An Ode to the BFI at Southbank

The ethereal home of every cinema lover.

The ethereal home of every cinema lover.

Picture this: you feel lost in life, never finding any place/destination/space you can occupy in which you truly feel you. One day, while looking on the BFI site, you realise they have a public building in which any old soul can wonder into and read books about film at their library and buy books about film and films in their shop and watch films and talk to like-minded people about the downfall and sudden resurgence of Justin Bieber…JK, obviously *stands on a mountain, snow falling around me, shouts into the void distance* FIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLMMMMSSSS.

This is what walking into – actually just being outside it – felt like when I was in Southbank last Friday (the 3rd) at the holy temple of cinema that is the BFI, which I think stands for the British Film Institution, but I could also extend my incredibly deep conceit of the Biebster here and say it stands for Bieber Forever Inside (our hearts), but…I’ll digress from this and take a serious, David-Foster-Wallace-talking-about-post-modernism-stance here to express how much this place, AKA ~~~~~HOME~~~~~ is everything I love.

First of all, besides the ridiculously expensive costs of the tube, it was easy and 100% unstressful to find — if you’re arriving at Victoria Station, just go to the Victoria tube station, get the District line to Westminster, then get the Jubilee line to Waterloo. The walk from here is about 10/15 minutes to the BFI, but – word of warning – if you’re looking for lunch, DON’T!!!!! EAT!!!! AT!!!! SOUTH BANK!!! unless you are willing to pay £6 just for a small cheeseburger (there is a McDonalds and loads of other fast food chains at Waterloo station, and I’d wished I’d eaten there. There’s also a café in the BFI but I don’t know how expensive it is because I didn’t go in, so, take the risk if you wish). Anyway, the point is I had no trouble locating the BFI on the way there and back home…it’s pretty accessible and also very pretty.

The inside of it is even prettier…it honestly felt like I was entering into something that wasn’t real because I’d heard of Richard Ayoade and other directors and famous film people going there so it didn’t feel real that this same thing could be open to…me? A self-conscious teenager? It was amazing.

CJePYWWWIAAVXGj

The reason I went there was to see The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949), which was just as life-changing as the BFI was, but I’m going to be doing a review on this film when the special edition DVD comes out so I can analyse to my heart’s desire. So, blah, blah, blah, I got my tickets and went straight to the shop as I had half an hour to spare, and oh. my. god. there are so many DVDs that aren’t, like, the latest Cameron Diaz ft. Tom Cruise etc. films (no offence Cam Di and T Cruise if you’re reading, I do actually kind of enjoy Knight and Day in an I-hate-this-but-it’s-kind-of-entertaining way). Instead, there were rows upon rows and stacks upon stacks of French Nouvelle Vague films; Japanese films; Italian Neo-Realism films; early cinema films; just every film movement/era you can think of, they had at least one DVD to represent this. They also had a lot of books on film, for example they had a Gothic history on it which I need to get when I go back there, as well as magazines, such as Sight & Sound, but…

It was time to go in to prepare for the film, and the theatre (it feels too fancy to be called a cinema) was beautiful. Here is a picture to prove it:

I don't know if I'm allowed to upload this please don't arrest me BFI.

I don’t know if I’m allowed to upload this please don’t arrest me BFI.

It was extremely comfortable and the seats I was allocated were perfect and I honestly have no complaints about the whole thing.

To part ways with you, reader, I will leave you with this message: go to the BFI if you want your love for film to be heightened/emancipated/taken to a new world…because I can guarantee that watching a film at the BFI will fill a film-shaped hole in your heart you didn’t even know was empty.

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