Repertory Rundown

Repertory Rundown: What to Watch in London This Week, From Little Women to Sergio Leone

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: Steph Green, Fedor Tot


The Sting

When and where? 26 and 30 July, The Garden Cinema

The opening credits of The Sting (and much of the rest of the film) feature Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer,” an instantly whistleable tune that’s found its way into the shorthand cultural lexicon for breeziness. Appropriate for such a film, a cops-and-robbers caper that just makes it all look so easy. Director George Roy Hill had already found screen magic by pairing Paul Newman and Robert Redford together in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. No wonder the studios wanted to repeat the trick here: the result is one of the few times where the follow-up to a breakthrough success is better. The duo play conmen looking for revenge against the local mob kingpin (Robert Shaw); the film’s aesthetic conflicts come down to Hill’s economic and taut direction brushing up against the laid-back, sunny vibes of the Newman/Redford pairing and the brusque presence of Shaw. It’s a conflict that results in high-quality movie magic. Fedor Tot


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

When and where? 26 July, The Prince Charles Cinema (35mm)

Ask people what they think of when they think The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and most will turn to the iconic theme tune by Ennio Morricone, or perhaps the image of Clint Eastwood’s laconic, grizzled face in deep, screen-filling closeup, hat tipped slightly over. A select few might think of the bridge-blowing scene with Clint and co-star Eli Wallach, in which you can see a stray stone coming off the explosion and hitting a sandbag near the actors with thunderous force. The stray stone was not planned, and luckily no one was hurt. But it’s a small reminder of the tactile and chaotic nature of filmmaking, of the many stars that have to align for a masterpiece to spark off the screen. The culmination of Sergio Leone’s Man with No Name trilogy is a sprawling high-style action epic, the sort of filmmaking which doesn’t know compromise or smallness, and all the better for it. Fedor Tot


American Gigolo (1980)

When and where? 26 July, Rio Cinema

American Gigolo is often accused of being style over substance – but the style is the substance. Many lazily call a film iconic merely because it possesses an innate cool, but Richard Gere completely tore up and re-wrote the rule book about how women could covet men on-screen. He stars as an arrogant Los Angeles escort named Julian who becomes entangled with an older woman (Lauren Hutton), and then framed for a murder he did not commit. It strides along luxuriating in late 70s-early 80s style: foppish Julian and his Giorgio Armani wardrobe, his swaggering sidewalk strut, Giorgio Moroder’s blissed-out synth score, undertones of homoeroticism. It’s a rare film that invites the audience to lust over and objectify its lead, and in its own way is quietly radical, even if the ending changes course a little too jarringly. Of course, this is Paul Schrader, so it goes from trash and flash to a quietly elegiac ending – Bresson meets Kafka meets porno. Steph Green

My Night with Maud (1969)

When and where? 27 July, BFI Southbank

If you were to ask this writer, nearly the entirety of the French New Wave were a group of charlatans and chancers who shit-talked their way into the film industry, a group whose influence is grossly inflated by the cultural gravity of French cultural imperialism: nothing that Godard et al were doing was not already being done (and better!) over on the other side of the Iron Curtain at the time. There are a few exceptions to this rule, and Rohmer was one: a genial intellectual who was capable of imbuing his predominantly bourgeois characters with both a sense of serious philosophical weight, and their own flightiness and anxious worthlessness. In the figure of Françoise Fabian and Jean-Louis Trintignant as two divergent semi-lovers, he found a beautiful early evocation of his worldview, two performances of sly intellectualism and emotive feeling that combine for a masterful film. Fedor Tot


Little Women (2019)

When and where? 25th and 30th July, BFI Southbank

I’m not sure a film in recent memory was so universally adored, so quickly embraced as an instant classic, than Little Women – perhaps only another 2019 film, Parasite. But with this beloved tale, Louisa May Alcott’s ur-text of girlhood, Greta Gerwig injected her own earnestly chaotic stamp onto the story, and like a deftly skilled croupier, seamlessly reshuffled the narrative like cards that fell straight into a royal flush. Following four young sisters living in genteel poverty during the American Civil War, it’s a gentle tale where love pours off the screen: sisterly, romantic, parental, intellectual, painful, garbled at you in overlapping dialogue brimming with lived-in believability. The autumn textures and snowy travails wrap you up in gauzy comfort, the film itself embracing you into the fray as a March sibling in your own right, before slowly breaking your heart. It’s so lovely that it leaves you in a daze. My little women! Steph Green


Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)

When and where? 27 July, The Garden Cinema

When Fire Walk With Me premiered to tepid reviews and lowly box-office returns in 1992, the majority of critiques bemoaned the dark tone, preferring the off-beat humour and soap-opera subversion that became the original series’ trademark. But with FWWM, David Lynch uses nonsensicality and surrealism to create deep wells of empathy for Sheryl Lee’s Laura Palmer, who is but a voiceless, ghostly cipher in the series. Now, the angel speaks. Here is a film – a horror film? – about misogyny and gendered violence, with no moralistic lecturing or gratuitous shock value; I find it impossibly moving, shaken by Lee’s anguished performance as she portrays Laura Palmer in the seven days leading up to her death. Angelo Badalamenti’s otherworldly score and Julee Cruise’s heavenward vocals only make the atmosphere more heady and overwhelming, exacerbating the strange and upsetting tone further. David Bowie is in it, for chrissakes! My favourite Lynch. Steph Green

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