Toni Erdmann (dir: Maren Ade, 2017, cert 15)
An utterly bizarre, hilarious and completely engaging near three hour romp through the tragedy and awkwardness of family dynamics. Peter Simonischek is the incorrigibly wacky and possibly cringe inducing Winfried Conradi, who decides that adopting the persona of Toni Erdmann and visiting his daughter is just what she needs in what he perceives is her unhappy life. Despite the length it never lags and you will laugh throughout, you may even cry. There is the usual talk of a Hollywood remake but why bother when the original is so good?
Mon 6 Mar to Wed 8 Mar at Lighthouse, The Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1HT £8.15 light-house.co.uk
Pieta in the Toilet (dir: Daishi Matsunaga, 2015, cert n/a)
A two hour drama about terminal cancer might not sound like the most uplifting of premises but acclaimed documentary film maker Daishi Matsunaga’s first fiction feature is a beautifully told and life affirming story. Through the tragedy of disease new connections are made, new hope fostered and new dreams realised, death is no impediment to the impressions we make. Incredible cinematography throughout. Screened as part of The Japan Foundation touring film programme.
Tue 7 Mar 2pm at mac, Cannon Hill park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars (dir: D.A. Pennebaker, 1973, cert PG)
Legendary concert footage of David Bowie’s final live appearance as his Ziggy Stardust persona at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1973. Bowie confounded his audience by announcing it would be “the last show that we’ll ever do” meaning as Ziggy, but fans were horrified that Bowie himself was retiring. The film is being screened across Europe for one night only as part of a celebration of Bowie’s life. The mac have laid on a true fan night for lovers of the Thin White Duke. In addition to the main event there will be a screening of an interview with The Spiders From Mars drummer Woody Woodmansey. All attendees will receive a special Ziggy themed edition of MOJO magazine and after the performance live music will be provided in the bar from Trevor Pitt and TREVA. This can all be enjoyed with a speciality Ziggy Stardust cocktail. Also screening at Everyman.
Tue 7 Mar 8.15pm at mac, Cannon Hill park, Birmingham B12 9QH £15 macbirmingham.co.uk
Tue 7 Mar 8.45pm at Everyman, The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RF £13.30 www.everymancinema.com
Prevenge (dir: Alice Lowe, 2016, cert 15) + Q&A
For her debut feature Alice Lowe returns to the familiar territory of Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers, the hilariously pitch black comedy of caravaning and killing she co wrote with Steve Oram. In Prevenge a heavily pregnant Ruth, played by Lowe herself, goes on a rampaging spree of murderous violence guided by the unborn foetus inside her. The humour is so sludge thick black that you may possibly feel guilty for laughing and throughout there is a nagging dread at just what is going to happen come birth time. Not for the faint hearted but a homicidal joy for the rest of us.
Wed 8 Mar 8.45pm at the Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Elle (dir: Paul Verhoeven, 2017, cert 18)
A new Verhoeven film is something to be cherished. The Dutch director loves pushing the envelope and Elle certainly doesn’t disappoint, Verhoeven himself has stated “it’s not a rape comedy’ which gives some indication into Elle’s dark nature. A modern paranoid noir as Isabelle Huppert, in a career best performance, searches for the man who assaulted her. Unsettling, uncomfortable and at times hilarious. Verhoeven’s abrasive magic is still there.
Fri 10 Mar to Thu 16 Mar at the Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Northern Disco Lights + Q&A (dir: Ben Davis, 2016, cert n/a)
Fascinating documentary that follows the rise of Norwegian dance music through the experiences of a group of teenagers in the freezing city of Tromso. Includes interviews with such musical luminaries as Bryan Ferry and Bill Brewster. The film is followed by a Q&A session with director Ben Davis and an after party filled with Norwegian dance anthems under the control of DJ Flash Atkins.
Sat 11 Mar 9pm at Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £8.50 ticketing.eu.veezi.com
Notes on Blindness + Q&A (dir: Pete Middleton, James Spinney, 2016, cert U)
After John Hull went blind in 1983 he began keeping an audio diary to try and understand his condition. John recorded 16 hours of material on audio cassette to produce ‘a unique testimony of loss, rebirth and renewal, excavating the interior world of blindness.’ To incorporate John’s words the directors, Middleton and Spinney, have played with the documentary form to create a new kind of vision from John’s lack of sight. A special transformation of perception and identity. Highly recommended. The film will be followed by a Q&A. Screened as part of the disabled access season.
Sun 12 Mar 2pm at mac, Cannon Hill park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
Black Narcissus (dir: Powell and Pressburger, 1947, cert PG)
The much revered cinematic double act of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, aka The Archers, made twenty films in twenty years, including some of the big screen’s most highly regarded classics. Black Narcissus’s tale of repressed desire is up there with the best. Stick a load of nuns up a mountain and there’s going to be trouble. Kathleen Byron’s fragile Sister Ruth is wound so tight with repressed sexuality the tension is palpable as the nun’s thoughts fixate on the dishy Mr. Dean played rakishly by David Farrar. It all leads to an unexpectedly violent climax. One of the most sumptuously beautiful films you will see deservedly winning an Oscar for cinematography.
Sun 12 Mar 11.30am at the Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Published on: Wed 1 Feb 2017