To help your hunt for adventurous moving pictures, RADIANT CIRCUS hand-picks London’s screen highlights for the week ahead*.

Unapologetically, in a week ending in a “snap” General Election, we have chosen THE GREAT DICTATOR as our featured film. Chaplin’s masterpiece is backed up by a clutch of films – CLASH, BUSHWICK, THE WHITE ROOM, IVAN’S CHILDHOOD, FERTILE MEMORY – that deal with the struggle for liberty, freedom and democracy.

It’s not our job to tell you how to vote, we just really think you should. Chaplin has the words:

FRIDAY 2 JUNE 2017, 19:00, CLOSE-UP

REFRACTED SPACES: THEATRE OF OPTICS is a FREE screening (booking essential!) of short films presented by Gasworks and Margarida Mendes. These moving images in digital, 35mm and 16mm “dwell on the electrical grid and its spells, exploring how the rhythms and anxieties produced by the infrastructural properties of light elicit expanded sensorial perception”. We think we know what that means…

Looking for an alternative? DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST (various times) screens in a beautiful new restoration at BFI and Barbican. Julie Dash’s luminous film “tells of three generations of women who grapple with the decision to leave their roots in the Sea Islands, off the coast of South Carolina”.


BUSHWICK pitches us headlong into scenes of an imagined Texan insurgence in contemporary America. Getting its UK premiere at Sundance London, the fast-paced movie is “bolstered” by an immersive score from indie hip-hop mainstay Aesop Rock, and is an “exhilarating thrill ride that is not to be missed”.

Looking for an alternative? IVAN’S CHILDHOOD (18:30) is a powerful study of a young life in wartime and screens at Prince Charles Cinema as part of SCULPTING TIME: THE FILMS OF ANDREI TARKOVSKY. Stay put at the same venue for an altogether different view of childhood, THE GOONIES in 35mm (21:00).

CLASH screens at Regent Street Cinema (3 & 4 JUNE).


CLASH tells of events following political upheavals in Egypt in 2013. The film is shot entirely in the back of a police van and brings together detainees from all sides of the country’s social and political divides. Tom Hanks (!) tweeted:  “The film will break your heart, but enlighten all.” CLASH also screens at the same venue 3 JUNE, various times.

Looking for an alternative? THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED + SHORTS (15:00) with live electronic musical accompaniment screens at Barbican. The oldest surviving feature length animation, Lotte Reiniger’s film is a masterpiece in silhouette.


ABBAS KIAROSTAMI: EARLY WORKS (5 to 19 JUNE) opens at Close-Up with support from the British Council (see below). Tonight’s programme, BEGINNINGS AND JOURNEYS, combines the 1974 feature THE TRAVELER with short films BREAD AND ALLEY and BREAKTIME, providing a perfect introduction to the late Iranian poet of the cinema.

Looking for an alternative?  THE WHITE ROOM (19:30) screens at Regent Street Cinema and focuses on the life of a Colombian immigrant in London, Alberto. Set in post-Brexit Britain, James Erskine’s film is a “taut, poignant East London based thriller with a supernatural twist”.

AKIRA pops up at Nomad/Proud East (6 JUNE, 19:15).


You should know it by now, but AKIRA is always transformed by seeing it on the big screen where its apocalyptic visions retain their capacity to drop the jaw and baffle the brain. If you haven’t seen this epic anime, there is only one place to spend your evening.

Looking for an alternative? FERTILE MEMORY (18:30) is the first full-length feature film to be shot on location in Palestine and screens at Barbican as part of THE BATTLE FOR REPRESENTATION.


BRITAIN ON FILM: BLACK BRITAIN uses archival footage to conjure seldom heard voices from 1901 to 1985, celebrating vivid black lives and culture on screen. The film is followed by a Q&A with curator, programmer and filmmaker Yvonne Connikie.

Looking for an alternative? LA NIÑA SANTA aka THE HOLY GIRL (20:00) screens at Deptford Cinema as part of their ongoing series of films from Latin America directed by women. Lucrecia Martel’s film is “an enigmatic and absorbing tale about the temptation of good and the evil it causes”.


THE GREAT DICTATOR is one of Charlie Chaplin’s most personal films, his first in true sound and his most commercially successful. Released when the USA was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany, its then controversial tale of mistaken identity ends with a powerful plea for humanity. The film also enjoys a weeklong run at Arthouse Crouch End.

“You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure… Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security.”

Looking for an alternative? HOMELANDS (18:30) screens at Curzon Aldgate as part of the East End Film Festival (more below). The documentary about four British musicians travelling to the lands of their parents will be followed by a Q&A and live performance. EEFF has the words: “On election night, celebrate looking outwards, embrace distant lands, and marvel in the rich creativity of our roots.”

Escape de Gas
ESCAPE DE GAS screens at ICA as part of Architecture Film Festival 2017 (6 JUNE, 20:20).


Architecture Film Festival gets going at ICA (6 JUNE to 11 JUNE). Opening night film and discussion is ESCAPE DE GAS aka GAS LEAK (6 JUNE, 20:20).

Barbican opens its “festival style” exhibition INTO THE UNKNOWN: A JOURNEY THROUGH SCIENCE FICTION, 3 JUNE to 1 SEPTEMBER 2017. The SCI-FI SUNDAYS film programme starts on 18 JUNE to be followed by a trio of OUTDOOR CINEMA screenings in late AUGUST.

Bernie Grant Arts Centre continues its juicy collab with nightclub QUEER NATION with festival screenings 2 & 3 June.

AILEEN – LIFE AND DEATH OF A SERIAL KILLER screens at Curzon Bloomsbury (8 JUNE, 18:30).

Bertha Dochouse/Curzon Bloomsbury begins a NICK BROOMFIELD retrospective ahead of the release of his latest film, WHITNEY ‘CAN I BE ME?’ (11 JUNE). The man himself will be in attendance for a Q&A following the final screening in the season, AILEEN: LIFE AND DEATH OF A SERIAL KILLER + Q&A (8 JUNE, 18:30).

BFI hosts UNBOUND: VISIONS OF THE BLACK FEMININE throughout June. Linking to this week’s opening at Barbican, we’re looking forward to SISTERS IN SCIENCE FICTION an afternoon of shorts and discussion (17 JUNE, 14:00).

THE TRAVELER screens at Close-Up (5 JUNE, 19:30).

Close-Up spins into overdrive launching two seasons this week. First up is ON THE ROAD, a “two-month programme exploring the road as a state of mind within late 20th Century American and European independent cinema”. Get revved up with Wim Wenders’ KINGS OF THE ROAD (3 JUNE, 19:00). That’s followed by ABBAS KIAROSTAMI: EARLY WORKS (5 to 19 JUNE). There are three nights of shorts and features this week, BEGINNINGS AND JOURNEYS (5 JUNE, 19:30), THE REPORT (6 JUNE, 19:30) and ADOLESCENCE AND POVERTY (7 JUNE, 19:30).

The Duke Mitchell Film Club has announced the full line-up of “premieres, 35MM action, VHS oddities, found footage and more” for the forthcoming DUKEFEST 2017 (9 to 12 JULY, various venues).

WEST SIDE STORY screens at East End Film Festival (2 JUNE, 18:30).

East End Film Festival opens this week for the month. We particularly like the FILMS FOR FOOD screenings, with free tickets given in exchange for non-perishable food donations to Tower Hamlets Food Bank. Choose from WEST SIDE STORY (2 JUNE, 18:30) and CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG (3 JUNE, 13:30).

And finally…

Sundance London continues at Picturehouse Central until 4 JUNE.

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

*As accurate as we could make it. Apologies for any mistakes.

Featured image: THE GREAT DICTATOR (1940).