The car park that is a poor substitute for Bologna's Piazza Maggiore

Il Cinema Sostituto

You can’t always get what you want.

Rediscovered films for lockdown

It all started in June 2020 with a poor substitute for the annual and glorious Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival. When that was postponed, for obvious reasons, our virtual version screened 30 films in locked-down style – with friends joining-in via synchronised showtimes and Zoom chats.

Cinemas have tried opening again, but world is still against even the good guys, like the Prince Charles Cinema and the Peckhamplex. So, as the pandemic rages, and cowering at home is still the thing to do – Il Cinema Sostituto isn’t done. Check out our Schedule to see what’s inked-in and the News pages to see the cinematic gems in the pipeline.


Il Cinema Sostituto is in no way associated with the organisers of Il Cinema Ritrovato and their wonderful festival. We’re just people who love it, trying to recreate a glimmer of the June 2020 trip that never was.

How it works

Intimate screenings

Blu-ray, streaming, torr*nts – bringing the very best of cinema home.

‘In the square’

A chance for a wider audience to join in the fun, albeit a little out of sync.

Thematic programmes

Non-random programming – with something chewy for everyone!

Food & drink

Eat along (and before and after) some movie-tuned home-cook or delivery.

The programmers



One of the organisers


On Letterboxd

One of the organisers


On Letterboxd

Latest news

  • To Berlin, with Franz - The Central Programming Committee of the Supreme Council has arrived at an epic decision. And it’s a bold one. For the first item in the… Read more
  • It’s Sosti-xmaaaassss! - Of course, like the rest of the nation we'll be settling down this holiday season with those year-in-year-out Christmas movie favourites: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation… Read more
  • Sostituto Epics - It is happening... again. The cinemas are dark once more - and not just terrible soul-destroying cinemas like the Odeon Beckenham, but also wonderful, life-affirming… Read more

Recent additions to the programme

  • Berlin Alexanderplatz - West Germany, 1980 (Rainer Werner Fassbinder; 15h 31m) In his sprawling adaptation of the 1929 novel by Alfred Döblin, Fassbinder shows us the story of… Read more
  • The Silent Partner - USA, 1978 (Daryl Duke; 1h 46m) Not only a lost gem, The Silent Partner (1978) was also, reputedly, constructed primarily as a tax write-off. The… Read more
  • The General - USA, 1926 (Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton; 1h 18m) When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.… Read more