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This Week in Film: Bad Hair and Bad Film

This week’s picks are by Sam Meech, the mechanical turk behind Screening Film, and also the evil genius responsible for the Liverpool Small Cinema project. Follow him on twitter at @videosmithery. Expect sentimentality, 80s nostalgia and underdogs, but please don’t expect good taste.



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THE SELFISH GIANT

19/05/2015 – 07:00 pm
The Foundling Museum – 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ

I was blown away by Clio Baranard’s previous film The Arbor – her experimental (yet sensitive) approach to documentary giving voice to Andrea Dunbar’s tragic life felt like it managed to carefully walk the line between verbatim accounts and dramatic reconstruction. She also seems to be a film-maker who roots her process within a sense of community and approaches her characters with humanity. Set on a similar Bradford estate, and working with non- actors, her follow up has been a popular choice for film programmes over the last year. Loosely based on Oscar Wilde’s tale, the film follows two young boys who are drawn in to the dangerous world of scrap metal collecting. It’s a piece of social realist drama with parallels to Kes, and indeed the central characters bond with an animal (a cart horse rather than a kestrel) giving a sense of hope. Perhaps just as important is the context in which the film is being shown – The Foundling Museum – the UK’s first children’s charity and first public art gallery.

(For more British social realist drama, its also worth checking out FISH TANK which screens at Deptford Cinema this Thursday 21st May.)

Finally – on a lighter note – enjoy the actors from The Selfish Giant in this great spoof of Gravity, as they find Sandra Bullock’s space capsule crash landed on their estate and cart it off for scrap.

 



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PELO MALO (BAD HAIR)

20/05/2015 – 08:30 pm
Whirled Cinema – 259 Hardess Street Loughborough Junction SE24 0HN

I think this is the third of fourth time I’ve seen Pelo Malo appear on the map in the last couple of months, so I guess it’s slowly and quietly building some good audience word of mouth around film societies and indy cinemas. A young Venezualan boy becomes increasingly obsessed with his own appearance, straightening his hair like sixties crooner Henry Stephen. This growing confidence and expression puts him at odds with his desperate mother who wants him to be more macho. Is this (as suggested by Mike McCahill) a knid of Ma Vie En Rose in South America? The film is showing across Wednesday – Sunday at Whirled Cinema.



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ALTERED STATES

21/05/2015 – 06:30 pm
International Anthony Burgess Foundation – Engine House, Chorlton Mill 3 Cambridge Street Manchester M1 5BY

“A psychologist explores religious experience through sensory deprivation, loses his mind, and genetically regresses into a primordial state.”

Well if that’s not a plot and a half, I don’t know what is!

Ken Russell’s 1980 sci-fi horror based on the novel by Paddy Chayefsky, is screened at the Interntional Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester. The screening comes courtesy of a Wellcome Trust funded programme put together by the Science Entertainment Laboratory – a collective of academics exploring the overlap between religion and science. I can’t help but wonder if this whole screening is some kind of elaborate ruse for a terrible experiment in which the audience are turned into helpless weeping zombies. No wait, that’s Frozen.

This screening is introduced by historian of science and media scholar Dr William R. Macauley (University of Manchester).

And the trailer is fantastic.



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BRISTOL BAD FILM CLUB: LIFEFORCE

21/05/2015 – 08:00 pm
Bristol Planetarium – Anchor Road, Harbourside, Bristol BS1 5DB

Ok, firstly I take issue with this being a ‘bad film’, but I’ll forgive the BBFC because I know they love the films they show. They love this one so much they’re even showing it in a Planetarium!

I remember being absolutely terrified of this film, seeing it on tv late at night when I was a child. Tobe Hooper’s soul-sucking space vampires haunt me even now. There’s a lesson to be learned here. Never, ever pick up bats in space and bring them home. And we also have another sci-fi legend – Patrick Stewart. Forget Picard, here we see Sir Pat – the most famous son of my hometown of Huddersfield – in what is surely the role that endeared him to sci-fi fans everywhere. Ok, I’m over-egging this one. Most likely this is the film that inspired that episode of Extras in which he proposes a film in which ladies’ clothes continually fall off.

It’s utter space trash.

Find more sci-fi here



PRIDE

PRIDE

24/05/2015 – 07:30 pm
Chorley Little Theatre – Dole Lane, Chorley, Lancashire, PR7 2RL

This is one of those film which works so well with an audience, because its about people reaching out to each other. By the end you just want to hug everyone in the cinema. It’s all those things an uplifting film should be – funny, moving, and inpsiring. But especially funny – we screened this to a sell out crowd at Liverpool Small Cinema and I’ve never heard a group of people laugh so much and so loud.

George MacKay (currently promoting a much darker role in Duane Hopkins’ BYPASS) plays the very likeable yet naive Joe, exploring his own awareness of his sexualty and looking for a sense of community, against the backdrop of the 1980s and Thatcher’s Britain. His journey into this strange new world of friends and queer activism forms the centre of a much larger journey for the group as a whole as they reach out to a small mining town in Wales, in a show of solidarity with the striking miners. It’s a culture shock for both sides, with fear and prejudice threaten to undermine their efforts at times, though this difference is inevitably from where the film draws much of its humour. It’s also what makes their achievements all the more remarkable.

One of the best films of last year.

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HONOURABLE MENTIONS

In the interests of fairness, I purposefully avoided choosing any of my 5 events from Liverpool Small Cinema, but we have a couple of great screenings this week that are worth seeking out. Later in the week, a documentary screening to mark the arrival of the “Three Queens” liners in Liverpool – MAPPING AND MEMORY ON THE LIVERPOOL WATERFRONT. First and foremost though, Elsewhere Cinema present a rare chance to see Lionel Rogisin’s 1958 South African docu-drama COME BACK, AFRICA.

Nigeria in West Africa is the subject of THE SUPREME PRICE – screening Monday 17th at 12pm – the first of two presentations from Dochouse, including Q&As with director Joanna Lipper.

MINEMA are currently touring their live soundtrack presentation of Hitchcock’s THE LODGER. You can catch it this week at the ace Phoenix Leicester.

Freegans in Yorkshire can check out the DIVE! documentary at Little Reliance Cinema in Leeds.

Also in Leeds, the excellent Minicine present roller derby doc HELL ON WHEELS (I reckon Moxie would have picked this one!)

Liverpool film fans should use this week to check out two of the grandest non-film film venues – the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall (showing BIRDMAN) and the Scandanavian Seamen’s Church (screening prison drama KING OF DEVIL’S ISLAND)

Bristiol film makers should take their creations to BLUESCREEN at Cube Cinema – an open mic night for shorts.

The International Anthony Burgess Foundation appear again, this time hosting a SEXUALITY SUMMER SCHOOL and screening John Greyson’s documentary opera FIG TREES.

And of course, if you’re after some Damn Fine Coffee, you should check out AN EVENING ON TWIN PEAKS, which is part of a whole two day conference in Salford exploring the enduring cricical legacy of David Lynch’s creation.

And did I mention TURKISH STAR WARS???


Sam Meech is an artist and cinema-fancier, who came up with the idea for Screening Film after looking jealously at the abundant listings for indie Kinos in Berlin. He’s curently in Montreal working on a short project with knitting, but has found the time to watch some classic Universal horror, Xavier Dolan’s last film, and Taken 3.


Enjoy writing about film? Would you like to choose your top 5 for the week ahead? Get in touch.

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