Repertory Rundown

Repertory Rundown: What to Watch in London This Week, From Coppola to Cross of Iron

From classics to cult favourites, our team highlight some of the best one-off screenings and re-releases showing this week in the capital

Each week our critics hand-pick a selection of special screenings – classic, cult, and everything in between – showing across London's wide range of repertory cinemas, and make the case as to why they're worth catching on the big screen.

Contributors: Tom Barnard, Steph Green, Fedor Tot


Cross of Iron (1977)

When and where? 18 July, The Prince Charles Cinema (also 31 July)

It’s fascinating to compare filmmakers who have first-hand experience of violence and those who don’t. Peckinpah was stationed in China just after WWII, responsible for disarming and repatriating Japanese soldiers, and though he didn’t experience direct wartime action, he claims to have witnessed multiple traumatic acts during his time there. As a result, the violence in his (extremely bloody) body of work never feels valedictory or elegiac (here’s looking at you, Christopher Nolan), but ruthless, nihilistic, and painful. And in Cross of Iron, his understanding of the extreme psychosis of military service reaches its apotheosis, zeroing in on a German unit deep in the endgame of WWII, split between exhausted rank-and-file conscripts and haughty commanders obsessed with narrative glory. It’s an ugly, nasty film that spares no prisoners, perhaps conceivable only in the minds of those who’ve seen the first-hand effects of what it means to enact violence on fellow human beings, and for that reason it’s one of the best war films ever. Fedor Tot


Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)

When and where? 19 July, The Cinema Museum

Fritz Lang’s final American film, concluding thirty years of work in the USA is an underrated gem in his back catalogue – whilst a fair few of his Hollywood films get their just dues, many compare them unfavourably to the brilliance of his early German work. But Lang’s American work is marked by an endless fascination in the greys and ambiguities of American life and its many contradictions, whether that’s the fascistic conceptualisation of small-town community in Fury or the cynicism regarding police corruption in White Heat. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is top-tier pulp (a newspaperman convinces his son-in-law to take the fall for a murder case so he can disprove the validity of circumstantial evidence and have the death penalty overturned), but Lang imbues it with his characteristic seediness and institutional faith, taking a B-grade script at a B-grade studio and delivering a high-class noir. Fedor Tot


Broadcast News (1987)

When and where? 19 July, The Prince Charles Cinema

“I'll meet you at the place near the thing where we went that time,” Albert Brooks’ Aaron says to Holly Hunter’s Jane. She nods without needing clarification. The two are best friends, but instead of showing us an elaborate backstory, James L. Brooks’ script is peppered with several instances of this kind of oddly intimate dialogue that embroiders colour onto their canvas of friendship. Broadcast News is about so many things: the bad decisions you make for a hot idiot who epitomizes everything you should hate, the private cries that make being an insufferable know-it-all more bearable, the desperation of loving someone who sees you as sexless. It revolves around news producer Jane, reporter Aaron and anchor Tom (William Hurt), and through this central love triangle, it may be the best film out there about the world of business and the business of love. The newsroom becomes a stand-in for an era where flash and charisma are winning over substance and fact, but ultimately, it’s just a painfully real and funny evocation of how the right choice in life is never clear. Worth all three of those Oscar acting nominations, and then some. Steph Green


Dead Poets Society (1989)

When and where? 20 July, BFI Southbank

Everyone has a slightly embarrassing gateway drug into loving films. Mine began with a Dead Poets Society phase (paired with an obsession with Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, and a harboured desire to be the kind of person who got into Oxford and became a very mysterious library girl. This did not happen). This film still breaks me, though; Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, floppy hair, bad dads, reading literature in little caves, homoerotic subtext, sticking it to the man, all those autumnal textures, Maurice Jarre’s bagpipe-laden score. The thing is like holding an onion up to your tear ducts. For all who say it's saccharine and miserable, you would be fair, but the sheer emotional power still gets me on every rewatch – it is “too much” in a way teenagers just are, and we buy into their lofty dramatic gripes because the film makes us love them. This is Peter Weir's finest work in a whole back-catalogue of bangers, reminding us that we don’t and never did deserve Robin Williams. Steph Green


Annie (1982)

When and where? 21 July, The Garden Cinema

Those who tend to find themselves allergic to the “aw shucks, gee whizz” style of kiddie musicals best stay away from Annie. But, despite it being too long and a little much in places, John Huston (the sheer range of directing this and The Maltese Falcon!) still pulls off a triumph with this Great Depression-set tale of a plucky orphan with big hair and bigger dreams. Corny enough to be diverting but with catchy enough songs to make all schmaltz just about palatable, there’s stuff in here for adults too – I’m thinking Miss Hannigan’s gin bath – and just look at that cast of indomitable Broadway stalwarts, from Ann Reinking to Tim Curry, Carol Burnett, and Albert Finney. It’s hard to pinpoint this film’s charm, exactly; even our greatest critic, Roger Ebert, simply said that “it’s not about anything, but I sort of enjoyed it.” Steph Green

True Romance (1993)

When and where? 21 July, The Prince Charles Cinema (also 22, 24, 26 July and 2 August)

The best film written by but not helmed by Quentin Tarantino, True Romance finds the perfect director in Top Gun's Tony Scott, whose reshaping of the material may have actually resulted in a better movie. Tarantino’s original script was more, well, Tarantino-ish, with a bleaker ending and scenes unfolding in non-chronological order. Scott delivers a more structurally conventional film, perhaps, but it’s still a brilliantly vivid, hyperactive affair, powered by Tarantino’s trademark dialogue and dozens of unforgettable characters. There are great roles for lovebirds on the run, Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette, saddled with stolen coke, alongside Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini, plus a pièce de résistance back-and-forth between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper talking about a cantaloupe. If the cutsie title is supposed to rub ironically against what amounts to a particularly bloody tale, the genuine chemistry – and Hans Zimmer’s iconic, gentle score – actually ensures this as one of the most violently lovely crime films ever. Tom Barnard


The Hidden Fortress (1958)

When and where? 23 July, The Prince Charles Cinema (35mm) (also 7 August)

A lot of The Hidden Fortress’s modern-day reputation rests on it being the primary inspiration for the first Star Wars film, down to a rebel princess having to be transported through enemy territory by a legendary undercover general and two buffoons who function as comic relief. But come back to it anew, and what emerges is a prime example of Akira Kurosawa the entertainer. Amongst his samurai films, it is not as outright epic as Seven Samurai or Ran, nor as badass as Yojimbo, nor as philosophically inflected as Rashomon. But it may well be the most light-footed and funniest of his works, an airy breeze of an adventure film, loaded with great action, scenery-chewing performances and Kurosawa’s seamless sense of composing movement. His other work may cast a more intimidating shadow, but there’s a case to be made that The Hidden Fortress is his most influential – that mix of comic relief, action set-pieces, and large-scale filmmaking may well be the ground zero for the modern blockbuster. Fedor Tot


The Godfather (1972)/The Godfather Part II (1974)/The Godfather Coda (1990)

When and where? 23 July, The Garden Cinema

Few film franchises can lay claim to as many iconic moments as Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy. But it's the image of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), alone in his garden at the end of Part II, that sticks in my mind more than any other – the culmination of every poor and rash decision made up until that point, exemplified by a thousand-yard stare and the swell of Carmine Coppola's tragic score. That's to say, no Part III necessary, though here's a chance to reconsider the unloved (or perhaps misunderstood?) third instalment, now retitled Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, which was rejigged by its tinker-happy director back in 2020. To see the entire thing play out across what amounts to nearly ten hours of pure cinema is to indulge in the true Shakespearean weight of it all – and maybe even find some redeemable qualities in the divisive last chapter along the way. Tom Barnard


Toy Story (1995)

When and where? 23 July, BFI (also 29 July)

The first ever digitally animated feature film… and still the best? Toy Story landed as a computer-rendered miracle back in 1995, breaking the animated status quo like silent cinema transitioning to sound. Years later, the story itself can be seen as a self-referential wonder about just that, as traditional Woody and his place in the bedroom hierarchy are eclipsed by the arrival of new age space ranger Buzz Lightyear. If the animation looks less impressive against the photorealistic contemporaries of the modern day, the script survives as a work of genuine inspiration: witty, sad, and funny in equal measure, and timeless as to render this thing endlessly rewatchable. When people talk about Pixar, this is what they mean — the perfect intersection between kid-friendly and adult-worthy. An animated film that is only, maybe, equalled in execution by its sequel…. and you can catch that one on the big screen, too. Tom Barnard

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