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Genesis Birthday-palooza, Brazilian Film Festival, Steve McQueen and Godzilla: this week’s top five film events

Posted at 8:15 am, May 6, 2014 in Arts & Entertainment
Steve McQueen the-getaway

This 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. Genesis Birthday-palooza: ‘Magnolia’
The East End’s fine independent cinema the Genesis turns 15 this week, and to celebrate they’re offering up a whole slew of classic films released over the past decade and a half, completely free. It’s a cracking list of films – highlights include ‘All About My Mother’, ‘South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut’ and ‘The Blair Witch Project’ – but our top pick has to be Paul Thomas Anderson’s first honest-to-God masterpiece, 1999’s ‘Magnolia’. This intimate epic charts the fortunes, over a day or so, of various individuals living in the San Fernando Valley – including Frank Mackey (Tom Cruise), the prophet of machismo, and numerous people associated, past or present, with a TV quiz show – whose paths cross by design, destiny, chance or coincidence. Genesis Cinema, 93 – 95 Mile End Rd, E1 4UJ. 8pm. Thu May 8 – FREE

2. The Getaway
The Barbican’s month of films themed around ‘strong, silent types’ continues with Sam Peckinpah’s superb adaptation of Jim Thompson’s desert crime epic. The major strength of the film rests solidly on Steve McQueen’s central role, a cold tense core of pragmatic violence. Hounded by furies (two mobs, police, a hostile landscape), he responds with a lethal control, blasting his way through shootouts that teeter on madness to the loot, the girl, and Peckinpah’s mythic land of Mexico. Peckinpah’s own control of the escalating frenzy is masterly; this is one of his coldest films, but a great thriller. Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS. 4pm. Sat May 10 – £11.50, £10.50 concs.

3. Brazilian Film Festival: ‘City of God 10 Years Later’
The Brazilian Film Festival returns with a fistful of new features, short films and docs, among them gold-hunting drama ‘Bold Mountain’ and political theatre tale ‘Tattoo’. But the one that caught our eye was this documentary looking back at the cast and crew of Fernando Meirelles’s groundbreaking favela crime epic ‘City of God’, a decade on. Many of the actors in the film grew up on the mean streets of Rio and this film looks at the effects the film’s global success had on their lives. Odeon Covent Garden, 135 Shaftesbury Ave, WC2H 8AH. 6pm. Sat May 10.

4. Godzilla
As we wait with bated breath for Gareth Edwards’s megabudget reboot of the beloved giant-monster-smashes-stuff series, here’s a chance to catch the 1954 Japanese original. Director Ishiro Honda’s intention was to provide more than just a thrilling monster entertainment in the Ray Harryhausen mould (which it is). Deeply affected by witnessing the wartime Tokyo firestorms and the nuclear ruins of Hiroshima, he also wanted the film to be an allegory of nuclear warfare. However much this knowledge may deepen the impact of the fine performances, the meticulous model-work and superb production design of Eiji Tsubaraya and the minatory soundscapes of Akira Ikafube, we mustn’t forget that ‘Godzilla’ is after all a monster flick. This ballad of destruction is one of the most exciting, enjoyable and moving of them all. Greenwich Picturehouse, 180 Greenwich High Rd, SE10 8NN. 8.30pm. Mon May 12 – £10.

5. Classic Cinema Club: ‘The Adventures of Prince Ahmed’
A special storytelling event followed by a screening of this beautiful 1926 silhouette animation. Given the visual sophistication of today’s computer-aided animation, is there still any point in watching a silent film where paper cutouts move across illuminated sheets of glass? The answer is a resounding yes, since this fairy-tale adventure from Germany’s Lotte Reiniger is no fusty historical artefact, but a mesmerizing viewing experience, precisely because (unlike modern animation) we can see the handiwork involved in creating the exquisite silhouettes peopling this classic ‘Arabian Nights’ tale. Ealing Town Hall, New Broadway, W5 2BY. 7.30pm. Fri May 9 – £6, £5 concs.

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

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