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.
Head Trips: ‘Belladonna of Sadness’
Subtitled ‘Films for the Inner Eye’, this short season of world psychedelic classics offers movies to expand the mind and feed the soul. Titles on offer include ‘Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti’, about the power of voodoo; Werner Herzog’s little-seen bizarro freakout ‘Fata Morgana’ and paint-splattered cosmic epic ‘The Colour of Pomegranates’. But our pick is this recently unearthed Japanese animated film from 1973, in which a young woman makes a deal with the devil. The visuals are ravishing and the soundtrack will burn into your brain. Don’t miss.
Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS. Mon Sep 19, 8.30pm. 9.50, £8.50 concs.
Uptown Rockers Reggae Film Festival: ‘Babylon’
A truly excellent weekend of reggae-themed movies, from Jamaican classics like ‘Rockers’ and the inimitable ‘The Harder They Come’ to homegrown films including ‘Pressure’ and ‘Babylon’, the iconic London-set sound-system story. Released in 1980 to widespread controversy and critical acclaim, Franco Rosso’s film offers a unique insight into an iconic period in London’s history: black Britain before the Brixton riots, a time of mobile sound systems, racial segregation and simmering violence.
Regent Street Cinema, 309 Regent St, W1B 2UW. Sun Sep 18, 8.30pm. £12, £11 concs.
BFI Flipside presents: ‘Psychomania’ + Q&A
This pitch-black British comedy-horror is finally getting a proper DVD release courtesy of the BFI, marked by this special event featuring cast members who’ll reminisce about making this unique oddity. ‘Psychomania’ follows the exploits of a motorbike gang leader who discovers the art of self-resurrection. So he kills himself and is buried along with his bike, until he guns the engine and shoots back up through the turf. This level of absurdity could be feeble, but director Don Sharp knows how to shoot it straight.
BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT. Wed Sep 14, 8.30pm. £8.35–£11.75.
Scalarama & Reel Good Film Club: ‘Losing Ground’
The month-long Scalarama festival rumbles on, offering DIY film screenings from some of the city’s most enthusiastic and idiosyncratic film clubs. The Reel Good Film Club celebrates the best in black cinema, with a focus on films by women. So it’s appropriate that they’re screening the first feature film ever directed by an African American woman – astonishingly, it didn’t come out until 1982. From writer-director Kathleen Collins, ‘Losing Ground’ is a smart, witty tale of a young woman’s search for her own path.
Genesis Cinema, 93–95 Mile End Rd, E1 4UJ. Sun Sep 18, 6pm. £6, £4 concs.
French maestro Clair Denis’ extraordinary movie centres on soldier Galoup who, while holed up in Marseille, recalls his time as a sergeant-major in the Foreign Legion. In the desert, he drilled raw recruits while quietly nurturing feelings of respect and love for his superior, Forestier, before he caved in to resentment, envy and hate. Denis creates a fixed, timeless world of mysterious, balletic rites, rippled with simmering homoerotic tensions. The intensity of mood and thematic resonance both derive almost entirely from the poetic juxtaposition of music and the stunning images of beauty and sustained, even surreal strangeness. If you’ve never seen it on the big screen, prepare to be blown away.
Ciné Lumière, 17 Queensberry Place, SW7 2DT. Sun Sep 18, 2pm.
For the full list, go to Time Out’s film events page