Migrant drama ‘Io Capitano’ leads April’s new cinema releases

29 Mar 2024

5 mins

Springtime sees a re-release of popular recent Disney titles in cinemas, alongside some more mature titles looking to challenge and inspire young adult audiences. The Italian coast sets the scene in family-friendly animation Luca, while in poignant migrant drama Io Capitano, the Mediterranean Sea takes a more serious role. For those looking ahead to Wimbledon's tennis tournament or the US Presidential elections, adrenaline-fuelled feature films Challengers and Civil War offer much food for thought. Legendary singer Amy Winehouse's story is dramatized in Back to Black, and the importance of education is at the heart of If Only I Could Hibernate, a tender and refreshing Mongolian film.

Io Capitano (15) - in cinemas 5 April 2024

Based on the real-life accounts of African migrants, this coming-of-age drama addresses the topic of immigration from the perspective of a young person. Seydou and Moussa, two sixteen-year-olds from Dakar, Senegal, dream of starting a new prosperous life in Europe. Seydou's mother forbids him to go, as the journey is notoriously dangerous, but the two friends defy this warning. All too soon, the journey becomes perilous, as they cross the blistering Sahara Desert, transit through a horrific detention centre in Libya, and cram into an inadequate vessel to cross the Mediterranean. With remarkable performances conveying the vulnerability and courage of young migrants, this film also employs a touch of magical realism to explore the meaning of hope and community.

Luca (U) - in cinemas 5 April 2024

This sunny Disney/Pixar hit, released only on streaming platforms during the pandemic, can now finally be experienced on the big screen. The young Luca is a timid sea monster whose parents forbid him from going near the surface, fearing that the townsfolk will hurt him if they discover his secret. One day, Luca and his friend Alberto sneak off to the surface where they transform into human boys as soon as they're out of the water and a new adventure begins, filled with dreams of riding a scooter, training for a triathlon and making friends with a human girl, Giulia. Providing a gentle introduction to Italian culture and language-learning, this sweet tale also offers important lessons about friendship and growing up, along with a taste of summer.

Discover our film guide for Luca aimed at learners aged 5-7, available in English and Welsh.

Seize Them! (15) - in cinemas 5th April 2024

Sometimes history can be just as crude, rude and grisly as you imagined. This historical comedy, set in Dark Ages Britain, appeals to an older age group than the similarly cheeky Horrible Histories series and manages to explore the political system of feudalism that was dominant during medieval times. It follows the arrogant Queen Dagan as she is toppled from her throne by a peasant revolt and becomes a fugitive in her own land, her fall down the social ladder leading her to unexpected revelations. 

Back to Black (15) - in cinemas 12 April 2024

British singer Amy Winehouse shot to fame in the mid-2000s with her astonishingly soulful voice. The issue of control over her life's narrative has been one of the most notorious in recent showbiz history, as previously explored in the 2015 documentary AMY. This new biopic takes a different approach with a dramatization of her whirlwind career and personal life. Told from the singer's perspective, it follows her story from her Jewish working-class Camden roots, through her tempestuous romance with her great love and muse Blake, to recording one of the highest charting albums by a British female artist of all time. The film also addresses the media's salacious exploitation of Amy's image and her struggles with addition, also raising questions about cinema's duty of care towards a person's legacy. 

Civil War (certificate TBC) - in cinemas 12 April 2024

A gripping and timely drama from the director of Ex-Machina (available to stream for free* on Into Film+), this film brings into focus the experiences of war reporters, their moral drive, and their exposure to trauma. In a dystopian near-future, the USA is in the midst of a devastating civil war following the third term of a power-hungry president. A pair of journalists, Lee and Joel, set out to the frontline in Washington DC to cover the advance of the rebel factions, joined by young aspiring war photographer Jessie and their old mentor, Sammy. Along the way they encounter shocking scenes of civilization crumbling, and the instinct for personal survival battles with the need to document the monumental horror for all the world to witness.


If Only I Could Hibernate (certificate TBC) - in cinemas 19 April 2024

Filled with humour and empathy, this highly accessible Mongolian film follows Ulzii, a gifted physics student navigating his teens as best he can. When his mother leaves their traditional yurt encampment in search of employment, Ulzii finds himself responsible for his younger siblings in the unforgiving urban landscape during the harsh winter months. Spotting his academic potential, one of Ulzii's teachers encourages him to pursue a scholarship opportunity. However, his chance for a better future is threatened by the pressing demands of his immediate situation, which are to keep warm and fed. This heartfelt and thought-provoking story offers resonating discussions around living on the poverty line, access to education and welfare, and mental health in young men, as well as reflections on rapid urbanisation and climate change.

Challengers (certificate TBC) - in cinemas 26 April 2024

In this electrifying sports action-drama, two best friends vie for the same girl, a fellow tennis prodigy, leading to a fiercely competitive love triangle which will come to define all their sporting careers. Hurtling backwards and forwards through time with the tempo and adrenaline of a volley hit, the narrative first introduces Tashi as the wife and coach of Art, who is now a famous champion, as he unexpectedly comes face-to-face with former best friend Patrick during a tournament. As the trio reunite, the build-up to the match brings up unresolved feelings of passion, sacrifice, and ambition.


* Screenings for an entertainment or extra-curricular purpose require a PVS (Public Video Screening) Licence from Filmbankmedia. State-funded schools in England are covered by the PVS Licence. Into Film and the Into Film+ streaming service is supported by the UK film industry through Cinema First and the BFI through National Lottery Funding, thanks to National Lottery players.

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