The blog for hip + arty urban adventurers. Uncovering things to do and places to go in London and beyond. Visit the main site at a www.theculturalexpose.co.uk and click here to join the mailing list...
Somewhere you should go… Pop –Up Screening at the Paradise: Back to the Future
February is traditionally a very busy month for cinema goers. With the awards season reaching its climax on both sides of the Atlantic, the nominated films usually dominate the list of choices for a night out at the movies. So during such a period the upcoming pop–up screening of the classic 80s sci-fi adventure Back to the Future may seem like the last of your priorities – but there are a couple of reasons why we believe it deserves your attention.
To begin with, Back to the Future could make a great double-bill with Oscar-nominated Flight, since both are directed by the award-winning director Robert Zemeckis. Furthermore, Flight marks the return of the visionary director to live-action films after eight years of experimentation with 3D motion capture techniques in films such as The Polar Express and Beowulf. So what a better way to celebrate this occasion than by watching his first truly great film?
Secondly, this pop-up screening will take place at the restaurant Paradise at Kensal Green where you can watch the film while enjoying some delicious food. Isn’t this a more appealing option than say eating a popcorn box while watching the realistic scenes of torture in Zero Dark Thirty?
But seriously, the fact that the term ‘classic’ is justifiably applied to Back to the Future should be enough of a reason to go re-watch the film. Taking the premise of time-travelling to thrilling, entertaining as well as intriguing places and offering us two characters that have secured their place in the pop pantheon (Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd’s Dr Emmett Brown) it is one of those films that you will always get back to and lingers in your memory much longer than each year’s Oscar favourite. (Words: Apostolos Kostoulas)
The pop-up screening of Back to the Future will take place on Sunday 17 February at 2:30 pm as part of the Paradise by way of the Silver Screen series co- produced by Paradise and Lexi Cinema. For more information go to: www.thelexicinema.co.uk
Win a Valentine’s three-course dinner for two + screening of Casablanca!
Happy Friday people! We appreciate that love is for life (and not just for Valentine’s!) but if there’s an annual day dedicated to loveliness, who are we to fight it? So whether you’re dating, married or simply enjoy hanging out with your BFF, we’ve got a Valentines’s competition open to one and all; our generous friends at the Roxy Bar and Screen are offering you the chance to enjoy a Valentine’s screening of the classic Casablanca and mouthwatering 3-course dinner!
For your chance to win, simply send us a “selfie” (a picture you’ve taken of yourself, most likely with a camera phone), with the person you’d like to go with and both of your names to email@example.com by midday Friday, February 8th and a winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!
Three course menu
- Beetroot marinated smoked salmon, rocket and shaved fennel salad
- Ham hock and rabbit terrine, rhubarb and plum chutney, toasted ciabatta
- Grilled courgette rolls with aubergine caviar and grilled piquillo peppers
- Grilled haddock, crushed new potatoes with goats cheese, chilli and mint pea puree, citrus aioli
- Feta, caramelised onions and beetroot filo pastry strudel, green beans and rocket salad, with beetroot puree
- Sharing plate of passion fruit curd pots, banoffee tart, blueberry and white chocolate ganache cups
About Roxy Bar & Screen
Roxy was created to bring together cutting-edge digital screenings with high quality drinks & food. Film screenings take place from Sunday to Wednesday on a large-scale, state-of-the-art digital cinema screen and surround sound system, offering viewers a unique, high quality cinema experience within a relaxed bar setting. The hugely popular Film & TV Pub Quiz takes place every other Thursday, whilst the venue also screens the pick of sporting events at the weekends. Good quality value-for-money pub food is served alongside an impressive wine, beer and cocktail selection. For more info visit www.roxybarandscreen.com/listings.php?event=2285
(For our competition terms and conditions, click HERE…)
Somewhere you should go… London Short Film Festival
How’s the head? Have you remembered your name yet? Still feel like sitting in a quiet room after New Year’s Eve? For about a week. Then fear not dear fragile reveller, the antidote is at hand – a festival of the finest short films from this sceptered isle.I can’t think of many better ways to recharge and seek inspiration for the year ahead (and ‘figure the losses, figure the gains’ of 2012 as Kerouac would put it) than sitting in a dark room feasting on cinematic delight. Naturally, it all kicks off with comedy before things get darker and stranger – clearly the festival organisers are adhering to the old principle ‘if you first make them laugh, you will then make them cry’. And on further reading of the programme, it sounds like tears were in abundance last year. The second offering is ‘Fucked up Love’ promising to ‘tell it like it is’. Apparently there were complaints last year at the no-holds-barred severity of it all. Wonderful!
Other standouts include the ‘Femmes Fantastiques’ offering at the ICA, featuring shorts by actors Romala Gorai and Kate Hardie; Alice Lowe (of ‘Sightseers’ fame) in conversation with long term improv partner Jacqueline Wright and ‘Midnight Movies’ for those of a twisted disposition.
This third offering of the festival promises to be as varied and intriguing as the previous years’ programmes and with any luck you’ll finally make it outside halfway through January, just February to get through, until spring. (Words: Ed Spencer)
I have always loved going to the cinema; the big comfy seats, the wide range of delicious and unhealthy snacks and watching the lights dim as the music starts and the screen lights up. But the mainstream cinemas of London are really starting to take the p**s with their expensive pricing and constant sequels leaving me to seek my film fix elsewhere – like The Prince Charles cinema.
The Leicester Square venue showcases the best in independent cinema, has cheap ticket prices, and also understands the importance of remembering the classics. All year they showcase the best in cinema including foreign films, the best of the 80s, the latest Hollywood blockbusters and marathons of films shown in the series and trilogies they’re meant to be viewed in.
However the PCC is perhaps best known for their sing-along-screenings including Rocky Horror Show, Lion King and Sound of Music. And they also add a twist with Schwing Along With Wayne’s World, Swear Along With South Park and Mean Girls Quote Along.
The people at Prince Charles are serious about their movies which only adds to the overall experience of visiting – and it’s little wonder Quentin Tarantino calls it his favourite UK cinema. In fact, the people there are so lovely you can visit their website and request a film and they’ll email you when they screen it in the future. But the best way to keep track of the abundant films they screen is to join their mailing list at www.princecharlescinema.com (Words: Lucy Palmer)
Something you should see… Film in Space at the Camden Arts Centre
Imagine multi-screen mixed media presentations fused with music and set in the dark – this is not the latest VJing event but a new exhibition on expanded cinema. This film movement, which came to prominence in Britain in the early 1970s, was conceived as an alternative to mainstream cinema. Expanded cinema films were experimental works that encompassed film, video, sound and performance. They were made as live projection events, often using 16mm projectors and almost always performed in the dark. Through these films, artists sought to challenge the conventions of spectatorship and the filmmaking process. On at the Camden Arts Centre, this group show has been curated by artist-filmmaker Guy Sherwin and includes both seminal works from the 1970s and more contemporary pieces.
Anyone fortunate enough to have seen and experienced Filmaktion at Tate Modern recently will be familiar with the work of Malcolm Le Grice. Recognised as a major figure in the development of experimental film in the UK, Le Grice’s Castle 1 (1966) or ‘the light bulb film’ is a must-see at this show. Le Grice has said his ‘main interest is in creating experiences rather than concepts’ and this collaged film is just one of a number of works seeking to bring the cinematic experience consciously into the space of the audience. Le Grice’s unconventional use of sound in the editing process of this film cannot go without a mention. William Raban, Gill Eatherley and Annabel Nicolson – Le Grice’s Filmaktion contemporaries – are also represented in this exhibition not only by film but by text and images.
Original expanded cinema works were never produced for a gallery, in keeping with the movement’s radical intent they were shown in more unusual spaces – so several of the earlier films on view have been modified. An expanded cinema exhibition without any live performances possibly misses the point, so a programme of live events does feature throughout its run. There are those who’d argue that expanded cinema is all around us – we are quite used to seeing moving images in a gallery setting but these flicks really are pictures of a different kind. (Words: Eri Otite)
Rashida Jones may well be familiar to anyone who’s spent the past four years watching her on the brilliant American sitcom Parks & Recreation (now picked up by BBC 4), but for anyone else, she’ll be something of a new face on our cinema screens this month. With only small supporting roles on film so far – such as in the rather unappreciated I Love You, Man where she played Paul Rudd’s fiancée – Jones it seems has been waiting a long time for a role such as Celeste to turn up. So long, in fact that she felt compelled to write the script and role herself.
Co-written with Will McCormack, who also stars as the resident dead-beat dealer in the fim, Celeste & Jesse Forever’s cast list reads as a roll-call of some of the US’s most unappreciated comic actors. But it’s more than just a few laughs strung together with a loose romantic plot. There’s real heart and pain in this film about a couple attempting to navigate their divorce while still remaining best friends. Behaving as though they are still a couple, Celeste and Jesse are informed by their friends that what they are doing is ‘weird and wrong’, sending both them and their relationship into a tailspin. Andy Samberg as Jesse is as funny as ever, and brings a much needed vulnerability to his slacker character, whereas Jones’ type-A Celeste finds support and friendship in the unlikely form of a self-entitled, teenaged pop star. Dealing with dating demons, betrothed friends and unexpected pregnancies may not seem like a groundbreaking formula for comedy but watching Celeste & Jesse Forever feels like a breath of fresh air, proving that it’s possible to have complicated and complex characters at the heart of a hysterically funny film. (Words: Annie Taylor)
Somewhere you should go… The London Underground Film Festival at The Horse Hospital
If there are two words that get the cultural tastebuds going, it’s ‘film’ and ‘underground’. Put the two together at a ‘three tiered progressive arts venue’ and you have something truly tantalising and from the sounds of it, a proper antidote to the long sleigh ride to Christmas. Now in its third year, this particular incarnation of the LUFF promises another celebration of obscure, no budget, low budget, genre and genreless, new and recycled films.
Taking place at the Horse Hospital which prides itself on risk, experimentation and innovation, it all kicks off with a short film competition. Featuring seven films, the winner will selected by a secret ballot carried out by the crowd. Rather confusingly, there is an opening party the following evening (an avant garde take on lineality, perhaps?) and the fair on offer here highlights quite what a varied community has built over the last three years. A knees-up that promises Nói Kabát laying waste to your ears (a band who draw on constructivism, futurism and noise theory) alongside writers who do readings standing on their heads highlights that this is not only a festival about film, but a forum for discussion, art, and experimentalism – and that sounds like a fine way to spend the next few days. (Words: Ed Spencer)
Somewhere you should go… 20th French Film Festival UK
It was 1992 when a small film festival first appeared in two Scottish cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow celebrating the rich cinematic tradition of our Gallic neighbours. Fast forward to 2012, and the French Film Festival is now one of the UK’s most enduring and exciting film festivals. Major cities across the UK such as Manchester, Bristol and London are now participating in this fête that showcases the best offerings of francophone cinema’s past, present and future – and for its twentieth anniversary, the FFF has assembled a typically eclectic list of films that will undoubtedly entertain cineastes of all ages.
Opening this year’s festival with the latest cinematic adventures of Astérix and Obélix,was undoubtedly a crowd-pleasing choice. Uderzo and Goscinny’s comic characters are much loved by generations of readers who grew up with the stories about the little Gallic village that resisted the roman occupation and the previous four film adaptations were all box-office hits. Add to this the exciting premise behind the title of the new entry in the franchise – Astérix and Obélix: God Save Britannia – and the intriguing casting of legendary actress Catherine Deneuve in the role of the Queen of England and you have a definite winner.
Ducoboo is also based on a popular comic series whose titular character is an eleven-year-old dunce who finds inventive ways to cheat during school exams but always gets caught in the end. For the definite capture of children’s mischiefs however, look no further than War of the Buttons, the latest film adaptation of the classic novel by Louis Pergaud about two rival kid gangs in a little village of post-war France who cut off the buttons from the clothes of their adversaries and keep them as combat trophies.
Various films in this year’s FFF reminds us French cinema’s knack for producing delightful and sophisticated romantic films. Happiness Never Comes Alone (pictured) offers the winning combo of the sublime beauty of Sophie Marceau and the timeless soulful melodies of classic Motown hits, while Paris- Manhattan is a love letter to the genius of Woody Allen. A hopelessly romantic pharmacist is obsessed with the works and general philosophy of the New York auteur and much like the typical Woody character, she is unlucky in love. As for My Worst Nightmare, the names behind and in front of the camera (the film is directed by Anne Fontaine, responsible for BAFTA-nominated Coco Before Chanel, and stars Isabelle Huppert, winner of two Best Actress awards at Cannes) should be enough to attract every cinephile’s interest.
Mathieu Kassovitz, whose uncompromising film La Haine still lingers in the mind of everyone who’s seen it, returns with Rebellion that tackles another controversial subject, the 1988 Ouvéa cave hostage taking incident. Elsewhere, the fest sees The Minister, another gripping political thriller. Having won 2 Cesar awards (for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor) as well as the 2011 FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes, it should make for essential viewing.
The FFF not only highlights the extremely healthy and exciting state of contemporary French cinema but also reminds us about its glorious past. The whimsical universe of Jacques Demy is celebrated with the screening of five of his most beautiful films (the academy award nominated musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is his most famous work but Bay of Angels is arguably his finest masterpiece). Then there are two bonafide classics that you do not see often on the big screens: Georges Franju’s atmospheric horror film Eyes Without a Face and René Clément’s extremely touching Forbidden Games. Finally, there is Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon, the 1902 film that is regarded by many as the first ever science fiction film and whose use of state-of-the-art effects paved the way for all those Hollywood’s special effect-heavy blockbusters like Star Wars and Avatar - another example of how something small can grow up into something huge. (Words: Apostolos Kostoulas) The 20th French Film Festival UK runs until December 2nd 2012 in various cities across the UK. For more information go to www.frenchfilmfestival.org.uk/FFF2012
Already recognised as a centre for creativity and new trends, East London has another addition to its scene. Netil House provides a space for a meeting of creative minds, to discover inspiration and a great place for a drink. A home to 94 creative studios plus an events space, Netil House allows everyone from designers, photographers, music producers, film makers and more to meet, work together and most importantly socialise together.
Visit the Platform Cafe, Bar & Terrace for its Persian-inspired menu or just a drink while checking out the view of London through its massive windows. With so many events constantly taking place including exhibitions, book launches, film screenings, comedy nights, themed-supper clubs, music showcases and more, you’re in for a night that will always be memorable and unique.
You can also get away from the usual crowded London cinemas and visit their roof top cinema where you can snuggle under a blanket and watch a film under the night sky. Check out Prince’s epic rock drama Purple Rain on October 5th.
Finally, every Saturday and Sunday, visit Netil market for stalls selling everything including vintage home wares, jewellery designers, illustrations, original artwork, vintage clothing, niche accessories and gorgeous food stalls.
You’ll be hard pushed to find a more iconic image than the photograph of the black power salute at the 1968 Olympics. It has become an image that epitomises a century of civil rights, politicised youth and defiance against archaic laws. But this new feature documentary by Matt Norman highlights a part of the image that you may not have previously noticed: the third Olympian in the image. Australian Peter Norman - Matt’s uncle - won silver that day but never competed in athletics for his country again, just like African-Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos. Why? because he was complicit in the politics on the podium.
The doc follows the road to the Mexico City Olympic games and the events that surrounded that fateful year. Working with a variety of found footage and interviews Norman has created a tense and emotional doc that makes for compelling viewing. It provides a great insight into the history of the time (for any of us who missed the details first time round) addressing reasons why the young athletes chose to act and the bravery it took to stand up at that moment - with innumerable sniper rifles around the stadium.
Their solidarity that day and Norman’s support for his fellow athletes stayed with the civil rights movement until his recent death. The documentary paints a genuinely heartwarming image of camaraderie, in the face of such horror elsewhere. With the Olympics around the corner it couldn’t be released at a more opportune moment so it’s a must see if you have any doubts about what sportsmen can do for the world. (Words: Laura Thornley)