Mary & The Witch’s Flower (dir: Hiromasa Yonebayashi, 2018, cert U)
If you imagine there’s more than just a whiff of the legendary Studio Ghibli about Yonebayashi’s charming feature, Mary & The Witch’s Flower, that’s probably because the director worked with the great Hayao Miyazaki for several years. Yonebayashi’s third film is a breezy tale of adolescent witchcraft and magic that will certainly appeal to younger audiences but with enough bite for the mature anime fan to enjoy.
Mon 4 Jun to Thu 7 Jun at The Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £4 veezi.com
Funny Cow (dir: Adrian Shergold, 2018, cert 15)
Maxine Peake excels as the titular Funny Cow, a female comedian struggling through the decidedly grim seventies landscape of that medium. Disinterested working men’s clubs and back street pubs awash with misogyny, racism and the uncomfortable fug of billowing ashtrays. It’s a fascinating insight an era where the jokes were as stinking as the garbage piled high on Britain’s streets, there are laughs to be had here with Shergold’s film artfully veering sentimentality and skilfully recreating the time that culture forgot.
Tue 5 Jun 3pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Victim (dir: Basil Dearden, 1961, cert 15)
Dirk Bogarde is darkly and quietly poised as barrister Melville Farr tackling the odious, and all too common in its day, practice of blackmailing homosexual men. Gay sex wasn’t decriminalised until the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act in 1967 and up until that time blackmail was a prevalent problem. Dearden’s tight thriller is a ground breaking, challenging, powerful and very brave piece of cinema, with Bogarde’s and Farr’s own repression of their natural instincts lending Victim a poignant gravitas.
Tue 5 Jun 7pm at Birmingham LGBT, 38-40 Holloway Circus, Birmingham B1 1EQ Free www.journeyfilmclub.co.uk
The Wound (dir: John Trengove, 2017, cert 15)
Shortlisted at the Oscars for best foreign language feature, John Trengrove’s stunning debut explores the clash of modernity and tradition, alongside ideas of male sexuality, in South African society. The remote Xhosa community observe a coming of age ritual in its male youths that involves circumcision as a way of proving their masculinity, buried within this rite of passage, mentor Xolani (Nakhane Touré) and boy Kwanda (Niza Jay Ncoyini) recognise each other as gay. It’s a powerful and challenging film, shot with considerable panache amidst the inspiring grandeur of the Eastern Cape.
Fri 8 Jun to Sun 10 Jun at the mac, Cannon Hill Park, Queen’s Ride, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
Beast (dir: Michael Pearce, 2018, cert 15)
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside. It’s a decidedly different kind of holiday in Michael Pearce’s debut feature, set in contemporary Jersey with a serial killer running amok. The fairy tale plot revolves around Moll, played with a deliciously mysterious edge by Jesse Buckley, things are never as they seem with the borders between dreams and reality blurring regularly. It’s a bloody journey, with one particular scene involving a rabbit’s head having us grimacing, told in the best tradition of Grimm’s, an exciting and challenging debut.
Fri 8 Jun to Thu 14 Jun at The Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £5 veezi.com
Grease (dir: Randal Kleiser, 1978, cert PG)
The defining film for a generation nostalgic for a previous generation has lost none of its cultural potency since Sandy uttered the immortal line, “tell me about it, stud.” So much so it’s being screened four times this week in Birmingham alone, we’ve chosen this screening because it’s free, outdoors and on a big screen. Not only that, it heralds the arrival of an exciting new entertainment space in Digbeth with several similar events scheduled throughout the summer.
Fri 8 Jun 7pm at The Archway, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA Free ticketlist.co.uk
West Side Story (dir: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise, 1961, cert PG)
The Jets and the Sharks clash violently and tragically on the streets of Manhattan in Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s musical reimagining of Romeo and Juliet. Beautifully choreographed and styled in stunning technicolor, the film won an astonishing ten Academy Awards including Best Picture. Ignore the clunky dialogue and marvel in cinema’s most technically inventive song and dance epic. Iconic.
Sun 10 Jun 2.30pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
New Custard Factory venue The Archway is hosting several free outdoor screenings next weekend including Grease, Mean Girls and Black Panther, check out our preview here.
Published on: Thu 3 May 2018