This is a film still from SOUND OF METAL which screens at Rooftop Film Club.

THE BALLY #102: Are you ready for some cinema?

Ahead of the great cinema reopening of 2021 we’ve started to seek out the live screen events now booking around London, both indoors & out. Just don’t forget the streams!

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Listing actual screen events in actual locations across London again is sending a shiver down my spine… The time is very much right to contemplate settling back into row E, slightly to one side – pretty much my favourite place to sit in any auditorium – to soak up some films.

Looking around, the first venues that get to reopen are London’s various drive-ins from 12 April. Drive-ins had a patchy time in 2020, with many hailing them as a welcome – if retro and rather exclusive – way of keeping live cinema going. But, the operating model proved too challenging for some and the programming has been, ahem…, rather middle of the road. It’s also interesting to see how the price of admission has adjusted to meet the market.

Drive In Film Club – from the makers of Rooftop Film Club – returns to Alexandra Palace and adds a new location in Brent Cross. The Drive In starts again at Troubadour Meridian Water with a mix of live performances and cinema screenings. Luna Cinema doesn’t seem to have any London gigs at the time of posting (although they are projecting elsewhere in the UK).

We’ve also spotted some rooftop seats being sold at locations across London from 17 May. Rooftop Film Club returns by reopening two screens – Roof East in Stratford and the Bussey Building in Peckham – whilst a venue that’s new to us – Bar Elba in Waterloo – has started taking bookings for their brand of open air cinema and drinks.

If you’d rather have a roof over your head, The Prince Charles has started selling (out!) their reopening programme (also from 17 May). At the time of posting, we’ve also spotted that Backyard Cinema are booking for their new summer season, Miami Beach. More of them in next week’s issue.

Whilst we will increasingly be turning our attention to live cinema events, there are still some amazing online experiences to be had. It’s the final weekend of BFI Flare this weekend and the wonderful Essay Film Festival continues their entirely free programme until 03 April (the easiest of all festivals to take part in as everything is pretty much available online for the entire event). Finally, we’ve also listed some rousing online programming for Easter from Focus Hong Kong: you can stream all of their feature films for the bargain price of £8.99.

Keep scrolling for all the links. Stay safe, and see you in darkness again soon…


Barker-In-Chief // RADIANT CIRCUS.


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The Drive In returns to Troubadour Meridian Water

We head North in our search for outdoor screens where we find The Drive In, returning to Troubadour Meridian Water from 12 APR with a mixed programme of cinema & live events. READ MORE

This is a film still from SOUND OF METAL which screens at Rooftop Film Club.

Rooftop Film Club returns to the skyline

Rooftop Film Club has also announced their return to the city skyline with the reopening of two venues: Roof East in Stratford (from 18 MAY) & the Bussey Building in Peckham (from 21 MAY). READ MORE

This is a film still from AMERICAN PSYCHO (2000) which screens at Bar Elba, Waterloo SE1.

Rooftop cinema returns to Bar Elba, Waterloo SE1

In our hunger for live cinema experiences we’re seeking out London’s outdoor film events. Next stop, Waterloo Station. READ MORE

Prince Charles Cinema reopening programme

The legendary West End venue has started selling (out!) tickets for its reopening programme (from 17 MAY). We take a look at what’s booking & get all excited about being back in a dark room full of strangers… READ MORE

This is a film still from I STILL REMEMBER (2021).

Focus Hong Kong – Easter Edition 2021

The wonderful people behind the Chinese Visual Festival are back promoting their side-hustle, Focus Hong Kong, with a special online edition for Easter (31 MAR to 06 APR). READ MORE

This is a film still from SAINT MAUD d. Rose Glass, 2019 which screens at Drive In Film Club Alexandra Palace on 30 APR 21:30.

Drive In Film Club (from 12 APR+)

Ahead of cinema reopening, the drive-ins get a chance to rev their engines. Rooftop Film Club reopens with two London venues, Alexandra Palace & Brent Cross from 12 APR+. READ MORE

Essay Film Festival (25 MAR to 03 APR)

The Essay Film Festival from Birkbeck Institute Of The Moving Image (BIMI) returns from 25 MAR to 03 APR with a special online edition. All the films are FREE for the entire event. READ MORE

This is a film still from REBEL DYKES (2021).

BFI Flare 2021 (17 to 28 MAR)

It’s great to see London’s legendary BFI Flare LGBTIQ+ Film Festival zooming back into focus as we all plan our coming out of lockdown. Here’s our pick of this year’s online event. READ MORE

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To help reanimate movies beyond the mainstream, we’ve relaunched our subscription service as a crowdfunder called REVIVE THE DARK. With the backing of our subscriber community we will be able to:

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*THE SMALL PRINT: Opinions author’s own. // As accurate as we could make it. Apologies for any errors. Updates & corrections will be made to the online version only. // Event dates/times/formats are subject to change by the venue/organiser. Events may already be sold out at the time of posting, so please click quickly. // We try to list as many original format screenings as we can (8 to 70MM), but sometimes formats change due to age of the print, availability, logistics etc, so please check ahead with your venue if the format is your thing. // All images are used in the spirit of fair use for reporting & review – no ownership is implied or intended / unless otherwise credited to RADIANT CIRCUS as the original rights holder. We will remove any images immediately upon request – just get in touch. // We don’t filter our listings by age/certification: all readers & subscribers should therefore be 18+. // Finally, we always try to follow The Carny Code by “not screwing up anyone else’s game”, but everyone can make mistakes… If something does go wrong, we will always do our best to put it right. //.