Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House

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Hailed as London’s most beautiful outdoor cinema, attending the Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House is a lovely experience. People bring picnics, blankets and cushions to stake out their spots early in Somerset House’s ornate courtyard, which accommodates 2,000 filmgoers.

Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire is not the first film you’d think of to watch in an outdoor setting, a fact noted by Film4 Channel Editor David Cox in his introduction to the movie. It’s  a subtle but beautiful story about angels in Berlin who constantly watch over humans, delighted by their idiosyncrasies but detached from both the harsh and wonderful realities of our world.

And yet it worked perfectly, the film’s soulful, soaring scenes offset by seagulls circling while its industrial landscapes were enhanced by the occasional helicopter across London’s night sky.

Due to London’s inclement weather, the Summer Screen programme only runs for 10 screenings and I had observed yesterday’s rainy weather with increasing trepidation from VL towers. Thankfully it cleared to deliver a soft, balmy evening for the film. I guess the angels watch over Somerset House as well.


  1. Matt Holland says:

    The angels must be watching over you personally – I saw Bat for Lashes at Somerset House in the midst of a mighty thunderstorm. We gave up and went home.

    If only we could guarantee the weather it might be one of my favourite gig venues.

  2. Lettice says:

    I’ve never been to an outdoor film screening in London – looks like I’m missing out!

  3. Claire Doble says:

    In Sydney, the outdoor cinema programmes run for months but I think I can see why they keep them short and sweet here!

  4. IndependentLondoner says:

    Sounds great, wish I’d gone!

    I usually go the free film screenings at Horniman Museum in Forest Hill (South East London), where you sit at the top of the hill, so there’s a great view behind the screen. Lovely!

    This year they’re showing Moulin Rouge and Night at the Museum (