BFI unveils UK-wide blockbuster for autumn 2015: Love – Films to fall in love with... Films to break your heart

The new season will include screenings and Q&As with directors Stephen Frears, Mike Newell and Gurinder Chadha, actors Derek Jacobi, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Jon Sinclair, and musicians Mara Carlyle and KT Tunstall.


Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

The BFI today revealed its three month, UK-wide 2015 blockbuster, LOVE: Films to Fall in Love With… Films to Break Your Heart, in partnership with Plusnet, at a special launch event at BFI Southbank, in which Four Weddings and a Funeral director Mike Newell, writer of Man Up and rising star Tess Morris and Woman’s Hour’s Jenni Murray discussed love on the big and small screen. LOVE will encompass three key themes – The Power of Love, Fools For Love and Fatal Attractions – and includes film screenings and Q&As with directors Stephen Frears (My Beautiful Laundrette, Dangerous Liaisons), Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball, Beyond the Lights), Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) and Gurinder Chadha (Bend it Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice), actors Derek Jacobi (Love is a Devil), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights), John Gordon Sinclair and Claire Grogan (Gregory’s Girl) and musicians Mara Carlyle and KT Tunstall.

Director Mike Newell, speaking about his classic British rom-com Four Weddings and a Funeral, today said today of rom-com icon, Hugh Grant, “Hugh was the first of the commitment-phobics… he’s good looking, has wonderful hair, and he’s immensely deft with words – he could speak Richard Curtis’s wonderful script as it was supposed to be.”

Panel host, Jenny Murray called for a new kind of rom-com, asking, “When will we see a woman in her 60s with a man in his mid-30s?” Jenny encouraged fellow panellists, Mike Newell and writer Tess Morris to run with her idea.

Other highlights include a Jane Austen Day and an extravaganza to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Bollywood phenomenon Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) (1995) at BFI Southbank. More than 600 bespoke film screenings and experiences at more than 300 locations acrloss the UK include a new restoration of Dr Zhivago (1965) on theatrical release, 70th anniversary screenings of Brief Encounter with nation-wide tea dances, Wings of Desire at Paisley Abbey, and pop-up screenings of films including Vertigo (1958) in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion and family fabourites including Beauty and the Beast (1991), The Princess Bride (1987) and Frozen (2013) at Caftell Coch and Caerphilly Castle (Wales).

Heather Stewart, Creative Director, BFI said:

“Film can bring love to life more powerfully than any other art form – it is cinema’s most seductive illusion and has transformed the way we see ourselves, and our love lives. Our season is not about sex. We’re getting back to LOVE: embracing the intimacy of the close-up and the anticipation of the much longed-for screen kiss: the very language of cinema itself.”

LOVE celebrates a broad sweep of film and TV, from the swooning silent era to the present day, including Hollywood melodrama, British period drama, Bollywood song and dance and the European erotic thriller. The BFI will ensure that audiences all over the UK can find that lovin’ feelin’ with UK-wide theatrical rereleases, DVDs, a collection on BFI Player and extensive education programme, a BFI LOVE Compendium and seven BFI Film Classics books alongside the screenings and events up and down the country, presented in partnership with the BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN).

Event listings, details about how to book tickets and an online search facility for your closest BFI LOVE event will be available here:

Brief Encounter (1945)

Brief Encounter (1945)

BFI LOVE season highlights:

BFI Southbank


24 October – Kate Winslet, Jennifer Aniston, Amy Schumer and many other big screen heroines will be under discussion at a special BFI Southbank launch event, Leading Ladies of Love.

7 November – A celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Bollywood romance, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) (1995); this epic films tells the story of Raj and Simran and holds the world record for continuous cinema exhibition, at over 1,000 weeks at the Maratha Mandir cinema Mumbai. There will also be a nationwide search for the ‘real Raj and Simran’ in partnership with Bollywood TV station B4U.

29 October – Director Gina Prince-Bythewood will attend Q&As following screenings of her films Love and Basketball (2000) and Beyond the Lights (2015), with star of the latter, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, also in attendance.

21 November – Jane Austen Day will encourage audiences to dress to impress in 90s threads or regency regalia, with screenings of Clueless (1995) and Sense and Sensibility (1995), Regency Dance Classes with Nonsuch, and a 90s ‘Valley Party’ to end the night in a style befitting Cher Horowitz.

Date TBC – A special 30th anniversary screening of My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) will be attended by director Stephen Frears and lead actor Gordon Warnecke.

25 November – Stephen Frears will also attend a screening of his 1988 film Dangerous Liaisons alongside writer Christopher Hampton.

Date TBC – Director Mike Newell will attend a Q&A following a screening of Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994).

Date TBC – The stars of Gregory’s Girl (1980), John Gordon Sinclair and Claire Grogan, will reunite for a special screening of Bill Forsyth’s essential teen romance.

Date TBC – Following a special screening of Love is the Devil (1998) at BFI Southbank, there will be a Q&A with director John Maybury and actor Derek Jacobi; the film will also be released on Blu-ray by the BFI on 26 October.

14 November – More Than a Feeling: How Your Brain Responds to Romance at the Movies will bring together scientists working in cutting-edge neuroscience and psychological research with filmmakers, to conduct live audience experiments to examine how romantic scenes in films affect us.

26 October – The Feminist’s Guide to Love on Screen will discuss love, romance and sex as feminist issues, with filmmakers Desiree Akhavan (Appropriate Behaviour) and Campbell X (Stud Life), film theorist Laura Mulvey, critic Sophie Mayer and the BFI’s Jane Giles.

27 & 30 November – Industry experts will offer insight into their creative processes with special events including Costume Design with (Oscar-winning) John Bright (A Room with a View, The King’s Speech) and Tess Morris on Scripting Romcom.

Date TBC – The BFI National Archive will present a new version of Ken Russell’s Women in Love (1970), digitally remastered with support from Simon W. Hessel; this restores the film’s colour and texture to its full glory and has been worked on under the personal supervision of the film’s cinematographer Billy Williams.

19 November – The Music of Love on Screen, hosted by author and composer Neil Brand, will look at what LOVE sounds like. Neil will also introduce Out of Africa (1985).

10 December – A Sonic Cinema screening of Frank Borzage’s silent film 7th Heaven (1927) with a newly-commissioned score will bring together the formidable musical talents of Mara Carlyle and KT Tunstall.

29 October – 10 January – In Love With Costume will be a free exhibition on BFI Southbank’s Mezzanine gallery. With production papers, designs and photographs from the BFI National Archive, alongside loans from one of the film industry’s leading costumiers, Cosprop, this exhibit will trace love stories’ journey from page to screen.


24 November – Race and Romance on TV will be discussed by an industry panel including author and director Gurinder Chadha and actor Adrian Lester.

25 October – Love & Disability: Shifting Perceptions on TV will be discussed by an industry panel including writer Jack Thorne (Cast Offs) and actor Victoria Wright.

Date TBC – The vital role of romance in the TV soap will be celebrated with Hollyoaks to EastEnders: Love and Sex in the Television Soap; an event which will be attended by current soap-stars.

Date TBC – All For Love – The TV Comedy and Love will look at the role that love and relationships play in the TV comedy, celebrating some of the UK’s favourite couples including Tim and Dawn from The Office and Gavin and Stacey’s eponymous heroes.

UK-wide theatrical releases

An epic romance set against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution, director David Lean’s Oscar-winning Doctor Zhivago, based on the novel by Boris Pasternak and featuring a stand-out cast led by the late Omar Sharif alongside Julie Christie, is one of cinema’s greatest love stories. On 27 November, in celebration of the film’s 50th anniversary, the BFI will bring it back to big screens across the UK in a beautiful new 4K digital restoration.


There will be screenings of epic romances on Britain’s biggest screen, the BFI IMAX, including A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Cleopatra (1963), Titanic (1997) and Gone With the Wind (1939).


Kim Longinotto’s Love is All (2014), which takes us through a hundred years of love and courtship on the silver screen with footage from the BFI National Archive and a score by award-winning musician Richard Hawley, will be released on DVD on 19 October. John Maybury’s Love is a Devil (1998) starring Derek Jacobi as painter Francis Bacon will be released on Blu-ray on 26 October.


The latest BFI Compendium – BFI LOVE, will be a lavishly illustrated survey of onscreen romance with contributions from a variety of critics, academics and commentators.

A set of BFI Film Classics published by Palgrave Macmillan will offer fascinating explorations of seven key LOVE titles: Doctor Zhivago by Ian Christie, Gone With the Wind by Helen Taylor, When Harry Met Sally by Tamar Jeffers McDonald, In the Mood for Love by Tony Rayns, From Here to Eternity by Jennifer Smyth, L’Atalante by Marina Warner and Brief Encounter by Richard Dyer.

UK-wide special events with the BFI Film Audience Network

Flagship events

Glasgow Film Festival will present an immersive screening of Wim Wenders’ city symphony Wings of Desire (1987) on 1 November in the breath-taking surroundings of Paisley Abbey, which dates back to the 12th century. GFF has commissioned experimental musicians Tut Vu Vu, artist Kathryn Elkin and aerial performers Spinal Chord to respond to the film and use the unique setting of the Abbey to create a number of site-specific performances. More than 15 partner cinemas across the UK will also simultaneously screen Wings of Desire preceded by a specially recorded audio piece from Tut Vu Vu and Kathryn Elkin.

The 70th anniversary of Brief Encounter (1945) will be celebrated with a re-release of the BFI National Archive 2008 restoration by Park Circus on 6 November, as well as a number of site-specific screenings across the UK. These will include, as part of the Leeds International Film Festival, The Big LOVE Tea Dance in the grandeur of the Grade II listed church-turned-arts centre Left Bank Leeds. The event will evoke the vintage afternoon tea dances of the 1940s and will be replicated at other venues during the season, with live music and afternoon tea being served at screenings in community cinemas, theatres and train stations across the country, from Belfast to Ayrshire, Lancashire to Gloucestershire. Other site-specific or immersive screenings of Brief Encounter will take place at Network Rail HQ in Milton Keynes, the Music Room in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion and Curzon Community Cinema Clevedon. The restoration of Brief Encounter was supported by the David Lean Foundation.

Derbyshire and the Northwest

Film Hub North West Central, led By HOME Manchester

Love in the Wild – On 18 – 19 September, Abandon Normal Devices will present screenings of Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and The Singing Ringing Tree (1957) in the wilds of Grizedale Forest.

HOME in Manchester will present All Night Long: Heartbreak and Obsession, an all-night screening of eight titles exploring the theme of obsessive love and heartbreak, including The Night Porter (1974), The Duke of Burgundy (2014) and Blue Velvet (1986).

East Midlands and East of England
Presented by Film Hub Central East, led by Broadway, Nottingham and Cambridge Film Trust:

Independent Cinema MK will present a programme of events encouraging audiences to board the ‘Love Train’ including: The Phantom of the Opera (1925) with a live score from Minima at The Stables and Chaplin’s City Lights (1931) at MK Gallery and Theatre, with a pre-show physical comedy workshop with Complicite’s Clive Mendus.

Presented by Film Hub London, led by Film London:

Aspara Arts / The New Black Film Club – In the capital, a number of events will focus on diversity through music, with events and screenings celebrating romance and love in Bollywood from Apsara Arts and Cinema Forever, while The New Black Film Club’s programme will rejoice in the gospel music heritage of black cinema from across the world.

Northern Ireland
Presented by Film Hub Northern Ireland, led by Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast:

QFT’s youth curation team, made up of twelve 15 – 20 year olds, have programmed a Young Love Weekender, focusing on ‘first love’; titles will include cult classic Harold and Maude (1971) and Gregory’s Girl (1980).

Black Box, Belfast, will present an Alternative Love event with three immersive screening events: Weird Science (1985) will be enhanced by presentations of the science of kissing; Sid and Nancy (1986) will be accompanied by live music from godfather of punk Terri Hooley and local punk band The Penny Dreadfuls, and Lars and the Real Girl (2007) will see a few inanimate guests join the audience.

Presented by Film Hub Scotland, led by Centre for the Moving Image, Edinburgh; Dundee Contemporary Arts; Eden Court Theatre & Cinema, Inverness; Glasgow Film Theatre; and Regional Screen Scotland:

Africa in Motion Film Festival will collaborate with four other African film festivals in the UK to present From Africa, With Love, a series of classic and contemporary films from across Africa on the subject of LOVE. Films screening will include Love the One You Love (2014) and The Price of Love (2015), both of which will screen in a romantic ‘dine and view’ setting, as well as Breathe Umphefumlo (2015), Gugu and Andile (2008), Hyenas (1992) and Stories of our Lives (2014).

Queer Women in Love will be an exciting and diverse programme of films by and about lesbian, bisexual and queer women, presented by Scottish Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF). The programme will include cult classics such as 80s melodrama Desert Hearts (1985), 90s lesbian favourite Go Fish (1994), queer noir Bound (1996), and Barbara Hammer’s experimental Dyketactics (1974).

South East
Presented by Film Hub South East, led by Screen Archive South East, Picturehouse in Brighton, Cinecity, and Lighthouse:

The Music Room in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion will be the backdrop to a four-day pop-up event, with screenings of Vertigo (1958), My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948) and more.

A screening of Gone With the Wind (1939) in the truly romantic setting of South Hill Park mansion, an 18th Century manor house, will be accompanied by a talk by Professor Helen Taylor, an expert on the film, and author of the new BFI Film Classic on Gone With the Wind.

South West and West Midlands
Presented by Film Hub South West & West Midlands, led by Watershed, Bristol:

The Poly will host Brief Encounters – a Scary Little Girls Living Film Walk, a series of walks around Falmouth with film inspired moments taking place at key locations around the town. Small groups of up to 15 will witness iconic scenes from Brief Encounter (1945), Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Strictly Ballroom (1992) amongst others, with one of these films screening at The Poly at the end of the night. The Poly will also host In Defence of Love, a special event with screenwriter and champion of the romcom Tess Morris (Man Up), followed by a screening of Moonstruck (1987).

Mac Birmingham will present a unique screening of My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) in a traditional washeteria.

Presented by Film Hub Wales, led by Chapter, Cardiff:

Chapter and CADW will present a programme of films in truly extraordinary settings as they head off to Castell Coch and Caerphilly Castle, with a programme of site-specific screenings. The programme will include Beauty and the Beast (1991), The Princess Bride (1987), Frozen (2013) and Phantom of the Opera (1925), with a live score performed by Steepways Sound Collective.

Darkened Rooms will host pop-up screenings of romantic French cinema, including A Bout de Souffle (1960) and Amelie (2001) in the gallery of Le Monde, a noted French restaurant in the centre of Cardiff, accompanied by food, wine and live music.

Yorkshire and the North East
Presented by Film Hub North, led by Showroom/Workstation in Sheffield:

As part of Sensoria Festival of Film and Music, there will be a 40s inspired drive-in screening of Powell and Pressburger’s epic A Matter of Life and Death (1946) in the unique setting of Norton Aerodrome on 1 November, 69 years to the day since the film’s UK premiere.


Gregory’s Girl (1980) will form the basis of a collaboration between BFI Education, Cinelive and Film Hubs Scotland, Wales and South East, to explore the science behind human attraction and to foster a life-long appreciation for the magic of cinema. What’s the Grey Matter With Gregory? will be a series of ten free, day-long, immersive cinema events for school pupils aged 13-15, made possible with the generous support from the Wellcome Trust.

The Into Film Festival has coupled up with BFI Education to screen 12 heartfelt titles especially for younger audiences.

Queering Love, Queering Hormones will be a collaborative project between the BFI,, King’s College London, and The Society for Endocrinology, made possible by generous support from the Wellcome Trust. The project will call for proposals for artists’ moving image works which can critically engage the narratives and concepts cinema utilises to talk about romantic love, and show how these relate and contrast with the way that science (chiefly endocrinology) accounts for our understanding of what love is.

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