Scalarama Picks 2013 – London

Besides my own contribution, I wanted to highlight some great films from the Scalarama season this year. For those who aren’t familiar with it, Scalarama resurrects the ‘anything goes’ programming spirit of the Scala Cinema in King’s Cross (RIP. Gathering together the best and most daring film programmers to show the best cinema across September, it all culminates in Home Cinema Day at the end of the month. One of the saddest things in modern exhibition is how widespread the opportunities to see cinema there are, but how few there are to see good cinema. While there’s never a bad time to throw on Jaws or Reservoir Dogs, it’s necessary and important that programmers offer up to eyeballs something that broadens their tastes. As a result, all my picks are films I haven’t seen before, and produced by passionate advocates, which is what I leave the house for.

Notes from a Cinematic Cesspool – The Films of Mike and George Kuchar – Presented by Little Joe – Tuesday 3rd September @ 7:30, The Cinema Museum
George and Mike Kuchar’s work is some of the best underground filmmaking you haven’t seen. A little bit John Waters (camp excess), a little bit Kenneth Anger (cracked Hollywood) and charmingly artful, this selection is sweet as much as it is ballsy and profane. Little Joe, your outlet for the best in queer cinema, have offered their curated programme to the Scalarama core programme.

Screen shot 2013-08-29 at 19.16.42

Amazing illustration courtesy Pete Thomson

Margaret – Extended Director’s Cut – Presented by Look at Me Film Club  – Thursday 26th September @ 7:30, The Others
Look at Me Film Club, usually offering a brilliantly diverse selection of films at the Stag’s Head, is offering the UK cinema debut of Kenneth Lonergan’s director’s cut of Margaret. Definitely not a money exercise afterthought, the film was in editing hell for years before finally limping into theatres in 2011. If Lonergan’s previous work (the amazing You Can Count on Me) isn’t enough to convince you, there’s the cast: Anna Paquin, Matt Damon and Mark Ruffalo (and a brilliantly hideous role played by the director himself). Mummified in its own time, this deserves to be seen.

Z/ Medium Cool – Presented by Genesis Cinema – Tuesday 17th September @ 7:00, Genesis Cinema FREEEEEE
Both Z and Medium Cool have been inspirations for successive waves of radicals (perhaps explaining why the powers that be keep them off Region 2 DVD, right?). Haskell Wexler (owner of a name that is far more than medium cool) produced the semi-documentary film against the backdrop of the Democratic National Convention riot of 1968, prescient in his belief that violence would ensue. Z is a grim satire on Greek politics. Is it relevant to the current mess? The price is right to find out: the Genesis’ screening is FREE!

Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival – 5–15th September
An embarrassment of riches, right on my doorstep, at my favourite price. My picks of the programme are Pasolini’s Gospel According to St Matthew in All Saints Church, Japanese drumming and the nature of sound in Japan in the Asylum, Chaplin and Keaton on Peckham Rye and Jacques Costeau at the Centre for Wildlife Gardening.

Variety –  Presented by She Shark Industries –  Sunday 15th September @ 7:00, ICA
Speaking of unknown classics, I have really, really high hopes for this one. An amazing collection of people (Kathy Acker, Nan Goldin, Luiz Gusman, John Lurie, Tom DiCillo etc) created this film about a porno theatre and its inhabitants. Don’t disappoint me now!



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