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.
‘Gas Food Lodging’ + Ione Skye Q&A
The inimitable Ione Skye – artist, star of ‘River’s Edge’ and ‘Say Anything…’ and former Beastie bride – comes to the Genesis to discuss Allison Anders’s extraordinary US indie as part of the Genesis’s year of films directed by women. Nora (Brooke Adams) waits tables and scrapes by, single-handedly raising two teenage daughters (Skye and Fairuza Balk) in a clapped-out trailer. Far from gloomy fare, this offers humour, wry observation and sympathetic characterisation. Without patronising her characters Anders captures the frustrations of both generations. Delightfully oddball and strangely sane.
Genesis Cinema, 93–95 Mile End Rd, E1 4UJ. Thu Feb 23, 6.30pm. £8, £7 concs.
‘Hairspray’ + ‘Multiple Maniacs’
A pair of john Waters’s most gloriously trashy epics. The relatively commercial ‘Hairspray’ is a retro schlock-fancier’s delight. Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake), teen offspring of Edna (Divine), dreams of winning the dance crown on The Corny Collins Show on TV, but falls foul of bitchy queen-of-the-hop Amber and her grotesquely unscrupulous parents. In ‘Multiple Maniacs’, Divine presides over a travelling show called The Cavalcade of Perversion, which lures in punters with the promise of fetish acts before robbing them at gunpoint.
Rio, 107 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB. Sun Feb 26, 2.30pm. £11, £9 concs.
Audience Choice: ‘Saturday Night Fever’
It was sold as a disco movie for party people, but this is really about Growing Up – which the movie interprets as Growing Out of a Disco Mentality and into Personal Relationships. The relationship between Tony (John Travolta) and Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) is suitably angst-ridden, but like almost everything else in the movie, it’s played dead straight. The result is a film that’s darker than you remember, and a fitting (if decidedly white-skinned) tribute to the greatest drug-culture movement of the 1970s.
BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT. Sun Feb 26, 8.40pm. £8.35–£11.75.
‘Easy Rider’ + ‘Electra Glide in Blue’
A double bill of hippie-era motorcycle nightmares. ‘Electra Glide in Blue’ was a striking one-off by former record producer James William Guercio. It’s a weirdly funny black comedy about an undersized cop, barely five feet tall but nursing a dream of becoming a Clint Eastwood hero. The message may be a little naïve when he finally opts for humanity rather than authoritarianism, but the film has an extraordinary texture, peeling away layer after layer to reveal dark depths of loneliness and despair. ‘Easy Rider’ is, of course, a simplistic but memorable amalgam of travelogue and the zoom lens, as beatific Peter Fonda goes looking for America.
Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. Mon Feb 27, 6.30pm. £7.50.
Kelly Reichardt double bill: ‘Old Joy’ + ‘Wendy & Lucy’
To celebrate the release of Kelly Reichardt’s dazzling latest, ‘Certain Women’, the Picturehouses are screening her earlier films as a series of double bills. Based on a short story by co-screenwriter Jonathan Raymond, ‘Old Joy’ follows two old buddies on a weekend away. But the steady quietness of Reichardt’s approach lends a tension and wonder to the long shots of winding road, forest wildlife, and pensive faces in repose. ‘Wendy and Lucy’ is still Reichardt’s best film, the heartbreaking story of a lost girl (Michelle Williams) and her lost dog.
Picturehouse Central, 20–24 Shaftesbury Ave, W1D 7DH. Sun Feb 26, 1pm. £20.