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Little Shop of Horrors, the Australian outback and medieval Japan: this week’s top five film events

Posted at 1:15 pm, May 12, 2014 in Arts & Entertainment

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. Walkabout + Wake in Fright

Get lost in the outback with this peerless double bill of flyblown, windswept, lager-swilling, kangaroo-infested Aussie dramas. ‘Walkabout’ is the story of two posh English kids abandoned in the Australian outback. It’s a film steeped in shimmering light, the conflict of cultures, and the emergence of semi-mystic sexual forces in the desert landscape. ‘Wake in Fright’ is a nightmarish vision of Aussie manhood, described by Nick Cave as the ‘best and most terrifying film about Australia in existence’. Its hallucinatory images have the power to sear the eyes and disorientate the mind. Rio, 107 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB. 1.45pm. Sun May 18 – £10, £8 concs.

2. Throne of Blood

Akira Kurosawa’s adaptation of ‘Macbeth’ is reckoned to be one of the very few successful efforts at filming Shakespeare. Translating the familiar story to medieval Japan, with Macbeth as the samurai Washizu (Toshiro Mifune), the adaptation deletes most of the minor characters, transforms the witches’ scenes into a magical encounter with an old woman spinning in a forest glade, perches ‘Cobweb Castle’ high in the hilly moorland where the clouds roll by like ground-fog, and conceives a stunningly graphic fate for the usurper, clinging stubbornly to his promise of glory even as he is being turned into a human pin-cushion by volleys of arrows. Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. 9pm. Wed May 14 – £7.50, £5 concs.

3. The Friends of Eddie Coyle

Another cracking thriller in the Barbican’s season of films featuring strong and silent central characters. Peter Yates’s downbeat dissection of Boston’s underworld, based on the novel by George V Higgins, revolves around the dilemma of Robert Mitchum’s weary small-time mobster and all-time loser Eddie ‘Fingers’ Coyle (somebody shut a drawer on his hand), under pressure to turn stool pigeon in the wake of a couple of murderous bank heists. The cast lend the film an unmistakeable authority, with Mitchum agonising over codes of underworld honour. Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS. 4pm. Sat May 17 – £11.50, £10.50 concs.

4. Rooftop Film Club: ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

In the basement of Mushnik’s Skid Row florist’s, weedy shop-boy Seymour pines for bubbly-blonde shop-girl Audrey. But the basement is also home to a strange and unusual plant, a growing, bloodthirsty demon determined to devour mankind. It’s hard to pinpoint just what makes this surreal saga such a delight. There’s the wonderful doo-wop score. There’s the antics of Bill Murray, John Candy, John Belushi and Steve Martin as a happy-go-lucky sadist who nearly steals the show. And finally there’s the plant, a 50-ft jiving vegetable from whose 49-ft lips comes the voice of Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops. This wild and witty musical is great fun. The Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, SE15 4ST. 9pm. Thu May 15 – £13.

5. The Small Back Room

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger made ‘The Small Back Room’ just after ‘The Red Shoes’, and were clearly looking for a ‘homely’, manageable subject after the lavish ambitions of the earlier film. They found it in Nigel Balchin’s novel about a military bomb-disposal wizard, and turned in a thriller that would look like a masterpiece in the filmographies of most British directors. Powell’s characteristic desire to ornament leads to the inclusion of some bizarre fantasy footage (when the alcoholic hero suffers DTs) which don’t quite belong in this context, but it remains extremely tense and full of good visual ideas. Stratford East Picturehouse, Salway Rd, E15 1BX. £6.50. 6.15pm. Wed May 14 – £6.50.

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

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