If you didn't get round to booking that romantic weekend in Paris, missed your place in the New Orleans snogathon and find yourself inexplicably repelled by the idea of an evening in watching BBC2's Red Dwarf night, how are you going to spend the slushiest night of the year? Where is there to go when all the chocolates are gone and the roses are starting to wilt?

While most venues in the capital have sensibly opted to ignore the love- fest, the romantically-inclined should find plenty to keep them occupied in the back rows of the NFT cinemas where the month-long "True Romances" season has all the screens in its firm embrace. With a Bette Davis classic, a lesbian vampire offering from Hammer, Jonathan Harvey's Beautiful Thing and the beguiling Breakfast at Tiffany's all on offer tonight, most tastes have been catered for.

Bette Davis takes the lead in Irving Rapper's psychological love story, Now, Voyager (6.10pm NFT1, below right), in which she plays a spinster who falls for an unhappily married man (Paul Heinreid). When Night is Falling (6.15pm NFT2) sees Petra, a lesbian circus performer, trying to steal academic Camille away from her fiance; while The Vampire Lovers (7.30pm Museum Cinema) is Hammer's lesbian vampire tale, with the women in Peter Cushing's household at risk of learning the real power of love bites.

Later in the evening, there's the highly recommended Beautiful Thing (8.30pm NFT2), Hettie MacDonald's touching film version of Harvey's play about two schoolboy friends who become more than just good neighbours. And finally (8.45pm NFT1) the much-loved Breakfast at Tiffany's (below left) sees Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard getting smitten in Manhattan.

Those of a more subversive bent may find their time better spent at the ICA which, unsurprisingly, is hosting its own anti-Valentine events. Following last night's Sparkle extravaganza (billed as "who needs love when you've got glitter?"), tonight the Institute is screening Kirby Dick's controversial film Sick: the Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist (below centre). Not for the faint-hearted, this is an up-close-and-very-personal study of the New York-born writer and performance artist who felt that S&M helped him to manage the pain of cystic fibrosis, which finally killed him in January 1996, at the age of 43. Winner of the Special Jury prize at last year's Sundance Film Festival, Sick is an in-depth profile of the last two years of Flanagan's life.

Failing that, the ICA has a further alternative in the shape of A Litany for Survival: the Life and Work of Audre Lorde - the black lesbian poet.

Still not convinced? Well, lovers of the revolution should head for Hammersmith's Riverside Studios, where there's a double-bill of Strike and Battleship Potemkin (7pm), but the best bargain in town is, as ever, to be found at the Prince Charles cinema, off Leicester Square. There, love stories of one hue or another are the order of the day (A Life Less Ordinary, Grosse Pointe Blank), culminating in the dismal Julia Roberts vehicle My Best Friend's Wedding at 6.30pm. Seats for all these screenings are pounds 2.25 each.

The Prince Charles has also stolen a march on its rivals by securing a special anti-Valentine's Day preview of Quentin Tarantino's forthcoming crime thriller, Jackie Brown (which isn't on general release until 20 March). An adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch, it stars Robert De Niro, Samuel L Jackson and Bridget Fonda. It starts at 8.30pm, and tickets are pounds 6 (there's no phone booking, so you'll have to go in person).

If you can't get in, or prefer vintage Tarantino, you could always snuggle up for the cheap, late-night showing of Reservoir Dogs (11.30pm), which at pounds 2.25 each should leave you enough for some popcorn and a Coke with two straws.

See film listings for cinema details


If you feel like a cosy night in, but don't fancy The Generation Game or Match of the Day on TV, you could always rent:


Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman dazzle in this legendary weepie.

The English Patient

Anthony Minghella's epic, multi-Oscar-winning romance is in a league of its own. Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas head the cast as the illicit lovers caught up in the heat and dust of the desert.

When Harry Met Sally... Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan find out what happens when friends become lovers, and that scene in the restaurant.

Truly, Madly, Deeply

Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman learn about love beyond the grave in this touching tale.

Les Amants du Pont-Neuf

Beautifully shot but disturbing tale of a homeless fire-eater and an artist (Juliette Binoche) falling for each other in the lovers' city, Paris.