Welcome to THE BALLY where we update you on the latest news from across London’s alternative cinema scene & recommend what to see in London this week. Find everything listed in our weekly screen digest at radiantcircus.com*
Wow. That was a tough week… As the entire world seemed to be aware, Bond 2020 shifted release date (you know it’s had wide coverage when your Mum mentions it in dispatches…). This precipitated announcements that Cineworld/Picturehouse were to close all their UK sites from today (09 OCT) and Odeon Cinemas will convert some of their sites to part time operation. Much of this was accompanied with prophesying for and against the likelihood of the cinema industry surviving a sustained drought of content…
Our only perspective is to feel that the industry has been here before (and survived). We’re no film historians, but the current situation seems eerily like the sustained dip in major releases that the American exhibition industry endured in the 1950s (see Kevin Heffernan’s Ghouls, Gimmicks And Gold: Horror Films and the American Movie Business, 1953–1968 for a good account). This period triggered an outpouring of low-cost independent film production (some funded by the exhibitors themselves…) and foreign imports. Smaller neighbourhood exhibitors turned to a blended diet of exploitation and arthouse programming and drive-in cinemas were at their peak. Some went the full porn of course, which isn’t something we see being replicated today… but the following comments from Catford Mews could well have been uttered by managers of nabe action houses back in the postwar period:
“Being totally reliant on Hollywood as my single source of driver for footfall, that is a risky proposition. There are a lot of really good independent films out there right now – ROCKS, an east London coming of age story we have been doing selling out shows on is a perfect film for Catford Mews. There is a long list of independent movies we are going to be showing over the next three months that we think we are going to have a good run with. We are feeling optimistic.” (Preston Benson, founder of Really Local Group in The Guardian: ‘We will survive, we just need movies’ says Vue cinema boss, 08 OCT / Online).
Of course, our hearts go out to the staff of any cinema that has gone dark (we are also thinking about the fine folk at Peckhamplex and the fire damaged Lexi) and any venue that is still struggling to reopen (notable continued absences from London’s scene include The David Lean Cinema, Phoenix Cinema and The Cinema Museum amongst others).
Anyone who receives regular news from Prince Charles Cinema will know they are reporting outstanding community support ahead of their reopening this week for the BFI London Film Festival. A rush of pre-bookings and significant boosts to their membership and merchandise sales have boosted their war chest. RADIANT CIRCUS will continue to advocate for audiences doing our part to help salvage independent and alternative screen culture whenever and however we are able to do so. As the Prince Charles has shown, people power is essential to saving our screens, whether they are operated by limited companies or held in trust by charitable foundations, managed by paid staff or run entirely by volunteers.
Possibly the hardest bit of news to swallow from last week was confirmation that Deptford Cinema will leave their current subterranean location at the end of November in search of a new property. Prior issues with their tenancy and the suitability of the building (everything from access to electricity were ongoing challenges) meant that such a move was being actively considered before the pandemic, but social distancing regulations for such a small venue have seriously put the nail in.
The entirely volunteer founded, managed and driven venue reports that their On Demand service will continue to operate for “the foreseeable future” and they are looking for pop-up solutions to keep their projector bulbs burning. But the pursuit of a suitable new home will always be a perilous undertaking and we will mourn their departure from our listings until they can find a new venue.
All we can do for now is offer a huge thank you to everyone involved for making Deptford Cinema not just one of London’s, but one of the UK’s most vibrant and passionate homes for resolutely DIY alternative screen culture. We also wish them well for the future. We last wrote about some of our favourite Deptford Cinema memories HERE. What were yours?
Despite all the bad news, there are enough indie releases and screens reopened for RADIANT CIRCUS to return to our familiar listings format. That means we won’t be producing full listings for every screen venue and will instead be keeping abreast of special events, rep screenings, seasons, festivals and other delights.
Two cultural events dominate our listings this week. Firstly, Black History Month continues with excellent seasons and special screenings across town and online. We particularly like what The Castle Cinema has done by programming mostly Black centred and created content across their entire venue for the entire month. The New Black Film Collective continues their season at Vue Stratford with WHITE RIOT whilst online festival events I Will Tell and We Are Tanoextend the reach. Dive into our daily listings for more.
The BFI London Film Festival continues online and at venues across London and the UK. We’ve tried to identify all of the venue-based events you can still book tickets for at the time of posting. We haven’t had the time to explore their full virtual programme, but you could do a lot worse than check out the festival’s collaboration with Kennington Bioscope for a special silent cinema screening (complete with accompaniment from Cyrus Gabrysch on Piano-Cam!). THE CHEATERS is available on BFI Player for FREE (11 to 14 OCT) and is our special mention of the week.
Our Featured Attraction Of The Week is the repertory screening of A VIEW TO A KILL at Olympic Studios (11 OCT). Because Bond 2020 has been delayed… Because rep, revival and DIY indie cinema will survive… And because Grace Jones… Well, to be honest, it’s really all about Grace Jones…
See you in darkness,
#LFF – SHIRLEY d. Josephine Decker, 2020 + Recorded Q&A at ArtHouse Crouch End (09 OCT 21:00):
- “‘I’m a witch, didn’t anyone tell you?’ When we first meet Shirley (Elisabeth Moss), soon to become America’s queen of horror fiction, she seems to be no such thing; just a sad, drunken shut-in, married to a cheating English professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) and blocked as a writer. But with the arrival of Rose (Odessa Young) and her teaching-assistant husband Fred (Logan Lerman), Shirley reveals herself as a far crueller and more sophisticated creature, seducing the innocent girl into becoming her companion and accomplice in the new mystery novel she is writing.”
- See our daily BFI London Film Festival listings for venue-based events.
ETERNAL BEAUTY 35MM d. Craig Roberts, 2019 + Q&A with the director & producer Adrian Bate at Genesis Cinema (10 OCT 18:05):
- “When Jane (Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins – THE SHAPE OF WATER, BLUE JASMINE) is dumped at the altar, she has a breakdown and spirals into a chaotic world where love (both real and imagined) and family relationships collide with both touching and humorous consequences.”
A VIEW TO A KILL d. John Glen, 1985 at Olympic Studios (11 OCT 14:20).
- “A VIEW TO A KILL (1985), the 14th EON 007 adventure, proved to be Roger Moore’s last appearance as James Bond. Deftly mixing humour and action, it typified his genial approach to the role and made for a fitting goodbye to the series.”
DIG! d. Ondi Timoner, 2004 at Dalston Roof Park (12 OCT 19:30):
- Deeper Into Movies presents: “Chronicles the rise and fall of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, two similar bands and close friends who played 1960s-style psychedelic and garage rock beginning in the 1990s. DIG! is the story of two extremely egotistical frontmen: it’s an account of catastrophic fall-outs, rockstar excess, musical anti-heroes, and the underground’s reluctance to sell out.”
JOURNAL D’UNE FEMME DE CHAMBRE 35MM aka Diary of a Chambermaid d. Luis Buñuel, 1964 at Ciné Lumière (11 OCT 14:00 / 13 OCT 18:00).
- “Jeanne Moreau is Celestine, an attractive young woman, who arrives from Paris to become chambermaid for an eccentric and decadent aristocratic family at their country chateau. She soon gets herself entangled in a sexual game of cat and mouse with her flirtatious employer (Michel Piccoli). Filmed in luxurious black-and-white, Luis Buñuel’s Diary of a Chambermaid is a raw-edged tangle of fetishism and murder set against the backdrop of the burgeoning fascism of the era.”
TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM d. Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, 2019 + Q&A with the director hosted by Be Manzini, FREE online event (14 OCT 19:00):
- Bertha DocHouse and Genesis Cinema present: “In this lovingly crafted film, Director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, who was Morrison’s friend and photographer for four decades, has Morrison narrate her own story, from her earliest days growing up in small town Ohio. “I have spent my entire writing life trying to make sure that the white gaze was not the dominant one in any of my books,” she tells us, staring straight into the camera.” For Black History Month.
HOUSE PARTY: HEATHERS d. Michael Lehmann, 1989 at Everyman Cinemas (15 OCT – various times / FREE pizza & drinks):
- “Are you a Heather or are you a Veronica? Either way, Everyman House Party is back with the the camp croquet-playing classic comedy Heathers. In order to get out of the snobby clique that is destroying her good-girl reputation, an intelligent teen teams up with a dark sociopath in a plot to kill the cool kids.”
> Full daily listings at radiantcircus.com
- ETERNAL BEAUTY 35MM d. Craig Roberts, 2019 + Q&A with the director & producer Adrian Bate at Genesis Cinema (10 OCT 18:05).
- JOURNAL D’UNE FEMME DE CHAMBRE 35MM aka Diary of a Chambermaid d. Luis Buñuel, 1964 at Ciné Lumière (11 OCT 14:00 / 13 OCT 18:00).
- LOST IN TRANSLATION 35MM d. Sofia Coppola, 2003 presented by Truman’s Brewery at Genesis Cinema (09 OCT 18:30 – With a FREE pint of something Truman’s!).
- TENET IMAX 15/70MM d. Christopher Nolan 2020 at BFI IMAX (09 OCT 12:00 & 16:00 / 10 OCT 12:00 & 16:00 / 11 OCT 11:30 & 15:15).
BLACK HISTORY MONTH at The Castle Cinema (OCT):
“October is Black History Month. To celebrate, the majority of films we screen will showcase black filmmakers and stories, highlighting some incredible work by outstanding black talent.”
- BLACK PANTHER d. Ryan Coogler, 2018 (12 OCT 21:00). THE COLOR PURPLE d. Steven Spielberg, 1985 (15 OCT 15:30). DO THE RIGHT THING d. Spike Lee, 1989 (14 OCT 15:30). I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO d. Raoul Peck, 2017 (11 OCT 14:15 / 15 OCT 18:45). LA HAINE d. Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995 (daily 09 to 13 & 15 OCT). LES MISÉRABLES d. Ladj Ly, 2019 (daily 09 to 12 & 14 to 15 OCT). MISS JUNETEENTH d. Channing Godfrey Peoples, 2020 (09 OCT 11:30 / 13 OCT 11:20 / 14 OCT 16:15 & 20:30 / 15 OCT 14:00). MOONLIGHT d. Barry Jenkins, 2017 (09 OCT 21:00 / 12 OCT 18:30). REAL d. Aki Omoshaybi, 2019 (daily 09 to 12 & 14 to 15 OCT). ROCKS d. Sarah Gavron, 2019 (daily until 20 OCT).
> Full season listings at radiantcircus.com
- Banff Mountain Film Festival UK & Ireland Tour online event (06 to 15 OCT).
- BFI London Film Festival blended event (07 to 18 OCT).
- Chronic Youth Film Festival online event (03 to 13 OCT).
- The Design Film Festival online event (11 SEP to 01 NOV 2020).
- I Will Tell: 31 Day Crush Racism Film Challenge online event (OCT).
- We Are Tano online event (01 to 20 OCT).
*THE SMALL PRINT: Opinions author’s own. As accurate as we could make it. Apologies for any errors. Updates & corrections will be made to the online version only. Event dates/times are subject to change by the venue/organiser. We try to only list events you can book for at the time of posting: however, some events may still be sold out. Please click quickly! // We don’t filter by age/certification: all readers & subscribers should be 18+. // > Remember, always try to follow The Carny Code by “not screwing up anyone else’s game” //.