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ICA is closed from the 30 May – 3 June inclusive.
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Off-Circuit
Institute of Contemporary Arts

When the ICA Cinema opened on The Mall in 1968, it did not open to the public. Instead, under the guise ‘Club Deluxe’ it operated as a film club screening new works evolving outside the mainstream, for ICA Members only. This conception was a sign of the times, both in tune with the unabashed enthusiasm for a medium in the midst of revolution and in opposition to a rampant censorship that meant new revelatory works like Jean-Luc Godard’s Weekend were deemed un-rateable and thus illegal to show to the general public.

Cinema in 2023 finds itself in a very different position than it did in 1968. Amidst a rampant corporatisation and generally insipid and risk-averse spirit, it is easy to become despondent about the future of cinema today, to wonder if we are in that ‘ignominious, irreversible decline’ that Susan Sontag wrote about more than two decades ago. In a time of artistic uniformity, of remarkably style-less house styles, the need for spaces dedicated to truly independent and original voices is as desperate in 2023 as it was in 1968. The obstacles may have changed but the necessity of overcoming them has not.

As the spaces dedicated to showcasing work outside the commercial sphere continue to shrink, the life cycle for a film beyond its festival run remains uncertain. In the same spirit with which Club Deluxe was founded, Off-circuit aims to provide a platform to new films that have yet to receive a proper spotlight in the UK, facilitating a continuous connection between these profoundly rich works and audiences on the lookout for something new and different.

Off-Circuit offers audiences a chance to encounter this generation's landmark films on screen for the very first time, carving out a much-needed theatrical space for this generation's seminal and medium-redefining artists.
Off-Circuit is generously supported by the Edwin Fox Foundation
 


Thu 6 June, 6.30pm
More screenings from 7 June.
UK PREMIERE
You Burn Me + Q&A with Matías Piñeiro
Detours, fragments and foot notes abound in Matías Piñeiro's beguiling new film, as the poetry of Sappho, the life, death and work of Cesare Pavese and the nature of desire restlessly meld and transform



From 25 June
Foremost by Night
Victor Iriarte's debut feature is a strikingly original and wholly unconventional film noir encompassing three deaths, two robberies, and a runaway.



From 10 July
A Prince
Artist and filmmaker Pierre Creton's latest film is an erotic and sensual study of the natural world that charts the journey of Pierre-Joseph a young man studying at a gardening school.



Fri 2 August, 6.40pm
More screenings from 3 August.
UK PREMIERE
Outside Noise
The latest feature from filmmaker Ted Fendt is a story of friendship, summer reunions and sleepless nights in Berlin and Vienna.



From 11 August
Our Body
French filmmaker Claire Simon documents the daily operations of a gynaecology ward in a Paris public hospital and in the process questions what it means to live in a woman's body.




From 30 August
Last Things + Memories of an Unborn Sun
Deborah Stratman's astonishing 16mm exploration of evolution and extinction as told through the prism of minerals is accompanied by Marcel Mrejen's short film exploring the relentless (neo)colonial exploitation of the Algerian territory.


Past programme



Thu 23 May, 6.40pm
More screenings from 24 May
UK PREMIERE Regardless of Us
The nature of memory, performance and the very structures of reality are all drawn into question in Yoo Heong-jun’s strikingly original debut feature.



Fri 10 May, 6.30pm
More screenings from 11 May
Mambar Pierrette
The latest film from acclaimed Cameroonian filmmaker Rosine Mbakam is a moving portrait of a seamtress and single mother in Douala.



Thu 18 Apr, 6.30pm
More screenings from 19 April
UK PREMIERE Grace + online Q&A
A father and daughter traverse the vast, winding backroads of rural Russia in Ilya Povolotsky's stunning debut fiction feature which premiered at Cannes Director's Fortnight in 2023



5 - 14 April
The Human Surge 3
Eduardo Williams returns to the bold, time-and-continent-skipping world of his 2016 film The Human Surge, armed with a 360-degree camera, in this hypnotic and drifting exploration of technology, language and image-making.



Friday 22 March, 8.30pm
More screenings from 23 March
Music + Q&A with Angela Schanelec
Freely inspired by the story of Oedipus, this transcendent exploration of fate, tragedy and hope is yet another astonishing achievement from one of contemporary cinema's preeminent artists. Followed by an in-person Q&A with Angela Schanelec.



From 8 March
Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell
Winner of last year’s Caméra d’Or at Cannes, Phạm Thiên An’s daring first feature is an evocative and visually enthralling reverie on faith and loss.



Fri 23 Feb 2024, 6.30pm
More screenings from 24 Feb
Unrest + online Q&A with Cyril Schäublin
Winner of the Encounters Award for Best Director at the 2022 Berlin Film Festival, writer-director-editor Cyril Schäublin’s second feature is a creative and intellectually invigorating tale about anarchism and the march of global capitalism.



Thu 1 Feb 2024, 6:45pm
More screenings from 2 Feb
UK PREMIERE A Woman Escapes in 3D + Q&A
While grieving the loss of her friend, a woman living alone in Paris begins an unusual correspondence with two filmmakers in Sofia Bohdanowicz, Burak Çevik and Blake Williams’ formally inventive collaboration.



Thu 14 Dec, 6.20pm
More screenings from 15 Dec
UK PREMIERE Mal Viver
João Canijo's captivating exploration of the intricacies of intergenerational family dynamics forms one half of a diptych of films set in a family-hotel on Portugal's northern shore.



Thu 14 Dec, 8.50pm
More screenings from 15 Dec
UK PREMIERE Viver Mal
Drawing inspiration from the plays of Strindberg, the other half of João Canijo's dipytch of films set in a family-hotel on Portugal's northern shore, is a fragmented reflection of its counterpart that narrows in on the lives of the hotel's guests.



Fri 1 Dec, 8:40pm
More screenings from 2 Dec
LONDON PREMIERE Pictures of Ghosts + Q&A
The London Premiere of Kleber Mendonça Filho’s multidimensional journey through time, sound, architecture and filmmaking.



Thu 16 Nov, 8:30pm
More screenings from 17 Nov
UK PREMIERE Human Flowers of Flesh + Q&A
An elliptical voyage through the Mediterranean that elegantly explores layers of histories and the traces our actions leave behind, followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Helena Wittmann.


An elderly Chinese man with no top on rests with his hand up against his cheek.

Fri 27 Oct - Thu 2 Nov
UK PREMIERE Man in Black + Q&A with Wang Bing
Off-Circuit launches with the UK Premiere of Wang Bing’s astonishing portrait of classical composer Wang Xilin, followed by a Q&A with Wang Bing.