London Jazz Festival, ‘Penda’s Fen’, ‘Cruel Intentions’ and more great film events happening this week
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. Penda’s Fen
An extremely rare chance to catch this remarkable TV film by Alan Clarke on 16mm celluloid, and introduced by former Time Outer Gareth Evans. A tale of a young boy’s quest for meaning in a folkloric British landscape originally commissioned for the 1970s ‘Play for Today’ single drama series, ‘Penda’s Fen’ is often described as a step ‘off piste’ for its director Alan Clarke. That’s a misleading reading. The work’s qualities of resistance, questioning and personal and public transformation are entirely in keeping with the normally urban-centric filmmaker’s milieu. But the real credit lies with its writer David Rudkin. An astonishing playwright with a visionary reach and a genuine sense of ‘deep England’ and its radical potential. The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, WC1N 1JD. Sat Nov 15, 7.30. £6.50.
2. London Jazz Festival: ‘Knife in the Water’
Alongside all the horn-tooting and chin-stroking, the London Jazz Festival are also presenting a trio of screenings: hot new drumming drama ‘Whiplash’, addiction story ‘The Connection’ and Roman Polanski’s striking film debut, which features a classic jazz-tinged score. A model of economic, imaginative filmmaking which, in many ways, he has hardly improved upon since. The story is simplicity itself: a couple destined for a yachting weekend pick up a hitch-hiker, and during the apparently relaxing period of sport and rest, allegiances shift, frustrations bubble up to the surface, and dangerous emotional games are played. Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS. Sat Nov 15, 3pm. £11.50, £10.50 concs.
3. Cruel Intentions + 10 Things I Hate About You
A double bill of teen flicks based on classic literary texts. ‘Cruel Intentions’ is an update of ‘Les Liaisons Dangeureuses’ to the decadent world of whitebread Manhattan preppies. There’s a certain frisson in seeing an American teen pic so louche and worldly about all manner of debaucheries, but the movie’s aristo sensibility doesn’t really connect. ‘10 Things’ is much more fun: ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ set in ‘Padua’, a suburb of Seattle, may not sound a great idea, but this is a quiet revelation, a study in female distemper that makes the original look mean-minded. Heath Ledger is effortlessly charming. Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Rd, N2 9PJ. Sun Nov 16, 1.15pm. £7, £5 concs.
4. Science Fiction Theatre: ‘Outland’
Another under-appreciated sci-fi flick given the big-screen treatment courtesy of this superb film club. ‘Outland’ is essentially ‘High Noon’ relocated on sunless Io, Jupiter’s third moon, with Sean Connery as the upright federal marshal posted to the mining base where a death-dealing black market in drugs is tacitly sanctioned by the profiteering authorities. The suggestion is that life on the outer limits will be as dingy and badly lit as a suburban subway, with all the usual vices. The Duke Of Wellington, 119 Balls Pond Rd, N1 4BL. Wed Nov 12, 8pm. £5.
5. The Fisher King
When New York radio DJ Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) inadvertently drives a listener to commit mass murder, his confidence and career crumble. Three years on, he’s rescued from suicide and muggers by Parry (Robin Williams), a deranged hobo whose wife died in the massacre. The plot may be wayward, but Terry Gilliam’s film is funny and exhilarating: at once nightmarish and deeply romantic, a partly fantastic study in loneliness, lunacy, despair and violence, it’s also spectacularly visual. Scary, touching, often hilarious, this modern fairytale is enchanting. Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. Thu Nov 13, 8.45pm. £7.50, £5 concs.
For the full list, go to Time Out’s film events page.