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.
Human Rights Watch Film Festival: ‘I Am Not Your Negro’
The Human Rights Watch Film Festival returns to Picturehouse Central with 12 days of powerful political docs and intimate human stories from around the globe. Subjects range from labour laws in China (‘Complicit’) to illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine (‘The Settlers’), from the Syrian war (‘Lost in Lebanon’) to a California prison (‘They Call Us Monsters’). Masterfully addressing the American racial divide, director Raoul Peck’s ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ is inspired by author James Baldwin’s unfinished final book, intended to tell the story of being black in America through the lives – and deaths – of three of his friends: activist Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.
Picturehouse Central, 20–24 Shaftesbury Ave, W1D 7DH. Mar 9, 9pm. £12.
Fashion in Film Festival: ‘Opening Night’
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Fashion in Film festival, a celebration of style in and out of the cinema. And it all kicks off, appropriately, with John Cassavetes’s remarkable 1977 melodrama ‘Opening Night’, about an actress coming to terms with her own mortality. Gena Rowlands gives a devastating performance as Myrtle Gordon, a grande dame of American theatre whose total immersion method acting backfires when she unwittingly accepts the part of an ageing lover in the suggestively titled ‘The Second Woman’. It’s a baffling, sad and intricate film.
Curzon Soho, 99 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 5DY. Sat Mar 11, 8.30pm. £15.
The Creeping Garden
The Birkbeck Cinema is hosting a free screening of this deeply odd and bewitching documentary about plasmodial slime mould (the best of all the slime moulds, right?). Jasper Sharp’s film follows a group of envelope-pushing scientists who believe that this bizarre organic substance may hold the key to entirely new avenues of biology, exploring ideas that sound a lot like science fiction. The soundtrack is by post-rock pioneer and irregular Sonic Youth member Jim O’Rourke.
Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PD. Thu Mar 9, 6.15pm. Free.
Martin Scorsese’s iconic movie is a masterclass in pain inflicted on oneself, loved ones and opponents. ‘Raging Bull’ follows explosively jealous and narcissistic middle-weight Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro), his brother-manager Joey (Joe Pesci, great in the first of the badabing pairings with De Niro that would define his career) and Jake’s wife Vickie (Cathy Moriarty). The use of pop and opera and the black-and-white photography are extraordinary.
Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare St, E8 1HE. Sun Mar 12, 3.10pm. £12.50, £11.50 concs.
Overlook Screening Room: ‘Set it Off’
A welcome screening of this 1996 all-girl gangster flick starring Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett (before she was -Smith). Frankie (Vivica A Fox) has a bank job, until someone she knows from South Central LA holds her at gunpoint. The attempted robbery turns into a bloodbath, and the boss sends her packing. Life gets much harder. Her homegirls fix her up with the office-cleaning firm where they work nights, but it’s not long before they hatch a plan to capitalise on Frankie’s qualifications, in particular her inside knowledge of bank security procedures.
The Water Poet, 9–11 Folgate St, E1 6BX. Thu Mar 9, 7pm. Donations only.