Having been cruelly treated by the traffic gods on Sunday evening, we stumbled into the Arcola in Dalston a little hot and botherd, afraid we would miss the start of the film. But, as I pointed out to meg as we yomped through Stoke Newington, “it’s an art centre, of course it won’t go up on time” and, fortunately they didn’t let us down, the film not actually starting ’til about 8.15 after various faffing about. To be honest, we were on the verge of giving up and just going back home, at which point meg said “I bet it’s some iranian rom-com”, which she wasn’t quite right about, but when the titles started, I honestly only thought we’d last five minutes and then go home in a huff, having not got to see the new James Bond.


Beş Vakit (Times and Winds for English speaking audiences) is actually a Turkish film and I’m not really sure where you’d categorise it. It’s set in rural Turkey, I’m assuming in the present day, although, apart from a scene when a refrigerator is delivered and the microphone and speakers for the Muezzin to call the faithful to prayer, it could be any time in the last eighty three years. It’s also very very slow. Not a lot happens, and a lot of what does involves either walking down cobbled streets/dirt tracks or lying on the ground. What I liked about it, and I did like it, was that, by the end, you kind of got to know the layout of the village because the three main (child) protagonists walked up and down the same streets so many times. And, although the protagonists are kids, this isn’t really a coming of age film, although there is quite a lot of “kids learning about life and death” stuff. It’s got quite a formal set-up, the different acts of the film beginning with the different calls to prayer, but there’s not an awful lot of plot and certainly no clear resolutions at the end. it’s on tonight and tomorrow as part of the film festival if you want to catch it yourself.

What did surprise me though was finding out that this film was only being shown at the Arcola. According to correspondence with someone from the LFF, it was the theatre’s idea to show a Turkish film in one of London’s centres of Turkish population but to me this sounds rather patronising. I’m sure they do do work with the surrounding community but certainly on Sunday the audience would mainly have been ticking the “White-British” box if there had been a form to fill in, certainly the other two “only shown in one place” films don’t seem to have been driven by location…

That list of mystery films in full then:

The Prestige (Odeon West End only)
A Prairie Home Companion
Starter for Ten
Breaking & Entering
Wild Tigers I have Known (only at Roxy)
Times and Winds (only at Arcola)
37 Uses of a Dead Sheep (only at St Ethelburgas)