December films on sale

saving mr banks

Our December programme is on sale now, including a selection of the best new releases, a French mini-season, more great documentaries and some festive classics. 

Our Vive La France season presents a contrasting selection of films demonstrating the range of current French cinema, from the sexually-charged Blue Is The Warmest Colour to Daniel Auteuil’s atmospheric adaptations of Marius and Fanny, the first two books in Marcel Pagnol’s romantic Marseille trilogy. From another actor-turned-director, Julie Delpy, the heart-warming Skylab follows a precocious eleven year old over the course of an eventful Brittany summer.  Completing the season, François Ozon’s Jeune & Jolie sees 17 year old Isabelle transform from a sexually curious ingénue into something altogether darker. 

Our final programme of 2013 is liberally sprinkled with Christmas nostalgia, with classics ranging from The Muppet Christmas Carol and the family favourite Mary Poppins, to the vintage 1947 romantic comedy The Bishop’s Wife, starring Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young. No Christmas would be complete without one of the most popular films ever, Frank Capra’s glorious testament to homely values, It’s A Wonderful Life, with a pre-show performance on Christmas Eve by Royal & Derngate Community Choir. Other classics include the multi award-winning Cinema Paradiso, the nostalgic chronicle of a Sicilian youngster and his obsession with cinema, and the epic historical romance, Gone With The Wind, set against the backdrop of the American Civil War. 

The cream of the current new releases includes Saving Mr Banks, the story of Walt Disney’s battle of wills with author P.L. Travers over the rights to her novel Mary Poppins, a perfect vehicle for Oscar-winning actors Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson. An elegy for a disappearing America, daringly shot in monochrome, Nebraska is a poignant yet humorous road-movie, revolving around a cantankerous old father (the great Bruce Dern) and his long-suffering son (Will Forte), from director Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, Sideways, The Descendants). Lee Daniels’ widely-praised The Butler stars Forest Whitaker as the African-American Cecil Gaines, who overcomes racism and segregation to work as a butler to eight presidents during thirty years in the White House. Marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy, Parkland is a powerful drama giving fresh perspective to the events of that day, shifting the focus to the perspective ordinary individuals suddenly thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Darkly humorous exploration of the Beat Generation Kill Your Darlings stars a convincingly intense Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg, while Jude Law gives a searing performance as an ex-con on the rampage in Dom Hemingway, a funny and profane British gangster flick. There’s more crime thriller action as Ridley Scott directs Cormac McCarthy’s The Counsellor, with Michael Fassbender leading a star-studded cast as a hotshot lawyer whose dalliance with drug-traffickers quickly spirals out of control. Gripping and visually stunning space disaster movie Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, can be seen in both 2D and 3D versions, and the screening on Wednesday 4 December will be preceded by a talk from Dr Lorna Jowett of the University of Northampton. 

Among the highlights of our documentary strand is Class of ’92, a look at the meteoric rise of six friends who played together in the Manchester United youth team and went on to win the European Cup together. All six, including David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes will be taking part in a live satellite Q&A following the screening. The moving documentary film How To Survive A Plague will be shown to mark World Aids Day. The immersive, nightmarishly beautiful Leviathan depicts life on board a New England fishing boat, and Seduced And Abandoned follows the hilarious journey of actor Alec Baldwin and director James Toback as they try to raise financing for their next film. 

As a special treat to see out the year, the Berlin Philharmonic New Year’s Eve Concert will be broadcast live from Germany, featuring multi-award-winning Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle

During coming weeks there’ll also be second chances to see some of our most successful recent films, brought back by popular demand, including the heartfelt drama Philomena, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, feelgood Proclaimers musical Sunshine On Leith and Le Week-End, the thoughtful yet funny tale of a long-married couple searching for their former selves. There will also be a repeat screening of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, Doctor Who: Day Of The Doctor.

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