Versus: The Life & Films Of Ken Loach (dir: Louise Osmond, 2016, cert 15) Few directors manage to maintain peak levels of integrity and passion coupled with a thirst for social justice throughout a career. Of Loach’s English contemporaries there are Mike Leigh, Shane Meadows and Alan Clarke but it is a select band. From debut feature Poor Cow (1967), through a canon of classics including  Kes (1969), Raining Stones (1993) and Looking for Eric (2009) Loach has championed social issues and stigma with a respect and humour that has never degenerated into the blithe sentimentalism of so many other films when middle class directors go on safari with the underprivileged. The most important living English film maker and Versus is a wonderful summary of his achievements.
Mon 18 Jul to Wed 20 Jul various times at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 also screening Mon 18 Jul to Thu 21 Jul at Lighthouse Media Centre, Chubb Buildings, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT

Kes (dir: Ken Loach, 1969, cert 12) A beautifully bleak film and one of Ken Loach’s best. It has a naturalistic sheen, almost as if Yorkshire grime has been smeared onto the film stock used. The mostly ad-libbed acting and use of local dialects lends Kes a powerful authenticity. Billy Casper’s attempts to find meaning and a future outside the seemingly inevitable drudge towards the ‘pit’ are by turn comedic and heartbreaking, but ultimately futile. One of the greatest UK films ever made.
Wed 20 Jul 8.15pm at Lighthouse Media Centre, Chubb Buildings, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT

The Hard Stop with post screening Q&A (dir: George Amponsah, 2015, cert 15) In 2011 riots swept the country after a police hard stop of Mark Duggan led to his death. Amponsah spent the next 18 months filming on The Broadwater Farm estate, speaking to Duggan’s family and friends and capturing the impact the death and ensuing riots had on the community. By giving a voice to those usually marginalised and demonised in the media Amponsah has created a powerful statement. The following Q + A features the director George Amponsah, Duggan’s best friends Marcus Knox and Kurtis Henville and community worker Stafford Scott.
Fri 22 Jul 6pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH

Kalpana (dir: Uday Shankar, 1948, cert 18) Taking 5 years to make, Uday Shankar’s stunning all singing all dancing fantasy is looking better than ever after its restoration by Martin Scorcese’s World Cinema Foundation. The surreal Kalpana world contains 82 dance sequences serving as narration for the viewer. Unconventional, dreamy and unique. Screened as part of the London Indian Film Festival, there will be a Q&A following the film.
Sun 24 Jul 2pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8

Night of the Demon (dir: Jacques Tourneur, 1957, cert PG) Probably more renowned for the battle between Tourneur and his producers interfering with the film. NOTD is still a genre defying classic that has stood the test of time and is easily one of the scariest films ever according to no less an authority than Martin Scorsese.
Tue 19 Jul to Thu 21 July various times at Electric Cinema, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50

Harold and Maude (dir: Hal Ashby, 1971, cert 15) The greatest ‘odd couple’ film you will ever see. Blacker than priests’ socks, sharper than whiplash and possessed with a violent energy bulldozed along by the relentless septuagenarian Maude (Ruth Gordon).  Delight in suicide, inter-generational canoodling and existential crisis after crisis as our heroes “try something new every day “. As the tag line goes “They were meant to be. But exactly what they were meant to be is not quite clear.” For extra fun see if you can spot Cat Stevens. The Kitchen Conjurer will be providing snacks themed on the film throughout. Part of the Shock and Gore season.
Tue 19 Jul, 8:15pm at Electric Cinema, Birmingham B5 4DY various prices.

Angel Heart (dir: Alan Parker, 1987, cert 18) You know that Mickey Rourke with the big plastic face? Well he actually used to be a cool actor. Here he stars as Harry Angel, a hard-boiled dick dicing with the devil in Alan Parker’s bloody and superior neo-noir. Genre defying and violent with Robert de Nero smirkingly brilliant as the subtly named Louis Cyphre (Lucifer geddit?). ‘No matter how cleverly you sneak up on a mirror, your reflection always looks you straight in the eye.’ Part of the Shock and Gore season.
Mon 18 Jul 6pm at Electric Cinema, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50

Enter the Dragon (dir: Robert Clouse, 1973, cert 18) The Cinematic Time Machine present the greatest kung-fu film ever starring the beautiful and iconic slim line chop socky genius of Bruce Lee. So full of classic fight sequences, drop dead one liners and pearls of Jeet Kune Do wisdom we don’t know which one to mention first. You will just have to go yourselves and don’t forget to marvel at the pneumatic afro of Jim Kelly. Bullshit Mr. Han Man.
Sun 24 Jul 12pm at Electric Cinema, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50

Honourable mention must go to the Mockingbird for screening Travis Bickle’s violent mental breakdown in Taxi Driver (1976) on Sun 24 Jul 5pm, and musicians from God classic road movie The Blues Brothers (1980) with live music Sat Jul 23 8pm at Mockingbird Theatre, Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham B9 4AA

Mon 18 Jul - Sun 24 Jul
Giles Logan
Published on:
Tue 12 Jul 2016