Difficult to avoid the Bat-hype machine this week, as the release of The Dark Knight has prompted calls for a posthumous Oscar for Heath Ledger. Luckily, as always, London provides for those who don't necessarily want the latest marketing churn poured down their throat. For your consideration this week:
Thursday: Wong Kar Wai's In The Mood For Love is the next film at Rivington Place, in conjunction with their Oscar Munoz retrospective. After his recent blunder with his first American film, My Blueberry Nights, this is a reminder of the director's assured touch in his native Hong Kong, as he slowly, beautifully chronicles the beginnings of an affair between a couple in the Fifties. From 7pm, free.
Friday: Hammersmith's Riverside Studios have caught the Cuban bug that bit the Barbican last week. On Friday, they're screening a double bill of propaganda piece I Am Cuba, whose richness has long been appreciated in the absence of any political message, and Memories of Underdevelopment, which toes the same Soviet-inspired line albeit with a more narrative bent. Don't forget your Che Guevara T-shirt. From 6.15, tickets £7.50, concessions £6.50.
Sunday: What's this? A chance to see not only Tarantino's finest film to date, but a classic Godard that inspired the one-time movie rental clerk? Shuffle down to the Roxy for a double bill of À Bout De Souffle, the film that launched the French New Wave and propelled the coterie of filmmakers surrounding it to the heights of thematic and formal innovation; and Pulp Fiction, whose laconic characters, narrative shuffling and heady soundtrack rescued the careers of at least two washed-up Eighties stars and launched a thousand imitations. À Bout de Souffle starts at 5pm, while Pulp Fiction is on at 8. £3 for both films.
Monday: She may have amassed a haul of wretched celluloid outings in her woeful screen career, but even Madonna wasn't able to wreck the surprisingly successful film of cartoon capester Dick Tracy. Her unsubtly named Breathless Mahoney is the femme fatale to Warren Beatty's titular character, his droll performance tempting evildoers Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman to steal every scene - which they do with aplomb, chewing up the scenery until all that's left are bits of wood and colourful costumes. At BFI Southbank, 6.10pm, £8.60, £6.20 concessions.
Festivals, seasons etc. Hollywood's recent, increasingly desperate suckling at the teat of the comic book novel has produced so many wretched flicks (seen Fantastic Four or Daredevil? we pity you) that it's somewhat brave of BFI Southbank to dedicate a season to the subject. But they've done just that, and aside from the aforementioned Dick Tracy, they've pulled a few other fondly remembered films out of the bag: Ghost World, the original Superman and, with the sequel waiting in the wings, Hellboy. We're just disappointed they never found time for the best Batman flick - the indescribably amazing 1966 TV spin-off version starring Adam West, the Sean Connery of caped crusaders. Dark Knight be damned, it's the only big-screen Bat worth bothering with.
Image courtesy of the Roxy