Well how’d you like this for a crazy turn of events… I’ve never been to an outdoor cinema event in my entire life. Never, ever, ever. All of a sudden, I have two right after each other! Last weekend, I watched the sensational The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) right outside an actual castle, then this week I went down to London for my second.
The screening in question was a double feature of the comedy cult classic Galaxy Quest (1999) and The Final Girls (2015). They were screening the films as part of Film4’s Summer Screen event at Somerset House. Film4 screens films over two weeks right in the centre of London in Somerset House’s beautiful, huge courtyard every year. This year, they even screened the premiere of Pedro Almodovar’s latest film, Julieta (2016)!
Due to our availability and making sure we went to a screening we actually wanted to go to, we decided on Galaxy Quest. I had never seen it before, but Cole was so excited to see it again. To be absolutely honest, we never planned on sticking it out long enough to watch The Final Girls. I was way past being able to stay awake. Plus, it would have ran so late we wouldn’t even be able to get the tube back to our hotel.
We remembered to bring any food and drink we needed so we could side-step the premium prices inside the Courtyard, and also blankets as we literally sat right on the floor. In hindsight, two blankets weren’t enough and we needed cushions. BADLY. But the experience was awesome and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone. These aren’t arty, little known films. These are fantastic, well-loved films that just deserve a little more recognition.
One last anecdote before I share my top tips with you… Alan Rickman (who sadly died earlier this year) introduced a previous year’s screening of Sense and Sensibility (1996) and also Die Hard (1989). He told Film4 that if they ever screened Galaxy Quest, he would come back and introduce the film for them.
The screening was dedicated to him, and I felt blessed to be a part of that.
If you want to be the first to know about Film4’s screenings next year, go to their website to sign up to their newsletter.
Top Tips for Film4’s Summer Screenings:
- Even if the weather is good, you will need minimum 2x blankets and then 1x cushion per person. You can’t bring chairs or umbrellas.
- If the weather is bad, BRING ALL THE WATERPROOFS AND JUMPERS EVER. You can’t use a brolly.
- Get there as early as possible: the screenings begin at 9pm, we rocked up at 7:30pm and the courtyard was already half full.
- Take your own food and drink, but no glass. They say ‘2 cans per person’ but what they really mean is don’t take the piss and bring 5 crates.
- You can take pictures with any size camera you want before and during, just no flash photography or being a dick taking 1,000 pictures.
- Look early for tickets, they always sell out eventually.
Have you ever been to one of Film4’s summer screenings? Or another outdoor cinema events? Do you have any more tips?