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Five fun film events happening in London this week

Written by
Tom Huddleston

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…

Backyard Cinema: ‘Romeo + Juliet’

Catch the DiCaprio ‘n’ Danes version of Shakespeare’s tragedy in an atmospheric environment, with a live choir offering songs from the movie. Baz Luhrmann's version of the play is relentlessly inventive and innovative. Bravely (but sensibly) sticking with the original dialogue, Luhrmann makes the central element of his audacious adaptation visual: as the camera races wildly around, the striking sets, costumes, characters, the colours and compositions serve to evoke the forces of wealth and poverty, love and hate, power and pride, prejudice and superstition that infest the chaotically sprawling world of Verona.

St Mary’s Church, Wyndham Place, York Street, W1H 1PQ. Until Apr 9. £20.

Disaster Film Club: ‘Ornette: Made in America’

The Disaster Film Club offers up another great music-themed movie, with DJs in the bar playing all kinds of skronking jazz. Not surprisingly, the musical content in this doc about modern jazz's greatest iconoclast is superb: much of it revolves around a 1983 performance of Ornette Coleman's 'Skies of America' suite, with orchestra and the harmolodic Prime Time band. Shirley Clarke's film features psychedelic visual tricks, though little info on the master's life or career. It’s essential viewing for any jazz aficionado.

Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare St, E8 1HE. Wed Mar 30, 7.30pm. £5.

Camberwell Free Film Festival: ‘Amy’

This year’s Camberwell Free Film Festival offers a slew of recent titles – from British favourites like ‘45 Years’ to foreign titles including the wonderfully dry ‘A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence’ – all for no money. Our pick is this remarkable Oscar winner: anyone with a beating heart will be forgiven for allowing it to break during this unflinching and thoughtful account of the life and death of the soul singer Amy Winehouse. A shattering and sensitive documentary, it's directed by Asif Kapadia, the British director of 'Senna', who has once again created an immersive, layered portrait.  

The Joiners Arms, 35 Denmark Hill, SE5 8RS. Thu Mar 31, 8pm. Free.

Classic Cinema Club: ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’

Why did the fans turn late-night screenings of this cult favourite into an elaborate ritual of dressing-up, singing along, throwing rice and waving cigarette lighters? Well, the material 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. A string of hummable songs gives it momentum, Gray's admirably straight-faced narrator holds it together, and a run on black lingerie takes care of almost everything else.

Questor’s Theatre, 12 Mattock Lane, W5 5BQ. Fri Apr 1, 7.30pm. £10, £7 concs.

‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’

Although based on journalist Cameron Crowe's investigative study of high school kids, this is essentially a straight-up sex 'n' fun exploitation movie. There's the usual array of school stereotypes (the lecher, the stoned surfer, the hustler), a rock-pop score, and endless attention to the rituals of dating and mating. But it's an endlessly witty movie, with an iconic performance from Sean Penn as the stoned surfer.

House of Vans, 228-232 Station Approach Rd, SE1 8SW. Sat Apr 2, 6pm. Free.

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

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