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. BFI Sci-fi: ‘The Day the Earth Caught Fire’
Sci-fi fans should head to the British Museum this week where the BFI is holding a trio of outdoor screenings to kick off its ‘Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder’ season. Catch Val Guest’s classic 1961 disaster pic, ‘The Day the Earth Caught Fire’ on Thursday. It’s a visionary film, with its focus on freak global weather conditions – sparked by Earth slipping off its axis – and poignant imagery of a deserted London during a scorching heatwave. The screening is followed on Friday by Nic Roeg’s fall-from-innocence sci-fi drama, ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’, and on Saturday with Mike Hodges’s time-warp schlocker ‘Flash Gordon’. British Museum, Great Russell St, WC1B 3DG. 8.15pm, Thu Aug 28. £15.
2. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)
Plenty of us know Richard Fleischer’s enjoyably quaint 1954 adaptation of Jules Verne’s sub-aquatic tale. Here’s the chance to catch an outdoor screening of the original 1916 silent version by Glaswegian director Stuart Paton. Paton’s film is most notable for its innovative underwater cinematography. As waterproof cameras hadn’t yet been invented, Paton and his team cobbled together a series of watertight tubes and mirrors to capture reflected images from beneath the Bahamian waves. The result was groundbreaking – as was the film’s astronomical budget. Thursday’s screening takes place amid the salubrious greenery of the Horniman Gardens and features live accompaniment by Orchestra Elastique. Horniman Museum, 100 London Rd, SE23 3PQ. 8pm, Thu Aug 28. £10.
3. The Lexi‘s Kubrick Weekender: ‘Eyes Wide Shut’
After briefly closing for refurbishment, the Lexi Cinema reopens this weekend with a brand new bar, a swanky gallery space and three classic Stanley Kubrick films for very low prices. On Friday night they’re screening ‘The Shining’, on Saturday it’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’, while on Sunday night there’s a chance to catch Kubrick’s divisive swansong back on the big screen. After a swanky Manhattan party Alice (Nicole Kidman), the wife of well-to-do doctor William (Tom Cruise), confesses to fantasising about a naval officer. Haunted by visions of Alice with another man, William embarks on a long dark night of the soul during which he’s repeatedly confronted by sexual temptation. What starts as a study of a marriage threatened by complacency becomes a murky conspiracy mystery. Lexi Cinema, 194b Chamberlayne Rd, NW10 3JU. 7.30pm, Sun Aug 31. £2.50.
4. Inland Empire
David Lynch’s grubby, entirely unconventional 2006 tale of despair and darkness on the streets of LA is almost impossible to get a handle on. But this film is one hell of a ride – like eavesdropping on someone else’s nightmare. ‘Inland Empire’ stars Jeremy Irons as the director of a dodgy Tennessee Williams-lite film with Lynch regulars Laura Dern and Justin Theroux as its actors. But all this is mere sideshow folly to the overall atmosphere of the piece. Lynch trademarks are evident in the wide-eyed close-ups, the weird camera angles, the exquisite lighting effects and, above all, the disturbing surrealism of so many of its scenes. And, as ever, Lynch’s choice of soundtrack fits like a velvet glove. ‘Inland Empire’ isn’t just a movie, it’s an experience. Rio, 107 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB. 11.30pm, Sat Aug 30. £8.50.
5. The Trial of Joan of Arc
Robert Bresson’s 1962 trial reconstruction is based on the minutes of Joan of Arc’s 1431 trial. The film could be seen as an essay in sado-masochistic voyeurism: we watch scenes in which Joan (Florence Delay) is manacled, spied at through peepholes and forced to squat degradingly on a hard wooden stool. The tension generated by juxtaposing her humiliation with the serenely beautiful transcript resolves in the unforgettable final image of her charred, smoking remains. Special credit goes to the sound department for capturing so exquisitely the last ballet-like footsteps of Joan as she’s led to her place of execution. Ciné Lumière, 17 Queensberry Place, SW7 2DT. 2pm, Sun Aug 31. £8, £6 concs.
For the full list, go to Time Out’s film events page.