No1 The Wicker Man (Hardy, 1973): On general release and at these cinemas in London: BFI Southbank, Curzon Soho, Cineworld Haymarket, Hackney Picturehouse and Ritzy Brixto.
The director's cut of this famous movie is out on general release at a number of London cinemas.
Time Out review:
Robin Hardy’s bizarre 1973 cult classic set on the Western Isles of Scotland poses a burning question for investigating mainland Sergeant Edward Woodward: could a missing 12-year-old girl have been sacrificed in some creepy, ancient fertility rite by the libidinous, pre-feudal inhabitants? Anthony Shaffer’s script – written at the end of an annus mirabilis in which he also wrote ‘Sleuth’ and ‘Frenzy’ – brews together a heady concoction of police procedural and post-Hammer horror with a pagan pastiche of counter-cultural faddishness, with scenes of dancing naked pregnant women in stone circles or a ranting, windswept Christopher Lee in drag beautifully filmed by Harry Waxman and accompanied by Paul Giovanni’s risible ’60s-style folk revival soundtrack. Essentially, it’s an insane guilty pleasure, still enjoyable for its delightfully eccentric casting – Britt Ekland’s fine Scottish accent and Hammer star Ingrid Pitt’s dour librarian – and for the funniest, creepiest pub scene in British movies outside of next week’s reissue, ‘Withnail & I’
Here (and above) is the trailer for the new release.
No 2 Nothing But a Man (Roemer, 1964): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 2pm, 6.50 & 8.50pm
Chicago Reader review:
A sincere, intelligent, and effectively acted independent feature from 1964, about a black worker (Ivan Dixon) and his wife (Abbey Lincoln) struggling against prejudice and trying to make a life for themselves in Alabama. Directed by the able and neglected Michael Roemer (who made The Plot Against Harry five years later) from a script written in collaboration with Robert Young, who served as cinematographer; with Gloria Foster, Julius Harris, Martin Priest, and Yaphet Kotto
Here is the BFI introduction: A landmark of US cinema, this uniquely truthful depiction of black life in early 1960s Alabama won great acclaim at the Venice, London and New York film festivals. Though it then sank into relative obscurity, a recent restoration by the Library of Congress has again made its many virtues gloriously apparent.
When railroad labourer Duff (Ivan Dixon) meets teacher Josie (Abbey Lincoln), he decides it’s time to settle down to marriage and a factory job. Trouble is, he’s expected to tolerate white bosses who, wittingly or not, are unfailingly racist, and Duff has his pride. Moreover, the couple have to deal not only with the disapproval of Josie’s preacher father, but with Duff’s son by a previous relationship and his own alcoholic father.
Small wonder this was reputedly Malcolm X’s favourite film; terrific performances by the mostly African American cast (Lincoln is especially memorable as the strong-willed Josie), eloquent camerawork by Roemer’s writing partner Robert M Young, and a matchless soundtrack of Motown tunes make for understated but powerful drama. Still more impressive, the film provides persuasive insights into how social conditions can influence not only relationships but notions of masculinity, responsibility and resistance, so that it still feels surprisingly modern and all too relevant.
This screening is also part of the Scalarama season which runs throughout September. Scalarama is the follow-up to Scala Forever and Scala Beyond and brings together all types of different cinemas, venues, film clubs, societies, pop-ups and festivals to encourage and champion repertory and community cinema, and be the UK’s widest and most inclusive film event.
Here is a link to the full calendar of films being shown and here is the Scalarama Facebook page. There's a very good article about the background to the season here at Mostly Film.
Here is an extract.