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

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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.

1

Film4 Frightfest: 'The Babadook'

This year’s Film4 Frightfest line-up is bigger than ever, with five full days of new and classic horror movies, discussions, quizzes and celebrity talks. The highlights are too numerous to list here, but one particular standout has to be this disturbing Aussie creeper, which scored a five-star Time Out review. Who brought a children’s book called ‘Mister Babadook’, filled with illustrations of toothy terrors peering around bedroom doors, into a family home? The answer to that is left deliciously vague in this slow-building, expertly unsettling horror film. Actress-turned-director Jennifer Kent is a natural. She favours crisp compositions and unfussy editing, transforming a banal family house into a subtle, shadowy threat.

Read the Time Out review of ‘The Babadook’

  1. Vue West End, 3 Cranbourn St, WC2H 7AL.
  2. 6.30pm, Sat Aug 23. £13.

2

‘Alien’ 35th anniversary

Join editor Terry Rawlings (‘Chariots of Fire’, ‘White of the Eye’, ‘Goldeneye’) and Ridley Scott’s longtime co-producer Ivor Powell for a thirty-fifth anniversary screening of the classic space horror.  Aboard the commercial spaceship Nostromo, the crew answers a distress signal from a nearby planet. That it’s all so natural – they drink coffee, bitch about overtime – only adds to the suspense. Writer Dan O’Bannon openly admitted, ‘I didn’t steal “Alien” from anybody. I stole it from everybody!’ Horror films have been paying ‘Alien’ the same compliment ever since.

Read the Time Out review of ‘Alien’

  1. Genesis Cinema, 93-95 Mile End Rd, E1 4UJ.
  2. 3pm, Sun Aug 24. £20.
3

The 5000 Fingers of Dr T

This 1953 adventurecan barely contain its multiple fascinations within the kids' movie format, attempting as it does to make explicit the connections between dreams, surrealism and psychoanalysis. Using the child's fantasy structure of ‘The Wizard of Oz’, it's the tale of nine-year-old Bart, who resents his piano teacher Terwilliker as an authoritarian madman bent on mesmerising his mother, killing the friendly plumber, imprisoning all other musicians and enslaving 500 little boys at a giant keyboard to rehearse his own masterpiece for eternity. This awesome piece of entertainment really does have something for everyone.

Read the Time Out review of ‘The 5000 Fingers of Dr T’

  1. Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS.
  2. 4pm, Sat Aug 23. £9.50, £8.50 concs.
4

Prince Take-Over!

Squee! The Minneapolis sex-midget takes over the appropriately named Prince Charles Cinema for an extended evening of leather kecks, high camp and wailing guitars. Okay, so the films themselves aren’t exactly masterpieces. ‘Purple Rain’ is rightly acclaimed as a prime slice of rock wish fulfillment, but Prince’s own directorial debut ‘Under the Cherry Moon’ (co-starring Kristin Scott-Thomas, fact fans) and fantastical ‘Purple Rain’ sequel ‘Graffiti Bridge’ are both pretty ropey. Still, the music’s great, the wine will be flowing and you’ll be surrounded by like-minded freaks, so a good time is guaranteed.

  1. Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP.
  2. 6.30pm, Sat Aug 23. £17.50, £15 concs.
5

Dreams That Money Can Buy

Another art-movie classic screens in aid of the struggling Horse Hospital. This 1946 film's artistic credentials couldn't be more imposing. In addition to the expatriate Surrealists and Dadaists who contributed their writing and design skills to the various episodes, including Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp, there’s music by John Cage and Darius Milhaud, among others. The ‘story’ centres on a man with the power to generate dreams, leading inevitably to a number of wild dream sequences. The result is perhaps not quite the sum of its parts, but it’s a fascinating experiment.

Read the Time Out review of ‘Dreams That Money Can Buy’

  1. The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, WC1N 1JD.
  2. 7pm, Wed Aug 20. £5.
6

Film4 FrightFest: 'Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr Moreau'

One of the murkiest episodes in recent cinema is finally brought to light in this new doc, making its UK debut at FrightFest. It’s the tale of how the hugely talented South African director Richard Stanley was hired to write and direct a new adaptation of HG Wells’s gene-splicing masterwork ‘The Island of Doctor Moreau’, how Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer were cast in the film, and how the entire project fell to pieces following a hurricane and some on-set bad behaviour. This promises to be a fascinating insight into Hollywood’s chew ’em up, spit ’em out approach to filmmaking.

  1. Vue West End, 3 Cranbourn St, WC2H 7AL.
  2. 6.10pm, Sun Aug 24. £13.
7

Pop-Up Screens: 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'

Why did the fans turn screenings of this cult favourite into an elaborate ritual of dressing-up, singing along, throwing toast and waving cigarette lighters? Well, for one thing, the film inspires affection, given its knowing pastiche of everything from Universal horrors to ’50s grade-Z sci-fi, and a shamelessly hedonistic, fiercely independent sensibility that must have seemed a welcome relief from the mainstream bombast of other ’70s musicals (not exactly ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, is it?). A string of hummable songs gives it momentum, the admirably straight-faced narrator holds it together, and a run on black lingerie takes care of almost everything else.

Read the Time Out review of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’

  1. Morden Hall Park, Morden Hall Road, SM4 5JD.
  2. 7pm, Fri Aug 22. £10.
8

Fugazi: Instrument

This feature length 'measurement' of the US alt-rock band Fugazi collates material of the band at work and play, on the road and on public access TV, with portraits of and interviews with their fans and other concertgoers. Its core, however, is built around filmmaker Jem Cohen's own accumulation of footage spanning a decade. The documentary emphasises what makes the band special both onstage (its angular, distended, semi-improvised brand of agit-rock and freeform performance) and off (a dedication to affordable popular access, commercial independence and political activism).

Read the Time Out review of ‘Instrument’

  1. ICA, Nash House, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH.
  2. 8.45pm, Wed Aug 20. £7-£11.
9

Throne of Blood

Kurosawa's adaptation of ‘Macbeth’ is reckoned by many to be one of the very few successful efforts at filming Shakespeare. Translating the familiar story to medieval Japan, with Macbeth as the samurai Washizu (Toshiro Mifune), the adaptation deletes most of the minor characters. Kurosawa transforms the witches' scenes into a magical encounter with an old woman spinning in a forest glade and conceives a stunningly graphic fate for the usurper, clinging stubbornly to his promise of glory even as he is being turned into a human pin-cushion by volleys of arrows.

Read the Time Out review of ‘Throne of Blood’

  1. East Dulwich Tavern, 1 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, SE22 8EW.
  2. 7pm, Thu Aug 21. £7.
10

Dazed and Confused

School's breaking up for the summer of 1976. The seniors debate party politics while next term's freshmen run the gauntlet of brutal initiation rites, barely comforted by the knowledge that they'll wield the stick one day. This has a freewheeling, 'day-in-the-life' structure, which allows director Richard Linklater, in his second feature, to eavesdrop on an ensemble cast without much in the way of dramatic contrivance. There's a quirky countercultural intelligence at work: sympathy for those on the sidelines, and a deadpan pop irony that places this among the hippest teenage movies. Seriously funny and shorn of any hint of nostalgia or wish-fulfillment, this is pretty much where it's at.

Read the Time Out review of ‘Dazed and Confused’

  1. Rio, 107 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB.
  2. 11.30pm, Sat Aug 23. £8.50.

Users say

5 comments
Joanie P
Joanie P

Heads up on MurderDrome: It's an AUSTRALIAN trash roller derby slasher comedy, not American. And the serial killer is a she, not a he. Highly reccomend. 

bengood
bengood

Ivan Reitman isnt dead! Harold Ramis is

JV Sampaio
JV Sampaio

Jango Report is a wonderful surprise depicting recent polítical events in Brazill... it deserves a visit at Covent Garden . Relevants facts are described during 90 minutes, and that will keep your eyes popped out and focused on the screen.

Carol
Carol

Brand X is screening on Monday, details as follows: Rare screening of satirical lost cult film BRAND X (1970), at the Goldsmiths College Cinema, Dixon Road, SE14 6NW on April 29 at 7.30pm, as part of The New Cross and Deptford Free Film Festival. Nearest Overground, New Cross/New Cross Gate. **The screening is free, but may be full so please ARRIVE EARLY to avoid disappointment - doors open at 7**

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