There’s a smattering of opera and theatre this month, plus director Q&As for Swallows and Amazons and the Gary Numan doc Android in La La Land. Not included here are all the al fresco screenings, which you can find in our Essential 2016 Outdoor Cinema Guide.
Liam Neeson is on narrating duties as ‘Sapiens’ in this award-winning environmental documentary focusing on our deteriorating relationship with the planet. Critics have suggested it’s rather thin on detail, and the New Agey soundtrack is very much an acquired taste, but it certainly looks lovely. This ‘green carpet’ UK premiere has wine and canapés included in the ticket price. The screening is followed by a Q&A with LA-based director Sylvie Rokab, who’s travelling to the UK especially for this event. Go here for more information and to buy tickets.
Screening Aug 6: Keynsham Community Space
Bristol-based Philippa Lowthorpe is one of the most successful women directors working in TV, whose credits include Call the Midwife and that version of Jamaica Inn with mumblin’ Sean Harris. Now she makes her feature debut with a handsome, BBC-backed update of the 1930 Arthur Ransome kids’ classic Swallows and Amazons. She’ll be present for a Q&A after the Watershed’s exclusive preview.
Screening Aug 7: Watershed
The last live broadcast from Glyndebourne in the summer season is, appropriately enough, Berlioz’s Bard-inspired two act comic opera staged to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Taking Much Ado About Nothing as its inspiration, the composer’s last major work is fully staged at Glyndebourne for the first time. It’s directed by Laurent Pelly, with French mezzo soprano Stephanie d’Oustrac making her role debut as Beatrice opposite US tenor Paul Appleby as Benedict.
Screening Aug 9: Showcase Cinema De Lux, Orpheus, Everyman, Vue Cribbs Causeway, Vue Longwell Green
A skilfully wrought ensemble piece weaving three interlocking stories, each boasting a familiar noir scenario, and each twisting towards a uniquely visceral, Tarantino-style denouement. Packed with classic movie moments and eminently quotable dialogue, Pulp Fiction succeeds magnificently in meeting the needs of both Tarantino’s audiences: telling a good story well with lashings of blood and black humour, albeit in a refreshingly non-linear fashion, while nonchalantly chucking in enough references and allusions to incite an unseemly deconstructionist feeding frenzy. To add to the sense of occasion, the Curzon will have beefburger Royales with cheese, Brooklyn beers and milkshakes on sale.
Screening Aug 12: Curzon
Danny DeVito’s inspiring kids’ movie is as much a satirical look at the crass philistinism of modern, TV-dominated American family life as it is an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story about an extraordinarily gifted girl who escapes from her deeply stupid, lazy parents (DeVito and Rhea Perlman) only to fall into the clutches of monstrous, tyrannical headmistress Pam Ferris. Everyone gets a scratch’n’sniff card for these screenings, allowing you to smell your way through the film. Go here for the full line-up of Roald Dahl movies showing this month.
Screening: Aug 13-14, Watershed; Aug 28, Cube; Sept 17, Curzon
Following the huge box office success of his The Winter’s Tale with Judi Dench, Ken Branagh heads Bardwards once again for a modern version of Romeo and Juliet that reunites the stars of his Cinderella. Richard Madden – aka Robb Stark from Game of Thrones – stars opposite Lily James – aka Lady Rose MacClare from Downton Abbey – as the star-crossed lovers in a cast that also includes Sir Derek Jacobi as Mercutio. Various cinemas have encore screenings after last month’s live broadcast. Expect more to be added.
Screening Aug 14: Showcase Cinema De Lux
Screening Aug 18 & 20: Curzon
Having enjoyed hits with Cars and Are ‘Friends’ Electric, Gary Numan was considered something of a joke by the snooty music press back in the late 1970s, what with his funny wig and pasty-faced android look. Today, most of his hipper peers are justly forgotten while Numan has enjoyed a career renaissance with a harder-edged musical style and is hailed as the father of heavy industrial rock. Steve Reed and Rob Alexander’s documentary follows Numan as he relocates to California. It also explores how he coped with Asperger’s syndrome at a time when the condition was little known or understood, as well as his career ups and downs and marriage to a member of his fan club. The Cube’s screening will be followed by a director Q&A.
Screening Aug 31: Cube