TECTONIC PLATE screens at Whitechapel Gallery (21 OCT).


RADIANT CIRCUS hunts out the best movies, film events and gallery screenings in London for the week ahead*. Join our hunt for adventurous moving pictures and #shelterfromthestorm.

After the adrenaline rush that was the London Film Festival it’s time to get back to our usual guides to what’s independent and alternative on London’s screens. This week, there are inspiring attractions featuring music from docs about singers to film scores and silent classics that will be anything but. Acting and dance also get a good look in.

Our featured event of the week is SEISMIC OOZE, a London-wide survey of work by “the celluloid-wielding soothsayer of Nordic moving image”, Mika Taanila (19 to 22 OCT – various venues).

It’s time to get your pumpkin out and so we’ve posted a separate HALLOWEEN SCREAM GUIDE for film events that go bump in the night. Look out for new GUIDES to the London East Asia Film Festival (19 to 29 OCT) and BFI’s hot topic new season, WHO CAN YOU TRUST?

> Let us know what you’ll be seeing – and anything we’ve missed – in the comments.


THE CONVERSATION screens at BFI Southbank (20 OCT).
THE CONVERSATION screens at BFI Southbank (20 OCT).

FRIDAY 20 OCTOBER 2017, 18:20 & 20:45, BFI

Start your screen week with a choice of two WHO CAN YOU TRUST? launch screenings of Francis Ford Coppola’s THE CONVERSATION. The Southbank venue will be turned into Harry Caul’s Workshop for the day with a FREE interactive audio-visual performance by dubmorphology (17:30 to 21:30).

Looking for an alternative? Lurking in the depths of the BFI programme, their ever-rewarding CULT strand includes THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED (20:50), a Spanish precursor to Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA.

IN THE STEPS OF TRISHA BROWN screens at Barbican (21 OCT).
IN THE STEPS OF TRISHA BROWN screens at Barbican (21 OCT).


SEISMIC OOZE (19 to 22 OCT) is a London-wide survey of Finnish artist filmmaker Mika Taanila promoted by the fine folks at purge. FILM AFTER FILM (CEASELESS MOTION IS FOLLOWED BY INEXORABLE DARKNESS) features “the bulk of Taanila’s moving image work screened with a conversation between Taanila, Chris Petit and Olaf Möller”. It looks like a great place to take the deep dive. Other venues in the core programme include ICA, Cafe Oto and Close-Up.

Looking for an alternative? Two events about the creative process today at Barbican. First up is a film which inspired composer Julian Anderson – THE COLOUR OF POMEGRANATES (10:45) – as part of a day of Total Immersion in his work. Then there’s dance documentary IN THE STEPS OF TRISHA BROWN (16:00) as part of Dance Umbrella: “a valuable insight into the process of staging a major dance piece, and… a fitting tribute to the late choreographer”.

ASCENSEUR POUR L’ÉCHAFAUD screens at Ciné Lumière (22 OCT).


Louis Malle’s ASCENSEUR POUR L’ÉCHAFAUD screens in celebration of the legendary Jeanne Moreau and will be followed by a discussion with Nick Walker (Rochester Kino). The event helps launch a new season (until 17 DEC).

Looking for an alternative? Deeper Into Movies and the Moth Club have a busy day ahead with MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO (13:00) + PRINCESS MONONOKE (15:30) (both in their original language / subtitled versions) before shifting register entirely with THE BROWN BUNNY (19:00).

THE ACTING CLASS screens at Lexi Cinema (23 OCT).
THE ACTING CLASS screens at Lexi Cinema (23 OCT).


Continuing our focus on creativity, there’s THE ACTING CLASS + Q&A with actor Samuel West and directors, Deirdre O’Neill and Mike Wayne. The doc looks at who gets to be on our screens, whose stories get told and why this matters. There’s a screening earlier in the week at Bernie Grant Arts Centre if you can’t make tonight (21 OCT 19:30).

Looking for an alternative? We have a fondness for anthology films and also love the title of AN INLET OF MUDDY WATER (18:00). The 1953 film is about three women trapped by their circumstances and screens as part of WOMEN IN JAPANESE MELODRAMA at BFI – see below.

THE BALLAD OF SHIRLEY COLLINS screens at Genesis Cinema (24 OCT).
THE BALLAD OF SHIRLEY COLLINS screens at Genesis Cinema (24 OCT).


Fresh from the London Film Festival comes THE BALLAD OF SHIRLEY COLLINS + Q&A with John Robb of The Membranes and a live performance from Grumbling Fur. Tim Plester and Rob Curry’s documentary is “the remarkable story of one of the great British folk singers whose voice, once lost, makes a welcome return” (according to the BFI LFF blurb).

Looking for an alternative? FAR FROM VIETNAM (18:15) screens at Barbican as part of a short season JOHN AKOMFRAH PRESENTS… to accompany the artist’s latest exhibition (see below). Elsewhere, INNOCENCE (20:00) screens at Deptford Cinema, the debut feature from Lucile Hadzilalilovic, director of EVOLUTION.

GRACE JONES: BLOODLIGHT AND BAMI screens at Curzon Cinemas (25 OCT).
GRACE JONES: BLOODLIGHT AND BAMI screens at Bertha Dochouse (25 OCT).


We’re mugs for a special feature and this global simulcast should be the mother of them all. GRACE JONES & FRIENDS is set to be “a thrilling and enlightening evening” as Jones discusses her life and work with some of her closest collaborators from the worlds of music, fashion, art and film. It’s followed by Sophie Fiennes’ highly anticipated new documentary GRACE JONES: BLOODLIGHT AND BAMI. Other cinemas available – find a screen near you here.

Looking for an alternative? BOB MARLEY: THE MAKING OF A LEGEND + Q&A with director Esther Anderson (19:45) screens at Stanley’s Film Club in celebration of Black History Month. The evening at Holy Innocents includes Jamaican grub from Perfect Taste, a bar and a signing session of DVDs and original soundtrack CDs.

WHY COLONEL BUNNY WAS KILLED screens at Close-Up (26 OCT).
WHY COLONEL BUNNY WAS KILLED screens at Close-Up (26 OCT).


THE INCREDIBLE SIMULTANEITY CONSOLE concludes DVD label Filmarmalade’s epic 10 year anniversary celebrations with a final evening of artists’ films and videos, PROGRAMME VIII. The evening includes works from Pil and Galia Kollectiv (CO-OPERATIVE EXPLANATORY CAPABILITIES IN ORGANISATIONAL DESIGN AND PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT), Miranda Pennell (WHY COLONEL BUNNY WAS KILLED) and Sarah Wood (I AM A SPY).

Looking for an alternative? Kino Klassika presents a special screening of Sergei Eisenstein’s masterpiece OCTOBER (19:30) fully loaded with a live score played by the LSO. Meanwhile, outdoor enthusiasts Nomad Cinema screen silent horror show NOSFERATU with a live score from The Cabinet of Living Cinema in the grounds of deconsecrated Old Street Church, St Luke’s (19:30).


CHRONICLE OF A DISAPPEARANCE screens at Barbican (26 OCT).
CHRONICLE OF A DISAPPEARANCE screens at Barbican (26 OCT).

Barbican hosts composer Stephen Endelman for a FILM MUSIC MASTERCLASS (24 OCT 19:00) whilst their season COLLECTIVE VISIONS – about how cinema unites people – concludes with CHRONICLE OF A DISAPPEARANCE (26 OCT 18:30). JOHN AKOMFRAH: PURPLE is an immersive six-channel video installation addressing climate change, human communities and the wilderness (until 07 JAN 2018). See it for FREE in Barbican’s Curve exhibition space (check for opening times).

BFI presents ALICE IN THE CITIES + Q&A with Wim Wenders at (22 OCT 17:00) but there weren’t many tickets left when we posted this – click quickly! INDIA ON FILM continues with TALWAR aka Guilty (26 OCT 20:40) whilst headline thriller season WHO CAN YOU TRUST? includes a blu-ray launch for THE WAGES OF FEAR (21 OCT 20:10). TEARS & LAUGHTER: WOMEN IN JAPANESE MELODRAMA (17 OCT to 29 NOV) is one of those seasons where we would be happy to see every darn thing. OSAKA ELEGY & WOMEN OF THE NIGHT (21 OCT 17:10) demonstrates the perils of film preservation, the billed 16mm print is “too poor to screen” and so OSAKA will be projected from Blu-Ray instead. Also this week CLOTHES OF DECEPTION (22 OCT 15:00) and THE MISTRESS (22 & 26 OCT).

THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT screens at The Cinema Museum (25 OCT).

The Cinema Museum and the Vito Project seek to bring generations of LGBT folk together with a series of social screenings. This month’s film is THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT in 35mm (25 OCT 19:00).

The Cinema Museum is in peril. If you can be of any help to them, please do so, and be sure to sign the petition.

Close-Up concludes their Aki Kaurismäki retrospective with a triumvirate of movies: LE HAVRE (20 OCT 19:30), LIGHTS IN THE DUSK (24 OCT 19:30) and THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE (25 OCT 20:00). Other attractions include two programmes of work by MIKA TAANILA (20 & 22 OCT) as part of purge’s London-wide survey. The Shoreditch venue has also announced their first course SURREALISM AND CINEMA FROM LUIS BUÑUEL TO DAVID LYNCH (06 to 27 NOV). Tickets are selling fast which is why we’ve mentioned it now.

COMING SOON: GARAK MARKET REVOLUTION screens at Deptford Cinema (25 OCT).
GARAK MARKET REVOLUTION screens at Deptford Cinema (25 OCT 19:30)

Deptford Cinema begins a brief three-film look at the distinctive visions of Theo Angelopoulos with THE TRAVELLING PLAYERS (22 OCT 14:00). The community cinema continues its collabs with Korean Cultural Centre with a FREE screening of GARAK MARKET REVOLUTION (25 OCT 19:30). QUEERBEE’s inaugural collection of short films about Identity gets another outing (26 OCT 20:00).

ICA continues its new exhibition of moving image works from America, SETH PRICE CIRCA 1981 (until 07 JAN 2018). ICA day membership gets you in for a £1 bargain.

JW3 hosts DEBORAH KERR ON FILM, a talk from George McGhee (25 OCT 14:00).

Serpentine Galleries is screening the London premiere of artist Bouchra Khalili’s THE TEMPEST SOCIETY at Picturehouse Central (24 OCT 19:00), a theatrical look at the current state of Greece, Europe and the Mediterranean.

BLUE by Derek Jarman screens at Tate Britain.
BLUE by Derek Jarman screens at Tate Britain.

Tate Britain continues its spotlight on DEREK JARMAN: BLUE. Read our writeup here.

Union Chapel completes screenings of the Ocean Film Festival On Tour (16 to 21 OCT). The programme of shorts – “a collection of the latest and best films from both above and below the ocean’s surface” – repeats each night.

Whirled Cinema hosts the LONDON CITY FILM AWARDS, a new film event “for artists by artists” to showcase emerging talent (26 OCT 16:30).

Whitechapel Gallery screens the latest selections from their Artists’ Film International partnership, GABRIELA GOLDER & WOJCIECH BAKOWSKI, until 03 DEC (check for gallery opening times).

NOW SHOWING: Festivals this week (by date)

A quick summary of festivals playing across London this week.

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: TECTONIC PLATE (2016) by Mika Taanila.