Dose yourself up before the 14th

18 Feb

Right, since PASSENGERFILMS isn’t launching till the 14th March, we have some suggestions for what to do in the meantime if you’re interested in geography and cinema.

In roughly chronological order…


Peter Yates' 'Breaking Away'

Southwark Cyclists are hosting their first Bike Film night, at 8pm on Wednesday the 23rd February, and will be showing ‘Breaking Away’ (Peter Yates, 1979), a weird film about cycling counter culture. Trailer here.

If you fancy seeing Dennis Quaid in hot pants, write to and book yourself some saddle space!


‘Unravel’ is a hand painted film that correlates in length with the 874 miles between John O’Groats and Land’s End – taking each metre between these two edges of mainland Britain as a ratio to equal one frame of 16mm film. It’s currently being toured in open workshops with local communities, so if you want to see or take part with the manipulating of the film, get to one of the London dates: Wednesday 23rd – Friday 25th February at Swiss Cottage Library or Saturday 5th March at ARTCH in Bethnal Green.


The mobile solar powered cinema is in Brighton on Thursday the 24th February, showing a night of independent short films from 7.30pm at Coachwerks. See flyer.


The Electric Cinema on Portobello Road is 100 years old on Sunday the 27th February. Read this article about the 1910 architect… then come along to one of the celebrations. Tickets for the Eclectic Electric all-nighter screenings on Saturday the 26th will get you coffee and a breakfast bap on Sunday morning.

We realise that this is more to do with architecture and the physical cinema itself than to do with the theme of geography. But in case you didn’t know, PASSENGERFILMS is a massive fan of Jack Nicholson and is really looking forward to seeing him in Roger Corman’s ‘The Trip’ (1967), which has second billing that night…


Patrick Keiller's 'Robinson in Ruins'

This one you’ll have to get permission for. The powers that be in PASSENGERFILMS’ geography department have arranged a seminar on film and geography with Patrick Keiller and Doreen Massey, on Tuesday the 1st of March, after a screening of Keiller’s new Robinson film. (His previous films of Robinsonian wanderings around dilapidated parts of Britain are described on the BFI website here)

For this one, you’ll have to contact me directly!


Patrick Abercrombie's 'Social and Functional Analysis' map of London (1943)

On Friday the 4th March, the London School of Economics will be screening Tom Cordell’s ‘Utopia London’ (2010) in the Wolfson Theatre, from 5 to 7pm. The film ‘observes the method and practice of the Modernist architects who rebuilt London after World War Two; it travels through the recent history of the city, finds the architects who designed it and reunites them with the buildings they created.’

The respondents are Ben Campkin (Bartlett, UCL) and Joseph Heathcott (New School, NY) and there will also be a Q&A with the director Tom Cordell. See flyer.


The Tate Modern’s Arabic season ‘Mapping Subjectivity’ includes a film about a despotic librarian (‘The Man Who Was Looking At the Windows’) and a film about a blacklisted open-air cinema (‘The Lost Film’). Most relevant, though, is the 5th March screening, ‘Domestic Tourism II’, which ‘explores the ways in which these iconic historical monuments are re-appropriated from the timelessness of the tourist postcard, and re-inscribed into the complex and dynamic political, social and historical moment in narratives representing the city.’


I don’t have to remind you that Monday the 14th March is the night we launch at Roxy Bar and Screen, do I? Starts 7.30pm with Karolina Kendall-Bush showing a selection of short travelogues from the archives (I may post some tasters on here later). We’ll then have the main screening of Wenders’ ‘Kings of the Road’ (1976) presented by Ollie and Emma who run the Vintage Mobile Cinema, followed by a Q&A with them and with Magnificent Revolution, who will be talking about their bike powered cinema. (

If any of you get a chance, please continue adding road-themed songs to the collaborative Spotify playlist which we’ll be listening to on the night. I for one have been listening to Boxcar Willie all day… hit the road jack playlist

Also the BIG news is that the first fifty people to turn up on the night will not only get the best sofas in the house, but will also get free homemade biscuits in the shape of a vintage car. And here’s a picture of my cookie cutter to prove it.


Werner Herzog's 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams'

On Tuesday the 22nd March, Werner Herzog will be at the Ritzy cinema for a Q&A following the preview screening of his ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’.

‘Following ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD, Herzog once again takes us deep behind the frontier of an extraordinary place. Having gained unprecedented access through the tightest of restrictions, he has captured on film the interior of the Chauvet Cave in southern France. This is where the world’s oldest cave paintings were discovered in 1994.’


‘Each year, Flatpack Festival celebrates the wild frontier of film culture. Presenting work in an eclectic array of unexpected spaces and places, the festival centres on the shared experience of watching great work that you might not otherwise get to see.’  This year’s festival is from the 22nd to the 27th of March at various locations around Birmingham, and includes one of PASSENGERFILMS’ own collaborators, the Vintage Mobile Cinema.

PASSENGERFILMS will also be volunteering with the festival all week so let me know if you have a Birmingham sofa I can surf!


Ed Bye's 'Round Ireland With a Fridge'

If you’re anywhere near Lincolnshire, the Kinema in the Woods has a special St. Patrick’s Day (17th March) screening of the eccentric travelogue ‘Round Ireland With a Fridge’ – recreating Tony Hawks’ actual 1997 journey round Ireland with a fridge as the result of a drunken bet. I hope the screening gets rowdy!


This is a study day on the 2nd of April at Queen Mary, University of London.

‘In the last two decades the notions of ‘space’ and ‘place’ have become a paramount topic within film studies, often encouraging interdisciplinary work with subjects as far-ranging as geography, anthropology and post-colonial studies. With no sign of the topographical approach losing momentum, this post-graduate study day intends to use the topic of space, in all its myriad forms, to encourage innovative discussions on British Cinema.’


Mark Donne's 'Rime of the Modern Mariner'

At 7pm on Friday the 13th May, the Docklands Cinema Club will be showing a film looking at the life of modern-day mariners from the East End docks and the changing relationship betweent the nation state and the sea. Following the screening one of the ex-Dockers featured will be interviewed by the film’s director, Mark Donne. Here’s a nice short article on it.


One of PASSENGERFILMS’ new neighbours in the South East London Film Clubs Network is the secret-cinema-in-a-squat, People’s Picturehouse. They show fantastic films, and we’re really jealous of whoever does their posters:


Watch it while it’s on iplayer…’Inspired by stories of listeners staging their own site-specific screenings, Francine Stock tries to set up her own pop-up cinema. Along the way, Francine asks the help of various experts and societies about what you really need to organise a cinematic happening.’


Grant Gee's 'Patience'

Other things to watch out for include the next screenings of Grant Gee’s ‘Patience (After Sebald)’ (2011). This is the film part of the national arts project The Re-enchantment, which aims to interrogate the meanings of place in twentieth century Britain.

‘Patience’ is ‘… a multi-layered film essay on landscape, art, history, life and loss by the acclaimed documentary film-maker Grant Gee. It is an exploration of the work and influence of German writer WG Sebald (1944 – 2001), told via a long walk through coastal East Anglia tracking his most famous book The Rings of Saturn. The book mixed history, travelogue, memoir, meditation, fiction and images to explore the personal, public and often overlooked histories of Suffolk.

Sebald has profoundly influenced some of today’s leading writers, thinkers and artists. Some of these – interviewed for the film include Adam Philips, Robert Macfarlane, Rick Moody and Tacita Dean.’

PASSENGERFILMS’ review of the film will follow, but we suggest you keep your eyes peeled for the next screenings!


After last week’s Invisible City meeting in the Book Club, in which in between screenings we wandered around drawing on maps, drinking free wine and talking about film and the city, LIDF are promising to incorporate something very geographical this year. It’s still in the planning stage, but word is that it’s going to be called Invisible City and involve a weekend of finding mobile and pop up cinemas in strange places all over London with the aid of a map. Also, I heard on the grapevine that PASSENGERFILMS is going to be involved – so you know it’s going to be good.


A selection of film explorations of the geography and lives of buskers. The project is currently turning its attention to buskers in London.

‘Street performers face huge day to day challenges, from bad weather and restrictive laws to the simple mission of making enough money to survive. We’re here to give them a platform. Cultures, traditions, myths, geographies, rights, economies and individuals combine to form the urban canvas. We’re here with cameras to explore them for you.’


Another project in the works, the launch of the UK’s first national film festival showcasing environmentally themed films is looking very promising. It will be split between Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester and London over the weekend of the 20th to the 22nd May, and the London base will be in Bermondsey at the Shortwave Cinema, where various exciting things are being plotted, including a launch party (please get in touch with me if you can help out with supplying eco-friendly food or drinks, or are a band who play environmentally themed music…).

Currently we are discussing a  Grindhouse style eco-disaster double bill to start it off. More news will be up on the website very soon:


We’re waiting on confirmation from the distributors, but it looks like the second PASSENGERFILMS screening, in mid-April, will be a screening of Tony Richardson’s ‘The Border’ (1982), starring Jack Nicholson as a corrupt border patrol agent, and soundtracked by Ry Cooder.

Hookline: ‘It divided the land. It divided the man.’

Tony Richardson's 'The Border'

If there’s anything you think you can add to this screening, either from the film side or the geography side, please get in touch with PASSENGERFILMS at . Oh yes, and finally don’t forget to like us on our Facebook page.

See you on the 14th!



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