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…
Akira Kurosawa season: 'The Hidden Fortress'
Over the next month, the Close–Up cinema in Spitalfields will be screening no less than 16 films from the Japanese master of action and emotion, Akira Kurosawa (13 of them on original 35mm film). A major influence on ‘Star Wars’, ‘The Hidden Fortress’ was the movie that confirmed Kurosawa's greatest strength, his innovative handling of genre. It's set amid the civil wars of sixteenth-century Japan, and concerns samurai Toshiro Mifune escorting a princess and two oafish peasants through enemy territory.
Close-Up Film Centre, 97 Sclater Street, E1 6HR. Fri Dec 4, 8pm. £10.
Dead Funny Double Feature: 'Quatermass and the Pit' + 'Lifeforce'
A pair of fantastically enjoyable sci-fi-horror hybrids set in darkest London. In Hammer’s ‘Quatermass’, excavations at an underground station turn up what appears to be an unexploded Nazi bomb, but proves to be a mysterious spacecraft. ‘Lifeforce’, meanwhile, is pretty idiotic – something to do with a 150-mile-long spaceship tucked away behind Halley’s Comet. But it’s completely unmissable for a handful of brain-scrambling moments.
The Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way, SE11 4TH. Sat Dec 5, 7pm. £10.
FREE Anachron Film Club: Tales of the Thin Man
A free double bill of films inspired by Dashiell Hammett’s classic tale of two dazzlingly witty private detectives. 1934’s ‘The Thin Man’ draws happy doodles around the mystery of a missing scientist (lingering, for instance, over an irresistibly irrelevant sequence in which our hero Nick, given an airgun as a present by his understanding wife Nora, spends a contented hour potting baubles on the Christmas tree). 1947’s ‘Song of the Thin Man’ is inferior, but still worth catching.
Muse Gallery, 269 Portobello Rd, W11 1LR. Tue Dec 1, 7pm.
'Message to Love' + Jeremy Deller Q&A
Artist and rock ‘n’ roll enthusiast Jeremy Deller introduces this screening of the underseen doc about the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. This was the biggest, grubbiest, most colourful, chaotic gathering of the masses since Jesus dished out the loaves. Shot on both 16 and 35mm, the film spends as much time rummaging through the backstage shenanigans as it does covering the sounds on the bill. And thank goodness it does, because here we have an event so haphazard and disorganised, you can only wonder how it continued to function beyond the first few bars of music.
Curzon Bloomsbury, Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AW. Thu Dec 3, 7.30pm. £12.50, £10 concs.
The 1988 update of Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’, with Murray as a miserly TV network president who rejoins the human race following spectral visitations. The tone is set by a machine-gun assault on Santa's North Pole toy workshop: ‘Scrooged’ is not subtle stuff, and given Murray's emotionless performance, his final impassioned speech about the true meaning of Christmas is a bit unconvincing. Still, it’s rowdy, enjoyable and surprisingly festive.
Greenwich Picturehouse, 180 Greenwich High Rd, SE10 8NN. Mon Dec 7, 8.30pm. £12, £11 concs.
For the full list, go to Time Out’s film events page.