Preview: This week's alternative films

Simon ParkinJohn Malkovich stars as a disgraced professor in Disgrace, the South African drama based on the novel by South African author J.E. Coetzee. Plus: Tonite Let's All Make Love in London, City of God.Simon Parkin


Dir: Steve Jacobs (2008)

With: John Malkovich, Jessica Haines, Eriq Ebouaney

John Malkovich stars in this drama based on the novel by South African author J.M Coetzee, here screened with a special introduction by the Writers' Centre Norwich to coincide with a visit by the author.

David Lurie (Malkovich) is a self-absorbed, twice-divorced literary professor at a South African university who is forced to resign after having an affair with one of his students, Melanie (Antoinette Engel). This precipitates a near-breakdown that leads to him heading out to the bush to stay with his lesbian daughter Lucy (Jessica Haines), who shares a farm in the Eastern Cape with black co-worker Petrus (Eric Ebouaney).

At first his daughter's calming influence and the natural rhythm of farm life bring solace to David's broken existence - but a vicious attack by a gang of black youths forces David to think about the changes in the world outside as well as his own personal crisis.

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t Screens at Cinema City on June 27 (5.30pm), 0871 9025724,


Dir: Peter Whitaker (1967)

The ultimate documentary about Swinging 1960s London, capturing in both content and stylized photography the intoxicating mixture of flared Carnaby Street optimism and louche Chelsea chic. Pink Floyd, among others, provide a suitably trippy soundtrack.

The gang are all here: Michael Caine, Julie Christie, David Hockney, Mick Jagger, the insanely self-publicizing Loog Oldham and - less predictably - Lee Marvin, all proffering opinions on the loved-up age.

Whitaker interrogates a cross-section of key contemporary personalities, asking all of them the simple question: what makes London at this time such a 'swinging' place, if that's what it is? While Vanessa Redgrave salutes Fidel Castro's Cuba against the Western capitalist model, David Hockney speaks highly of America and rejects London as too expensive.

A period piece but nevertheless it is an important one since, as popular wisdom has it, the participants would have forgot the details come the 1970s.

t Screens at Cinema City on June 28 (8.30pm), details as above.


Dir: Fernando Meirelles/K�tia Lund (2002)

With: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Phellipe Haagensen

A sweeping tale of how crime affects the poor population of Rio de Janeiro. Though the narrative skips around in time, the main focus is on Cabeleira who formed a gang called the Tender Trio. He and his best friend, Ben� become crime lords over the course of a decade.

When Ben� is killed before he can retire, Lil' Z� attempts to take out his arch enemy, Sandro Cenoura. But Sandro and a young gangster named Mane form an alliance and begin a gang war with Lil' Z�.

Amateur photographer Buscape takes pictures of the brutal crime war, making their story famous. City of God was screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.

It has lost none of its power in the intervening years, and still remains the best thing Meirelles has done.

t Screens at Granary Theatre, Wells-next-the-Sea, June 28 (7pm), 01328 710883.