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

This week, there’s a strong programme at Close-Up with evenings devoted to Abigail Child, Ruth Novaczek and Stanley Kubrick as well as the legacy of Jean Rouch.

Here and elsewhere, documentary continues to be an excellent source of adventurous moving pictures. In this spirit, our featured film of the week is MACHINES.


Two outstanding documentaries kickstart the week at Bertha Dochouse/Curzon Bloomsbury. MACHINES (18:30) is “an overwhelming sensory immersion into a hidden, secretive environment” as Rahul Jain’s camera dives into an immense textile factory in India. The same venue is also screening JOSHUA: TEENAGER VS SUPERPOWER (20:30), a modern-day David and Goliath tale about the ongoing struggle for democracy in Hong Kong.

Looking for an alternative? Tate Modern screens Rivane Neuenschwander and Cao Guimarães’ QUARTA-FEIRA DE CINZAS / EPILOGUE as part of their latest TATE LATE (18:30 to 22:00). It’s only 6 mins – you’ve got all night.

SATURDAY 27 MAY 2017, 19:30, CLOSE-UP

It’s time to encounter your inner space child as Close-Up screens 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (19:30), part of their ongoing KUBRICK retrospective. Follow up his transcendent masterpiece with SPARTACUS (28 MAY, 19:00), one of the most perfect Sunday cinema extravaganzas ever committed to celluloid.

Looking for an alternative? HIDDEN HISTORIES: DISCOVERING INDIGENOUS LONDON (19:30) screens at Bernie Grant Arts Centre. A timely reminder of our beautifully porous borders, this Heritage Lottery funded documentary looks at the histories of indigenous settlers in London.

LE MÉPRIS screens at Ciné Lumière (28 MAY, 14:00).


LE MÉPRIS + DISCUSSION (14:00) at Ciné Lumière is one of Jean-Luc Goddard’s hymns to cinema. The 1963 film is legendary for both a stunning performance by Brigitte Bardot and THAT scene in the apartment where their marriage unfolds (which is surely on every filmmaking syllabus since the history of such things?). Part of BOLD WOMEN OF FRENCH CINEMA.

MONDAY 29 MAY 2017, 19:30, MOTH CLUB

We never quite know what to make of “original format” screenings – it all depends on the print and the film. The far-too pink ALIEN in 70mm that’s doing the rounds suggests celluloid will inevitably assert its chemical decline, but there can still be majesty in the flickering of light. Devotees of such things Cine-Real will show BONNIE & CLYDE in 16mm at Moth Club which seems ideally suited to the film.

Looking for an alternative? BATTLE ROYALE (20:45) gets another screening c/o ARROW VIDEO CLUB at the Prince Charles. We’ve seen it many times, but the concept and execution remain audacious. If you have a taste for Eastern extremes, why not try ICHI THE KILLER in 35mm at the same venue (31 MAY, 20:45)?

TUESDAY 30 MAY 2017, 18:10, BFI

“THERE’S A LOT OF THINGS IN LIFE WORTH LIVING FOR, ISN’T THERE?” (18:10) at BFI  is an introduction to the Ruben/Bentson collection of works that delve into what makes life worth living. Curated from the Walker Art Centre’s holdings in Minneapolis, this evening of 7 short films is in partnership with LUX – the UK’s pre-eminent promotor of artist film and video.

HERO CITY screens as part of ROUCH 100 at Close-Up (31 MAY, 19:30).

WEDNESDAY 31 MAY 2017, 18:30, BFI

BRITAIN ON FILM: COAST AND SEA (18:30) at BFI features STRANGER ON THE SHORE, three short films about “the weirdness of the English coast”. Screens as part of SONIC CINEMA, music-inspired film and events.

Looking for an alternative? ROUCH 100 (19:30) at Close-Up is a programme from UEL Moving Image Research Centre to mark the 100th anniversary of French filmmaker and anthropologist Jean Rouch’s birth. The evening explores his influence on artist cinema today with a number of filmmakers present for a Q&A.

THURSDAY 01 JUNE 2017, 19:30, CLOSE-UP

ABIGAIL CHILD AND RUTH NOVACZEK: TRILOGIES gives us two experimental filmmakers, two programmes, and two trilogies. Close-Up has the words: “trilogies of films which explore boundaries of Identity, desire, memory and the built environment, as they journey through personal and collective histories”. Abigail Child and Ruth Novaczek will be in conversation after the screenings.

Looking for an alternative? Voted one of the Top 10 most romantic films of all time (Time, 2011) the newly restored PYAASA + INTRO (18:00) gets a screening at BFI along with an introduction by director Guru Dutt’s biographer and filmmaker, Nasreen Munni Kabir.

LOOKING FOR LANGSTON screens at Bernie Grant Arts Centre (1 JUNE, 19:30).


Bernie Grant Arts Centre pops up with the new QUEER NATION FILM FESTIVAL, a juicy collab with long-running nightclub of the same name. Screenings include: LOOKING FOR LANGSTON (1 JUNE, 19:30), WE CAME TO SWEAT: THE LEGEND OF STARLITE (2 JUNE, 19:30) and WAITING FOR B (3 JUNE, 19:30).

BFI concludes their RW FASSBINDER season with a screening of QUERELLE (31 May, 21:00) on NFT1 (also screened earlier in the week – check BFI for full listings). We love this film for its set-bound seediness, incredible lighting and near incomprehensible plot.

SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL LONDON runs from 1 to 4 JUNE at Picturehouse Central wracking up 14 feature films and 15 shorts. Lots of sold out events, but tickets remain, particularly for the REDFORD RECOMMENDS strand featuring influential films from past festivals.

And finally…

Whitechapel Gallery launches the HERE LIES JONATHAN MEADES retrospective with an event at The Horse Hospital, ART & MODERNITY (31 MAY, 19:00).

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: MACHINES (2016).