Film4 Summer Screen 2012: New season begins this week

Open air cinema season Film4 Summer Screen returns to London’s Somerset House this August (16-27), with regular sponsors American Express® once again showing their support for the UK film industry. Featuring more UK premieres than ever before, with Walter Salles’ On the Road, US comedy The Watch (win tickets here!) and John Hillcoat’s Lawless all making their debut in the capital, alongside cinematic classics and cult favourites, Summer Screen has really started to move into a league of its own.

Guests to Somerset House can also enjoy more than just the movies with the brand new Behind the Screen series, a programme of talks illuminating the films, and are also invited to arrive to screenings early to hear sets from some of London’s finest DJs, providing the ideal soundtrack to your summertime picnic.

The full programme for this year’s Film4 Summer Screen season is listed below:

UK Premiere: On the Road
Thursday 16 August
The freedom of the open road and friendships that change lives provide the fuel for this stirring and quite beautiful adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s classic novel of the Beat Generation. Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund are the attractive trio who share everything together, with Brazilian director Walter Salles vividly capturing the thrill of Kerouac’s writing and the intensity of his experiences. It’s taken more than 50 years for this road to reach the screen; the long and winding wait ends with the UK Premiere at Summer Screen. 

The Birds

Friday 17 August
Just when you thought it was safe to watch a film outdoors, Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece of sky-high suspense swoops onto the big-screen at Somerset House. Presenting the first-ever screening of the brand-new digital print, specially restored by Universal Pictures to celebrate their 100th anniversary, the evening will be even more memorable thanks to a personal appearance by Tippi Hedren, as part of our collaboration with the BFI’s The Genius of Hitchcock season. 

Enter the Void plus Chemical Brothers: Don’t Think
Saturday 18 August
Join us on a journey to the outer-limits of cinema, a double-bill loaded with visionary filmmaking, wild ideas, eye-popping imagery, and block-rockin’ beats. Director Gaspar Noé takes you on a hallucinogenic trip in Enter the Void, before Don’t Think drops you into the beating heart of the ultimate nocturnal rave with one of the most formidable live acts in the world – the Chemical Brothers.

People’s Premiere: The Watch
Sunday 19 August
An outrageous new comedy starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade as four men who form a neighbourhood watch group as a means to escape their humdrum lives. When they discover that their town has been overrun with aliens posing as humans, they have no choice but to take action. Win tickets here!

Apocalypse Now

Monday 20 August
The grand scale and nightmarish intensity of Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam epic can only be fully appreciated on a huge screen, with the cacophony of wartime chaos, the meditations of Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen and the music of Wagner and The Doors engulfing you. One of the biggest and boldest films ever made, this trip up-river into the heart of darkness is alive with remarkable set-pieces and unexpected sights and sensations. 

Bicycle Thieves

Tuesday 21 August
One of the all-time greats, this classic of social cinema follows one man’s desperate bid to reclaim his livelihood – the bicycle that allows him to work- after it’s stolen from under his nose. As the man searches the streets of post-war Rome with his young son, tension and tenderness blend beautifully in a film that exemplifies the Italian cinematic movement neorealism. To see Vittorio De Sica’s film today is to be reminded of how subtle yet how powerful cinema can be.

Paris, Texas

Wednesday 22 August
A man walks alone in the desert, seemingly content to remain lost forever, only to find his past catching up with him in Wim Wenders’ haunting tale of redemption and reconciliation. Harry Dean Stanton plays Travis in an iconic performance that gradually reveals layers of hidden emotion; his progress back to life is charted by Ry Cooder’s evocative and expansive guitar score. A beautiful film in so many ways, from the wide-open blue sky of the opening to the intimate secret at the film’s heart.

Pretty in Pink

Thursday 23 August
Molly Ringwald is the quirky girl from the wrong side of town, while dreamy Andrew McCarthy is the rich kid who finds himself drawn to her. Oh, it’s all so complicated! But no doubt true love will find a way, especially when helped along by a sharp soundtrack, supportive friends and, of course, trusty teen-movie conventions.

Boogie Nights plus Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Friday 24 August
Sex, drugs and disco sets the scene for Mark Wahlberg’s attempt to make it big in the porn industry. And then the ultimate cult movie – legendary director Russ Meyer’s tale of an innocent but ambitious girl-group that falls into a swirling psychedelic rabbit-hole and goes Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Sexy Beast plus Drive
Saturday 25 August
Ray Winstone has to haul himself off a Spanish sun-lounger for one final heist when Sir Ben Kingsley comes calling – and swearing – in British director Jonathan Glazer’s stylish Sexy Beast, before strong, silent type Ryan Gosling saunters onto the scene of the crime to provide protection for Carey Mulligan in the no-fuss, no-frills four-wheeled thriller Drive.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Sunday 26 AugustThree years after Raiders of the Lost Ark screened at Somerset House, Harrison Ford returns as Indiana Jones in Steven Spielberg’s wild, whip-cracking sequel. The action comes thicker and faster second time around, as Indy’s search for a mystical stone leads him to a dangerous subterranean world and pits him against a sinister religious cult.

UK Premiere: Lawless
Monday 27 August
The prohibition-era action kicks off when three brothers strike back after their family business is threatened in a compelling story that mixes blood ties with illicit liquor. Bold director John Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave (who also provides the soundtrack) team up to make this one of the most exciting films of 2012.

For more info on Film4 Summer Screen 2012, visit

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Daniel Green