Repertory Rundown

Repertory Rundown: What to Watch in London This Week, From Billy Liar to Beau Travail

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


Jurassic Park (1993)

When and where? 3, 5 and 6 April, Prince Charles Cinema (35mm) (also 19 April)

Watching the recent Adam Driver sci-fi dinosploitation vehicle 65, it’s remarkable how utterly timeless the CGI in Jurassic Park remain to this day: made in the early days of CGI, it’s not too much of a stretch to say that visual effects haven’t actually improved much since. But the question of why that’s the case is more one of filmmaking philosophy, where overstretched and un-unionised VFX houses are pushed onto a never-ending treadmill of tight deadlines and coke-encrusted notes from studio execs, rather than being treated as valued craftspeople on a par with the rest of the crew. The mixture of early digital and animatronics gives Spielberg’s classic a balance between physical tactility and awe-inducing suspension of disbelief – all the technological advances of cinema to him have always been simply tools. Of course, it’s allied to one of his most entertaining stories, directed with the graceful touch of a surefire showman. Fedor Tot


The Passenger (1975)

When and where? 5 and 7 April, BFI Southbank (also 16 and 27 April)

Michelangelo Antonioni was very much the crown prince of modern alienation and dissatisfaction, and though it may be L’Avventura that tends to get the most of the plaudits (airless, dry, and utterly boring – not even Monica Vitti can save it), it’s The Passenger which stands as his greatest work, and perhaps even its lead Jack Nicholson’s, too. He stars as a war journalist who, on a whim, decides to steal the identity of a recently-deceased arms dealer in the midst of a civil war in Chad, Africa. The film warps inwards – not into a thriller, but a mood piece on identity and splintered mental states. It’s about an individual’s incapacity to build a meaningful life for oneself, shot with a hazy, dreamlike mood. Antonioni’s eye for the strange melding of architecture and the human body onscreen is in full flow, bookended by two of the most spectacular long takes in cinema history. Fedor Tot


L’Atalante (1934)

When and where? 4 April, Ciné Lumière

What a rich collection of works we could have had from visionary director Jean Vigo, whose untimely death from tuberculosis aged 29 meant he could only make one feature-length film (though his anarchic featurette Zero for Conduct is also worth seeking out). The mischievous and morose L'Atalante charts the tribulations of two newlyweds, Juliette (Dita Parlo) and Jean (Jean Dasté), who begin married life on a canal barge, only for Juliette to find herself restlessly yearning for the sights and sounds of Paris instead. It’s impossible not to be charmed by L'Atalante, be it from scruffy barge-dweller Père Jules’ ten pet cats, or the breathtaking beauty of the underwater scenes, Dita Parlo ghostlike and beautiful in her wedding dress. Typifying the French poetic realism movement with its fatalistic outlook and heightened aesthetics, it’s little wonder that it’s just ranked at 34th in Sight & Sound’s 2022 Greatest Films of All Time poll. Steph Green


Billy Liar (1963)

When and where? 6 April, BFI Southbank (also 14 and 27 April)

It’s grim up north for Billy Fisher (Tom Courtenay), a 19-year-old chronic underachiever who dreams of escaping his mediocre existence, but lacks any of the ambition or work ethic needed to self-actualize on his desire for social mobility. Adapted from the 1950s bildungsroman of the same name, John Schlesinger’s film is a coming-of-ager where the titular Billy invents a series of elaborate lies and private, imaginary worlds in order to escape – physically and emotionally – from his humdrum surroundings of Bradford. Sure, it’s somewhat typical of English art produced in this period: part British New Wave, part kitchen sink realism, part parable of the “angry young man” – but it’s also deeply funny and inventive, with the scenes where Billy imagines he is the ruler of a fictional kingdom asking compelling questions about imagination versus delusions of grandeur. Steph Green


Vivre sa vie (1962)

When and where? 7 April, Close-Up Film Centre

Jean Luc-Godard's third film – often translated as To Live Her Life – stars his then-muse Anna Karina as a young French shop assistant, Nana, who dreams of movie stardom but finds herself working as a prostitute after a series of bad turns, the film unraveling across twelve individual vignettes, or chapters, as we witness her gradual shift into sex work. The premise points to rather dour subject matter – indeed, the film takes on a more social realist feel than most of Godard's other '60s features – but Vivre sa vie still manages to retain an inherent, dare I say, playfulness, as to rise above the realms of misery porn. Perhaps that comes down to just how thrilling it is to watch a director still in the early throes of retooling the cinematic form, the film emblematic of all that we have come to think of as “Godardian” in nature. Not to mention the countless allusions to literature, theatre, and cinema, and the sheer screen presence of Karina, who is made magnetic in every last frame of Raoul Coutard’s stunning monochrome photography. Tom Barnard


The Mummy: Double Feature (1999/2001)

When and where? 7 April, The Prince Charles Cinema (35mm)

With Brendan Fraser back in the spotlight thanks to his excellent turn in The Whale, what better time to catch this underrated actor in his most iconic role? No, not George of the Jungle – but as Rick O'Connell, the swashbuckling, all-American hero of Stephen Sommers' The Mummy. A monstrous hit back in its day (and met with mixed reviews from critics who didn't realise how good they had it back then), The Mummy now stands, plainly, as the most successful of the Indiana Jones imitators: a perfectly paced, balls-to-the-wall period adventure packed with rousing set-pieces, brilliantly attuned comic turns (John Hannah is a delight!), one of Jerry Goldsmith's greatest scores, and a genuinely terrifying villain. The sequel was considered less effective, too reliant on CGI and lumped with an annoying kid – though compared with today's wildly forgettable equivalents, it looks like a comparable triumph of old-fashioned blockbuster fun. Catch them both in 35mm, back to back, the way God intended. Tom Barnard

Beau Travail (1999)

When and where? 9 April, The Garden Cinema (also 22 and 30 April)

Claire Denis’ masterpiece remains a work of effortless smouldering atmos. Its basic outlines can be seen repeated in many a festival favourite in this day and age – ah, another tale of repressed male-on-male attraction here, another gauzy trip through the malaise of colonialism here, and look, here’s another orgasmic final reel dance to mirror Denis Lavant’s internal implosion to Corona’s “The Rhythm of the Night.” But few seem to grasp the underlying psychological power of Denis’ filmmaking, dissecting and melding the human body so as to reduce it down to its most elemental and mythological parts. It's encapsulated by shots of military training regimens made to look like arcane dances, and the note-perfect casting: Lavant’s hedgehog-like body; Grégoire Colin’s mysterious, blank-faced youth; and Michel Subor’s grubby old colonel (harking back to Godard’s Le petit soldat, where Subor was the star in another suppressed romance tied into French colonialism). Fedor Tot


Moonlighting (1982)

When and where? 9 April, BFI Southbank (also 15 April)

Polish veteran film director Jerzy Skolimowski is having a moment. Aged 84, his film EO won the Jury Prize at Cannes, and was nominated for Best International Film at this year’s Oscars. But look back through his catalogue, and you’ll find a whole host of bangers. Don’t miss Deep End or The Shout – and definitely don’t pass up on the opportunity to see a young Jeremy Irons in Moonlighting on the big screen. He plays a Polish contractor and electrician called Nowak who, alongside a group of men he is responsible for, has come to England to illegally complete a house renovation job as civil unrest rages in their native homeland. Forced to turn to petty crime to feed his men and survive in a city in which they cannot speak the language, it’s an astute film about belonging, survival, exile and ethics. There’s so much to admire here: Hans Zimmer’s first ever feature film score, the elegant simplicity in direction and performance, Irons’ impeccable moustache. Steph Green


The Gleaners and I (2000)

When and where? 9 April, Ciné Lumière (also 11 April)

The premise alone does not exactly suggest the stuff of great cinema, and yet… Agnès Varda's playful, fascinating documentary foray about foragers living on society's margins offers a perfect encapsulation of what makes this French New Wave pioneer so unique. In true Varda style, the infectious, impossible-not-to-like filmmaker hits the road to document the individual struggles and successes of those making ends meet by collecting food that has been thrown out, embedding us with a gallery of strange, often complex characters who realign our way of thinking about modern living. Of course, Varda's work is always about more than what it's about, and Gleaners is no exception: at once a portrait both social and political, it's also a deconstruction of documentary filmmaking itself – a mediation on the very act of gathering and collating footage – from a master chronicler who helped redefine the form. Tom Barnard

Other Features

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

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

20 Best Films of 2023 (So Far)

With the year at the halfway point, our writers choose their favourite films, from daring documentaries to box office bombs

Repertory Rundown: What to Watch in London This Week, From Mistress America to The Man Who Wasn’t There

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


The Innocent review – 60s-inspired heist movie with an existential twist

In his fourth feature film, writer-director Louis Garrel explores with wit and tenderness the risk and worth of second chances

Baato review – Nepal’s past and future collide in an immersive, fraught documentary

A mountain trek intertwines with a road-building project, granting incisive, if underpowered, insight into a much underseen world

The Beanie Bubble review – a grim new low for the “corporate biopic” genre

With none of the saving graces of Tetris, Air, or Barbie, this ambition-free look at the Beanie Baby craze is pure mediocrity

Everybody Loves Jeanne review – thoroughly modern fable of grief, romantic confusion, and climate anxiety

Celine Deveaux's French-Portuguese debut can be too quirky for its own good, but a fantastically written lead character keeps it afloat