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Wonder Woman, Mike Leigh and a Spice Girls singalong: London’s top five film events

Posted at 10:00 am, April 7, 2014 in Arts & Entertainment

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.Bird’s Eye View: ‘Girlfriends’

The annual Bird’s Eye View Film Festival goes from strength to strength, returning in 2014 with an impressive programme of features, shorts and documentaries directed by women from around the world. Highlights include opening film ‘In Bloom’, a rites-of-passage tale from Georgia that’s been scooping up festival awards; ‘Wonder Women!’, a documentary about the history of female superheroes; and ‘Gone Too Far’, South Londoner Destiny Ekharaga’s whipsmart comedy about a teenage boy and his embarrassing African brother. But our top pick has to be 1978’s ‘Girlfriends’, about a young photographer (Melanie Mayron) in New York. Directed by Claudia Weill, it’s the missing link between Woody Allen and Lena Dunham, who ‘rediscovered’ the film a couple of years ago.

BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT. 6.30pm. Sun Apr 13 – £8.50-£12.10.

2.Bleak Moments + Mike Leigh Q&A

The iconic London director heads to Dalston’s classy old picture palace the Rio to introduce his first feature, 1971’s aptly titled ‘Bleak Moments’. It’s a long, brooding and often painfully funny film depicting the interacting lives of lonely people: a secretary stuck at home with sherry, paperbacks and a disabled older sister; her prematurely spinsterish workmate similarly imprisoned with a cadaverous hollow-cheeked mother; a shy teacher and a folk-minded stumblebum hippy. They’re all drifting between repression and loneliness as the action shifts from living-room to garage, to classroom, to a restaurant complete with one of the world’s most truculent waiters.

Rio, 107 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB , 3pm. Sat Apr 12 – £10, £8 concs.

3.‘Mysterious Object at Noon’ + Apichatpong Weerasethakul Q&A

It’s a week of terrific director Q&As, as Palme d’Or winter Apichatpong (he prefers to be known as Joe) comes to the ICA to discuss his body of work, and to screen – just like Mike – his very first feature. ‘Mysterious Object at Noon’ is neither documentary nor fiction but something in between, featuring interviews with real people who talk about their lives, but also tell stories. And one story in particular emerges: a surreal tale of a crippled child whose teacher collapses, and out from under her skirts rolls a strange ball. Interviewees young and old take up this yarn and elaborate. Printed in ultra grainy monochrome, this perverse enterprise marked an intriguing debut.

ICA, Nash House, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH, 8.40pm. Tue Apr 8 – £12, £10 concs.

4.Cigarette Burns: ‘Assault on Precinct 13’

Hollywood Spring is a mysterious new movie venue in Hackney, promising to screen alternative cinema and special film club events from this month. We don’t know much more than that – but we don’t need to when their inaugural event is a screening of John Carpenter’s flawless urban siege drama presented on a rare 16mm print by those exploitation experts at Cigarette Burns. The movie’s gimmick is cops and cons besieged in an abandoned LA police station by a group of kamikaze urban guerrillas. Carpenter scrupulously avoids any overt socio-political pretensions, playing it for laughs and suspense in perfectly balanced proportions. The result is sheer delight from beginning to end.

Hollywood Spring, 6 Well St, E9 7PX, 7pm. Fri Apr 11 – £7.

5.Fringe! Spring Fling: ‘Spice World’ Sing-Quote-Drag-Along

Have we lost the plot? A screening of ‘Spice World’ in our Top 10 of the week? Ah, but this event isn’t just presented by the folks at Fringe!, whose fun-packed annual festival of gay and lesbian cinema has been getting more impressive every year. It’s also set to be a riot of cross-dressing, screen-abusing, hits-bellowing hilarity. The film itself is, of course, a bit of a horror, as our five heroines dress up, dress down, change identities, ride around in a Union Jack bus, rub shoulders with a large cameo cast and indulge in vacuous banter. But for a daft night out, this sounds like a barrel of bad-taste laughs.

Rio, 107 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB., 11.30pm. Fri Apr 11 – £8.50.

For the full list, go to Time Out’s film events page.

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