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…
1. Terracotta Film Festival: Terror-Cotta Horror All-Nighter
The Terror-Cotta All-Nighter is always one of the highlights of the sprawling Terracotta Asian Film Festival, and this year looks to be no different – forget all that artsy avant-garde business you usually get at a film festival and settle in for a night of straight-up shock and gore. Among the highlights is aptly titled Indonesian shocker ‘Killers’, produced by ‘The Raid’ man Gareth Evans, about the online relationship between a serial murderer and a journalist. We also like the sound of ‘In the Dark’, about a young man whose attempts to peer into the spirit world in search of his dead girlfriend have predictably disastrous results. Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. 9pm. Sat May 31 – £22, £19.50 concs.
2. A Century of Chinese Cinema: ‘Street Angel’
The BFI’s Century of Chinese Cinema season kicks off this week, a massive five-month tribute to a national film industry few of us know anything about. The first month features two interlocking strands, one exploring the golden age of Chinese film in the 1930s and ’40s, the other looking at film in the post-revolutionary period of the 1950s and beyond. ‘Street Angel’ is from the former programme, and it’s a true revelation. It sketches the street life of the poorest quarter of Shanghai just before the city’s fall to the Japanese, focusing on a musician, a hooker, a newsvendor, and a ‘sing-song’ girl. BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT. 6.10pm. Sun Jun 1 – £8.15–£11.50.
3. Cigarette Burns: ‘Blue Sunshine’
Mighty cult-film maverick Cigarette Burns returns with a rare 16mm print of this notorious 1977 acid-fried oddity. It certainly has an intriguing premise: what if a certain varieties of LSD, a decade later, should begin to have an unexpected effect on its users’ chromosomes? All over an American city, isolated individuals inexplicably slaughter their loved ones before going on the rampage. The film has a phenomenal opening and makes the most of its plot possibilities. This is exploitation of a superior kind. ICA, Nash House, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH. 8.40pm. Thu May 29 – £10, £7 concs.
4. A Leni Riefenstahl Evening
Dangerous Nazi sympathiser or, as documentary master John Grierson described her, ‘one of the greatest filmmakers in the world?’ German actress turned director Leni Riefenstahl was probably both: many of her films may have been outrageous propaganda, but they were also artistically groundbreaking and influential on everyone from George Lucas to Paul Verhoeven. This evening of clips and chat will see broadcaster Michael Pointon attempting to put Riefenstahl’s work into context, exploring her remarkable career and its controversial and still resonating echoes. The Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way, SE11 4TH. 7.30pm. Thu May 29 – £10, £7 concs.
5. The Tales of Hoffman
Powell and Pressburger’s 1951 follow-up to ‘The Red Shoes’ lacks the earlier film’s coherence and emotional pull, but is equally lavish in its attempts to combine dance, music and film. Basically a trio of stories (plus prologue and epilogue) in which unrequited love figures strongly, the movie is inevitably uneven, and some have pointed to a rather kitschy element in its equation of cinema and great art. But Powell’s eye is as sharp and distinctive as ever, revelling in rich colours, fantastic compositions, and swooning movements. Sumptuous spectacle. Stratford East Picturehouse, Salway Rd, E15 1BX. 6.15pm. Wed May 28 – £6.50.
For the full list, go to Time Out’s film events page.