Pourquoi la BFI Southbank NFT1 est l’un des joyaux de la couronne de la scène cinématographique de Londres

Bien que ce soit peut-être l’un des lieux de tournage les moins appréciés, le NFT! est en fait plein de technologie.

The British Film Institute (BFI) champions film in all forms, from production to distribution, and of course, to presentation. While the BFI IMAX gets the big headlines, (having the UK’s largest 1.43:1 IMAX screen and 70mm IMAX film projection will do that), the screens in the more conventional BFI Southbank are also worthy of note.

Originally opened in 1957 at the National Film Theatre, the Southbank complex houses four screens, known as NFT1-4, showing an eclectic range of films from interesting new releases to classics.

While NFT1 might not have the Godzilla-like presence of its bigger brother, it’s a very classy venue that offers state-of-the-art film presentations. It’s a decent size, housing 450 cinema seats with a stage in front of its 3.8m high and 9.2m wide screen – large enough to be immersive but not too cavernous that it’s robbed of any sense of intimacy – making it ideal for film-related Q&A panels.

As well as a decent-sized screen, the NFT1 offers both 2K and 4K projection, (the latter a DLP-based Christie CP4230), delivering up to 34,000 lumens of brightness and a wide color gamut. As well as support for cutting-edge (if controversial) formats such as HFR and Dolby 3D the room can also cater for almost all types of film projection, including 16mm, 35mm and 70mm prints and even 35mm nitrate for rare archive showings.

Sound-wise the NFT1 supports 70mm 6-track sound and 5.1 and 7.1 sound from both Dolby and DTS and while it may not offer Atmos it’s still highly effective. When in The World’s End Gary sends something flying off into the corner of a pub, the placement of this in the rear left was a laugh-out-loud moment. Sensibly the seats are comfortable, with some legroom, but not too comfortable – so you don’t drift off in quieter scenes.

Having enjoyed several films there in recent years, such as Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, and the recent 4K remaster of The Exorcist, (introed in-person by Mark Kermode) this week in the NFT1 I was fortunate enough to catch a 10th-anniversary screening of Edgar Wright’s The World’s End, the third film in the so-called “Cornetto” trilogy. This was followed by an entertaining Q&A with the director himself, accompanied by some of the cast, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and, a most welcome unannounced addition in the form of the superb Eddie Marsan.

While not as widely adored as the first two, seeing The World’s End on the big screen made me re-evaluate my initial lukewarm reaction to it when I first saw it on Blu-ray a few years ago. The dialogue sparkles, the editing, enhanced by the sound, is top-notch and I’d forgotten how much fun the Jackie Chan-inspired action scenes were – reminding me of the well-thought-out choreography of the recent John Wick franchise at times. And the “wtf” twist is as crazy as ever.

Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Eddie Marsan on stage at the BFI NFT! for The World’s End … [+] 10th anniversary Q+A, hosted by the Empire film podcast’s Chris Hewitt.


For more about why Edgar Wright is a much better comedy director than generic Hollywood fare, this video essay is worth checking out.

While the ensemble cast is superb, it is Simon Pegg’s turn as the eternal man-child Gary King that stands out, with arguably his finest performance. In the Q&A he revealed that the movie was his favorite of the Cornetto trilogy as that he “bloody loved” playing Gary. This was because he could closely identify with the character’s issues with alcohol admitting that he was just two years sober when we wrote The World’s End with Wright.

“I wanted to say something about the homicidal nature of addiction,” Pegg said. “The thing about Gary is his biggest priority is drinking – even at the cost of all his friends’ lives. It’s something he is so driven by; he cares about it so much—that it’s his number one priority. And that, essentially, is what addiction is. It becomes a second personality which takes control of you and makes itself the most important thing in your entire being. So, we just thought it would be hilariously funny to write a comedy about a suicidal alcoholic!”

Mission impossible? Mission accomplished, I’d say.


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