To help your hunt for adventurous moving pictures, RADIANT CIRCUS hand-picks London’s best movies, film events and gallery screenings for the week ahead*.
This week, some screens are on their summer settings… Whirled Cinema is closed for refurbs and reopens 16 AUG with Paul Verhoeven’s ELLE. Ciné Lumière gets going again with THE ODYSSEY (25 AUG) whilst Close-Up swings back (15 AUG) with a major new season, CLOSE-UP ON OUSMANE SEMBÈNE (see below for highlights).
As to our featured film of the week, we had to choose between two different attempts to save our lovely planet. ‘Almost President’ Al Gore will be live-beaming his inconvenient TRUTH TO POWER slideshow across London on Friday. Whereas, Science Fiction Theatre and The Institute of Light invite you to a desolate place where there is NO BLADE OF GRASS on Monday. We went with the delirious fictions of the latter because we like a hefty dose of exploitation with our environmental do-goodery.
A VIRUS OF DOOM ENVELOPS THE EARTH!
> Let us know where you’re seeking shelter in the comments below.
FRIDAY 11 AUGUST 2017, 16:00 & 18:20, ICA
TOM OF FINLAND opens the week with a strong fist of screenings at ICA. If you didn’t get to see this new biopic at East End Film Festival, slip into your harness for ICA’s weeklong run. Her Majesty’s near neighbours will also be showing the only doc to feature the leather man himself, DADDY AND THE MUSCLE ACADEMY, for a limited time.
Looking for an alternative? THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG (19:00) continues at The Horse Hospital with a screening, book launch and talk by “cult video store manager turned guerrilla film-maker and B film detective”, Andrew Leavold. If you’ve shared Leavold’s curiosity for the fabled two-foot-nine James Bond of the Philippines, this is the place to find him (and much much more).
SATURDAY 12 AUGUST 2017, 11:00, BFI
We like an epic. 7hr television marathon TAMAS screens as part of BFI’s INDIA ON FILM season (see below). Govind Nihalani’s film looks at the horrors of social division at the time of Partition. Hang around afterwards for a discussion (if your blood sugar levels are holding up, of course).
SUNDAY 13 AUGUST 2017, 15:15, BFI
“SEX IN CHAINS (1928) is essentially a social problem film dealing with prison reform, it’s also a convenient device for showing a homosexual encounter. Far from being judgmental, the film lays the breakdown of marriage at the door of a penal system that doesn’t allow conjugal visits, and makes the innocent suffer as well as the incarcerated.”
Looking for an alternative? Arthouse Crouch End and 2A Films offer up a rare chance to see Italian maestro Luchino Visconti’s SANDRA (15:15) at a matinee screening. Or, you could head to Moth Club — “Cause we need more Wong Kar-Wai in our lives…” — for their double bill of CHUNGKING EXPRESS (15:00) and IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (19:00).
MONDAY 14 AUGUST 2017, 19:30, THE INSTITUTE OF LIGHT
Science Fiction Theatre returns with NO BLADE OF GRASS + TALK ‘How do we avoid a food-pocalypse?’. Leading debate will be farmer, scientist and explorer Abi Aspen Glencross, a member of, amongst other food-themed treasures, Future Farm Lab.
“Chilling and in-your-face, NO BLADE OF GRASS is one of the most unforgettable science fiction films of the 1970s.” John Kenneth Muir, Reflections on Cult Films
Looking for an alternative? We like films with nuns in them. WHEN YOU READ THIS LETTER (20:45) is described as Jean-Phillipe Melville’s “least typical film” but chances are you haven’t seen it. BFI’s description alone has us salivating: “A nun (iconic chanteuse Juliette Gréco) leaves her convent to rescue her sister from a lowlife boyfriend.” Part of BFI’s excellent JEAN-PIERRE MELVILLE: VISIONS OF THE UNDERWORLD season (you can’t put a foot wrong).
TUESDAY 15 AUGUST 2017, 20:50, BFI
DEATH BED: THE BED THAT EATS screens as part of BFI’s ongoing CULT strand. Any “mix of arthouse surrealism and grubby exploitation” sits smack in our wheelhouse and this is no exception. George Barry’s bonkers film gets another screening later in the month (FRI 18 AUG 20:40), this time with an intro from musician and writer Stephen Thrower.
Looking for an alternative? EVOLUTION (19:30) screens at Deptford Cinema — we wrote about it here. You can also catch THE WARRIOR + Q&A with director Asif Kapadia (18:30) at Regent Street Cinema, the debut feature from a filmmaker who is better known for docs SENNA and AMY.
WEDNESDAY 16 AUGUST 2017, 19:00, THE HORSE HOSPITAL
Billy Chainsaw’s NOVA NIGHTS continue with Episode #5, NICHOLAS VINCE’S CENOBITE CHAT AND OTHER TALES OF TERROR (19:00). There’ll be an interview and screening of Vince’s first short film THE NIGHT WHISPERED along with his personal movie pick, prototype gay slasher, HELLBENT.
Looking for an alternative? Following last week’s OFFSIDE, Deptford Cinema continues to play women’s football with doc ZANZIBAR SOCCER QUEENS + UNDER AN OPEN SKY (SHORT) (19:30). Elsewhere, Picturehouses are showing anime NAPPING PRINCESS as part of their Culture Shock strand (try Ritzy, Stratford or Crouch End). You can also see it at Prince Charles Cinema. All screenings 21:00.
THURSDAY 17 AUGUST 2017, 18:10, BFI
BFI continues an excellent season of Cuban Documentaries, FOR AN IMPOSSIBLE CINEMA. Tonight’s turn is FOREIGN VISITORS which looks at how non-Cuban filmmakers have viewed the revolution and its history. The programme includes Chris Marker’s LA BATAILLE DES DIX MILLIONS and YANKI NO! from Direct Cinema pioneers, Richard Leacock and Albert Maysles.
Looking for an alternative? You’ve seen it before, but you could try evolving your inner star child to another level with 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY in 70mm (20:01) at the Prince Charles.
FESTIVALS / SEASONS / TALKS (A to Z)
Barbican’s sci-fi fest INTO THE UNKNOWN is in it’s last month — everything ends 01 SEPT.
Bernie Grant Arts Centre continues to be the home of the Breaking The Legacy film festival with a screening of ELEMENTARY GENOCIDE: THE SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE (THURS 17 AUG 19:30).
Bertha DocHouse follows sold out shows at the DOC/FEST PRESENTS weekender with regular screenings of STEP. From the same programme, MOTHERLAND gets a couple more outings at 14:30 which you can catch for £5 thanks to their #5BEFORE5 deal.
BFI continues FOR AN IMPOSSIBLE CINEMA: CUBAN DOCUMENTARIES, GROSS INDECENCY, INDIA ON FILM, JEAN-PIERRE MELVILLE and ORTON: OBSCENITIES IN SUBURBIA. Why not kickstart your weekend early with a preview of HOTEL SALVATION + Q&A with director Shubhashish Bhutiani (11 AUG 14:20) or try THE CLOUD-CAPPED STAR (15 AUG 18:10), regularly hailed as one of world cinema’s greatest?
Close-Up starts another retrospective, OUSMANE SEMBÈNE. Acknowledged as “the father of African cinema”, this is a great opportunity to do the deep dive. Start with a doc about the director’s life and work, SEMBENE! (15 AUG 19:30), followed by his own XALA (16 AUG 19:30), a satire that “zeroes in on the myth of African independence and on the capitulation to white colonial policies by newly empowered black African leaders”.
Genesis Cinema hosts a MORRISSEY AT THE MOVIES WEEKEND in collab with the National Film and Television School. We’d pick ORPHEE in 35mm (SAT 12 AUG 15:40) and, for another juicy slice of Visconti (see also SANDRA at Arthouse Crouch End), ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS (SUN 13 AUG 12:00).
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 images: NO BLADE OF GRASS (1970).