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With awards season on the horizon, we begin the year with a series of high quality films catered towards a more mature audience but also with stories that focus on the joy of cinema itself. One of the most famous directors in film history returns to the big screen to tell his own love story with the art of filmmaking whilst a more local romance is brewing in a seaside cinema on the shores of England. We also take a look at an important story of justice and a mother's love from the era of the Civil Rights movement in America as the 2023 film calendar gets off to a fantastic start.
Based on a true story of pivotal historical importance in the US which is less known in the UK, this gripping film explores representations of trauma and activism and offers significant context to the study of the Civil Rights movement.
In 1950s Chicago, a 14-year-old with a radiant smile is excited about visiting his cousins in Mississippi. Emmett Till, nicknamed Bo, is the apple of his mother's eye. Mamie is uneasy about her son going to the Deep South, where attitudes towards Black people can turn unthinkably vicious. What she dreads comes horribly true: following an innocent incident, Bo is brutally killed by a group of white men. Closely focusing on Mamie's emotional point of view, the film exposes the raw, deep sorrow of a mother, but also the ability to turn tragedy into purpose, as she fights to get justice and bring nationwide attention to racial violence.
Partly a nostalgic ode to the exhibition palace and partly an indictment of Britain's right-wing history, Sam Mendes' 'Empire of Light' is a visually impressive look at our relationship with film and with each other.
Set during a period of political and social turmoil in 1980s Britain, this romantic drama introduces us to Hilary and Stephen, two employees at an aging seaside cinema who form a close connection. Hilary, duty manager at the cinema, is struggling with her mental health and having an affair with her married boss, whilst the younger Stephen is a new employee who must deal with his new surroundings and the racism prevalent throughout Britain at the time. Within the spectacular confines of the cinema's architecture, their relationship blossoms but they find that both external and internal pressures threaten to keep them apart.
Closely inspired by Steven Spielberg's own childhood, this is a love letter from one of the world's most celebrated directors to the joys of cinema, a film driven by a power to inspire a whole new generation of aspiring cineastes.
From the moment he first experienced the thrill of cinema as a young child in 1950s New Jersey, Sammy Fabelman was hooked. Encouraged by his vibrant and creative mother, he learns to use his father's 8mm camera and make his own movies, roping in family members and friends to recreate the magical action of the silver screen. As he grows up, his shoots become ever-more ambitious and adventurous, but mounting conflict between his parents and the anti-Semitic abuse he receives at school threaten to overwhelm his passion for filmmaking.
This highly regarded drama sees Cate Blanchett playing famous composer struggling to balance her work and eprsonal life as a series of past allegations threaten her career and legacy.
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