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‘Computer Chess’, Pussy Riot, a drive-in screening of ‘Toy Story’ and more of this week’s top film events

Posted at 10:00 am, October 7, 2013 in Arts & Entertainment, Fun London

Every Monday, 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. London Film Festival: ‘Computer Chess’

The London Film Festival is huge, covering multiple venues, hundreds of films and countless talks and events. So why single out this film? Two reasons. Firstly, because it’s playing at a local venue, the Hackney Picturehouse, early in the day, so there are still tickets available. Secondly, because ‘Computer Chess’ is just terrific: a witty, unpredictable, blissfully odd little drama about a chess tournament in the early ’80s, shot on vintage video cameras and shifting between mock-doc, romance, tragedy, satire and even sci-fi. This is exactly the kind of film the LFF thrives on: low-budget, super-smart, and highly accessible. Go to timeout.com/lff for lots more reviews, critics picks and LFF info. Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare St, E8 1HE. 1.30pm, Sun Oct 13 – £12.50.

2. Sci-Fi London Oktoberfest: ‘Tokyo Fist’ & ‘Tetsuo: The Iron Man’

The London Film Festival isn’t the only way to lap up movies this week. The annual Sci-Fi London Oktoberfest delivers three days of new and vintage science fiction, plus all-nighters, quizzes and activities. It’s an intriguing line-up. We like the sound of post-apocalyptic actioner ‘The Colony’ and VHS doc ‘Rewind This!’. But one screening we can wholeheartedly endorse is this double bill of films by the most confrontational Japanese filmmaker working today, Shinya Tsukamoto. Berserk, surreal 1995 boxing saga ‘Tokyo Fist’ has just been converted to HD, and it’ll be screened in a sparkling new print alongside the film that made Tsukamoto’s name, 1989’s dizzying techno-body-horror experiment ‘Tetsuo: The Iron Man’. Stratford East Picturehouse, Salway Rd, E15 1BX. 8.15pm, Sat Oct 12 – £8.50, £6.50 concs.

3. ‘Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer’ + directors Q&A

As activist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova comes off another hunger strike, join directors Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin for a screening of their superb, confrontational doc about the anti-Putin feminists. The film isn’t just about protest or corruption in Russia, it’s also about how organisations and individuals react to art, especially when it isn’t packaged in a familiar fashion. The story is powerful, the people and battlelines brilliantly drawn. But ‘A Punk Prayer’ is more than just a record of events. It asks important questions about liberty, conscience and creativity. Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2 1QJ. 7pm, Mon Oct 14 – £10.

 4. Drive-in Film Club: ‘Toy Story’

The folks who brought you Rooftop Film Club return with a new venture, a cinema in the concrete jungle that is Brent Cross Shopping Centre’s south car park. At only £22 per car, no matter how many passengers are involved, it’s pretty reasonably priced, and there’ll be grub on offer, which the promoters describe as ‘California Street Food’ (they mean burgers). Every Sunday they’re screening a family favourite, and if your little ‘uns missed Pixar’s game-changing cartoon masterpiece the first time round, this is a great chance to put that right. Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Prince Charles Drive, NW4 3FP. 6pm, Sun Oct 13 – £22 per car.

5. Carmen Jones

The Picturehouse cinema chain’s Reminiscence screenings bring beloved classics and old-fashioned obscurities back to the big screen. In Otto Preminger’s all-black musical, the story of ‘Carmen’ – that fine old tale of high passions and low morals – gets re-upholstered, Hollywood-style. The cigarette-maker with a rose instead of a fag between her teeth is transformed into Dorothy Dandridge’s parachute factory worker, whose romance with GI Joe (Harry Belafonte) is interrupted by Harlem’s equivalent of the toreador – a boxer. Greenwich Picturehouse, 180 Greenwich High Rd, SE10 8NN. 1pm. Mon Oct 14 – £7.60.

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

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