February season now on sale

As the awards season gets underway, we have another exciting selection of films lined up for February and early March. We will be showing the best of the current mainstream releases, including award front-runners such as such Room, for which Brie Larson has just scooped a Golden Globe, the true story of investigative journalism, Spotlight, and sensual melodrama A Bigger Splash, starring Tilda Swinton. Our Under The Radar series continues to present brilliant independent films, along with a fascinating selection of documentaries. Past winners of the Best Film award at the Oscars, such as Casablanca and From Here to Eternity, feature on the classics programme this month and live broadcasts include performances from the Met Opera and National Theatre.

One of the highlights of our selection of top independent films from around the world is The Assassin, set in ninth-century China, following an exiled assassin who must choose between love or duty when she receives orders to kill a man from her past. Italian crime drama Black Souls sees three brothers gather at their ancestral family home, where a simmering blood feud to turn into an all-out war against the local crime boss. Winning the prestigious Un Certain Regard prize at the 2015 Cannes Festival, Icelandic drama Rams follows a hard-drinking farmer who must band together with his estranged brother to save their flocks of sheep. An unnerving psychological thriller from Australia, Partisan stars Vincent Cassel as a cold and calculating leader of a commune, who raises young children to be assassins. Shown in association with Q-Film, Weekend is a critically-acclaimed 2011 romantic drama about two young men whose casual encounter leads to a life-changing romance, from the writer and director of 45 Years, Andrew Haigh.

Following soon after Holocaust Memorial Day, there will be a screening of the emotional documentary My Nazi Legacy, in which the sons of two infamous Nazi war criminals meet human rights lawyer Philippe Sands, who lost members of his own family in the Holocaust. Grazing the Sky documents the incredible physical exploits of circus acrobats, following eight different performers, including members of Cirque du Soleil and featuring footage of their breath-taking feats.

New releases with awards in their sights include Lenny Abrahamson’s acclaimed new film Room, telling the story of a young boy who knows nothing of the world outside the room where he was born and raised, until his mother, played by Brie Larson in a performance that has earned her a Golden Globe for Best Drama Actress, risks everything to achieve their escape. Michael Caine gives a tour-de-force performance in Paolo Sorrentino’s witty and affecting drama Youth, playing a retired orchestra conductor on holiday in the Alps with his oldest friend (Harvey Keitel). In A Bigger Splash, Tilda Swinton plays a rock star whose holiday is interrupted by the arrival of an old flame (Ralph Fiennes) and his daughter (Dakota Johnson). Inspired by true events, The Revenant has already scooped Golden Globe awards for Leonardo DiCaprio as Best Actor, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu as Best Director and for Best Picture. DiCaprio plays frontiersman Hugo Glass, who in 1823 was brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. The film is also nominated for eight BAFTAs and twelve Oscars. Also based on true events, comedy The Big Short follows a group of men who anticipated the housing and credit bubble collapse and decided to profit from the big banks. Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, the film is nominated for five BAFTAs and five Oscars including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Bale and Best Director for Adam McKay. Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton star in Our Brand is Crisis, a comic political drama about an American campaign strategist who is coaxed out of retirement to help a controversial Bolivian presidential candidate. A star-studded cast including Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Toby Jones, Tom Courtenay and Michael Gambon brings new life to the classic comedy Dad’s Army. Set after the events depicted in the popular sitcom, the film sees the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard on a mission to uncover a German spy. Animated adventure Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie brings Charles Schultz’ well-loved characters to the big screen. Family audiences can take advantage of a special half-term offer of one adult and one child ticket for just £11 for screenings of Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

There will be further chances to see recent popular releases including Steven Spielberg’s drama Bridge of Spies (nominated for nine BAFTAs and six Oscars), starring Tom Hanks as a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the centre of the Cold War. The Lady in the Van features Alex Jennings as the playwright Alan Bennett and Maggie Smith as the transient woman, Miss Shepherd, living in her battered Bedford van parked on Bennett’s driveway. Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues the saga three decades after the events of Return of the Jedi.

With the awards season getting underway, the Errol Flynn Filmhouse brings audiences a selection of past winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture as part of its classics programme. Clark Gable stars in Frank Capra’s multi-award-winning 1934 comedy, It Happened One Night, playing a journalist who meets a spoiled heiress on the run from her family, with whom he embarks on a madcap hitchhiking expedition. Winner of six Academy Awards, Vincente Minelli’s 1951 musical An American in Paris features songs by George Gershwin and stars Gene Kelly as an American GI who falls in love with a French girl in post-war Paris. The beloved 1942 romance Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, enjoys a Valentine’s Day screening. The 1953 drama From Here to Eternity follows three US soldiers, played by Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift and Frank Sinatra, stationed in Hawaii in the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbour. Completing this set of award-winning classics is Woody Allen’s acclaimed 1977 comedy Annie Hall, in which he plays a neurotic writer examining the ups and downs of his former relationship with the spirited Annie (Diane Keaton).

February’s Cult Film Club screening, in association with The University of Northampton, is Ed Wood’s 1959 sci-fi film, Plan 9 From Outer Space. Dubbed by critics “the worst movie ever made” this horror movie now enjoys cult status as the epitome of “so-bad-it’s-good” cinema, and features Bela Lugosi’s last on-screen performance.

As part of the popular programme of live screenings and event cinema, NT Live presents Shakespeare’s glorious comedy of love and change, As You Like It, performed at the National Theatre in London for the first time in 30 years. Broadcast live from New York, the Metropolitan Opera presents Franco Zeffirelli’s production of Puccini’s final opera, Turandot, set in ancient China and featuring the well-loved area Nessun Dorma. Jonas Kaufmann: An Evening with Puccini brings footage of the German tenor’s legendary performance in Milan last year to the big screen, accompanied by a revealing introduction to Puccini from the singer, along with rare archive footage.

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