Every week, we round up the best film events happening outside London’s multiplexes, from major international film festivals to classic seasons at the BFI, from double bills and all-nighters to one-off screenings and in person Q&As with stars, filmmakers or experts. London also has a thriving DIY film club scene in pubs, restaurants, galleries and pop-up venues, and in the summer months you’ll find a wealth of outdoor screenings in parks and gardens across the city.
Sci-fi London: 'Hardware' 25th anniversary
Celebrate a low-budget British horror classic, as composer Simon Boswell celebrates the DIY magic of Richard Stanley’s full-throttle feature debut, ‘Hardware’. In the barren wastelands of the future, a zone trooper stumbles upon the remains of an advanced killing machine, the Mark 13 cyborg. Stanley's gaudy vision achieves a roller-coaster pace, swept along by an incessant industrial soundtrack, the perfect backdrop for Image Animation's deliciously fetishistic creation, all pumping pistons and sinewy flex. An energetic Pandora's box of delights, tailor-made for the disposable '90s. The screening will be followed by a live show by TheAND and a psychedelic club night.
Ritzy Picturehouse, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW2 1JG.
Thu Jun 4, 9pm. £11.60, £10.60 concs.
Marilyn Monroe season: 'Clash by Night'
The BFI’s month-long tribute to the greatest movie star of them all kicks off with Marilyn’s first major role, in this adaptation of Clifford Odets' play, a hoary slice of Broadway neo-realism in the Arthur Miller vein. At heart, it’s a mature study of a cynical woman's adultery with an equally cynical man. Director Fritz Lang transposed the setting from Staten Island to a small fishing village, and what follows is an excellently acted, very Langian picture of the dangerous undercurrents in emotional relationships.
BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT.
Fri Jun 5, 8.45pm. £8.35–£11.75.
The Ipcress File
Sandwiched between ‘Zulu’ and ‘Alfie’ on Michael Caine’s extensive and, let’s say, ‘varied’ filmography, ‘The Ipcress File’ was the first of four films in which the actor played gentleman spy Harry Palmer. The plot is a mild headache of deceit and double-dealing that glides stylishly around Palmer, a cocky London bachelor and middle-ranking scion of the MoD’s counter-espionage department. Palmer is redeployed from the command of one stuffy chief to another in order to investigate a mysterious ‘brain drain’ of scientists and along the way discovers a suspicious reel of 8mm film that, it turns out, has mind-wiping properties.
Stratford East Picturehouse, Salway Rd, E15 1BX.
Sun Jun 7, 3.45pm. £9.50, £8.50 concs.
Peter Jackson's SFX-heavy scarefest looks at first like a return to the slapstick horror-comedy of ‘Braindead’. Later, however, it flips into a grim, disturbing horror movie about the malevolent spirit of a serial killer back from the grave to increase his body count. Though funded by Hollywood, this New Zealand-shot movie was creatively controlled by Jackson and co-writer Fran Walsh. So while the on-screen violence is toned down, there's no soft-pedalling the ugliness of mass murder. At times the relentless special effects and tangled plotting veer towards overkill, but the final tonal swerve is shocking and effective.
Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP.
Wed Jun 3, 8.45pm. £7.50, £5 concs.
The Killing of Sister George
Catch a rare 35mm screening of Robert Aldrich's entertaining adaptation of Frank Marcus's play about an ageing gay actress whose life falls apart as she loses her job in a TV soap series. To be fair, the film could never be described as either realistic or sensitive. With its grotesque stereotyping and tour de force bitchiness and hysteria, it's more like a sequel to ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’. The result is cynical, objectionable and fun, distinguished by Beryl Reid's marvellously energetic performance.
Regent Street Cinema, 309 Regent St, W1B 2UW.
Sun Jun 7, 9pm. £11, £10 concs.
Anachron Film Club: Italian Sci-fi B-Movies
Blast off with a pair of loopy spaghetti sci-fi flicks from the ’60s and ’70s. ‘Terror in Space’, from legendary exploitation director Mario Bava (‘Black Sunday’, ‘Danger: Diabolik’), is a tale of demonic possession by a host of alien spirits, as the survivors of a spaceship crash find themselves confronted with walking corpses. ‘Beast in Space’ (you’ve gotta love these titles) is a camp, saucy romp about a ship’s captain faced with a rogue computer that forces people to have sex. It’s like they saw the future…
Muse Gallery, 269 Portobello Rd, W11 1LR.
Tue Jun 2, 7pm. FREE.
‘Menilmontant’ + live piano
Time has dealt much more kindly with silent filmmaker Dimitri Kirsanoff than with most of his contemporaries. A Russian émigré in Paris who enjoyed little contact with other filmmakers, his extraordinary montages, dissolves and narrative ellipses nevertheless echo many of the early avant-garde film experiments. But in Kirsanoff's work, such devices are overridden and firmly welded together by the romantic impressionism that casts a haunting aura of malevolent beauty over ‘Ménilmontant’ and its story of a suburban axe murderer.
Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS.
Sun Jun 7, 3pm. £11.50, £10.50 concs.
Tufnell Park Film Club: ‘The Maltese Falcon’
Director John Huston's first film displays the hallmarks that were to distinguish his later work: the mocking attitude toward human greed; the cavalier insolence with which plot details are treated; the delight in bizarre characterisations, here ranging from the amiably snarling Sam Spade ('When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it') who opened up a whole new romantic career for Humphrey Bogart, to Peter Lorre's petulant, gardenia-scented Joel Cairo and Sidney Greenstreet's monstrously jocular Fat Man ('By gad, sir, you are a character'). Filmed almost entirely in interiors, it presents a claustrophobic world animated by betrayal, perversion and pain.
The Lord Palmerston, 33 Dartmouth Park Hill, NW5 1HU.
Tue Jun 2, 8pm. £15 m’ship.
Rocco and His Brothers
The last gasp of the neo-realist spirit in master director Luchino Visconti's work, ‘Rocco and His Brothers’ chronicles at length the misfortunes that befall an Italian peasant family when they move to The Big City. There's a grey conviction about much of the scene-setting and the location shooting, but the film gathers interest as it escalates into melodrama; the tragic climax is pure opera. Alain Delon is unconvincing as the saintly Rocco, but Renato Salvatori makes the thuggish elder brother who falls in with a gay boxing promoter his best part ever.
Ciné Lumière, 17 Queensberry Place, SW7 2DT.
Sun Jun 7, 2pm. £8, £6 concs.
Where Ray Bradbury's novel posited a strange, terrifyingly mechanised society which has banned books in the interests of material well-being, Francois Truffaut’s film presents a cosy world not so very different from our own, with television a universal father-figure pouring out reassuring messages, and the only element of menace a fire-engine tearing down the road. As Oskar Werner's fireman hero goes about his task of destroying literature, his growing awareness of the almost human way in which books curl up and die in the flames gradually assumes the dimensions of a quest for a legendary lost treasure.
ICA, Nash House, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH.
Tue Jun 2, 6.30pm. £6, £3 concs.