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LOCO Comedy Film Festival, Bechdel Film Club, ‘The Hidden’ on VHS and more film fun this week

Posted at 8:00 am, January 19, 2015 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…

 LOCO Comedy Film Festival: ‘Hue & Cry’ + ‘A Fish Called Wanda’

The LOCO Comedy Film Festival, now in its fourth year, offers up premieres of global comedy hits alongside screenings of classic films. This year they’re exploring the theme of comedy and class, which naturally involves showing a fistful of flicks from those masters of the social satire, Ealing. The highlight is back-to-back screenings of two films directed by Ealing legend Charles Crichton, the first made while he was still working with the studio, the second many years later in collaboration with co-writer and star John Cleese. Both films are damn near perfect, and you’d be a fool to miss ’em.
Ritzy Picturehouse, Coldharbour Lane, SW2 1JG. Sat Jan 24, 11am. £12.60 per film.

Bechdel Film Club: ‘Mildred Pierce’ 

The Bechdel Film Club exclusively screens films which pass the Bechdel Test, a set of simple rules for gauging how female-friendly a particular film is. They’re about to start an intriguing new run of films under the title ‘Reclaiming the Romcom’, but before that they’ll be showing this timeless blend of film noir and ’women’s picture’, adapted from the novel by James M Cain. Told in flashback, the film is a chilling demonstration of the fact that, in a patriarchal society, when a woman steps outside the home the end result may be disastrous.
Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Rd, SE14 6TY. Mon Jan 26, 7.30pm. FREE.

Alibi Film Club: ‘The Hidden’ on VHS

A rare chance to catch this fast-paced, blackly comic sci-fi thriller on original VHS. It’s about a power-hungry alien organism that invades the bodies of law-abiding citizens and transforms them into deranged criminals with a penchant for fast cars, blasting rock music, and violent anti-social behaviour. Forced to team up with FBI agent Kyle MacLachlan (in his Agent Cooper prime), LA cop Michael Nouri’s frustration is exacerbated by his new partner’s quirky behaviour. Powered by a driving rock score, this is by turns sleek, reckless, and smoothly effective, like a Ferrari with a psycho killer at the wheel.
The Alibi, 91 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB. Mon Jan 26, 8pm. FREE.

The Celluloid Closet 

A witty study of Hollywood’s (mostly on-screen) treatment of homosexuality. Directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman approach the question chronologically and by type, with astringent comments from an array of unusual suspects, including Gore Vidal, Tom Hanks, Shirley MacLaine, Armistead Maupin, Richard Dyer and Harvey Fierstein. There’s no great radical agenda here, just an honest assessment of lives relegated to the shadows of the screen. The montage of homophobic slurs from mainstream contemporary movies is especially telling.
The Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way, SE11 4TH. Wed Jan 21, 7.45pm. FREE.

‘Sunset Blvd.’ + ‘Double Indemnity’

A terrific double bill of seedy LA noir from director Billy Wilder. ‘Sunset Blvd.’ is one of Wilder’s finest, and certainly the blackest of all Hollywood’s scab-scratching accounts of itself, its relentless acidity established in the opening scene by having the story related by a corpse floating face-down in a swimming pool. What follows in flashback is a tale of humiliation, exploitation, and dashed dreams. ‘Double Indemnity’ is the gold standard of ’40s noir, with diamond-hard repartee by Wilder and Raymond Chandler (by way of James M Cain’s novel) and ghoulish cinematography.
Rio, 107 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB. Sun Jan 25, 1.45pm. £10, £8 concs.

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