Special Feature: Rooftop Film Club presents ‘Life is Sweet’

Pioneered last summer by a group of dedicated individuals seemingly compelled to bringing classic and cult films to unusual London spaces, the Rooftop Film Club merges wireless headsets, comfy seats and blankets, films, food and drink for an enthralling night out. This summer sees its continuance atop the likes of Netil House and Queen of Hoxton for a select number of one-off special screenings, including guest appearances from filmmakers and stars alike.

The events champion unique and memorable filmic experiences, featuring direct interaction with the history of the film, and have now teamed up with American Express to help widen the cause and bring more exclusive nights to the city. A July drizzle did nothing to halt a dedicated scurry of Mike Leigh enthusiasts to the top of the Queen of Hoxton last week, who joined the ever-charming DJ/presenter/critic Lauren Laverne who selected Leigh’s 1990 film Life is Sweet as part of the club’s programme. The light-hearted domestic drama (set in Enfield in the early 1990s) is close to Laverne’s heart for reasons she went into interesting depth about.

Preceded by a funny and insightful Q&A with Leigh’s long-running star (and wife) Alison Steadman, the evening swung from strength to strength. An open bar and waiters offering plentiful Pimms and Sea Breeze cocktails made everyone at home, whilst the BBQ – also undeterred and unaffected in pleasantness by the weather – made for a very British affair.

Steadman spoke of Leigh’s direct ad method-like approach to filmmaking – the cast (including Jim Broadbent and a young and scene-stealing Jane Horrocks) set up house onset, going as far as directing the abode themselves to get deeper into character. It was enthralling to hear first hand how an iconic artist such as Leigh works, how he and Steadman met and began collaborating, and why Life is Sweet is a dear and cherished accomplishment for the actor – and indeed British cinema.

For more info about the Rooftop Film Club, sponsored by American Express, visit rooftopfilmclub.com.

Alexandra Hayward