70×70 at St John’s Bethnal Green: The Small World of Sammy Lee

17 Oct St John’s Bethnal Green
The Small World of Sammy Lee. 1962. Dir. Ken Hughes.
Introduced by Iain Sinclair

Link to the event website: http://www.stjohnonbethnalgreen.org/?p=1877314

An exciting series of film screenings with a special focus on East London locations to take place at St John on Bethnal Green this October – featuring talks by Iain Sinclair and others.

Tickets: £4 www.wegottickets.com or  £5 on the door

No Such Place As Bethnal Green is a series of film screenings and talks taking place this October, which will take a look at how London locations, East London and Bethnal Green more specifically, have been used, represented, re-staged and even completely re-imagined by different film-makers.

We will be hosting this exciting line-up of classic films and special guest speakers in the nave of the beautiful grade 1 listed church St John on Bethnal Green.

17 October (8pm) – The Small World of Sammy Lee (1963, Ken Hughes)

With guest speaker: Iain Sinclair

In association with 70 x 70.

We open the series with the gripping 60s gem THE SMALL WORLD OF SAMMY LEE. The film follows Sammy (Anthony Newley) as he tries to wheel and deal his way out of a particularly tight spot. Shot mostly in a seedy and sleazy Soho, the film makes a brief but telling excursion to Whitechapel – Sammy’s home turf.  This is a story that hinges upon the very fabric of London – the distances between businesses, the length of taxi rides: Sammy’s life may well depend on such details.

Joining us for this screening is writer, poet and film-maker Iain Sinclair. Both London and the cinema are themes at the forefront of Iain’s extensive bibliography and, perhaps fittingly for a film about careering around London from location to location, this screening of SAMMY LEE forms part of Iain’s prodigious programme, 70 x 70, of 70 films scattered across various London venues throughout 2013 and 2014 in celebration of his 70th birthday.

24 October (8pm) – IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY (1947, Robert Hamer)

With guest speaker: Charlotte Brunsdon

Googie Withers plays Rose, a cantankerous and seemingly exhausted housewife, as the events of one Sunday force her to confront the disappointments of her past and the limitations of her present. IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY is in many ways a classic piece of British social realist cinema, although this realism has plenty of room for a certain melodramatic sensibility. Set firmly in the social milieu of post-war Bethnal Green, many of the main narrative forces in the film take the form of attempted escape. Those on the lookout for recognisable Bethnal Green locations in this film might notice that the production itself, at least, managed to get away.

Charlotte Brunsdon, Professor of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick, will be providing an introduction to this screening. Charlotte is author of the study London in Cinema: the Cinematic City Since 1945 and is a leading researcher on the capital’s cinematic life and history.

31 October (8pm) – I HIRED A CONTRACT KILLER (1990, Aki Kaurismäki)

With guest speaker: Nick Tesco

The events of I HIRED A CONTRACT KILLER unfold in an oddly flattened and emptied cityscape. Partly East London (where much of the film was shot), partly a stylised type of place recognisable from other Kaurismäki films, this landscape sets the mood throughout the film. Henri (Jean-Pierre Léaud), after a number of failed suicide attempts, takes out a hit on himself – only to then fall in love and find a renewed zeal for life. Now he must negotiate this cold and unforgiving environment to evade his killers.

Nick Tesco, who is perhaps best known for being lead singer of The Members, will be joining us for this last film of our series. Nick, who has acted in three of Kaurismäki’s feature films (including CONTRACT KILLER), will be discussing these collaborations, telling us about scouting for CONTRACT KILLER’S show-stealing locations with the director, and sharing some stories about the making of the film.

St John’s cash bar will be open throughout each evening.

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