A pair of Antonioni pictures, a classic London whodunnit, a "mythbusting" doc on Iran and a sneak preview of the new film starring Ellen Page of Juno fame: it's a week of contrasts at London's rep cinemas.
Thursday: Michaelangelo Antonioni's death last year, on the same day as Ingmar Bergman, served perhaps the final chapter on a particular kind of European arthouse cinema: the brooding, slow, existential and (to its detractors) pretentious style. Antonioni's The Passenger is a typical example. The plot, in which a jaded journalist (played by a louche Jack Nicholson) attempts to escape his life by stealing the identity of a corpse he finds in a Moroccan hotel, burns slowly throughout, and ends with a famously ambivalent final shot that will either enrage or exalt; but lose yourself in the film's internal rhythm, and an undeniable masterpiece emerges. 8.20pm, BFI Southbank, £8.60, £6.25 concessions.
Alternatively, the Roxy in Borough High Street has a special preview screening of The Tracey Fragments (pictured), starring Ellen Page, whom almost everybody (including us) loved in Juno. Courtesy of distributors Soda Pictures, the screening starts at 8pm, and is free.
Friday: If you missed The Passenger, how about catching another slice of Antonioni tonight? L'Eclisse, is the final chapter of his narratively vague, career-defining early Sixties trilogy. As with all things Antonioni, those in search of concision and resolution will be left frustrated, as motivations and conclusions are deliberately eschewed in favour of broad, ambivalence strokes. Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, 6.25pm. Tickets £7.50 / £6.50 concessions, which includes entry to Unrelated afterwards.
Sunday: There's something inherently patronising about documentary filmmakers seeking to take us "behind the mass media image" of Iran. Having a handful of brain-marbles to rub against eachother, most of us realise that (indeed, like our own governments), there's a chasm between the character of ordinary Iranians and their theocratic regime. Still, Aaron Newman is aiming to push just that point across. His film Iran (is not the problem) examines the country's troubled politics and explores the chances of an Israeli or US attack. It's UK premiere is at the Roxy on Sunday at 3pm; entry is free.
Monday: Arsenal FC may alternatively dazzle or despair at their new stadium, but Highbury remains the embodiment of the north London club's heart. Its Art Deco stands were the ideal setting for Thorold Dickinson's 1940 thriller The Arsenal Stadium Mystery, in which Leslie Banks investigates the murder of an opposition footballer during a match. Wonderfully, this film featured the genuine 1939 Gunnner first XI. What we'd give for a modern-day version, with Michael Winterbottom directing Fabregas, Adebayor and co; that Theo Walcott looks like he's got star quality. The film is on at the Barbican's Cinema 3 at 7pm - tickets cost £7.50 if booked online, £9.50 otherwise.
Festivals, Seasons etc.: An increase in Lycra-age is expected this week at the Barbican, where the Bicycle Film Festival begins tonight. It runs until Sunday.