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Five ace film events happening in London this week

By
Tom Huddleston
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Each week, we round up the most exciting film events happening in London over the coming week, from pop-ups and one-offs to regular film clubs, outdoor screenings and festivals. Here’s this week’s top five…

‘Do the Right Thing’ + Black Lives Matter discussion

The Black Lives Matter movement isn’t confined to the US – Britain has a pretty major problem with policing in its black communities as well. This evening will consist of a screening of Spike Lee’s masterpiece, plus a panel discussion with interested parties including The Voice editor George Ruddock and social justice activist Lee Jasper, among others. The film itself is a pacy, punchy ensemble piece set in Brooklyn during 24 stiflingly hot hours. Effortlessly moving from comedy to serious social comment and making superb use of music both to create mood and comment on the action, Lee contrives to see both sides of a conflict without falling prey to simplistic sentimentality. 

Regent Street Cinema, 309 Regent St, W1B 2UW. Thu Aug 11, 8.30pm. £12, £11 concs.

Check the Gate: ‘Modern Romance’

The Prince Charles’s season of classic movies on 35mm film – each chosen by a local critic, filmmaker or expert – continues with the Badlands Collective’s presentation of writer-director-star Albert Brooks’s classic of love in the twentieth century. Brooks casts himself as a neurotic film editor who, unable to cope with his obsessive love for the beautiful Harrold, forces himself to give her up. He then adopts an equally compulsive regime of trying to forget her: taking up jogging, looking up old flames and immersing himself in the editing of a low-budget sci-fi movie. Extremely funny, ultra-hip and alarmingly insightful.

Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. Thu Aug 11, 8.45pm. £8.50.

Punk London: ‘El Topo’

An outsider classic that became a midnight-movie cult in the mid-’70s, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s psychedelic western may be a touch too acid-fried to fully reflect the punk ethos, but it’s a heck of a ride. Taking its cue from spaghetti westerns, it stars the director as an avenger in black who takes on a series of wilderness gurus and endures spiritual meltdown, apparent death and regeneration as a leader of freaks. Inventively composed, beautifully photographed and boasting lakes of blood, shoe fetish action, mystical iconography and dwarf pantomime, it’s by turns mesmerising, grotesque, surreal, satirical, rousing and impenetrable.

BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT. Sun Aug 14, 8.20pm. £8.35–£11.75.

The Talented Mr Ripley

As ‘Jason Bourne’ hits cinemas, let’s all take a trip back in time to when Matt Damon used to do more than just grunt and hit people. His performance in Anthony Minghella’s sun-kissed psycho story remains his best – indeed, it’s probably one of the best by any actor in recent memory. The film is an elegantly polished affair, acutely aware of how class, money and sex shape desire and resentment, and of the distinctions between presenting a facade to the world, outright pretence and the more radical practice of reinventing oneself.

House of Vans, 228–232 Station Approach Rd, SE1 8SW. Sat Aug 13, 3.30pm. Free.

The Nomad: ‘Orlando’

See Sally Potter’s ornate adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s modernist novel outdoors in a remarkable, history-steeped location. It’s a beautiful pageant of 400 years of English history, full of visual and aural pleasures, sly jokes, insights, emotional truths and romance. It begins at the opulent court of Queen Elizabeth, where the male immortal Orlando receives favour and an estate; and thence follows his quest for love in 50-year jumps through the Civil War, the early colonial period, the literary salons of 1750 (by which time Orlando is a woman), the Victorian era and finally a twentieth-century postscript added by Potter.

National Maritime Museum, Park Row, Greenwich, SE10 9NF. Thu Aug 11, £8.45. £20.

For the full list, go to Time Out’s film events page.

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