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 Flare: ‘Orlando’
There are plenty of new movies playing at this year’s BFI Flare – the new-ish name for the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival – but our favourite in the first week is Sally Potter’s literally timeless adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s generation-hopping romance. There are lots of intellectual traditions vying for ascendancy in Potter’s film, but the joy is that it all comes over simply: a beautiful historical pageant of 400 years of English history, full of visual and aural pleasures, sly jokes, thought-provoking insights, emotional truths and romance. The fine, stylised performances from an idiosyncratic international cast are headed by Tilda Swinton’s magnificent Orlando.
BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT. Sat Mar 21, 1,45pm. £8 – £12.90.
2. Asian Film Festival: ‘Om Shanti Om’ singalong
A proud No. 22 in our recent expert-voted list of the 100 Best Bollywood movies, this irrepressible musical returns to the big screen in singalong as part of this week’s city-wide Asian Film Festival. A runaway hit on release, ‘Om Shanti Om’ achieved what other similar films before it had tried and largely failed to do – to satirise the idiosyncrasies of the Hindi film industry. Go along and sing your heart out.
Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. Sat Mar 21 6.30pm. £20, £18 concs.
3. Camberwell Free Film Festival: ‘Pretty in Pink’
There’s loads of great free screenings at this year’s Camberwell Fim Festival, from recent hits like ‘Northern Soul’ to London-centric titles like cannibal classic ‘Death Line’. But we’ve opted for this superior teen angst movie, in which writer-producer John Hughes completed the series he began with ‘Sixteen Candles’ and ‘The Breakfast Club’. Molly Ringwald has no mother in sight, Harry Dean Stanton for a downbeat father, and an unfortunate high school rep. Still, she’s got lots of spirit, and by the end even the Nice, Unbelievably Rich Kid with the BMW is beginning to recognise what we’ve known all along: that she’s the best thing around.
Cool Cats Café, 149 Southampton Way, London SE5 7EW. Sun Mar 22, 7pm. FREE.
The original body-popping dance flick (it was first released over here as ‘Breakdance’) gets a welcome outing as part of the Barbican’s short season of hip hop movies. On the athletic level alone it trashes those awful ‘Step Up’ movies into the boards, and the film’s three heroes, Dickey, Shabba-Doo and Boogaloo-Shrimp (Oscars all round, just for the names) are all spellbinding; the soundtrack is also a treat, and the storyline, if lame (boy meets girl, sticks two fingers up at the dance establishment, and still wins prestigious audition) is lively enough to suspend disbelief.
Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS. Thu Mar 19, 8.30pm. £9.50, £8.50 concs.
5. Human Rights Watch Film Festival: ‘The Wanted 18’
The Human Rights Watch Film Festival is an annual celebration of politically active filmmaking, with a programme of crusading docs and searing dramas. Alongside films about Zimbabwean politics (‘Democracy’), Afghan education (‘What Tomorrow Brings) and Iranian censorship (‘No Land’s Song’), ‘The Wanted 18’ uses stop-motion animation and documentary interviews to tell the remarkable true tale of the Israeli army’s pursuit of 18 Palestinian-owned cows who were deemed to be a security threat.
Curzon Soho, 99 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 5DY. Mon Mar 23, 6.15pm. £13.75.
For the full list, go to Time Out’s film events page.