To help your hunt for adventurous moving pictures, RADIANT CIRCUS hand-picks the best movies, film events and gallery screenings in London for the week ahead*.

This week, we’ve returned from our brief holiday to encounter an outbreak of highly contagious documentaries. Open City Documentary Festival gets up and running from 05 to 10 SEP whilst there’s a host of excellent non-fiction stories on screens across London.

As a result, we’ve struggled to settle on one featured film of the week but will be camping out at ICA for two of their Open City offerings, THE ETERNALS (06 SEP) and DARK SKULL (07 SEP). For a more optimistic take on humanity, we’d also suggest THE FARTHEST at DocHouse / Picturehouse Central (all week).

Let us know where you’re seeking shelter in the comments below!

TOBE HOOPER DOUBLE BILL screens at Genesis Cinema (01 SEP).


Start your weekend with a beer in hand to toast the departure of one of modern cinema’s most transgressive influences, Tobe Hooper (1943 – 2017). Whilst his later career is best described as checkered, the ferocity of opening salvo THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE remains undimmed and unrivalled. Genesis Cinema screens two of his finest tonight for a celebratory TOBE HOOPER DOUBLE BILL in their Bar Paragon for FREE.

Looking for an alternative? If you felt IT’S A BOY GIRL THING needed more DEEP IMPACT, or just find yourself daydreaming about being a handsome Tokyo teenager, why not try acclaimed anime YOUR NAME (Odeon Panton Street, 17:50 – other screens/times available)? We found the very ending to be a red ribboned ball gag, but the imagery is stunning and Radwimps’ musical montages certainly stir the soul.

THE FARTHEST screens at Bertha DocHouse (02 to 07 SEP).


THE FARTHEST is an ode to the boundless nature of the human spirit. Telling of NASA’s twin Voyager spacecraft, the documentary “celebrates these magnificent machines, the men and women who built them and the vision that propelled them farther than anyone could ever have hoped.” One quote from the trailer had our imaginations totally hooked: “this may in the long run be the only evidence that we ever existed”. THE FARTHEST screens all week in Bloomsbury and is also at Picturehouse Central.

Looking for an alternative?  MUNDANE HISTORY (18:00) screens at Deptford Cinema as part of nationwide DIY film festival, Scalarama (see below). Thai director Anocha Suwichakornpong’s ethereal first film is “as beautiful, strange and as mysterious as life itself.”


SUNDAY 03 SEPTEMBER 2017, 15:15, BFI

SOUTH + LIVE PIANO ACCOMPANIMENT is Australian filmmaker Frank Hurley’s stunning film record of Shackleton’s 1914-17 Antarctic expedition. Also 04 SEPT 18:25 at the same venue but with a different pianist… take your pick!

Looking for an alternative? NIGHT OF THE DEMON (16:30) screens as part of STEPHEN KING’S PICKS at BFI (other dates/times available). Jacques Tourneur’s film is one of those glorious slow burn British horrors when everything is understated, until it suddenly isn’t…

HANDICAPPED FUTURE screens at Close-Up (04 SEP).


CLOSE-UP ON WERNER HERZOG kicks off a season of 18 of the German master’s films, including the two early documentaries shown tonight, HANDICAPPED FUTURE + HUIE’s SERMON. Almost as famous for his fallings out as he is for his films, it’s always worth revisiting Herzog’s unique voice on the big screen. Whilst filming HANDICAPPED FUTURE, Herzog met Fini Straubinger, whose tale gets told in LAND OF SILENCE AND DARKNESS a little later in the season (20 SEP).

Looking for an alternative? THE WORK + Q&A with director Jairus McLeary gets its London premiere at Picturehouse Central tonight (18:30). Also, general release GOD’S OWN COUNTRY shines on the BFI big screen (18:20, other dates/times available).

TASTE OF CEMENT screens at Picturehouse Central (05 SEP).


Open City Documentary Festival starts tonight with a gala screening of TASTE OF CEMENT. Nominated for the festival’s EMERGING INTERNATIONAL FILMMAKER AWARD, Ziad Kalthoum’s portrait of workers in exile “is an empathetic encounter with people who have lost their past and their future, locked in the recurring present”.

Looking for an alternative? LONDON SYMPHONY + Q&A with director Alex Barrett at the David Lean Cinema (19:30) is “an entirely dialogue-free movie that swoops around more than 300 locations in the capital to the tune of a newly composed musical score, celebrating its culture and diversity.”

THE GOLDEN DREAM screens at Deptford Cinema (06 SEP).


THE ETERNALS + Q&A gets its UK premiere at ICA as part of Open City Docs (below). “With extraordinary images and a rich, haunting score by Richard Skelton, THE ETERNALS is an uncompromising, elegiac expression of the trauma of war.” This is the latest from Belgian director Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd, one of two doc makers to be profiled in this year’ festival.

Looking for an alternative? Indie immigration drama THE GOLDEN DREAM (20:00) screens at Deptford Cinema whilst Kensington Bioscope returns with THE GOOSE WOMAN (19:30) at Cinema Museum (you need to email to request an invitation, so do the necessary before making plans).

DARK SKULL screens at ICA (07 SEP).


DARK SKULL is another UK premiere at ICA as part of Open City Docs (see below). Set amidst the harsh world of the Bolivian mining community, Kiro Russo’s docu-fiction hybrid “tells the story of Elder who, following his father’s death, is sent back to live with his Grandmother in Huanuni, a small town in the country’s tin mining heartlands”. Much of the movie was filmed in the mines…

Looking for an alternative? THE INCREDIBLE SIMULTANEITY CONSOLE boots up at Close-Up, beginning a season of twenty-eight artists’ film and videos. Tonight’s programme (19:30) focuses on the films of Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler, and features: THE SPACE BETWEEN (2005), THE EXCEPTION AND THE RULE (2009) and THE UNRELIABLE NARRATOR.


ABOUT ELLY screens at Bernie Grant Arts Centre (07 SEP).

Bernie Grant Arts Centre begins a season of works by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi with ABOUT ELLY (07 SEP 19:30).

MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE screens at BFI (09 & 12 SEPT).

BFI continues JEAN-PIERRE MELVILLE and INDIA ON FILMSTEPHEN KING ON SCREEN gets up and screaming from SEP to OCT (see our preview). The programme includes a selection of the author’s hand-picked favourites, STEPHEN KING’S PICKS and a #KingForADay WEEKENDER (22 to 23 SEP).

THE UNRELIABLE NARRATOR screens at Close-Up (07 SEP).

Close-Up starts a month-long WERNER HERZOG retrospective (01 to 29 SEP). He is our spirit animal and you can’t really go wrong. Along with a season of artists’ films, THE INCREDIBLE SIMULTANEITY CONSOLE, Close-Up launches the first ever UK retrospective of Austrian documentary filmmaker, RUTH BECKERMANN 03 to 24 SEP. Things kick off this week with two programmes, MISSING IMAGES (SUN 03 SEP 17:00) and EAST OF WAR (SUN 03 SEP 19:30).

The Horse Hospital hosts BLITZED, a three-film season about British men, masculinity and the 1950s. Starting with OBSESSION 06 SEP, the programme includes CAST A DARK SHADOW (13 SEP) and HELL DRIVERS (26 SEP).

OKJA screens at House of Vans (07 SEP).

House of Vans continues their DYSTOPIA season with TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (02 SEP 15:00 & 17:30), ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (03 SEP 14:00 & 16:00) and OKJA (07 SEP 17:00 & 19:15) — all screenings are FREE/no booking required.

Open City Documentary Festival runs from 05 SEP to 10 SEP and focuses on new voices in non-fiction story telling. There’s plenty of features, shorts and industry events to choose from (browse the full programme here), and you can still scoop tickets for opening night gala TASTE OF CEMENT (05 SEP 18:30, Picturehouse Central) at the time of posting.

Scalarama — a nationwide celebration of cinema — is a festival of DIY film culture. Participating LONDON venues include some of our favourites: Ciné Lumière/Rochester Kino, The Cinema Museum, David Lean Cinema, Deptford Cinema, Genesis Cinema and The Horse Hospital.

And finally…

SERPENT RAIN screens at Whitechapel Gallery (22 AUG to 17 OCT).

Whitechapel Gallery hosts an event ARTISTS’ FILM: TRANSCENDING NATIONAL BOUNDARIES (07 SEP 18:00) to coincide with a celebratory screening of 10 years of ARTISTS’ FILM INTERNATIONAL (07 to 17 SEP – various times).

More places to shelter from the storm in next week’s GUIDE.

*As accurate as we could make it. Apologies for any mistakes. We aim to only cover film events you can get tickets for at the time of posting. Click quickly!

Featured image: THE ETERNALS (2017).