By Ashley Clark
Activism from old-school entertainers, fightin’ in Forest Gate, and director docs. That’s what’s new this week at South London’s best cinema.
The best new film opening at the Ritzy this week is Sing Your Song, an expansive and enlightening documentary profile of Harry Belafonte, the 85-year old entertainer and activist. Focusing more on Belafonte’s humanitarian efforts than artistic, it’s a hugely uplifting piece which functions as a rich slice of American civil rights history for much of its duration. It’s not much of a critical piece (Belafonte even narrates in his lovely, lived-in, gruff tones), but who really cares when the subject has lived such a remarkable, inspirational life? Don’t miss.
Also screening this week is the gritty directorial debut from surly-but-driven actor-rapper-soulboy-entrepeneur-postman-tenpin bowler-taxidermist-barista Plan B aka Ben Drew. The quirkily capitalized iLL MANORS is a fierce state-of-the-nation drama which follows a set of disparate characters across one long week in Forest Gate. Featuring a strong turn from the ever-impressive Riz Ahmed, and punctuated with bouts of rap to add a musical dimension, iLL MANORS is a committed, compelling and promising effort from the young polymath.
Also out this week is an enjoyable new documentary about Woody Allen, entitled simply Woody Allen: A Documentary. It’s being supported by a terrific run of Woody rep screenings throughout the week, including his Oscar-winning romantic comedy Annie Hall (that scene with the lobster, not to forget Paul Simon’s sleazy cameo), and 1993’s underrated Manhattan Murder Mystery
Continuing on a rep theme, the Ritzy knocks it out of the park with two late-night weekend screenings of Amy Heckerling’s 1994 masterpiece (yes it is a masterpiece) Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone and a pre-stardom Paul Rudd, who looked very much the same then as he does now. Everyone’s got a favourite line, but mine (as I can hear you asking) is “What’s with you kid? You think the death of Sammy Davis left an opening in the Rat Pack?” Too good.
Films continuing their run at the Ritzy this week include Prometheus, which seems to have disappointed almost everybody (though where the idea that Ridley Scott was suddenly going to pull a masterpiece out of the bag after years of mediocrity came from is anyone’s guess), Ken Loach’s whisky n’ whimsy dramedy The Angels’ Share, Wes Anderson’s intensely mannered, beautifully composed Moonrise Kingdom, and top Bob doc Marley. Irie.
All films showing at the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton Oval. Book tickets here.