Repertory Rundown

Repertory Rundown: What to Watch in London This Week, From Bastards to The Big Sleep

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


Bastards (2013)

When and where? 21 June, The Garden Cinema

Is this Claire Denis’ most horrible film? Quite possibly. Is there still a startling level of erotic anguish and hushed desire in and amongst all the depravity? Mais oui. Hulk-of-flesh Vincent Lindon plays a gnarled oil tanker captain who returns to Paris when his brother-in-law commits suicide, forcing him to get involved with a family business gone terribly, terribly wrong. It’s a thriller of the blackest order with a gut-wrench of a twist, propelled along by Tindersticks’ nightmare fuel of a score – a noir in every fatalistic sense that cracks open the horrible, empty core of the bourgeois condition, a cavernous hole where morality is meant to reside (Chiara Mastroianni’s barely-there performance articulating this the best, perhaps). It is a rather ugly work, harshly digital and drained, but one that is populated with stark images you may find impossible to shake. You’ll never look at corn on the cob the same way again. Steph Green


The Sugarland Express (1974)

When and where? 21 Jun, Prince Charles Cinema

Though it remains relatively forgotten within his canon at large, this is the movie that, alongside Duel, won the then twenty-four-year-old Steven Spielberg the Jaws gig that would transform cinema forever. But the director's official feature debut (Duel was technically a TV movie) is a plucky display of cinematic invention that hints at the master filmmaker to come. Goldie Hawn stars as a woman who convinces her criminal husband (William Atherton) to help her steal back her baby, in a movie that, despite its Coens-esque plotting and cartoon-like whimsy, packs an emotional wallop. The car chases are the real highlight, though, as Spielberg directs the hell out of the collisions and piles up, packing the movie with his trademark camera bravado and clever blocking. In the grand scheme of a great career, Sugarland can't help but look like a bit of a footnote – but a Spielberg footnote has more to offer than most. Tom Barnard


The Big Sleep (1946)

When and where? 21 Jun, BFI Southbank (also 28 Jun)

“Three great scenes and no bad ones,” Howard Hawks once said of his goals when directing. He may have made every scene in The Big Sleep a great one. To date by far the most famous onscreen rendition of private eye Phillip Marlowe (here played by Humphrey Bogart), this is a tough-talking, tough-fighting LA noir, with fireworks set off courtesy of Bogart’s onscreen chemistry with star and real-life partner Lauren Bacall, though there is another absolutely raucous moment with a then-unknown Dorothy Malone. The film’s waft of sex and violence, the two quintessentially cinematic ingredients, are courtesy not just of Hawks’ brilliant marshalling of great dialogue and star chemistry, but of the script by William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett and Jules Furthman, a triumph of wit and grit over such pointless atrocities as plot logic – famously Faulkner and Brackett questioned novel author Raymond Chandler on an unexplained body in the book, which he himself was unable to clarify. Fedor Tot


Don't Look Now (1973)

When and where? 21 Jun, BFI Southbank (also 30 June)

Often imitated, never bettered, Nicolas Roeg's unsettling British horror about a couple struggling with the death of their daughter while in Venice remains one of the defining explorations of grief on film. There are almost too many great moments to count. The infamous sex scene between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, intercut with shots of the couple getting ready to go out, is mesmerising in its explicitness (and made perfect by Pino Donaggio's strange, sentimental score). An accident in a church involving some dodgy scaffolding is brilliantly jarring and nerve-shredding. And then the denouement – a quiet chase through the backstreets of Venice, made endlessly eerie by the sound of shoes on cobbles, followed by a shocking final reveal that feels bizarre and random – and perfect. With its frantic editing and red-obsessed production design, Don't Look Now takes on an intangible, otherworldly quality, a true original that follows you around like the most vivid nightmare. Tom Barnard

Of Time and the City (2008)

When and where? 22 June, BFI Southbank

You may think that Terence Davies is a bit of a miserabilist, but his deeply personal Of Time and the City – a “love song and eulogy” to his hometown, Liverpool – is perfect proof of how his tongue-in-cheek, contrarian humour weaves effortlessly with his grandiose themes of nostalgia, repression and regret. His voiceover is brutally funny one moment and heartbreaking the next, laid onto an impossibly rich tapestry of archival footage that is almost haunting in its over-there-ness, a lost time, not necessarily a better one. As a paean written in poisoned ink, it is just one of several of the British master’s works that finds beauty in brutality; he may be revered as a filmmaker, but as one of our country’s greatest wits, he deserves more recognition. He is also the only person we forgive for dissing The Beatles, because he’s so charming while doing it. Steph Green


Royal Warriors (1986)

When and where? 22 June, Prince Charles Cinema

Supposedly, Royal Warriors forms part of the In the Line of Duty series, a number of Hong Kong actioners starring kick-ass women doing badass things, but as ever with the heyday of the Hong Kong film industry, it’s really just a ploy to get audiences in the theatre, plot be damned! There’s plenty of reason to get eyeballs on Royal Warriors, though, starring Michelle Yeoh just as she was breaking out into film roles. Here she stars alongside Michael Wong and Hiroyuki Sanada as a trio of cops on a revenge mission. The action sequences, marshalled by director David Chung, are continually inventive: a plane fist-fight fought in close quarters and a depressurised cabin; a nightclub shoot up sending shards of glass everywhere; a psychotic car chase through the city streets. And even amidst the dizzying star power of Yeoh and the sharpness of the action on offer, there remains a surprisingly tender film beneath it all that dissects Hong Kong identity and immigration within East Asia. Fedor Tot


Tomboy (2011)

When and where? 24 June, The Castle Cinema (also 27 June)

In a time where bigoted hysteria surrounding gender-questioning childrens’ rights to support and healthcare is at its highest decibel level, there may be no better time than now to revisit Céline Sciamma’s Tomboy. In this tiny yet mighty tale, we’re introduced to 14-year-old Laure (an excellent Zoé Héran), a biologically female girl who decides to present as male after moving to a new town and being mistaken for a boy. Free of moralising, free of conclusions, free of dictating and preaching the “right answers,” this show-don’t-tell approach prioritises the young protagonist’s perspective, visually and narratively. By inviting the viewer to experience gender-questioning from Laure’s vantage point, Sciamma quietly validates her experiences: it’s an effortless evocation of the need for empathy, support and tolerance. Steph Green


Solaris (1972)

When and where? 25 Jun, Close-Up Film Centre (also 30 Jun)

Andrei Tarkovsky was on record as being not a particularly big fan of sci-fi, which makes it double-strange that his two sci-fi adaptations – Solaris and Stalker – are two of the greatest such films of the genre, and of cinema in general. Here, the story of a scientist Donatas Banionis who flies to a space station on the planet Solaris is beset by hallucinations of his dead wife (Natalya Bondarchuk), themselves inserted by the mysterious effect of the planet itself, becomes a treatise on memory, existentialism and our relationship to our loved ones. Tarkovsky’s earthbound visual poeticism, lingering on water, earth and fire, often focused on concrete reality. This in turn makes for a profound evocation of the lingering ambiguities that exist in our memories, as we shape our friends and lovers in our image in their absence – the planet’s hallucinations of course cannot be drawn from that reality, as they can only be sourced from the memories of its victims. Fedor Tot

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