France, Britain, Italy and the US

Tuesday 9th July – Sunday 14th July 2013


Laurent Cantet’s Foxfire (2012), with Q & A with the director, at Cine Lumiere, South Kensington, 6.10pm


Laurent Cantet is one of my favourite directors and very little known in this country. His last film The Class (Entre les Murs, 2008) won him the Palme D’Or at Cannes, particularly due to the terrific performances he got out of a cast of young schoolchildren, in a docu-style feature film set in a Paris classroom. This latest film equally uses a cast of young non-actors, but is set in upstate New York in the 1950s, is based on a novel by Joyce Carol Oates and focuses on a gang of girls causing mayhem across the city. I certainly am looking forward to seeing this one and recommend you check it out.

The film should hopefully also be coming out on general release, but it is worth seeing this Q&A.

Shane Meadows’s Dead Man’s Shoes (2004), at Prince Charles Cinema, off Leicester Square, 9pm


This film is also showing at the Prince Charles Cinema on Monday 15th July at 9pm.


Jean Gremillon’s Lumiere d’ete (1942), at BFI Southbank, Waterloo, 6.30pm


This film is also showing at the BFI on the 19th July at 8.40pm.

Pasolini’s Medea (1969), at Elements of Religion Thursday Night Study Group, Level 10, Peckham Multi Storey Car Park, SE15 4ST, 7pm



Ken Loach’s Spirit of ’45 (2013), at Leytonstone Library, Leytonstone, 6.30pm, FREE (requires booking)

the spirit of 45 film


Hotel du Nord (1938), with an introduction as well as an informal discussion of the film after the screening with film writer Nick Walker, at Cine Lumiere, South Kensington, 2pm


Francois Truffaut double bill of Les Quatre Cent Coups (1959) and Jules et Jim (1962), Riverside Studios, 3pm


Joshua Oppenheimer double bill of The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase (1998) and These Places We’ve Learned to Call Home (1996), Institute of the Contemporary Arts (ICA), 3pm



Travelling Cinema, Surrealism and French Classics

Monday 1st July – Sunday 7th July 2013

This week offers two very interesting-looking though very different films by Middle Eastern directors about travel across national borders, with one focused on Iranian immigrants coming to the UK and the other on a pair of Syrian lovers travelling by train to Iran’s capital Tehran.

There’s also a free screening of a Lev Kuleshov 1920s silent comedy satirising America’s vision of Soviet Russia, a David Lynch classic and two films by major French directors.

In addition, some of the general release films recommended in previous weeks on this site are still available to see in the cinema including Like Someone in LoveStories We Tell and The Act of Killing. To see my discussion of these films please scroll down beneath this post, or click on specific posts on the ‘Recent Posts’ bar on the right hand side of the screen.



Tina Gharavi’s I Am Nasrine (2012), at Stratford East Picturehouse, Stratford, 8.30pm


Nominated in 2012 for the BAFTA for an Outstanding Feature, I Am Nasrine is Iranian director Tina Gharavi’s debut film and tells the story of a young Iranian woman escaping to Britain as an illegal immigrant in the period just before the events of 9/11. Immigration into Britain has been dealt with a few times in recent years by native directors, so the immigrant’s perspective here feels welcome. The film has been very well-received, with Peter Bradshaw for the Guardian describing it in a four star review as a ‘valuable debut, shot with a fluent kind of poetry’, while Deborah Ross at the typically right-wing Spectator praises it as ‘tender and beautiful and affectionate and gentle and moving’.

This film is also showing at the East Stratford Picturehouse on Thursday 4th July at 6pm.


Lev Kuleshov’s The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr West in the Land of the Bolcheviks (1924), at Sands Film Club, Rotherhithe/Bermondsey, 8.30pm, FREE (booking required)


In the current programme of Soviet films playing at Sands Film Club this satire of a naive American visitor’s view of the USSR as a den of thieves looks like a good choice. Lev Kuleshov was one of the major names of Soviet cinema but is these days more well known to film students for the famous so-called ‘Kuleshov effect‘ than for any of his actual films. I saw Ian Christie (who is curating this season at Sands Film Club) give a talk about Soviet cinema a few years back and he singled out this one as a favourite.

It is necessary to join Sands Film Club and book a ticket in order to see this film, both of which are free. Donations will be taken at the event.


David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1984), at Prince Charles Cinema, off Leicester Square, 9pm


David Lynch is the master of surrealist cinema and Blue Velvet is probably his best film. It is certainly the best place to start if you haven’t seen any of his other films.

Jean Luc Godard’s Bande a Parte (1964), at Stratford East Picturehouse, Stratford, 6pm


All of Jean-Luc Godard’s films from the 1960s are highly entertaining, while being nevertheless shot through with a current of existential dread. In this film a group of initially likeable youngsters attempt to steal some money from an old woman, but find she has no money and accidentally kill her. Highly experimental, Godard’s cinema is in love with Hollywood genre cinema, in this case the gangster film, but typically extends way beyond the boundaries of any single genre. This film is definitely worth catching if you can.


Meyar Al Roumi’s Round Trip (2012) with a Q & A with the director, plus two short films, Institute of the Contemporary Arts (ICA), The Mall, off Trafalgar Square, 7pm

For Walid, a taxi driver in Damascus, the only place he can steal a private kiss with his love, Suhair, is in his car. When Suhair is invited by her friend to visit Tehran, she and Walid together board a train from the Syrian capital to Tehran. As they follow the stunning scenery captured beautifully on film, Walid and Suhair finally have an opportunity to get to know each other outside of his taxi. (Description taken from the ICA website.)


Jean Renoir’s La Fille de l’eau aka Whirlpool of Fate (1925), at the Cine Lumiere, South Kensington, 2pm


One of the first films directed by Renoir featuring his first wife Catherine Hessling, La Fille de l’eau takes place in the late 19th century, in an age of canals and barges. Reduced to poverty from the loss of her father, Virginia falls back upon her own resources to eke out a simple living by stealing, until a classic case of mistaken identity leads to the heroine being accused of setting fire to a French peasant’s haystack, and Virginia is forced to flee. Georges Raynal, the son of an eccentric landowner, finds her and takes her to a farmer’s cottage where she can be cared for. Virginie’s new found happiness is short-lived, however, as her cruel, drunken uncle Jef appears and demands money from her… (Description taken from the Institut Francais Royaume-Uni website.)

Reality and the Stories We Tell

Monday 24th June – Sunday 30th June 2013

The films in this week’s selection either offer up distinctive forms of ‘realism’ or ask us to question the nature of reality itself and the multiple ways in which it can be mediated. Enjoy!


Alain Resnais’s Private Fears in Public Places (2006), at Bfi Southbank, Waterloo, 6.10pm


An Alain Resnais film is always worth seeing – this French director offers strange narrative constructions typically focused on the ambiguities of memory. This one is based on a play by English dramatist Alan Ayckbourne, but nevertheless, as with many of the films Resnais made from others’ work feels distinctly his own. It’s probably not his best film, but I remember enjoying it when I saw it some years ago.

This film is also playing at the Bfi on 29th June, at 3.50pm


Roberto Rossellini’s Journey to Italy (1954), at Ritzy Picturehouse, Brixton, 6.35pm


In this Italian classic Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders play an English couple who have travelled to Naples in order to sell a recently inherited property, but whose marriage comes under strain, under the fierce Mediterranean sun. In praise of this film Francois Truffaut named director Roberto Rossellini the father of the French New Wave, which is most apparent in the understated naturalism of this film and the simplicity of its narrative structure. While the film’s underpinnings are in melodrama, it has a lightness of touch and engages at once both with the intimate minutiae of human relations and with the individual’s experience among the swarm of modern life.

This film is also showing at the Ritzy Picturehouse on Saturday 22nd June (Sold out), Sunday 23rd June, Wednesday 26th June and Thursday 27th June


Tony Richardson’s A Taste of Honey (1961), at Stratford East Picturehouse, Stratford, 6pm


Based on the novel of the same name by Shelagh Delaney and focusing on the trials of a working class schoolgirl who falls pregnant, this film is often seen as a classic of the British New Wave or ‘kitchen sink realism’.

Wim Wenders’s Alice in the Cities (1973), Goethe Institut, South Kensington, 7pm, FREE (requires booking)

alice in the cities 1974

In this delightful alternative road movie German journalist Philip Winter (Rüdiger Vogler) has become sick of the US and, intending to return home, befriends a German woman Lisa (Lisa Kreuzer) and her daughter Alice (Yella Rottländer) at the airport. When Lisa abandons Alice with Philip, the itinerant pair travel through various cities in Europe, taking practically every form of transport possible as they seek out her grandmother.

This film is perhaps director Wim Wenders’s most purely enjoyable one, as well as being one of his best.


Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell (2012), at Curzon Soho, at 11.45am, 2.05pm, 4.30pm, 6.55pm, 9.20pm


I remember Sarah Polley from her terrific performance as a young actor in Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter in 1997, but since then she has acted in many films and has also become a director in her own right. Both of her narrative films, Away From Her (2006) and Take This Waltz (2011) were generally well-received, with some murmurs suggesting that at times she could veer into sentimentalism. However, Polley’s documentary Stories We Tell appears to be garnering universal admiration. In this film Polley interviews her family and friends in an attempt to understand her mother Diane Polley, who died when she was 11 and about whom she knows very little. Critics are saying that this is a mysterious film in which different accounts appear as a variety of conflicting stories, with some dark truths emerging in the process. It sounds fascinating and well worth catching if you can.

This film is also playing at the Curzon Soho at the same times on Saturday 29th June and at slightly different times on Sunday 30th June.

Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing (2012), Director’s Cut and Director Q & A with John Pilger, at Ritzy Picturehouse, Brixton, 6.45pm


This bizarre-sounding documentary focuses on the genocidal warlords Anwar Congo and Adi Zulkadry who, after Indonesia’s failed coup of 1965 took key roles in the execution of more than a million people, Anwar himself killing over a thousand. A decade ago director Oppenheimer had initially trained his camera on the families of the victims of this genocide, before they suggested to him that he instead interview its perpetrators, who remain national heroes and who were all too glad to meet with him. This is where things get strange, as Oppenheimer allows Anwar the chance to reenact these killings on film in a variety of cinematic genres, with a cast made up of his friends and family.

The Act of Killing was executive produced by Errol Morris and Werner Herzog and has won a number of awards, as well as receiving substantial critical acclaim.

This film is showing in a number of independent cinemas across London. The Director’s Cut with a Q & A with the director will be also showing at:

ICA, The Mall, off Trafalgar Square, Saturday 29th June – 7pm

Gate Picturehouse, Notting Hill, Sunday 30th June – 1.30pm

Hackney Picturehouse, Saturday 6th July – 12.00pm, 5.00pm

Phoenix Cinema, Sunday 7th July -1.30pm


Mostafa Sarwar Farooki’s Television (2012), at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green, 6pm


This comical Bangladeshi film about the coming of television to a small rural community and the arguments that arise from this is being shown as a part of the East End Film Festival. The film was given the honour of being the closing film at the Busan International Film Festival and, from the image above, appears to have a certain degree of surrealism to it. It looks like fun.

A number of other films are showing in various venues across the city for the East End Film Festival this month.

Italy, France, Japan and Beyond

Mon 17th June – Sun 23rd June 2013

Welcome to Cinema Slipstream! This site aims to draw attention to some of the most interesting looking repertory screenings being shown across London in the coming week. It will focus largely on obscure and forgotten films, while also pointing to some more established classics.

And so to begin!


Vittorio de Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948) at Chapel Cinema, St Margaret’s Chapel, via The Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green, 6.30pm, FREE


The Bicycle Thieves (1948) is an absolute classic of Italian Neo-realist cinema and a touching story of the tenuous nature of life on the breadline, post-WW2. When a father’s bicycle is stolen he is unable to continue with his work posting advertising bills and so must go into the city, with his son, in search of the bicycle. If you haven’t seen it yet, this free screening is well worth getting to.


Olivier Assayas double-bill of Summer Hours (2008) and Something in the Air (2012), at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, 6.30pm



Olivier Assayas is a  well-respected French film director who used to write for Cahiers du Cinema. His biggest hit to date was the highly entertaining Irma Vep (1996), in which a film director attempts to remake the silent era vampire films of Louis Feuillade with the help of a super-sexy Hong Kong actress, played by Maggie Cheung. These two films sound somewhat more serious than that one, although they are equally both underpinned by the process of remembering. In Summer Hours (2008) Assayas focuses on three adult siblings meeting with their mother on her 75th birthday as they recall their childhood and discuss what’s to become of the family’s expensive art collection after their mother dies. Alternatively in Something in the Air (2012) it is Assayas himself looking back, in a film about the youthful spirit of revolution within Paris in May 1968 and in the months that followed.

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain (1973), at Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square, 8.45pm

Much like David Lynch, Alejandro Jodorowsky does appear to be a bit of a nutter, attached to a whole lot of very strange mystical ideas. Nevertheless, also like Lynch, he is a master of the surreal and otherworldly. Jodorowsky’s blend of surrealism is particularly characterised by its visceral, violent, psychedelic mysticism. It’s well worth checking out this film, which is supposed to be one of his best.


‘There’s No Place Like Home’: a film programme and discussion curated by Paul Goodwin as part of Refugee Week, at Tate Modern (in the Starr Auditorium), Waterloo, 6.30pm, FREE (requires booking)


This selection of films by artists Alia Syed (Fatima’s Letter 1992), David Hammons (Phat Free 1995) and The Otolith Group (Nervus Rerum 2008) curated by Paul Goodwin, interrogates the liminal spaces, between fiction and reality, of the longing for home of the displaced person in Whitechapel, London; Harlem, New York and Jenin Refugee Camp, Palestine. The screenings will be followed by a discussion between Paul Goodwin and Almir Koldzic, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Counterpoints Arts. (Description taken from the Tate Modern website.)


Abbas Kiarostami’s Like Someone in Love (2012)at the ICA, The Mall, off Trafalgar Square, 3.30pm, 8.45pm


With his English language and Italian-set film Certified Copy (2010) Abbas Kiarostami proved that his unique meld of reality and fiction could be put to work just as well outside his native Iran. Now in Like Someone in Love Kiarostami has gone even further afield, in a film made not only in Japan, but also in Japanese. Kiarostami is one of the great film directors of our time and this film is well worth catching. It is playing at the ICA throughout this week from 21st June and is also at Curzon Mayfair, Odeon Covent Garden and Bfi Southbank. I would recommend getting to it fairly soon, however, as it may not run for much longer than a week or two and is one you definitely don’t want to miss.


Jacques Becker’s Casque D’Or (1952), at the Cine Lumiere, South Kensington, 2.00pm


From the first twelve minutes of Casque D’Or (1952) it is hard to believe that the film was a flop on its initial release. The film’s introduction is as visually thrilling as the best of Hollywood at the time. Becker’s camera roams left and right, forward and back, around an elegant open-air salon de thé as a group of gangsters and their girlfriends visit after a boating trip. One man asks the owner, “Where is the music?” and the band instantly strikes up as if inspired by the pure magic of cinema.

It may however be that as a whole the film’s high degree of stylisation and innovation was just too modern for French cinema of the time, bogged-down as this was by what Francois Truffaut would famously describe two years later as a “Tradition of Quality.” Truffaut greatly admired Casque D’Or and in 1965 he aptly described the film’s leading couple of Serge Reggiani and Simone Signoret, a bizarre pair that Becker must have spotted in Max Ophuls’s La Ronde (1950), as “the little alley cat who is made of nothing but nerves, and the gorgeous carnivorous plant”.

Jacques Becker is among the greats of French cinema, despite being nowhere near as well known as his contemporaries Jean Renoir, Marcel Carne and Robert Bresson. Casque D’Or is one of Becker’s greatest films and certainly deserves to be seen on the big screen.

Takashi Nomura’s A Colt Is My Passport (1967), at BFI Southbank, Waterloo, 8.30pm


Part of the Bfi’s season of films from the heyday of Japan’s Nikkatsu Studios this film appears to be a twin of director Seijun Suzuki’s visually stunning classic gangster thriller from the same year Branded to Kill, which is also playing this month. Branded to Kill has seriously high entertainment value and if the still above from A Colt Is My Passport is anything to go by, I’d say this film will also be likely to please.

A Colt Is My Passport is also playing at the Bfi on Friday 28th June.