The Battle of Algiers (dir: Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966, cert 15) + discussion
The most potent film about terrorism ever made and as frighteningly prescient as it was five decades ago. Declared “a training film for urban guerillas” by the acerbic New York journalist Jimmy Breslin in 1968 and used as a training aid by groups as disparate as the IRA, Black Panthers and even the military establishment of the Pentagon. It’s hard to believe, given the gritty documentary feel of the film, that no actual news footage is used throughout. The bleak recreation of the Algerian War is a monumental piece of cinema and that its narrative could be transposed to the battlefields of the twenty first century shows the unerring ability of the human race to repeat the bloody mistakes of the past. Screened as part of the BFI’s stunning Uprising: Spirit of ’68 season, the film will be followed by a panel discussion.
Mon 24 Sep 7.30pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £5 macbirmingham.co.uk
Black Power Mixtape 1967 – 1975 (dir: Göran Olsson, 2011, cert 12A) + introduction
The powerful meditation on black radicalism, Black Power Mixtape, features 16mm footage filmed by Swedish journalists and subsequently lost, until being discovered by director Göran Olsson some 30 years later, stored in a cellar of Swedish television. Containing fascinatingly unfiltered interviews with leading figures in the Black Power movement such as Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael and Huey P Newton, the film is as an empowering document from a turbulent period in American history with an uncomfortable contemporary resonance. Screened as part of the BFI’s stunning Uprising: Spirit of ’68 season, the film will be introduced by Kehinde Andrews from BCU incorporating his new book Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century.
Tue 25 Sep 6.30pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
Total Recall (dir: Paul Verhoeven, 1990, cert 18)
The Arnie on Mars sci-fi epic Total Recall is a riotous adventure, brimming with planet sized violence and Philip K Dick headfuckery, from the fearlessly excessive Dutch director Paul Verhoeven (two films of his on this week, see below) and contains possibly the greatest Arnieism ever, ‘consider that a divorce’, spoken after shooting fake wife Sharon Stone in the head. Screened as part of the Birmingham Sci-Fi Convention.
Tue 25 Sep 6.10pm at The Mockingbird, Custard Factory, Birmingham B9 4AA £2 www.facebook.com
Do the Right Thing (dir: Spike Lee, 1989, cert 18)
It’s the hottest day of summer in Brooklyn, New York, tempers are fraying and racial tensions are simmering. We follow Mookie (Spike Lee) and his friends as emotions snap in in the heat and violence erupts at the local pizzeria. A close claustrophobic movie with Lee expertly ratcheting up the tension and shredding the nerves. Would you do the right thing? What is the right thing? Is the right thing predicated on your race? Lee doesn’t just stir up the inhabitants of Bedford-Stuyvesant he forces the viewer to ask themselves uncomfortable questions. Superior filmmaking.
Thu 27 Sep 6pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Starship Troopers (dir: Paul Verhoeven, 1997, cert 18)
No one does garish spectacle quite like Paul Verhoeven. At the end of the last millennium he was Hollywood’s go to guy for frighteningly sumptuous visions of sex and bloody violence in films tinged with quasi fascism. Robocop, Total Recall and Showgirls were nightmarishly hypnotic explosions that repelled and fascinated audiences in equal measure. Starship Troopers is a similar beast. Join the army of the future with a gaggle of beautiful kids as they wage war on huge interplanetary bugs and your credulity. Brutally shallow fun. The only good bug is a dead bug.
Thu 27 Sep 6.10pm at The Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £2 www.facebook.com
Big Trouble in Little China (dir: John Carpenter, 1986, cert 15)
Forget the plot, essentially it’s irrelevant anyway, just enjoy Kurt Russell’s bumbling John Wayne machismo as he lurches from one adventure to another with varying levels of competency in Carpenter’s big budget big fun action movie. The genre mashing makes for wonderful viewing, mixing Saturday morning serial, kung-fu, ghosts, monsters, action, adventure and comedy. As the tag line goes, ‘Adventure doesn’t come any bigger!’
Sat 29 Sep 2.30pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Distant Voices, Still Lives (dir: Terence Davies, 1988, cert 15)
A stunning 4k restoration, completed by the BFI National Archive from the original camera negative, of one of the greatest British films ever made. The autobiographical tale, drawing on Terence Davies’ own experiences of life in Liverpool during the forties and fifties is beautifully evocative with a peerless precision for detail. Pete Postlethwaite and Freda Dowie give career best performances as Father and Mother, with the nostalgia for a long lost Britishness at times overwhelming and an exquisitely note perfect score, it’s an absolute masterpiece of UK cinema.
Sun 30 Sep – Tue 2 Oct at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
Published on: Mon 23 Jul 2018