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Jim Jarmusch season, Polyester in ‘Odorama’, Terence Davies Q&A and more great film events happening this week

Posted at 8:00 am, September 8, 2014 in Arts & Entertainment, Top 5
stranger than paradise

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. Jim Jarmusch: ‘Stranger Than Paradise’

The BFI’s new Jim Jarmusch and Friends season kicks off with the indie auteur’s early, black-and-white works: his debut ‘Permanent Vacation’, a full re-release for the deliciously deadpan ‘Down By Law’ and this existential road movie. The story is slight: cool, laconic New Yorker John Lurie reluctantly plays host when his young female cousin arrives on a visit from Hungary. When the girl finally disappears to Ohio to stay with an eccentric old aunt, Lurie suddenly finds himself feeling lonely, and he and his buddy slope off westwards in search of… whatever. It’s an ironic fable about exile, peopled by carefully, economically observed kooks drawn with considerable warmth and generosity. BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT. 4.15pm, Sat Sep 13. £8.15 – £11.50.

2. Scalarama: ‘Polyester’ in Odorama

One of the undoubted highlights of this year’s Scalarama Film Festival – a month of DIY screenings in pubs, galleries and (just occasionally) cinemas – is this re-release of John Waters’s 1981 trash classic, complete with original scratch ‘n’ sniff cards so that audiences can immerse themselves more deeply in the film’s aural, visual and nasal world. By this point virtually indistinguishable from Liz Taylor, drag queen Divine plays housewife Francine. Cheated on by her unfaithful husband and rejected by her disco-queen daughter and glue-sniffing son, Francine relives the dreams of all ’50s queens and finds solace in the arms of ’50s-era Hollywood star Tab Hunter. The film is showing in cinemas across London. Various venues, see www.scalarama.com. Wed Sep 10, various times and prices.

3. ‘Beaver Trilogy’ and ‘Plan 10 From Outer Space’

Underground American filmmaker Trent Harris has been conducting his odd cinematic experiments for decades now without ever troubling the mainstream public consciousness. But his 2000 film ‘Beaver Trilogy’ is nothing short of a masterpiece: the same tale told three times, once as ‘real life’ and twice as fiction, and featuring early work from Sean Penn and Crispin Glover. The result is achingly sympathetic and genuinely inquisitive about the different ways people live, and the secrets they keep, even from themselves. ‘Plan 10’, meanwhile, is a bizarre, low-budget sequel to the bizarre, low budget ’50s sci-fi anti-classic. The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, WC1N 1JD. Sat Sep 13, 6.30pm. £9.

4. The Long Day Closes + Terence Davies Q&A

National treasure Terence Davies introduces a rare 35mm screening of the wonderful companion piece to his earlier, better-known ‘Distant Voices, Still Lives’. This is a rhapsodic scrapbook of memories from a working-class Liverpool childhood accompanied by dispatches from the wireless, popular songs and rousing classical standards. But first and foremost this is a film that weighs up the consolations of cinema against the consolations of religion, and – if we are to read anything into the final shot of the young hero watching a film of clouds drifting by starlight as Arthur Sullivan’s song ‘The Long Day Closes’ plays in the background – cinema wins by a mile. ICA, Nash House, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH. Wed Sep 10, 6.40pm. £11, £7 concs.

5. Kinima: ‘Black Cat, White Cat’

Enjoy some live Balkan music and settle in for a screening of Emir Kusturica’s comic saga about two gypsy patriarchs and their unruly families. The slapstick is grotesque, cruel, and at its best, riotously funny. There are some quieter, more lyrical moments too – young lovers disappearing into a field of sunflowers and a rheumy-eyed old gangster watching a ‘Casablanca’ video again and again. Flaunting Kusturica’s usual disregard for conventional narrative, this is storytelling on the hoof, rambling, self-indulgent, but with enough warmth and humour to overcome its own excesses. The Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way, SE11 4TH. Sat Sep 13, 5.30pm. £12, £10 concs.

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

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