UK / Europe

Urban drive-in

SomersetScreenpic - Lunchmag

Amy Hughes

When the late, golden, summer sun goes down along the Thames, the silver screen goes up in the unlikeliest place.

The once Tudor Palace, Somerset House will shake off its formality, and have cleared out the ice rink to make way for trendy hipsters eager to put a modern twist on a very American tradition: the outdoor movie.

But this isn’t a 50s drive-in.  It’s not just the cars that are missing, it’s the distinctly urban setting at this neo-classical historical building sandwiched between the Strand and the River Thames.

Forget about girls on rollerskates and burgers, Somerset House gets the beat going with a bar, food stands and DJ’s before the film.  You can also pack your own picnic so long as there’s no glass in your hamper.

For the second year running, the Summer Screen will host a UK premiere.  This time, it’s Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In on
27th July.  Straight from the Cannes Film Festival, starring Antonio Banderas.   If this smouldering Spanish stud doesn’t float your boat, choose from 11 other nights of romcoms, action flicks and classics.

There’s even a triple-bill, which sounds great, until you realise seating is the old-fashioned way, on the floor.  And in the city, that means a sore bottom, so bring cushions and blankets, or buy them at Somerset House. There’s even a theme for this summer’s screen series: Gaming and Film.

Pre-film talks will explore the creative connections between the two industries and there’s even an entire day dedicated to a Games Masterclass.

Could be fun just guessing what this is made up of…Howto Deftly Work a Joystick Without Getting Thumb Cramp?

The Nintendo Lounge sounds like a great lure, though I’m not sure you’ll want to admit to anyone you attended a Masterclass in videogames.  But hey, it’s a billion-dollar industry, so who are we to knock it?

Film4 Summer Screen

Somerset House, Strand, London WC2 1LA

• To book tickets for film screenings and Behind the Screen talks, visit or call Ticketmaster on 0844 847 1715

• Ticket prices for film screenings: £14.50 plus booking fees, Double Bills, Triple       Bills & UK Premiere: £18.00 plus booking fees

• Ticket prices for Behind the Screen: £10

• Doors open 18.30, DJs from 19.30, Film starts 21.15

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