Films for the New Year at EFF

The Railway Man

Vintage classics, superb independent films, a globetrotting selection of documentaries and more live screenings sit alongside the very best in new mainstream cinema in our first programme of 2014. 

Continuing our Under The Radar season of brilliant indie features, Israeli film Fill The Void has a plot worthy of Jane Austen, and provides a rare window on Tel Aviv’s close-knit Hassidic community. Another film in Hebrew, mesmerising black comedy/thriller Big Bad Wolves was Quentin Tarantino’s favourite release of last year. Hannah Arendt is a fascinating immersion into the life of the influential German-Jewish philosopher and political 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. 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. 

We’re excited to be bringing two haunting classics from the 1940s to the big screen this month. A timeless supernatural thriller from the legendary Val Lewton/RKO stable, Cat People stars Simone Simon as a beautiful but mysterious fashion artist who falls under an ancient curse, and is the second screening for our Cult Film Club in conjunction with the University of Northampton. There will also be a chance to see Jean Cocteau’s beautiful gothic-surreal take on La Belle Et La Bete.

The pick of the current new releases includes The Railway Man, based on the autobiography of the same name, which retraces the tracks of Burma Railway veteran Eric Lomax (Colin Firth), 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. 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 Collins’ 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 3D, with its cast of menacing food-animal hybrids. 

Recent successes back by popular demand include heartfelt drama Philomena, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, and the visually stunning space drama Gravity 3D, with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney

Documentary highlights for January include the award-winning 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 Cambodian Rithy Panh continues his chronicle of the Pol Pot regime in an unusual and affecting documentary, The Missing Picture. Finally, Kiss The Water profiles renowned fly-fishing lure creator, Megan Boyd, whose detailed, hand-crafted work has been ordered by such high-profile customers as Prince Charles. 

Continuing our popular live screenings, the Bolshoi Ballet‘s Jewels, inspired by the famous jewellers of New York’s Fifth Avenue, is 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 are also on sale now for February highlights 12 Years A Slave and Inside Llewyn Davis.

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