Here are three highlights from a stacked list of rare films being screened in London over the month of March. In fact, these three will all be screened from 35mm prints! In the post-Brexit wasteland, when anything flammable will quickly be burned for fuel, we’ll miss watching movies this way.
Ball of Fire (BFI Southbank, Friday 15th March @ 6:00 PM) (book here)
With an introduction by Isabel Stevens of Sight & Sound. Ball of Fire is a 1940s screwball comedy that’s long overdue for a reappraisal. With magisterial direction by Howard Hawks, and one of Barbara Stanwyck’s greatest non-dramatic roles as a gangster’s moll on the run (ably assisted by Gary Cooper), the dialogue fizzes and pops.
The Last Temptation of Christ (The Prince Charles Cinema, Tuesday 19th March @ 8:10 PM) (book here)
To call it controversial would be an understatement: Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of the sensational novel imagines a Christ awaiting death and subject to the lust, doubts and anger of any normal man. Time hasn’t dimmed its power to shock, and Willem Dafoe’s performance is seared into cinema history. Arguably the great director’s most personal film.
Black Dynamite (Phoenix Cinema, Saturday 30th March @ 22:30) (book here)
Fiendish Dr Wu! This perfectly observed blaxploitation spoof is almost too good to share, but if you have a friend who hasn’t seen it, they’ll be in your debt forever if you take them along. Join Michael Jai White’s Black Dynamite in a 1970s adventure as he tries to stop bad guys from selling drugs to the community, uncovers a diabolical plot, and takes his crusade all the way to the White House.