Slapstick Festival, Bristol
With Buster Keaton back in cinemas (The General is on reissue and there's a retrospective at London's BFI), it's a good time to brush up on silent comedy, and this festival, celebrating its 10th anniversary, has done much to spread the word, or maybe the subtitle. This year Charlie Chaplin takes his turn in the spotlight and marks the 100th anniversary of his Little Tramp incarnation, with Omid Djalili introducing an orchestra-backed screening of City Lights at Colston Hall on Friday. The seen-it-all crowd will be more intrigued by celebrations of forgotten stars such as Constance Talmadge, Raymond Griffith and Max Davidson. More up to date, Tim Vine explains why he loves Benny Hill (Watershed, 26 Jan), and Phill Jupitus asks Paul McGann and Ralph Brown about the making of Withnail & I (Bristol Old Vic, 26 Jan).
Various venues, Fri to 26 Jan
The LOCO London Comedy Film Festival
Just the thing for the January blues, and if something here doesn't raise a smile, you're officially in need of a humour transplant. There are new films from around the world, while representing Britain, Craig "Submarine" Roberts and Charlotte "Fresh Meat" Ritchie as indie-folk duo Benny & Jolene. There are also events for kids and next Saturday is Satire Day, with guests including Rory Bremner, cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, and Stanley Kubrick's producer and widow accompany a screening of Dr Strangelove.
Various venues, Thu to 26 Jan
Rybczynski: Exploring Space, London
Few would have predicted Architecture On Film, curated by the Architecture Foundation, to be the Barbican's longest-running film series, but it's a remit that can go anywhere, and has done, from rare footage of Buckminster Fuller to global studies of urban life to cult sci-fi and obscure avant garde. In celebration of their fifth birthday, they bring another uncategorisable treat: Polish auteur Zbigniew Rybczynski, purveyor of playful, pioneering, physics-defying manipulations. His Oscar-winning short Tango is a forgotten masterpiece, and he's currently experimenting with HD special FX.
Barbican, EC1, Thu
Did you know there's a National Fairground Archive? They don't have rides or anything, but the Sheffield-based institution is presenting a monthly season of films to celebrate its 20th anniversary, so roll up for some proper tent-pole movies. They've plenty to pick from: the shadowy margins of the arnival/circus/fairground have been fertile territory for cult-friendly cinema. Take Tod Browning, who literally ran away with the circus as a teenager, and returned to it many times as a film-maker. Best known is Freaks, but this season begins with his terrifically overwrought melodrama The Unknown, in which Lon Chaney's armless knife-thrower murderously lusts after showgirl Joan Crawford. There's live musical accompaniment and an introduction from the NFA's professor Vanessa Toulmin.
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