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50s teen girl gangs, a video essay and Bowie himself head up this week's top films

NEW FILM: FOXFIRE

The first English-language film of Cannes-winning French director Laurent Cantet turns on a teen girl gang in 50s New York. Based on a novel by Joyce Carol Oates, it follows the increasingly extreme exploits of Foxfire, as initiated by secret tattoos they exact acts of revenge on men who have used their power to victimise women. When we met up with the French director in Paris, Cantet told us: “It wasn't my aim to just replicate the era as if in a museum. The social problems these women were faced with are very much the same as today. These girls are the sisters of Pussy Riot."

Out in the UK today, Friday 9 August.

DOCUMENTARY: LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF

Taking its name from a gay porno classic, Thom Andersen's 2003 video essay Los Angeles Plays Itself explores how the city of angels has been represented in the movies. Using clips from nearly 200 films, from moody noir Double Indemnity to futuristic Blade Runner, Anderson's wry voiceover tells how LA has fed and been moulded by fantasies. The epic-length doc is rich with insights, such as how sparse modernist settings once signalled liberal progress, but with changing tastes in architecture are now the domestic haunts of cinema's cruel and cynical.

Screening at London's BFI Southbank on Saturday 10 August.

OLD FILM: NEGATIVES

A bizarre Brit gem from the ‘60s, this stylish drama from Hungarian-born Peter Medak sees Peter McEnery and Glenda Jackson, in an era long before she delivered her storming anti-Thatcher eulogy as a Labour MP, star as jaded couple Theo and Vivien. Using costumes from Theo’s antique store, they try to liven up their sex lives by role-playing as an Edwardian murderer and his secretary lover. The entry of an icy German photographer (Diane Cilento) further complicates their world of seething resentments.

Screening at London’s BFI Southbank on Monday 12 August.

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EVENT: DAVID BOWIE IS HAPPENING NOW 

Presented by London’s V&A and screened in more than 200 cinemas across the UK simultaneously in collaboration with Picturehouse, this doc offers a last chance to virtually experience the popular Bowie exhibition before it moves abroad on tour. Insight into the stories that have lent the objects connected to the Brit icon’s career such an aura will be offered by fashion and art-world figures, from Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto, who designed Bowie’s flamboyant  Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane 73 tour costumes, to artist Jeremy Deller, whose English Magic piece at the 2013 Venice Biennale British Pavilion was inspired by Bowie and his impact on the nation’s psyche.

Screening on Friday 9 August at 7pm.

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