The best film events in London this week
One-off screenings, festivals, seasons, double-bills and more. Each week we bring you the very best of London's alternative film events
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.
Little White Lies magazine takes over the ICA for a weekend of classic films and a fistful of previews, including this wondrous tale of punk and puberty from ‘Together’ director Lukas Moodysson. The older titles – all screened on 35mm – range from esteemed favourites like ‘Punch Drunk Love’ and ‘Mulholland Drive’ to oddball asides including Harmony Korine’s ‘Gummo’ and the estimable Irish gangster disaster ‘Taffin’. But ‘We Are the Best’ might be – as its title suggests – the pick of the litter, an hilarious, warm-hearted story of three rebellious teens who want to smash the system.
- ICA, Nash House, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH
- 6pm, Sun Dec 8 - £10, £8 concs.
DJs Ghostpoet, Tim Westwood and others will be on hand to provide musical bookends to this screening of the scuzzily charming 1983 breakdance ’n’ graffiti classic. Capturing a time and place when all you needed for entertainment was some Cold Crush Brothers on your oversized ghettoblaster and a wedge of cardboard upon which to dance, ‘Wild Style’ takes in basketball court rumpuses that meld into hip hop street theatre, late-night train yard break-ins and, for its finale, a huge local concert.
Read the Time Out review of ‘Wild Style’
- Oval Space, 29-32 The Oval, E2 9DT
- 7.30pm, Sat Dec 7 - £12
Grab a cup of mulled wine, stick a marshmallow on the bonfire and settle in for a screening of what is, perhaps, the greatest Christmas movie of them all. Pop-up experts The Nomad have taken over this arboreal idyll in the heart of Hyde Park for a fistful of screenings (‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ plays earlier that afternoon, ‘Elf’ and ‘Gremlins’ the following day). Frank Capra’s 1946 fable is a fascinating melange of social and personal impulses and the questionable charms of home, with a loveable performance from Jimmy Stewart as the put-upon George Bailey.
Read the Time Out review of ‘It's a Wonderful Life’
- The Lookout, Hyde Park, W2 2UH
- 7.15pm, Mon Dec 9 - £15
An unbeatable pair of festive-ish favourites. 1939’s ‘Meet Me in St Louis’ is a Technicolor ode to the joys and tensions of living side-by-side with your fellow man. In a snow globe rendering of Missouri circa 1903, the affluent Smith clan must face the prospect of ripping up their ancestral roots to chase future fortunes. The film has only a whisper of a plot, preferring to amass the simple pleasures of life into a single romantic vision of a perfect society. 1940’s ‘The Shop Around the Corner’ sees the struggles of a coterie of neurotic, underpaid, underloved department store clerks brought to the screen with the delicacy and grace of a fine ermine purse.
- Riverside Studios, Crisp Rd, W6 9RL
- 6.10pm, Sun Dec 8 - £9.50, £8.50 concs.
What could be more dreamy than spending the night in Lynchtown? Kicking off with tearjerking period piece ‘The Elephant Man’ and continuing long into the night, this is a rock-solid selection of surrealist masterworks. Sure, there probably won’t be as much of a party atmosphere as most Prince Charles all-nighters, but here’s hoping a ‘Love Me Tender’ singalong kicks off at the end of ‘Wild at Heart’. In fact, the only serious problem we can envisage is drifting off at 4am and waking up to the rabbits sequence from ‘Inland Empire’ – from one inexplicable nightmare to another.
- Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP
- 9pm, Sat Dec 7 - £25, £22.50 concs.
As his new film ‘Nebraska’ hits cinemas, the BFI pay tribute to one of the most reliable writer-directors in the business, ‘Sideways’ and ‘The Descendants’ helmer Alexander Payne. But though his career may have gone from the strength to strength, there’s no getting over the fact that this 1999 comedy – his second film – remains Payne’s best work by a country mile. It may be set in high school, but its satiric take on moral corruption, political chicanery, adultery and seduction is anything but juvenile.
- BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT
- 8.40pm, Fri Dec 6 - £8.50-£12.10
The Road to God Knows Where
He’s now 56, and has been in the music biz for four decades, but Nick Cave shows no signs of slowing – his new LP ‘Push the Sky Away’ is being touted as one of the year’s best. But for those of us who prefer the old, angry Nick, this 1989 US tour document is a must-see. Anyone who caught Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on that Tender Prey tour – which also produced the thunderous ‘Live Seeds’ – will attest that this was a band in their prime, taking no prisoners.
- Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare St, E8 1HE
- 11.30pm, Fri Dec 6 - £8.20
Director Jean-Pierre Melville's special achievement was to relocate the American gangster film to France, and to incorporate his own steely poetic and philosophical obsessions. Darker, more abstract and desolate than his earlier work, this shows, set piece by set piece, the breakdown of the criminal codes under which Melville's characters had previously operated. The film's central sequence, a superbly executed silent jewel robbery in the Place Vendôme, is a masterclass in tension.
Read the Time Out review of ‘Le Cercle Rouge’
- Ciné Lumière, 17 Queensbury Place, SW7 2DT
- 2pm, Sun Dec 8 - £8
Sandy Wilson’s delightfully lightweight musical was adapted in 1971 by Ken Russell, clearly looking for something a bit frothier after the relentless horror of ‘The Devils’. Some things work beautifully: Tommy Tune's deliriously leggy Charleston, the bathing beauty inanities of ‘Sur la Plage’, almost everything Twiggy does as the wide-eyed ingenue at the centre of it all. But there are also some bloated Busby Berkeley pastiches, which clash with Wilson's mock-’20s score.
Read the Time Out review of ‘The Boy Friend’
- Mycenae Community Cinema, 90 Mycenae Road, SE3 7SE
- 8pm, Wed Dec 4 - FREE
New Year's Eve, 1958, Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) climbs on to a window-ledge of the Hudsucker Industries skyscraper in snowy Manhattan. We flash back a month: company chairman Waring Hudsucker shocks board members by plunging 45 floors to the sidewalk below – at the moment young Norville, a hayseed business graduate from Indiana, first enters the building to take a post in the mail room. From the Coen Brothers, this is a notably well-executed, very funny and very well-acted movie: a quirky, sardonic take on '50s faddishness, fame, power, friendship, character and ethics.
Read the Time Out review of ‘The Hudsucker Proxy’
- The Lord Palmerston, 33 Dartmouth Park Hill, NW5 1HU
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