New season of treats at the cinema

The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug.
The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug.

There is another great selection of films on offer at Northampton’s newest cinema, the Errol Flynn Filmhouse, in January.

The season features the best of new releases, including The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth as a former prisoner of war, and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, based on the great man’s autobiography, while the cinema’s Under The Radar series continues to present brilliant independent films from around the world, such as Fill The Void, Hannah Arendt and The Broken Circle Breakdown.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The programme also includes some fascinating documentaries, classics such as Cocteau’s romantic fantasy La Belle Et La Bete, and the opportunity to see a live screening of Coriolanus from London’s Donmar Warehouse and more ballet all the way from Russia with the Bolshoi Live.

Continuing the Errol Flynn Filmhouse’s Under The Radar season of brilliant independent features that may not be so widely available, Hebrew film Fill The Void has a plot worthy of Jane Austen, following a gentle 30-something in Tel Aviv who loses his wife in childbirth and is being encouraged to quickly find a replacement, while Hannah Arendt is a fascinating immersion into the life of the influential German-Jewish philosopher and politicial theorist. In Flemish with English subtitles, The Broken Circle Breakdown is an immensely moving drama about a bluegrass-loving couple coping with tragedy, while the Afghan film The Patience Stone follows a muslim woman living in a war-torn country who finds the body of her comatose husband takes on a magical, protective aura.

Another film in Hebrew, Big Bad Wolves is a mesmerising black comedy/thriller in which a series of brutal murders sets the lives of three men on a collision course, and is cited by Quentin Tarantino as his favourite film of the year. Virginia Gilbert directs an adaptation of her own short story, A Long Way From Home, about an older couple, played by James Fox and Brenda Fricker who realise their dream of retiring to the South of France, but have their lives turned upside down by a younger couple they meet.

The Errol Flynn Filmhouse also brings a couple of classic movies from the 1940s to the big screen in January, including the timeless supernatural thriller Cat People, starring Simone Simon as a beautiful but mysterious fashion artist who falls under an ancient curse, shown as part of the cinema’s Cult Film Club, in conjunction with the University of Northampton. There will also be a chance to see Jean Cocteau’s beautiful rendition of timeless Beauty and the Beast fairytale fantasy La Belle Et La Bete.

The Errol Flynn Filmhouse will of course be showing the pick of the current new releases, with one of the highlights being The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth, based on the autobiography of the same name, retracing the tracks of Eric Lomax, a life-long railway enthusiast deeply scarred by his experiences as a prisoner of war, as he learns to make peace with the Japanese officer who tortured him nearly four decades earlier.

Following the recent death of the South African icon, there will be added poignancy to the screenings of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, chronicling Mandela’s life from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as president.

In contrast Ben Stiller directs and stars in the comedy The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, based on James Thurber’s classic story of a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies. Action and adventure abounds in two thrilling sequels, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second in Suzanne Collin’s trilogy, and The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, continuing the adventure of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the Dwarves to reclaim their lost kingdom and treasure, in JRR Tolkien’s enduringly popular masterpiece.

For families, there is the animated comedy Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, with its cast of menacing food-animal hybrids. During coming weeks there will also be a second chance to see some of the most successful recent films, brought back by popular demand, including the heartfelt drama Philomena, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, and the visually stunning space drama Gravity 3D, with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

Highlights of the documentary programme for January include the Winner of the Best Documentary at the British Independent Film Awards, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, telling the incredible story of three young women on trial in a case that gripped the world. In Dirty Wars, investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill chases down the hidden truth behind America’s expanding covert wars, and in The Missing Picture, in French with English subtitles, Cambodian Rithy Panh continues his chronicle of the Pol Pot regime, in an unusual and affecting documentary. Finally, Kiss The Water profiles renowned fly-fishing lure creator, Megan Boyd, whose detailed, hand-crafted work has been ordered by such high file customers as Prince Charles.

Continuing the cinema’s popular series of live screenings, this month film-goers can enjoy a performance by the Bolshoi Ballet of Jewels, inspired by the famous jewellers of New York’s Fifth Avenue, and broadcast live from Moscow. Courtesy of NT Live, there will also be the chance to see the Donmar Warehouse production of Coriolanus, Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of political manipulation and revenge, starring Tom Hiddleston.

Tickets for standard film screenings are competitively priced at £7.50 (concessions £6.50) with peak screenings (Friday and Saturday evenings from 6pm) costing £8.50 full price (concessions £7.50). Children’s tickets are just £5. At Silver Screen matinees, tickets for more mature customers are also priced at £5. There are special, exclusive Parent and Baby screenings, where tickets are £6.50 (baby under one goes free). Tickets for premium screenings of live productions are £14 full price, £12 for concessions and £10 for children, for non-live premium screenings are £12, £10 and £8. All tickets can be booked in advance by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at www.errolflynnfilmhouse.com, where full details can be found of the forthcoming programme with dates and times of all screenings.