Thursday, July 01, 2010

What's On in July

Last year, Quentin Tarantino used the volatile properties of nitrate film to bring down the Nazis and now London-based cineastes have the rare opportunity to experience the spectacle and danger of this beautiful but fragile film stock. The NFT is the only public cinema in the UK licensed to screen nitrate prints, and they are taking advantage of that position to showcase such films during the summer. In July, two great films will be shown, John Boulting's Brighton Rock and Alexander Korda's The Private Life of Henry VIII – featuring Charles Laughton's legendary performance as the monarch – alongside two pictures I haven't seen, the Italian noir Fugitive Lady and The Yearling, a Technicolor drama starring Gregory Peck. These enticing screenings are part of the BFI's 75th anniversary celebration of their National Archive, and they are also taking the opportunity to put some recently discovered and salvaged films on display. These will screen in the BFI Most Wanted strand, and one I'm particularly anticipating is His Lordship, an early directorial effort from the great Michael Powell, even if Powell was notoriously dismissive of his early 'quickies' later in his career.

Also at the NFT in July will be the work of Alberto Cavalcanti, the adventurous director whose eclectic oeuvre encompassed a variety of countries and genres, and this season will include screenings of Dead of Night, Went the Day Well? and They Made Me a Fugitive. A two-month season of science fiction cinema kicks off in July as well, with a wonderful variety of screenings building up to the UK premiere of the newly restored Metropolis in August (I'll have more on that next month). The collection ranges from silents such as Aelita: Queen of Mars to the unmissable 2001: A Space Odyssey in 70mm, with diverse offerings such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Fantastic Voyage, Sleeper and The Man Who Fell to Earth also on view. Finally, there's the opportunity to catch up with the work of Goran Paskaljevic, the Serbian filmmaker whose work has rarely received UK distribution.

Elsewhere, short films are given a welcome platform at the annual Rushes Soho Shorts Festival, which will screen over 140 mini but mighty films between July 21st and 30th. Indian cinema will be in the spotlight at the London Indian Film Festival from the 15th to the 20th, and fans of Romanian cinema's new wave will be interested in the 7th Romanian Film Festival, which runs at Curzon Mayfair early this month and features the UK premiere of Police, Adjective. The ICA will be hosting POUT 2, a short season of gay cinema, and the Tibetan Film Festival runs throughout the month in July before going on tour in August.

Finally, if you actually like the stiflingly hot weather we're currently experiencing (personally, I struggle with anything above room temperature), then perhaps you'll fancy sitting outside to enjoy some movies rather than in a nice air-conditioned cinema. If so, head down to Somerset House towards the end of the month for some screenings in Film4's always-popular Summer Screen. It will be kicking off with the premiere of Knight and Day, and there are some genuine classics on offer here. Mulholland Drive, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Manhattan and Paths of Glory are part of the schedule, but my pick has to be Powell and Pressburger's masterpiece Black Narcissus. Hell, even I might brave the great outdoors for that one.

If you know of any upcoming film events that you'd like me to include in future articles, please let me know at