne Frank alive for all ages. One year from now in the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, Anne’s imaginary friend Kitty comes to life and searches for her.

While in the 1940s, the Frank family remain prisoners in their secret annexe as the Germans occupy the Dutch city. There will be a Family Preview of the film on 7 August ahead of its release.

Following its premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in 2021, Nana Mensah’s self-assured and charming comedy QUEEN OF GLORY (2021), about a Ghanaian-American woman whose life is thrown into disarray when she inherits her mother’s Christian bookshop, will screen on extended run from 26 August. As she struggles with funeral arrangements (for both a ‘white people funeral’ and traditional Ghanaian ceremony) and tries to get rid of the shop, she begins to re-evaluate her life.

In doing so, she regains a connection to her culture. The film will be previewed as part of BFI Southbank’s monthly WOMAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA strand on 22 August, ahead of opening on extended run.


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

Our monthly RELAXED SCREENING will be Ken Loach’s beloved classic KES (1970), which follows 15-year-old Billy, who struggles at both school and home. Discovering falconry transforms Billy’s experience of the world, finding new personal freedom and learning a real skill.

Filmed in Barnsley with mainly non-professional actors, this is a tough and unforgettable drama about human dignity – as relevant now as it was when it was made. The screening on 22 August is presented for those in the neurodiverse community and their assistants and carers, for the special price of £3.

BFI Southbank’s Family programme will feature classic family films, with screenings of the cult fantasy musical written by Dr. Seuss, THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR.T (Roy Rowland, 1953) and Disney’s take on Lewis Carroll’s beloved books ALICE IN WONDERLAND (Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, 1951).

New films for all the family will include a preview of the previously mentioned animation WHERE IS ANNE FRANK (Ari Folman, 2021) and a BFI Funday screening of the latest Pixar film LIGHTYEAR (Angus MacLane, 2022), which tells the story behind the real Buzz Lightyear, the legendary space ranger in the TOY STORY universe. The BFI Funday screening of LIGHTYEAR on 14 August will be preceded by a free space-themed workshop, where children can animate their own space adventure.

For children looking to learn more about filmmaking this summer, the BFI’s Education workshops offer an exciting hands-on experience. STORYTELLING WITH LIGHTING (8 – 11 August, for 12 to 16 year olds) will teach the latest cinematic lighting techniques; SPECIAL EFFECTS MAKEUP AND MOVIEMAKING (15 – 19 August, for 12 to 16 year olds) will feature a special effects make-up masterclass and the chance to create a short where special effects make-up is essential to the storytelling; and PLACES AND STORIES MOVIEMAKING (22 – 26 August, for 8 to 11 year olds) will teach children why locations are so important to filmmaking, through a practical short film workshop.

Rarely mentioned alongside such ghost story greats as THE HAUNTING or THE CHANGELING, Dan Curtis’ supernatural melodrama BURNT OFFERINGS (1976) more than deserves its rightful place among the classics, and is BFI Southbank’s TERROR VISION screening this month.

For the Rolf family, a summer rental turns into a waking nightmare, when a serious of mysterious events threaten to tear them apart. Fun, spooky, and more than a little bit unhinged, BURNT OFFERINGS, which stars Karen Black, Oliver Reed and Bette Davis, will screen on 25 August.

Our monthly PROJECTING THE ARCHIVE screening, which showcases rediscovered British features from the BFI National Archive, will be THE FROG (Jack Raymond, 1937) on 16 August, introduced by the BFI’s Vic Pratt. In this Edgar Wallace adaptation, Sergeant Elk sets out to unmask the Frog, the evil mastermind heading up a mysterious network responsible for a litany of sensational crimes. THE DIVINE VOYAGE (Julien Duvivier, 1929) will screen in our regular SILENT CINEMA slot on 14 August; the visually striking and recently rediscovered film concerns a cruel Breton ship-owner who risks the lives of his crew in an unseaworthy vessel.

Strongly influenced by experimental music – most notably Steve Reich – CODEX (Stuart Pound, 1979) is a tour de-force of what could be achieved using the special film printing equipment at alternative film centre, the London Filmmakers’ Co-op.

There will be a BFI EXPERIMENTA screening of the film on 10 August where director Stuart Pound will discuss CODEX, alongside other examples of his work.

Completing the line-up of strands this month is ART IN THE MAKING, which celebrates diverse artistic forms, movements and makers; screening in this strand on 18 August will be two British documentaries on the theme of social housing – 12 VIEWS OF KENSAL HOUSE (Peter Wyeth, 1984) and HOUSING PROBLEMS (Arthur Elton, Edgar Anstey, 1935).


BFI Southbank’s ongoing BIG SCREEN CLASSICS series, where we screen essential titles on a daily basis for just £8, will be themed around POWER in August. The films screening will focus on the thirst for power, the abuse of power and the desire for empowerment in the face of oppression.

Screenings will include THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (John Frankenheimer, 1962), SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957), GASLIGHT (Thorold Dickinson, 1940), RAGING BULL (Martin Scorsese, 1980), DANCE, GIRL, DANCE (Dorothy Arzner, 1940), THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (Charles Laughton, 1955), THE WHITE RIBBON (Michael Haneke, 2009) and many more.

In addition to the BFI’s £8 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 ticket scheme for young audiences.

Email AlertPlease enter your email address if you would like to receive alerts from Screen Innovation on new stories