— Ellie Broughton


For many casual cinemagoers, the Picturehouse venues look like they have all the kudos of an independent cinema with all the perks of being part of a network. The programming is great, food and drinks are good quality and the staff are super helpful.

But look behind the scenes and the story’s quite different. Staff at Picturehouses in both Hackney and Brixton have committed to strike over the network’s failure to pay London Living Wage.

Independent cinemas are not without their wage disputes either – for example, staff at the Dalston Rio went on strike last May over wages and job cuts. But if you were a Picturehouse fan until the strikes, you might want to show solidarity by taking your ticket money elsewhere.

The map above covers the following cinemas in London, so you can find the nearest indie to your home and work, or just explore cinemas you’ve never visited before:
Regent St Cinema
Close Up
Prince Charles Cinema
Rich Mix
Genesis Mile End
Dalston Rio
Institute Of Light
The Barbican
Finchley Phoenix
The Horse Hospital
Arthouse Crouch End
Ciné Lumière
The Lexi

A note on the ‘independence’ of cinemas featured on this list: the Arthouse, Prince Charles, Phoenix, Lexi, Genesis, Peckhamplex, Rich Mix, Horse Hospital and the Rio are independent, the BFI is independent registered charity, Close Up is part of a company that reinvests is profits into film resources, and Ciné Lumière is part of the Institut français, which is funded by French public funds.

The Electric Cinemas in Notting Hill and Shoreditch, although lovely, aren’t featured – they are owned by the Soho House Group – and Picturehouse cinemas (owned by Cineworld) aren’t  featured either.

Curzon cinemas, since they are not part of a giant like SHG or Cineworld, are also featured: unlike Picturehouse, the brand pays staff London Living Wage.

Cinema clubs and temporary venues for screening are not featured – everywhere on the list is a dedicated bricks-and-mortar cinema.

To add something to the list, make suggestions or syndicate this information, email elliebroughton@gmail.com.

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Book Review: Days of Fear and Wonder, edited by James Bell | Litro

Split into three strands, as per the films included in the program, the book focuses on futurism (“Tomorrow’s World”), outsider characters (“Contact”) and perceptions of reality (“Altered States”).

In all, the book covers everything you’d hope: robots, aliens, feminism, class, gender, race, the Cold War, anxiety, technology, time travel, virtual reality, evolution, sci-fi TV, space operas, special effects and costumes. The only thing missing was a chapter on music or sound — though the chapter on afro-futurism discusses the connection between sci-fi and black artists.

The inclusion of essays by the likes of John Clute marks Days of Fear and Wonder as a book smart enough for sci-fi nerds, and it’s also a brilliant read for any film fan (and would make a generous, gorgeous Christmas present). It’s certainly essential reading for aspiring writers and critics.

If you don’t treat yourself, make sure you mention it to Santa (or Doctor Who — whoever delivers the presents).

Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder is published on Tue 21 Oct with a promotional offer at the BFI Shop at BFI Southbank of £15 (RRP £16.99).

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I was really excited to read that Close Up Video Library were screening some lesser-heard American films this month – including the original documentary of Grey Gardens. I wrote a preview for the Saatchi Art & Music blog, because I guessed I wasn’t the only one who’d never heard of Stranded in Canton and the others! Screenings are just £5, or free to Close Up members.

Link: saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artandmusic/

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