This is a film still from PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE which screens at BFI Southbank on reopening day (17 & 30 MAY).

THE BALLY #105: Highlights from London’s alternative cinema scene

Welcome to THE BALLY where we help you find what to see in London across DIY, indie & alternative cinema events, online & in venues.

By RADIANT CIRCUS // Twitter @radiantcircus / Instagram @radiantcircus

At the time of posting, England’s reopening programme is going well and therefore London’s indoor screen venues will be joining their outdoor cousins from 17 May. In celebration, we’ve posted our first epic monthly roundup since venues closed in March 2020. It’s also the first since we rebuilt our website which has brought its own teething problems… As RADIANT CIRCUS gets back up to speed, we apologise for being a bit late handing in our homework…

We’ve listed as many FILM FESTIVALS, REPERTORY SEASONS, and OUTDOOR FILM SEASONS as we could find at the time of posting. As pace continues to build, we will add new content as we find it: follow us @radiantcircus for updates. We will also post our first weekly SCREEN GUIDE since last November in time for reopening week: this is where we list as many one-off screen events as we can lay our blogging hands on.

With so many delights returning to our screens, we return to an invidious situation of our own making: choosing a Featured Attraction of the month. We’ll defer judgement by simply celebrating the BFI’s winner of their audience vote to re-open BFI Southbank, as promoted on their Instagram: Céline Sciamma’s luminous PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE screens on 17 and 30 MAY. This choice pairs well with the WOMEN PIONEERS OF FRENCH CINEMA season at Ciné Lumière where you can see Jacqueline Audry’s 1951 film OLIVIA from a new 4K restoration (19 MAY) and Agnès Varda’s CLÉO DE 5 À 7 (30 MAY).

Thank you to our monthly subscribers at Patreon for supporting RADIANT CIRCUS through our own days of darkness. With their backing, we continue our ambition to be the most comprehensive indie cinema listings service in London and have launched our own sponsorship scheme to help expert DIY exhibitors return to projecting after the pandemic. Join us from £4pcm to give indie cinema a boost!

See you in darkness again soon,


Main featured image: PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE d. Céline Sciamma, 2019 part of DREAM PALACE at BFI Southbank (17 MAY 20:45 / 30 MAY 12:20).

This is a film still from PLAYING AWAY which screens at Screen25 Cinema On Demand from 05 May 2021.

PLAYING AWAY + PATRICK added to Screen25 Cinema On Demand (from 05 MAY 2021)

Screen25 Cinema has added PLAYING AWAY + PATRICK to their On Demand service, featuring a collaboration with The Twelve30 Collective. READ MORE

Online events at Birkbeck Institute Of The Moving Image (MAY to JUN 2021)

Birkbeck Institute Of The Moving Image (BIMI) continues their excellent series of FREE online events. READ MORE

This is a film still from POLY STYRENE: I AM A CLICHÉ which screens at Catford Mews from 21 MAY 2021.

Catford Mews reopening programme (from 21 MAY 2021)

Fresh from our coverage of their London Short Film Festival screenings (25 to 28 JUN), Catford Mews has launched their reopening week programme (from 21 MAY 2021)! READ MORE

This is a screen grab of the new Lexi Cinema website.

Lexi Cinema reopening programme (from 17 MAY 2021)

Fresh from the successes of their funding campaign for a second screen & the tragedy of a fire in their foyer during shutdown, Lexi Cinema is back (with a sexy new website)! READ MORE

Archlight Cinema reopening programme (from 17 MAY 2021)

Battersea’s Archlight Cinema has announced their reopening programme, & it’s a monster! READ MORE

London Short Film Festival highlights at Catford Mews (25 to 28 JUN 2021)

Catford Mews starts screening again from 21 May 2021. You can also book for selections from this year’s London Short Film Festival. READ MORE

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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. //.