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 & Science Fiction Theatre: ‘Fantastic Voyage’ + talk
The annual Sci-Fi London film festival offers a wealth of new sci-fi movies plus quizzes, talks and even a space-themed dog show. This year, our eye was caught by a rare screening of this gorgeously designed 1960s adventure, complete with a talk on the history of shrinking in SF movies. When a top scientist defecting to the West suffers brain damage in an assassination attempt, the only answer is to inject a miniaturised submarine and medical team through his bloodstream to deal with the clot on his brain. The voyage through the fantastic landscapes of the body is brilliantly imagined.
The Victoria, 451 Queensbridge Road, E8 3AS.
Mon May 2, 8pm. £5.
Haringey Independent Cinema: ‘McLibel’
With McDonald’s back in the news, it’s a grand time to revisit this terrific docudrama about a court case brought by the fast food giant against a London couple. When activists Helen Steel and Dave Morris decided to fight the libel charge levelled against them in 1990 for leaflet allegations they had made, nobody expected it would take 15 years before their victory at the European Court of Human Rights. Independent filmmaker Franny Armstrong charted their progress, and her doc also includes courtroom reconstructions directed by Ken Loach.
Park View School, Langham Rd, N15 3RB.
Thu Apr 28, 7pm. £4, £3 concs.
Temple Cinema: ‘Don’t Look Now’
Another screening in the stunning Masonic Temple on Liverpool Street – and a perfect choice of film for the occasion. Voted the best British film of all time by an expert Time Out panel some years back, it’s a superbly chilling essay in the supernatural, adapted from Daphne du Maurier's short story about a couple, shattered by the death of their small daughter, who go to Venice to forget. There they are approached by a blind woman with a message of warning from the dead child; and half-hoping, half-resisting, they are sucked into a terrifying vortex of time where disaster may be foretold but not forestalled.
Andaz Hotel, 40 Liverpool St, EC2M 7QN.
Tue Apr 26, 7.30pm. £15.
The Lord of the Rings Extended Trilogy
The epically longer, infinitely better extended cuts of Peter Jackson’s trilogy get a rare big-screen outing this bank holiday Monday. You know the plot already, but just in case you’ve been living in a cave for the better part of the century: young hobbit Frodo Baggins comes into possession of the ring of power – a talisman of evil so potent it corrupts everyone who touches it. Under the guidance of the wizard Gandalf, Frodo escapes the clutches of the fearsome ringwraiths and heads for the kingdom of the elves, where they hope to thwart the encroaching forces of doom.
Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP.
Mon May 2, 11am. £22.50.
Captain America triple bill
Another monumental triple bill, culminating in the brand-new (and really rather good) instalment in the Marvel soap opera, ‘Captain America: Civil War’. The first film is an enjoyable superhero romp, but it’s with part two, ‘The Winter Soldier’, that things get interesting, as Steve Rogers stumbles across the site of a massive military build-up: three huge ‘helicarriers’ stored beneath Washington, primed to pry into people’s privacy. A classy action blockbuster, ‘The Winter Soldier’ nods to ’70s classics ‘The Parallax View’ and ‘Three Days of the Condor’.
Genesis Cinema, 93–95 Mile End Rd, E1 4UJ.
Thu Apr 28, 6.55pm. £14, £9 concs.
Godard Double Bill: ‘Bande a Part’ + ‘Pierrot Le Fou’
A pair of oh-so-French classics from New Wave legend Jean-Luc Godard. In ‘Bande a Parte’, actress Anna Karina is taken up by two self-conscious toughs and they try to learn English, execute some neat dance steps, run around the Louvre at high speed, and rob Karina's aunt with disastrous consequences. In ‘Pierrot Le Fou’, meanwhile, we’re launched into the lunatic orbit of Jean-Paul Belmondo’s Ferdinand, a rakish, unemployed adman choking on consumerist jargon and bourgeois conformity.
Rio, 107 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB.
Mon May 2, 12.15pm. £11, £9 concs.
Tufnell Park FC: ‘Assault on Precinct 13’
John Carpenter's second feature borrowed from ‘Night of the Living Dead’ to produce one of the most effective exploitation movies of the 1970s. The gimmick is cops and cons besieged in an abandoned LA police station by a group of kamikaze urban guerillas. Carpenter scrupulously avoids any overt socio-political pretensions, playing it for laughs and suspense in perfectly balanced proportions. It's sheer delight from beginning to end.
The Star, 47 Chester Rd, N19 5DF.
Tue Apr 26, 8pm. £10 membership.
Studio Ghibli Forever: ‘Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind’
Over the next few months, London’s Picturehouse cinemas will once a week screen classic movies from the Studio Ghibli stable. The season kicks off with Hayao Miyazaki’s magical eco-fable. With her tomboyish bob cut, jet powered glider and (naturally) cute furry sidekick, Nausicaä is the feisty, morally righteous and ineffably endearing heroine here, doing everything in her power to protect her tiny village situated in the eponymous Valley of the Wind, even if it means channelling giant blue sea worms to stave off the callous advances of warmongering neighbours.
Picturehouse Central, 20–24 Shaftesbury Ave, W1D 7DH.
Sat Apr 30, 3pm. £8.
John Carpenter’s Apocalypse Trilogy
A trilogy in the loosest sense, these three fantastic John Carpenter movies all take a different approach to the idea of the end of the world. ‘The Thing’ is an alien-invasion masterpiece set in the frozen Antarctic; ‘Prince of Darkness’ is a dour, ‘Exorcist’-ish parable in which Satan is represented as a giant vat of green goop; and ‘In the Mouth of Madness’ is a hugely entertaining and often damn scary horror story inspired by the tales of HP Lovecraft.
Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP.
Fri Apr 29, 6.30pm. £15.
The London Comedy Film Festival is packed with classic movies, but we’re particularly pleased to mark the return of this saucy New York hipster-com, now celebrating its tenth birthday. John Cameron Mitchell’s film is heartfelt and hilarious, oozing warmth, colour and song as well as bodily fluids. The film is structured around seven young New Yorkers orbiting the titular ‘salon for the gifted and challenged’, a kind of super-tolerant pansexual orgy with elements of performance art and group therapy thrown in.
Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare St, E8 1HE.
Fri Apr 29, 8.30pm. £12, £11 concs.