Musicals, cats and Katwe: David Lean’s ready for Christmas

Cartoons, musicals, movies about cats, and kids playing board games: Christmas can’t be far away.

But as you might expect with the David Lean Cinema, Croydon’s arthouse movie programme for December is a touch more involved than that.

Starting with Ethel & Ernest, the movie of Raymond Briggs’ autobiographical graphic novel, through the tale of the Queen of Katwe, and the transformational powers of chess on a poor girl in Uganda, through to A Street Cat Named Bob, there is a strong family viewing feel to the December offerings.

But the volunteers who manage the programme at the David Lean also offer a chance to see Carmen Jones on the big screen, as well as a couple of re-runs of recent movies which have pulled in strong audiences: I, Daniel Blake – the acclaimed Ken Loach film which Jeremy Corbyn has recommended to Theresa May – and the latest version of Swallows and Amazons in the days after Christmas.

David Lean Cinema programme December 2016

All films are at 2.30 and 7.30pm unless stated

Thu Dec 1 ETHEL & ERNEST (PG)
2016 UK 94min. Director: Roger Mainwood
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Brenda Blethyn, Luke Treadaway, Pam Ferris
A charming, touching adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ (The Snowman; Father Christmas; When the Wind Blows) graphic novel documenting the lives of his parents and his own younger self, this beautifully animated British film has a host of familiar voices, notably Broadbent and Blethyn as Ernest and Ethel. The film remains faithful to Briggs’ original version, incorporating key events of the 20th century.

Tue Dec 6 AMERICAN HONEY (15) (7pm)
2016 UK/USA 163min. Director: Andrea Arnold
Stars: Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough
A film very much in the style of director/writer Andrea Arnold’s previous work (Wuthering Heights; Wasp). This time it’s a road trip set in the United States featuring the same gritty realism of teenage sexuality and combining with the fine cinematography of Robbie Ryan. Star (Sasha Lane) leaves her dysfunctional family and meets up with a gang of misfits led by Jake (Shia LaBeouf) who offers her a job travelling around the Midwest selling magazine subscriptions…

queen-of-katweThu Dec 8 QUEEN OF KATWE (PG) (11am & 7.30pm)
2016 USA 124min. Director: Mira Nair
Stars: Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o
This vibrant rags to riches tale tells the true story of a 10-year-old Ugandan girl, Phiona Mutesi. Living in Katwe, a Kampala slum, Phiona and her mother barely manage to keep their heads above water. However, missionary worker Robert Katende brings a promise of hope by introducing her to the game of chess. Phiona is captivated, soon becoming a top player and glimpsing a life beyond poverty. Queen of Katwe boasts a talented cast and offers a rich, nuanced portrait of Ugandan culture.

Tue Dec 13 Dec AFTER LOVE (12A) (7.30pm)
2016 France/Belgium 100min (subtitled). Director: Joachim Lafosse
Stars: Bérénice Bejo, Cédric Kahn, Marthe Keller
Boris and Marie are devoted parents of young twin daughters, living neither together nor apart as they try to negotiate a grown-up separation. At times they share their apartment and family duties peacefully; at other times, the differences which have driven them apart, and the financial stalemate which binds them together, seem insurmountable. Lafosse’s sensitive chamber drama paints a finely observed portrait of two flawed, decent people, with a luminous, utterly convincing performance from Bejo (The Artist) as Marie.

i_daniel_blakeWed Dec 14 Dec I, DANIEL BLAKE (15) (7.30pm)
2016 UK/France/Belgium 100min. Director: Ken Loach
Stars: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Sharon Percy
Recovering from a heart attack, a carpenter in the North East struggles to negotiate the bureaucracy of the welfare system, and crosses paths with a single mother who has been moved 300 miles from her London homeless hostel. Loach’s heartfelt and often funny drama, winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, is a “blunt, dignified and brutally moving” (The Guardian) depiction of the human cost behind contemporary Britain’s “skiver and striver” rhetoric.

Thu Dec 15 A STREET CAT NAMED BOB (12A)
2016 UK 103min. Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Stars: Bob, Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt
In 2007, busker James Bowen was a recovering drug addict living in sheltered accommodation when he came across an injured cat in his hallway. Struggling to even afford food, James wasn’t exactly looking for a new companion, but decided to nurse the cat back to health anyway. He quickly named him Bob – and that was the start of their unlikely friendship. This heartwarming adaptation of Bowen’s best-selling memoir was filmed on location in Hackney and Covent Garden, and co-stars the real-life Bob!

lo_and_behold_reveries_of_the_connected_world_ver2Tue Dec 20 LO AND BEHOLD: REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD (12A) (7.30pm)
2016 USA 98min. Director: Werner Herzog
Features: Elon Musk, Lawrence Krauss, Lucianne Walkowicz
Introduced by the founding fathers of the World Wide Web, Herzog’s journey of discovery considers how our increasingly connected world could reap great benefits – such as self-driving cars and new cures for cancer – but face very real dangers, such as trolling, internet addiction and our collective vulnerability if the Web fails. Fascinated less by the technology than the human stories it creates, “Herzog communicates compassion and astonishment in equal measure” (New York Times).

the-light-between-oceansThu Dec 22 THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (12A)
2016 UK/New Zealand/USA 133min. Director: Derek Cianfrance
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz
Great War veteran Tom keeps a lighthouse off the shore of Australia with his wife Isabel. She is consumed with the desire to have a child – and when a baby girl washes up ashore on a rowboat, Tom gives in to Isabel’s wish to raise her as their own. However, the couple eventually meet the child’s biological mother on the mainland, and are forced to deal with the consequences of their decision. Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) and his Academy Award winning cast have crafted a heartrending period drama.* The 2.30pm screening will be subtitled for those with hearing loss.

Swallows and AmazonsWed Dec 28 Dec SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS (PG) (11am)
2016 UK 97min. Director: Philippa Lowthorpe
Stars: Kelly Macdonald, Andrew Scott, Rafe Spall, Harry Enfield
Arthur Ransome’s classic novel comes to life in this new adaptation, following the Walker children on their adventure to claim an island in the Lake District. Heading over there on the boat Swallow, they soon discover they’re not alone. Another gang of children, the Amazons, have already set up camp there, and a battle for the island begins. But with Britain on the brink of war, real battles aren’t far away, and their childhood paradise is turned upside-down.

Wed Dec 28 CARMEN JONES (PG) (2.30pm)
1954 USA 105 mins. Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge, Pearl Bailey
In 1943, Oscar Hammerstein Jr. – the lyricist of Oklahoma; South Pacific; The King and I and more – turned Bizet’s score for Carmen into a Broadway musical with an all-black cast, changing the setting from 19th century Spain to World War Two era North Carolina. As the title character of Preminger’s 1954 movie translation, Dandridge became the first African American to be nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award. Carmen Jones is part of the BFI’s BLACK STAR season, taking place UK-wide, supported by Film Hub London, part of the Film Audience Network, awarding funds from the National Lottery.

Fri Dec 30 YOUR NAME (12A) (2.30pm)
2016 Japan 106 mins (subtitled). Director: Makoto Shinkai
Stars: Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryô Narita
A teenage boy in Tokyo and a girl in a sleepy country town are bewildered when, every now and then, they change places for a day. Fascinated by each other’s lives, they find a way to communicate, until… The first animation ever selected for the London Film Festival’s Official Competition, and already in Japan’s all-time box office Top 10, this brilliantly and beautifully illustrated film starts out as a hilarious body-swap comedy before boldly morphing into one of the most enthralling and moving dramas of the year.


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