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'Romeo + Juliet', Shubbak Film Festival, BFI cult film season and more film fun

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…

1. BFI Cult: 'Society'

One of the greatest, grossest horror movies of the 1980s gets a welcome screening. And in the wake of last week’s budget, it’s especially relevant – it even opens with a rewrite of the ‘Eton Boating Song’. This is a story of how the aristocratic rich don’t just suck the poor dry economically, spiritually and politically, but physically too. The tone may be slick – there are times when it feels like ‘The OC’ with added goop – but the intention is deadly serious, and first-timer Yuzna’s slow reveal of information is wonderfully sly and subversive.

BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT. Thu Jul 16, 8.30pm. £8.35–£11.75.

2. Shubbak Film Festival: 'Couscous'

This festival of Arab culture features a strong film strand, including ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ director Abdellatif Kechiche’s powerful drama set in the French port of Sète. This rich and quietly surprising portrait of that town’s French-Tunisian community is an ensemble piece, poking into the lives of the two extended families belonging to a separated, 60-year-old immigrant shipworker. When unemployment hits, it’s the grain and red mullet dish his estranged wife so lovingly prepares that he hopes may prove the central selling point of a new restaurant he plans to open.

Ciné Lumière, 17 Queensberry Place, SW7 2DT. Sat Jul 18, 4pm. £10, £8 concs.

3. Time Out Loves: 'Romeo + Juliet'

Another in Time Out’s short run of four films featured in our 100 Best Romantic Movies list, screened in collaboration with Rooftop Film Club. Baz Luhrmann's gleefully cinematic version of the play is so relentlessly inventive, it takes 20 minutes to get a grasp on how appropriate his approach to the material really is. 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 colours and compositions serve perfectly to evoke the forces of wealth and poverty, love and hate, prejudice and superstition that infest the chaotically sprawling multi-ethnic world of millennial Verona.

The Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, SE15 4ST. Sun Jul 19, 9pm. £14. 

4. High Art

‘The Kids Are Alright’ director Lisa Cholodenko's debut is an ambitious, intelligent account of a young woman who gets a job on a trendy Manhattan photography mag and goes for a big break when she discovers, thanks to a leaky ceiling, that the woman who lives in the apartment above her is a famous but reclusive retired photographer. The girl's introduction to the smudger's druggy, bisexual, boho world leads to trouble with her boss, her boring boyfriend, and much overall intrigue.

Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS. Wed Jul 15, 8.30pm. £9.50, £8.50 concs.

5. Raiders of the Lost Ark

You’ve seen it, we’ve seen it, we all love it. ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ is a perfect entertainment machine, effortlessly involving to anyone looking for a pure hit of hotsy-totsy-Nazi escapism. When the dust settles on Spielberg’s career, many fans will point to his childlike sense of wonderment, supported by John Williams’s stirring orchestral scores and infused in the plots themselves. ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, meanwhile, just throws you in, with little time to think. (We’re hot on the trail of… the power of the Hebrew God?) It might be more of a masterpiece than any of Spielberg’s other triumphs, simply for unearthing the treasure of the chase, running down the magic for a perfect two hours.

Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. Fri Jul 17, 8.45 pm. £11, £8.50 concs.

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

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