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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…

BFI Cult: ‘Matinee’

The BFI’s Cult series does a terrific job of bringing underexposed, underrated and often ultra-weird films to a wider audience, and Joe Dante’s odd, nostalgic film-nerd comedy is a prime example. In Key West, Florida during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, 14-year-old Gene is preoccupied with the forthcoming visit by B-movie king Lawrence Woolsey to promote ‘Mant’, his new bargain-basement exploiter about a chap mutating into an ant. Plot-wise that’s about it in this engagingly affectionate satire on small-town American fears. But it’s the string of visual and verbal gags that make the film so enjoyable; the in-jokes and cameos reinforce the mood of loving, wry homage, and the kids’ stuff never cloys. Inspired chaos for anyone into the delirious absurdities of ’50s sci-fi.

BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT. Fri Jul 29, 8.45pm. £8.35–£11.75.

Check the Gate: ‘Eureka’

Another excellent pick for the Prince Charles’s season of films on 35mm, this time from the Guardian’s racing expert and film club enthusiast Tony Paley. He’s chosen Nicolas Roeg’s disturbing ‘Eureka’, in which a prospector in 1920s Canada finally strikes it lucky, and is engulfed in a river of gold. He then spends the rest of his life entombed in his house in the Bahamas, wondering what on earth there is left. It’s a great, ‘Citizen Kane’-like notion – the price we pay for gaining what we want – and the film overflows with awkward ideas and strange emotion.

Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. Mon Aug 1, 8.45pm. £8.50.

The VITO Project: ‘Strangers on a Train’

Expect an exploration of the subtext of Hitchcock’s movie at this free monthly film night themed around LGBT issues. Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s novel, ‘Strangers on a Train’ takes as its central proposition the meeting and ensuing guilty association of two complete strangers. Robert Walker buttonholes Farley  Granger, a star tennis player anxious to remarry but with a clinging wife, and initiates a hypnotic discussion of exchange murders. Hitchcock erects a web of guilt around his characters, and structures his film around a series of set pieces, ending with a fit of violence on a circus carousel.

The Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way, SE11 4TH. Wed Jul 27, 7pm. FREE.

Andrzej Zulawski season: ‘Possession’

If you haven’t seen Polish madman Andrzej Zulawski’s unrelenting horror masterpiece, do not miss this special screening. It starts relatively quietly – an expat couple living in Berlin find their marriage falling apart – and builds through a series of arguments, betrayals, unexplained occurrences, bizarre satirical interruptions and scenes of extreme horror until the intensity is almost unbearable. The lead performances are remarkable – Isabelle Adjani’s explosive freakout in the metro station remains one of cinema’s most devastating kicks in the face – and the script is both politically bold and emotionally draining.

Deptford Cinema, 39 Deptford Broadway, SE8 4PQ. Tue Jul 26, 7pm. £5, £3.50 concs.

‘Escape to Victory’

We’re not sure why JW3, the Jewish education and culture centre, has chosen to screen this at 11am, but whatever – any time’s the right time to watch this loopy, absurd story of a group of footballers taking on the Nazis. Like a birthday card in the ‘For Boys’ section of a card shop with a picture of a racing car jumping over a steam train full of cowboys, ‘Escape’ has everything for the immature adolescent male. But this comic book fantasy, in which Allied POWs are forced to play a lose-lose football match against their captors, turns out to be something more subversive: emphasising our common footballing culture, it’s a rallying call for European integration.

JW3, 341-351 Finchley Road, NW3 6ET. Sun Jul 31, 11am. £6.

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

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