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…
Festival of the Moving Image: ‘Paths of Glory’ + Jan Harlan Q&A.
Organised and hosted by students at University College London, this weekend-long festival at the plush Bloomsbury Theatre will this year focus on the theme of truth and lies. Opening with last year’s jawdropping Edward Snowden documentary ‘Citizenfour’, the festival also features a Q&A with Mike Leigh following a screening of his Oscar-nominated ‘Secrets and Lies’, plus a showing of excellent Belgian comedy ‘Toto the Hero’ with an introduction by the director. But we’re most excited about this Monday night event, in which Stanley Kubrick’s regular producer Jan Harlan will discuss the great man’s approach to art and filmmaking, followed by one of his very finest films.
Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon St, WC1H 0AH. Mon Mar 2, 4pm. £6.50, £5 concs.
FREE The VITO Project: ‘My Own Private Idaho’
The VITO Project host monthly film screenings where different generations of LGBT people can get together to watch and discuss movies. This month they’ve chosen the wonderful ‘My Own Private Idaho’, a road movie filmed mainly from the point of view of gay hustler Mike (River Phoenix), a narcoleptic who falls unconscious without warning at moments of stress. As Mike tours the Pacific Northwest doing ‘dates’, he meets up with mayor’s son Scott (Keanu Reeves), and together they set off in search of Mike’s mother. The film’s uniqueness lies in its remarkable emotional open-heartedness.
The Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way, SE11 4TH. Wed Feb 25, 7.30pm. FREE.
There are few more blatant examples of personal wish fulfilment in the movies than Quentin Tarantino’s script for ‘True Romance’. A comic store clerk and exploitation movie nerd (hey, write what you know) meets a gorgeous, sweet-natured hooker who immediately falls madly in love with him. It’s thanks to director Tony Scott’s unwillingness to indulge the script’s excesses that ‘True Romance’ works as well as it does. Avoiding smugness and sentiment, this is a breeze of a film, coasting on terrific dialogue, charming performances, pacy plotting and sheer, coke-fuelled joie de vivre.
Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare St, E8 1HE. Wed Feb 25, 9.30pm. £11.60, £10.60 concs.
It’s 60 years since the late, great Bengali writer-director Satyajit Ray made his debut with this, the first and finest instalment of his groundbreaking ‘Apu Trilogy’. It was the first Indian movie to attract attention in the West, and if your experience of subcontinental cinema extends no further than Bollywood, it’s not just the film’s enduring status as a landmark of world cinema that makes it essential viewing. It remains a miracle of lyrical realism: the detailed observation of village life as experienced by young Apu, his sister, their parents and ancient grandma turns a simple rites-of-passage story into pure poetry.
Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Rd, N2 9PJ. Sun Mar 1, 1.30pm. £9.50, £7 concs.
It’s just another day for Hong Kong policeman ‘Tequila’ Yuen (Chow Yun Fat) and his partner, until the sting they’re overseeing at a teahouse goes very wrong. Tequila’s love for jazz – he frequents a blues bar run, in a delightful bit of casting, by director John Woo himself – epitomises this go-for-broke adventure, which moves between modes (moodily mournful one moment, fiercely kinetic the next) with the sublime confidence of a virtuoso playing at peak form. This was the last film Woo made before he spent a decade-plus churning out Hollywood product of varying quality.
Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. Fri Feb 27, 8.45pm. £11, £8.50 concs.