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. A Woman’s Work: ‘The Happy Family’
Fed up with the boys’ club that is the film industry (only six percent of directors and 28 percent of leading roles are female), actress and director Kate Hardie has set up a brilliant new monthly night at the ArtHouse in Crouch End to celebrate pioneering women in film. Next Tuesday, Carol Morley (who directed ‘Dreams of a Life’) will be discussing the career of Oscar-winning screenwriter, director and all round feminist power woman Muriel Box before a screening of her 1952 London comedy ‘The Happy Family’. Future events include Mike Leigh talking about the trailblazing director and actress Ida Lupino. ArtHouse Crouch End, 159A Tottenham Lane, N8 9BT.Tue Dec 16, 8pm. £10.
2. Trading Places + Scrooged
Humbug! Both these Christmas-related classics focus on the darker side of the festive season – though it all turns out happily in the end, of course. In ‘Trading Places’, a pair of bastardly billionaire brothers have a one-dollar wager about the respective merits of breeding or environment on a man’s character, and engineer the ‘trading places’ of one of their young financial wizards (Dan Aykroyd, in fine smug form) with a black low-life hustler (Eddie Murphy). ‘Scrooged’, meanwhile, is an update on the Dickens classic with Bill Murray as a miserly TV network president who rejoins the human race following spectral visitations. Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. Mon Dec 15, 6.25pm. £14.
3. Science Fiction Theatre: ‘Godzilla’
Forget the lumpy 2014 remake, the 1954 Japanese original remains the finest stomping lizard movie of all time. As early scenes of destroyed ships in seas facing the Bikini Atoll H-bomb tests, Geiger-counters scanning children on the Odo islands or the ‘not-again’ conversations on Tokyo buses testify, director Ishiro Honda’s intention was to provide more than just a thrilling monster movie in the Ray Harryhausen mould (which it is). Deeply affected by witnessing the ruins of Hiroshima, he also wanted the film to be an allegory of nuclear warfare. The Duke Of Wellington, 119 Balls Pond Rd, N1 4BL. Thu Dec 11, 8pm. £5.
4. Pop-Up Cinema in the Snow: ‘Gremlins’
Another spiky Christmas classic, courtesy of Pop-Up Screens and their new seasonal residency in Notting Hill’s plush 20th Century Theatre.The film’s setting is Kingston Falls, a Capraesque-Spielbergian suburban haven (with just a hint of poverty, alcoholism and unemployment) into which comes Gizmo the mogwai, a button-cute, furry ET clone with a dark secret: under certain circumstances, he begins breeding toothy, green id-monsters. We never know which side Dante is on: these demonic invaders may threaten everything the well-meaning, self-satisfied townsfolk hold dear, but is that such a bad thing? And don’t they look like they’re having one hell of a party? 20th Century Theatre, 291 Westbourne Grove, W11 2QA.Mon Dec 15, 8.30pm. £20, £10 concs.
5. Science Fiction season: ‘Star Wars’
If you missed out on tickets for ‘Star Wars’ day at the BFI’s sci-fi season – a sold-out screening of the entire original trilogy back-to-back on Saturday 13 – you can at least console yourself by sitting down to the first (and many would say best) movie in the series on the big screen. A pop masterpiece that redefined an industry, ‘Star Wars’ updated sci-fi with unfashionable positivity, taking home a massive global haul that had studio execs salivating. It’s impossible to imagine what that game-changing summer must have felt like for teenagers accustomed to ‘Rollerball’ or ‘Logan’s Run’. BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT. Mon Dec 15, 5.45pm. £8.15-£11.50.
For the full list, go to Time Out’s film events page.