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.It Happened Here
Fifty years ago, co-directors Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo shot this remarkable mock-documentary imagining what life in Britain might’ve been like under a Nazi occupation. With an immense reputation as a doggedly meticulous historical fantasy, this eccentric low-budget curio now seems more than ever like a newsreel shot by Borges: though the event never happened, a film of it perhaps exists from which only these scraps of footage survive. Brownlow will be on hand to introduce the film, and the screening also includes a tour of this iconic old picture palace. Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Rd, N2 9PJ. 1.30pm. Sun May 25 – £7.
2. Classic Cinema Club: ‘Ugetsu Monogatari’
Japanese master Kenji Mizoguchi’s best-known work, based on two stories by the eighteenth-century writer Akinari Ueda (often described as the Japanese Maupassant), was one of a handful of Japanese films to sweep up numerous awards at European festivals in the early ’50s. Its reputation as a landmark of Japanese art cinema has remained undented ever since. The director establishes a unique atmosphere with long takes and sublimely graceful camera movement in his treatment of the legend of a potter who leaves his family to market his wares during the ravages of a civil war, and is taken in and seduced by a ghost princess. Ealing Town Hall, New Broadway, W5 2BY. 7.30pm. Fri May 23 – £6, £5 concs.
3. Pumping Iron
‘Pumping iron is a great feeling… like coming, but coming continuously,’ smiles Arnold Schwarzenegger in this 1977 docudrama about the world of bodybuilding. ‘Pumping Iron’ knocks preconceptions sideways right from its opening moments – with a sequence showing Schwarzenegger taking ballet lessons to improve his posing style. It goes on to demonstrate convincingly that bodybuilders are as normal in their vanities, foibles and rivalries as any other group of nuts. The movie is a very shrewd mixture of documentary and realistic fiction, put together with eyes and ears on entertainment value. Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. 8.45pm. Sun May 25 – £13.50, £11 concs.
4. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café+ Fannie Flagg Q&A
Join wonderfully named comedian, actress and author Fannie Flagg for a screening of the Oscar-nominated 1991 adaptation of her best-loved book, ‘Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café’. Southern housewife Evelyn (Kathy Bates) has had enough of her couch-potato husband. Then she meets old-timer Ninny (Jessica Tandy), who launches into a rambling recollection of long-gone friends: two women who once ran a café in her home town. The film may win no prizes for subtlety, but it’s all about the performances. Clapham Picturehouse, 76 Venn St, SW4 0AT. 2pm. Sun May 25 – £12.
Another in the Barbican’s season celebrating strong, silent heroes. A professional night-time jewel robbery, reduced to near-abstract essentials and paced by a Tangerine Dream score, sets the electric tone for Michael Mann’s feature debut, a philosophical thriller filled with modernist cool. James Caan is the thief, contradictorily building and risking a future mapped out as meticulously as any of his lucrative hi-tech jobs; testing his emotional and criminal independence to the limits; eventually recognising that he’s either exercising or exorcising a death wish. Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS. 4pm. Sat May 24 – £11.50, £10.50 concs.
For the full list, go to Time Out’s film events page.