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.
‘A Fistful of Fingers’ + Edgar Wright Q&A
Many great filmmakers started out DIY. Steven Spielberg shot WWII movies with his classmates. David Lynch spent years crafting ‘Eraserhead’ in a barn. Shane Meadows made crime comedies starring himself in a crap wig. And ‘Shaun of the Dead’ director Edgar Wright was as ambitious as any of them. His 1995 debut ‘A Fistful of Fingers’ is a ludicrous but genuinely funny spaghetti western shot in Somerset and starring – among many others – Jeremy Beadle as himself. ‘I’m not going to say it’s as good as “Citizen Kane”,’ says Wright, who’ll be in town to introduce this thirtieth anniversary screening, ‘but it is a hell of a lot sillier.’
Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP.
Tue Nov 24, 8.30pm. £11, £8.50 concs.
Luis Bunuel season: 'Diary of a Chambermaid' + Jean-Claude Carriere Q&A
Author and Buñuel collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière will introduce this screening of Buñuel’s satirical story set during the rise of fascism in the 1930s. Jeanne Moreau plays the beautiful, ambitious Célestine, who makes it from downstairs to upstairs by manipulating her right-wing boss. Buñuel digs right down to the spiritual gunge that links political, sexual and social positions, and Moreau's baleful charisma perfectly complements Buñuel's sardonic sadness.
ICA, Nash House, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH.
Wed Nov 25, 8.20pm. £11, £7 concs.
Out 1: Noli Mi Tangere
Can you endure 13 hours of arty Frenchness? The full version of Jacques Rivette's grand experiment is almost too much to cope with. This features improvisations by some of the best New Wave actors, edited and arranged so that sometimes it's telling a complex mystery story – about thirteen conspirators, two theatre groups, and a couple of crazed outsiders – while the rest of the time it's telling a realistic story about the same people that deliberately makes no sense at all. It's a challenging and terrifying journey for all who can bear with it.
Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP.
Sat Nov 28 & Sun Nov 29. £40.
Alibi Film Club: ‘The Howling’
Joe Dante's 1981 werewolf movie sees TV reporter Dee Wallace seeking therapy with bizarre consciousness-raising group 'The Colony' after a traumatic incident involving a serial killer, only to discover they’re not what they seem. References to lycanthropic lore, literature and cinema abound, gags are plentiful, and the whole thing casts a pleasingly sceptical glance at self-help fads. Hardly surprising, given Dante's irreverent sense of humour and the fact that the film was co-written by John Sayles.
The Alibi, 91 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB.
Mon Nov 30, 8pm. FREE.
Celebrate the Sinatra centenary with an evening of live Frank-inspired jazz and this goofy but enjoyable crime comedy, later remade with George Clooney. Frank is joined by his entire Rat Pack, playing ex-army buddies who plan a grand heist in Las Vegas, relieving five casinos simultaneously of their loot. The evocation of Las Vegas as a neon nightmare may possibly be unintentional, since the film was made by Sinatra's own company as an extended advertisement for his shows there. The heist itself, though, is a superb piece of movie-making.
The London Edition, 10 Berners St, W1T 3NP.
Tue Nov 24, 6.30pm. £35.
Fringe! ‘Shinjuku Boys’
This all-too-brief but event-stuffed festival offers heaps of new LGBT cinema including Peter Greenaway’s latest, ‘Eisenstein in Guanajuato’, and the wonderfully titled ‘Dyke Hard’. But our pick is ‘Shinjuku Boys’, documentary master Kim Longinotto’s 1995 study of the New Marilyn Club in Tokyo, a home-from-home for the city’s population of Onnabes – women who live as men. It’s an intimate, powerful film.
Rose Lipman Building, 43 De Beauvoir Rd, N1 5SQ.
Sun Nov 29, 6pm. Free.
The Duke Mitchell Film Club
More freaky film fun from those past masters of the form, the Duke Mitchell Film Club. In addition to the usual trailer mash-ups, shorts, competitions and nonsense – all retooled along seasonal, Santa-bothering lines – this month’s main feature is festive obscurity ‘The Gathering’, a 1977 American TV movie that’s never been screened over here. Ed Asner plays an elderly man reeling from a fatal illness diagnosis, who pulls his family together for one last sentimental get-together.
The Phoenix Artist Club, 1 Phoenix Street, WC2H 8BU.
Thu Nov 26, 8pm. FREE.
Overlook Screening Room: ‘The Shop Around the Corner’
The struggles of a coterie of neurotic, underpaid, underloved department store clerks are brought to the screen with the delicacy and grace of a fine ermine purse by German-expat genius Ernst Lubitsch in this wonderful 1940 comedy. At its centre is Jimmy Stewart playing bookish grafter Alfred Kralik, who penfriends a dame more enlightened and worldly than any of his colleagues (or so he thinks). But this is as much a film about group dynamics in the workplace and how the distress and desperation inflicted on those at the top of the ladder can trickle down to the rank and file as it is about romance.
The Water Poet, 9-11 Folgate St, E1 6BX.
Thu Nov 26, 7pm. FREE.
Classic Cinema Club: ‘Z’
Costa-Gavras's crowd-pleasing thriller was based on the 1965 Lambrakis affair, in which investigation of the accidental death of a medical professor uncovered a network of police and government corruption. The recreation of the murder and the subsequent investigation uses the techniques of an American thriller to gripping effect, though conspiracies are so commonplace nowadays that it's hard to imagine the impact it made at the time.
Ealing Town Hall, New Broadway, W5 2BY.
Fri Nov 27, 7.30pm. £7, £6 concs.
Full Moon Film Night: ‘Night of the Living Dead’
With its radical rewriting of a genre in which good had always triumphed over evil, Romero's first feature shattered the conventions of horror. Together with a small group of fellow survivors, young Barbara holes up in a farmhouse besieged by an ever-swelling tide of flesh-eating zombies. Trapped inside the house, they fight for their lives, but nothing works out as it should. Whenever it seems there might be a glimmer of hope, Romero cruelly reverses our expectations. Chuckle, if you can, during the first few minutes; because after that laughter catches in the throat as the clammy hand of terror tightens its grip.
Deptford Cinema, 39 Deptford Broadway, SE8 4PQ.
Sat Nov 28, 8pm. £5, £3.50 concs.