Now that summer is upon us, you do not want to miss out on London’s outdoor cinemas. After all, we should be taking advantage of the good weather while we still can!
This year, Somerset House is once again opening its doors to the public with paid and free movies for all to enjoy. Keen to learn more? Keep reading this guide to cinemas in Kensington! In it, you’ll learn more about what’s on, including classics from the ’90s like Clueless, and more recent flicks like Straight Outta Compton. The Must-See Movies at Somerset House’s Summer Screen are:
There’s something for everyone this year.
This is England Film Series
This is one for you if you’re looking for a free series of screenings at Somerset House that explores the paradoxical nature of identities in the current social context. Ayo Akingbade’s Tower XYZ (2016), Farai’s This Is England (2018), Nadeem Din-Gabisi’s blk boy flight (2015), Caleb Femi’s Coping (2018) and Rehana Zaman’s Sharla Shabana Sojourner (2016) will be featured in this series.
This series comments on political structure, challenges of racialised hyper-visibility, mental health and masculinity, as well as social inequality, the intersection of classes and female narration. The Somerset series started on June 12th and will run through August 8th.
If you missed the blockbuster last year, you do not want to miss out on this screening. The stellar cast features Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyongo, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett and many many more.
The Marvel film was directed by Ryan Coogler and is a spectacular superhero movie set in the fictional country of Wakanda. It is the first superhero movie to receive a nomination for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and to win Oscars for costume design, production design and original score.
Held at the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, the movie airs on August 9th.
With the third Matrix movie coming out this summer, you might want to update your general Matrix knowledge. Check out the first of the trilogy on August 12th this summer.
The film was released in 1999 and revolutionised thrilling action movies with its sleek aesthetic and special effects. Needless to say, the virtual world and reality of the Matrix is fascinating to watch, even twenty years later.
Straight Outta Compton
The Oscar-nominated biopic features the implosion of the notorious LA rap group NWA. It takes place in the mid-80s and features the big LA names Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, Eazy-E and DJ Yella. Director F. Fary Gray captures the group’s essence compellingly and emotionally.
Staying at the Park Grand Hotel Kensington? You’re less than 30 minutes away by black cab. Head to Somerset House on August 15th to be transported to LA for the night.
Before Sunrise + Before Sunset
This double bill featuring 90s heartthrobs Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke as Celine and Jesse should not be missed. The two films are part of a trilogy that was set ten years apart. It’s a romantic take on spontaneity, fate and travel.
The first story takes place in Vienna, where Celine and Jesse meet on a train. This is followed by Before Sunset when the two meet again in Paris, ten years later. It’s a must-see for all romantics and the perfect option for date night. This double bill can be enjoyed on Friday, August 16th. Book now!
Get Out + They Live
This is another double bill with shock masters Jordan Peele and John Carpenter. The movies draw upon hidden power structures in a horror and sci-fi shock.
Get Out (followed by Us) won an Oscar for best original screenplay, created by Jordan Peele. The horror film tells the story of Daniel Kaluuya, a photographer meeting his girlfriends’ parents in the country for a weekend.
‘They Live’ is a satire on an alien invasion with B-movie special effects commenting on capitalism and consumerism in the 80’s – still relevant today.
These movies will be shown on Saturday, August 17th.
Clueless features wealthy high school student Cher, who decides to become a matchmaker. It’s not far off Jane Austen’s Emma – but in a peak 90’s Beverly Hills sort of way. It features the late Brittany Murphy, Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash and the never-ageing Paul Rudd.
If you’re a fan, take advantage of London Hotels Special Offers and book a suite at the Park Grand Kensington for you and your girlfriends–that’s what Cher would do!
You can catch this movie on Sunday, August 19th.
General Ticket Information
Tickets went on sale back in May, but you can still book them online, in person or by phone.
For each screening, you can start arriving at 19:00 This is when the DJ starts to play music, giving you a chance to enjoy the Somerset House summer atmosphere. The films begin at 21:00 when the sun goes down.
At the location, you will be able to sit on director’s chairs and beanbags. You can book these online with your film tickets. Otherwise, you are welcome to bring your own blankets, cushions and backrests. You can also purchase blankets, backrests and pillows onsite for a small fee.
Keep in mind that there are no cloakrooms onsite, meaning you must keep your belongings with you at all times. You are welcome to bring your own food and drink, but no glass, please! This includes jars.
Regardless of the weather, screenings will be open air. If the forecast shows rain, ensure that you come prepared as wet weather provisions will not be provided by Somerset House.
A few more notes: Each disabled customer gets a free carer ticket. There are raised viewing platforms that hold four. Please avoid bringing cameras or recording devises. Finally, pets are not allowed and children under the age of four are not permitted at the screenings.