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The history of hip hop, Czech Surrealist horror, ‘Psycho’ with a live soundtrack and more film fun

Posted at 10:15 am, March 2, 2015 in Arts & Entertainment
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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…

Beat Street

This classic music movie screens as part of the London Electronic Arts Festival, and will feature a panel discussion on the history of hip hop with the DJs from Scratch Perverts. While its predecessor ‘Wild Style’ worked frontline reportage of New York’s nascent rap and breakdance scene into an anodyne teenage romance, this glossier sequel covers troubled cross-ethnic relationships, the drama of a young DJ’s first night on the decks at a big club and the dangers of spraying graffiti on subway trains, all against the streetwise setting of the Bronx. There are appearances from countless legends including Afrika Bambaata, the Rock Steady Crew and Grand Master Melle Mel and The Furious Five.

Genesis Cinema, 93–95 Mile End Rd, E1 4UJ. Sat Mar 7, 4,15pm. £10.

‘Devi’ + live soundtrack

Indian master filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s 1960 masterpiece – also known as ‘Goddess’ – gets a live soundtrack from local artists Dee Sada, Billy Steiger, Paul Linger and Christina Millare. Ray’s film is a carefully nuanced study in religious obsession, as a man becomes convinced that his daughter-in-law is in fact the goddess Kali reincarnated. Comparatively baroque and melodramatic in terms of its images and story, it manages to mount a lucid, finally very moving argument against the destructive nature of fanaticism and superstition.

Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare St, E8 1HE. Sun Mar 8, 7pm. £9.

FREE Anachron: Czech Surrealist Horror

An extraordinary double bill of mind-warping East European weirdness. First up it’s ‘Valerie and Her Week of Wonders’, which celebrates the ‘first stirrings of adolescence’ of a beautiful young girl in a Transylvanian townscape sometime in the last century. The film’s logic is that of the subconscious, its images are those of the Gothic fairytale and its overall effect is stunning. It’s followed by another delirious gothic tale, ‘Morgiana’, an elegant, beautifully executed, post-’60s essay on sex and repression.

Muse Gallery, 269 Portobello Rd, W11 1LR. Tue Mar 3, 7pm.

‘Psycho’ + live soundtrack

It’s one of the most memorable scores in movie history, from the driving opening theme to those slicing strings in the shower scene. This unique evening will see a full 40-piece orchestra playing the soundtrack to Alfred Hitchcock’s blackly comic masterpiece. And the film’s pretty good, too: a delicious cod-Freudian nightmare about a platinum-blonde embezzler who neglects to consult TripAdvisor before selecting her motel. It blazed a bloody trail for the slasher cycle, but it also proved that a B-movie could be A-grade in quality and innovation.

Dominion Theatre, 268–269 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 7AQ. Wed Mar 4, 7.30pm. £26–£61.

House Party

The first in a four-part series of classic hip hop movies at the Barbican – ‘Boyz N the Hood’ screens on Monday, with ‘CB4’ and ‘Breakin’’ to follow. The Hudlin Brothers’ rap comedy doesn’t aspire to Spike Lee’s political attitude, but his influence is evident here in bright day-glo colours, disparate characters and righteous role models (no alcohol, no drugs, safe sex). Kid ‘n’ Play take lead roles, and as someone says, ‘they’ve got a cute thing happening’. Campbell and Johnson from ‘School Daze’ impress again, Full Force and George Clinton crop up in cameos, and Marcus Miller contributes a funky score.

Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS. Thu Mar 5, 8.30pm. £9.50.

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

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