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This love story chronicles the lifelong relationship of conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein and Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein. A symphonic love story with sparkling, awards-worthy performances.
Bradley Cooper takes on the triple role of lead actor, director and writer. He wisely eschews the conventional biopic logic of ticking off Bernstein’s career highlights. Instead, ‘Maestro’ zeroes in on his vivid, life-long love affair with Chilean émigré Felicia Montealegre, beautifully played by Carey Mulligan who is the beating heart of the film. ‘Maestro’ digs deep into Bernstein’s music to unleash some of the greatest hits (‘West Side Story,’ ‘On the Waterfront’) and a few lesser-known pieces. A recreation of his legendary performance of Mahler in 1968 just about blows the roof off New York’s St Patrick’s Cathedral. This is a film for cinephiles as well as musos and romantics, with its discrete ‘movements’ mirroring the movie making style of its time frame. Early scenes are filmed in 35mm black-and-white, while Lenny and Felicia’s stormy late 1960s patch is captured in Technicolor. This elegant, ambitious biopic is a love letter to life and art, and at its core is an emotionally epic portrayal of family and love. "An absolute marvel." Rolling Stone
USA 2023 Bradley Cooper 129m
Our annual return to the Royal Opera House for its Festive ‘The Nutcracker.’ Join Clara at a delightful Christmas Eve party that becomes a magical adventure once everyone else is tucked up in bed. Marvel at the brilliance of Tchaikovsky’s score, as Clara and her enchanted Nutcracker fight the Mouse King and visit the Sugar Plum Fairy in the glittering Kingdom of Sweets.
Tue 12 Dec 19:15 (Live)
Sun 17 Dec 14:00 (Encore)
La Passion de Dodin Bouffant
This mouthwatering and sensual exercise in haute cuisine and late-flowering romance is set in 1885 and almost totally within the confines of a rustic kitchen in a chateau. This is our closing film of this year’s French Film Festival.
Tran Anh Hùng, the Vietnamese director, now living in France, of ‘The Scent of the Green Papaya’ based the film on the book ‘The Life and Passion of Dodin-Bouffant, Gourmet’ by Marcel Rouff. Peerless cook Eugénie (Juliette Binoche) has worked for the famous gourmet Dodin (Benoît Magimel) for the last 20 years. As time went by, the practice of gastronomy and mutual admiration turned into a romantic relationship. He realises, however, that while he schmoozes the rich and famous in the dining room, she remains in the kitchen but is clearly hugely responsible for his august reputation. There is talk of marriage, but Eugénie values her independence too much in a relationship that she considers should be of equal parts. Both Binoche and Magimel who were together in life for a considerable time, exude an effortless rapport. Chosen as France’s Oscar contender. Warning: Another film like the recent ‘Delicieux’ that should not be seen on an empty stomach! (Subtitles)
France/Belgium 2023 Tran Anh Hùng 134m
A riveting tribute to Tyneside photographer Tish Murtha, who lived a life as tough as those she shot in different eras of deprivation and marginalisation.
Tish chronicled working-class lives in the north east in the 1970s and 80s (and also those of Soho sex workers in London), earning for herself the nickname “Demon Snapper” in the papers. In capturing the reality of poverty and deprivation in communities where the misery of unemployment had been allowed to settle by Westminster, Murtha showed her subjects’ humour, optimism and refusal to be cowed – particularly in the faces of children. The film is presented with enormous humanity and warmth by Murtha’s grownup daughter Ella, who is an eerie likeness of her late mother. The centrally important point is that Murtha was not an outsider: she was a part of the people whose lives she recorded.
UK 2023 Paul Sng 90m
The film takes a personal look at Napoleon Bonaparte's origins, and his swift, ruthless climb to emperor viewed through the prism of his addictive, and often volatile, relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine.
‘Napoleon’ is a spectacle-filled action epic that details the checkered rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, played by Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix. Against a stunning backdrop of large-scale filmmaking orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott, the film captures Bonaparte's relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine (Vanessa Kirby), showcasing his visionary military and political tactics against some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed. The cast also includes Rupert Everett as the 1st Duke of Wellington Arthur Wellesly, Tahar Rahim (‘A Prophet’) as French politician Paul Barras and Ludivine Sagnier (‘Swimming Pool’) as the noblewoman and socialite Theresa Cabarrus.
USA 2023 Ridley Scott 158m
Joanna Hogg’s (‘The Souvenir’) latest film sees an artist and her elderly mother confront long-buried secrets when they return to a former family home, now a hotel haunted by its mysterious past.
Julie and Rosalind have come to this secluded Welsh locale so the former can work on her new screenplay, incorporating remembrances of the latter’s childhood. Before Moel Famau was a hotel, for a few years it was also Rosalind’s home when she was a little girl. Memories hide around every corner and lurk in all the shadows. Tilda Swinton portrays both Julie and Rosalind, and in a career overflowing with magnificent performances, this may be one of her best. She dives in confidently, creating two distinct characters with their own personalities, histories, and ghosts who all stalk them down the lonely hallways of Moel Famau. As much as mother and daughter have in common, the emotional baggage they carry remains their own, and Swinton brings all this into the piercing, unflinching light with perceptive gracefulness. Acclaimed filmmaker Hogg's beguiling latest film is a brilliant and captivating exploration of parental relationships and the things we leave behind. This will undoubtedly capture the eye of every BAFTA award voter. "A blackly funny exploration of identity." Sight & Sound
UK 2023 Joanna Hogg 96m
Can the greatest romance of your life last only one night? Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke star in this ephemeral and sensual love story.
A chance encounter between two solitary young strangers. After they hit it off on a train bound for Vienna, Paris university student Celine and American tourist Jesse impulsively decide to spend the day together before he returns to the US. As the pair roam the city, Richard Linklater’s tenderly observant gaze captures the uncertainty and intoxication of young love. Capturing an effervescent mixture of the mid-90s, it's a striking, authentic observation of two people experiencing a romantically charged connection which would come to erode and inform the shape of their future.
USA/Austria 1995 Richard Linklater 101m
A hapless family man finds his life turned upside down when millions of strangers suddenly start seeing him in their dreams. When his nighttime appearances take a nightmarish turn, Paul is forced to navigate his newfound stardom.
Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage) is an evolutionary biology professor at a small college, in a small town. In a weird dream scenario, Paul starts to appear in people’s dreams. This gets people to notice the nondescript character like they never did before. He reaches a celebrity status when he’s interviewed about this strange occurrence on TV in New York, and becomes comfortable accepting these life changes. This dark satire shows what can happen to someone in today’s cancel culture world when they have a fall-out on social media and their 15 minutes of fame turn rotten. Cage has appeared in over 100 films. In this one, he gives a pleasing uncharacteristic low-key performance instead of his usual over-the-top one. A darkly funny, and often truthful, look at the rapid hysteria of our real-world cancel culture, Norwegian filmmaker Kristoffer Borgli (‘Sick of Myself’) first English language film helps cement him as a provocative and wildly entertaining voice for our times.
USA 2023 Kristoffer Borgli 100m