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Scottish Independence Night, NYC crime double bill, Ape Night and more great film events happening this week

Posted at 2:30 pm, September 15, 2014 in Arts & Entertainment
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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. Scottish Independence Night at Scalarama: Cigarette Burns presents ‘Highlander’

Will our friends in the north desert us? Or can there really be Only One? The good folks at Cigarette Burns celebrate the most important night for our nation in decades with a rare 16mm screening of a film that takes a long, unflinching look at the reality of Scottish life – ‘Highlander’. Not really. Coherence is not a quality which director Russell Mulcahy brings to this carousel of machismo, about a bizarre (and shrinking) band of immortals engaged in mortal combat down the ages. It has lots of energy, a frenzied pace, and a villain who sings Tom Waits while mowing down innocent pedestrians. And it’s a lot of utterly preposterous fun. Hollywood Spring, 6 Well St, E9 7PX.7pm, Thu Sep 18. £7.

2. Safar: ‘Around the Pink House’

Subtitled ‘the festival of popular Arab cinema’, Safar is a week of screenings bringing together little-known, audience-friendly Arabic films from the past 40 years, including a pair of recent titles: the Egyptian drama ‘Factory Girl’ and Moroccan family tale ‘Rock the Casbah’. 1999’s ‘Around the Pink House’ is a Lebanese film shot in the ruins of post-war Beirut. When an entrepreneur buys a rambling mansion house, the refugees who live there fall prey to confusion, fear and long-buried resentment. It’s an intriguing account of the conflict between past and future, culture and capitalism, idealism and compromise. ICA, Nash House, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH. 6pm, Sat Sep 20. £11, £8 concs.

3. King of New York + Bad Lieutenant

A flawless double bill of confrontational NYC crime stories from master filmmaker Abel Ferrara. ‘King of New York’ points up the designer nature of modern urban crime, its brutality and ethnic mixture, and its attempts to infiltrate the mainstream. In the person of Christopher Walken – spare, elegant, slightly spaced – the film has an impressively charismatic central character. The same goes for ‘Bad Lieutenant’, in which Harvey Keitel is the depraved and corrupt cop of the title. Hooked on crack, heroin and alcohol, he’s up to his eyeballs in debt and staking his life on the superbowl. Roxy Bar & Screen, 128-132 Borough High St, SE1 1LB. 7pm, Mon Sep 22. £4.

4. Science Fiction Theatre’s Ape Night

Fact and fiction blur in this double bill of the original 1968 ‘Planet of the Apes’ and 2011 animal rights doc ‘Project Nim’. ‘Planet of the Apes’ presents a wonderfully topsy-turvy vision of evolution. The enigma of the planet’s history, juggled through Charlton Heston’s humiliating experience of being studied as an interesting laboratory specimen by his ape captors, is quite beautifully sustained. ‘Project Nim’, meanwhile, takes a look at the sad life of Nim Chimpsky, a mischievous chimpanzee who, in the early ’70s, was selected by a university researcher to be the subject of a radical experiment in human-animal dialogue. Both films offer a warning to those who think animals share the same code of ethics as humans. Genesis Cinema, 93 – 95 Mile End Rd, E1 4UJ. 7.30pm, Fri Sep 19. £7.

5. Oh! What a Lovely War

Pay a last tribute to that giant of the British film industry, Sir Richard Attenborough, with this screening of his directorial debut from 1969. It’s far from a perfect film, and remains an often too-clever, only occasionally moving piece which never effectively reconciles its lampooning of the WWI General Staff (playing leapfrog; conducting battles from a helter-skelter; losses reflected on cricket scoreboards) with its sincerity towards the salt-of-the-earth working class who were the ones who copped it. But the cast is startling – Gielgud, Olivier, Mills, Bogarde – and the sheer strangeness of it all shines through. Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Rd, N2 9PJ. 2pm, Sun Sep 21. £7.

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

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