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Five fun 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…

Isabelle Huppert presents ‘Wanda’

A wonderful chance to see one of the world’s finest actors introducing a film that’s close to her heart – recently rediscovered 1970 indie movie ‘Wanda’, about the wanderings of a semi-destitute American woman. Directing herself, Barbara Loden manages to make the character at once completely convincing in her soggy and directionless amorality, yet gradually sympathetic and even heroic. The film is all the more impressive for its refusal to get embroiled in half-baked political attitudinising; it’s a tragedy that Loden produced nothing else before her untimely death from cancer.

Whitechapel Gallery, 77–82 Whitechapel High St, E1 7QX. Sat Jun 18, 3.30pm. £9.50, £7.50 concs.

Kennington Bioscope Silent Film Festival: ‘The Man Who Laughs’

The Silent Film Festival is a two-day event packed with fascinating shorts, little-seen features and amazing archive footage from the early part of the twentieth century. Our highlight is this troubling masterpiece from 1928. Victor Hugo’s sentimental horror story, featuring a rightful heir kidnapped by gypsies, a blind orphan and so on, becomes a riot of expressionist detail in director Paul Leni’s hands, his camera tracking Hugo’s various grotesques and innocents through rabbit-warren sets like Southwark Fair and the London docks.

The Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way, SE11 4TH. Sat Jun 18, 8.15pm. £11.

Referendum Matinee: ‘The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp’

Given the amount of petty, little-England Blimpishness attached to the forthcoming referendum, this is a perfect choice of film to mark the occasion. The film’s compassionate detailing of the adult life of Clive Candy, who we first meet as a bald old buffer during World War Two and then flash back to follow from his youth during the Boer War onwards, is as moving and surprising as ever: it’s a masterclass in deconstructing a caricature. ‘Blimp’ is desperately sad, too, in its suggestion that time, age and loss make dinosaurs of us all. But its brilliance lies in its insistence that even dinosaurs deserve empathy and maybe even love.

The Star, 47 Chester Rd, N19 5DF. Sun Jun 19, 3.30pm. £15 membership.

‘End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones’ + after party

Watch this sprightly doc about New York’s leather-clad punk legends, then head down to nearby bar Birthdays for a night of headbanging fun.  This is a largely sympathetic look at a group that could never cash in on the kind of witty, radio-friendly pop-punk sounds since imitated by everybody from the Pixies to Busted. Sympathetic, but even-handed: Johnny, the bowl-haired guitarist and de facto leader, is presented as an intractable, unfeeling right-wing disciplinarian, but one whose determination kept the band together and provided much of their dynamic.

Rio, 107 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB. Thu Jun 16, 6.30pm.

Steven Spielberg season: ‘Empire of the Sun’

‘Empire of the Sun’ came smack in the centre of Steven Spielberg’s mid-’80s slump, but there are some incredible moments here. The choice to hire Tom Stoppard to adapt JG Ballard’s semi-autobiographical novel pays dividends with a tight, focused script and some memorable characters, not least John Malkovich’s Machiavellian hipster Basie. Allen Daviau’s sterling cinematography and John Williams’s stirring score add a sense of grandeur (and, at times, glitz), and Spielberg himself was still in his more-light phase, drenching the screen with dazzling searchlights, blazing buildings and, at the climax, Hiroshima itself.

BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT. Sat Jun 18, 8pm. £8.35–£11.75.

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

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