Repertory Rundown

Repertory Rundown: What to Watch in London This Week, From Monkey Business to Miami Vice

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


Yeleen (1987)

When and where? 10 April, The Garden Cinema

Yeelen is one of the masterpieces of African cinema, and its director Souleymane Cissé one of its great practitioners. A mixture of underfunded archives, complicated rights issues, and sheer disinterest from many curators, critics and anybody in a position to wield influence means access to African cinema has long been an arduous task for many a cinephile. Well, The Garden Cinema is partly rectifying that with a programme of Francophile African cinema. Yeelen tells the story of a young man journeying through Western Africa, aided by magical powers. It is a film rooted in the folklore of the Bambara people, an attempt to recover ancestral traditions for a new generation. It is a film of powerful, singular images, composed with artistry and integrity, imbued with the unique power of its landscapes, a journey through the imagination that deserves to be seen on the big screen. Fedor Tot


Deep End (1970)

When and where? 10 April, BFI Southbank (also 19 April)

Deep End, which arrived on British screens in 1970, is a cinematic equivalent of the Swinging Sixties’ bleary comedown – blinking open its bloodshot eyes to be met with an almighty sense of dread. Party’s over. In Jerzy Skolimowski's film, a 15-year-old boy gets a job at a bathhouse, only to become obsessed with a red-haired employee ten years his senior (Jane Asher, fresh from her breakup with Paul McCartney, mod outfits to die for). What’s not to love? The Cat Stevens soundtrack, Diana Dors’ seedy cameo, the Demy-esque colours, the Nouvelle Vague hijinks. And if you needed more cause to watch, way back in 1982, David Lynch said that “there’s never been a colour movie I’ve freaked out over except Deep End, which had really great art direction.” Possibly one of the most disturbing, and stylish, coming-of-age films to come out of Britain. Steph Green


Monkey Business (1952)

When and where? 10 April, BFI Southbank (also 21 and 31 April)

Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe starring in a screwball comedy directed by Howard Hawks and written by Ben Hecht (Scarface, His Girl Friday), Charles Lederer (His Girl Friday, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) and I.A.L Diamond (Some Like it Hot, The Apartment). To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the result is rip-roaring laughs. Made at the tail end of screwball’s peak, it represents something of a glorious send off – not that it ever really went away, though the loosening of Hays Code censorship from the ‘60s onwards certainly signalled a shift away from the censor-poking innuendo that so fuelled the genre. Hawks often had a unique sense of how to embody the action of the script in the mannerisms and inherent styles of his stars. Few other Hollywood Golden Age directors made it look so easy and so it is; Grant is lithe and relaxed, Rogers is playful and ridiculous, Monroe just bursting into her first era of superstardom. Fedor Tot


Miami Vice (2006)

When and where? 12 April, The Garden Cinema

Michael Mann fell out of popular favour somewhat with the release of this, his remake of the cult '80s TV show Miami Vice, known for its synth-y score and Hawaiian shirts. Initial criticisms targeted the confusing, near impenetrable plotting and Mann's decision to shoot on digital. But everything that once seemed so wrong about Miami Vice now seems so right. Taken as an exercise in pure vibes, it makes for one truly stunning and immersive experience, the very definition of a movie that washes over you, whose narrative intent is never clear and all the better for it. Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx are the crack duo out to nab a big time drug dealer… but the plot really comes second to how it all feels: instead we marvel at the visceral action sequences, the sunsets, the tangents, the unexpected romance, the unforgettable cold open set to “Numb/Encore” (has any movie ever kicked off harder than this one?) Ideally consumed with a mojito (luckily The Garden Cinema are happy to oblige). Tom Barnard

Ida (2013)

When and where? 12 April, The Castle Cinema

Across a frozen Polish landscape, a nun and her chain-smoking aunt go in search of their family's missing past – an odd couple for the ages. In tatty hotel rooms and smoky bars, we glimpse a nation desperately trying to right itself, forgotten in the aftermath of World War II. Agata Trzebuchowska makes brilliantly mysterious work as the titular Ida, whose struggles with religious identity reflect Poland's own complex relationship with Catholicism. Filmmaker Paweł Pawlikowski's stark, funny and tragic grappling with the country of his birth is made a mini masterpiece in monochrome (he'd go on to make another with Cold War, a few years later), thriving on a meticulous sense of period detail and sharp photography that brings every nuance to the surface. Proof that a short runtime – just 82 mins! – doesn't detract from a film's overall power when done right, Ida is a gem that says so much about spirituality, humanity and desire without spelling anything out. Tom Barnard


Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

When and where? 13 April, BFI Southbank (also 20 April)

Part of the fun of watching Aguirre is trying to pinpoint at which point exactly during the production that Werner Herzog, at the end of his tether, threatened to shoot his lead actor Klaus Kinski – “terrifying and deranged” – and then himself. Sometimes the mythos behind a piece of work contributes to the bulk of its allure. A lush, terrifying trek through the South American amazon led by Kinski’s conquistador sets the scene for a delicious descent into madness, brought to palpable life by the arduous on-location shoot that saw cast and crew trekking through the Peruvian rainforest. Even with the safety of the big screen separating you, you find yourself almost unable to meet Kinski’s psychotic gaze. As the imperialists slowly surrender to the sunstroke folly of colonial ambition, viewer and protagonist alike become helpless to the awe-inspiring brute force of nature, always large and looming compared to the foibles of man. An eerie masterpiece. Steph Green


Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)

When and where? 14 April, Close-Up Film Centre (also 29 April)

Is there a more evocative, brutally poetic title in cinema than Fear Eats the Soul? In this melodrama, haunted by the ghostly echo of Douglas Sirk, a sexagenarian window cleaner and a Moroccan worker half her age fall in love, clinging to each other among the brutal social wastage of West Germany. There’s a nibbling sense of unease in Fassbinder’s most well-known work: a deeply depressing outlook about love in a world run by racism, ageism, classism – any “ism,” really. His unforgiving frame locks characters within impossible scenarios with no real route out into happiness, the two leads imparting both extraordinary empathy and all frailties and failings of humanity in their agonizing quest towards happiness. Typical Fassbinder misery, sure, but with a beautiful kernel of truth cowering at its core – and always a touch of bizarre comedy (the preparation of couscous becomes a stand-in for, well, fornication). Be lost in its jaw-dropping cinematography on the big screen. Steph Green


The Seven Year Itch (1955)

When and where? 16 April, The Prince Charles Cinema

The Seven Year Itch is not quite top-tier Billy Wilder, but then again, when your top-tier includes Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Some Like it Hot and The Apartment, it’s hard to begrudge a film that’s merely extremely good. The issue is more to do with the film’s lead: Tom Ewell, a well-regarded stage actor in his time (he starred in the film’s Broadway origins) but not one who quite found the right roles onscreen. He’s fine rather than excellent playing a man who, with his family away, becomes infatuated with his neighbour: Marilyn Monroe. Of course, she steals the show: this is the film which produced that iconic image of Monroe with the wind blowing up her skirt. Despite the wider cultural forces that would flatten Monroe into a two-dimensional symbol rather than flesh-and-blood, she emerges here as a headstrong, nuanced actor, equally capable of sex appeal, humour and just enough pathos to hold things on her own. A star, in other words. Fedor Tot

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