David Lean Cinema-goers are going ga-ga for La La Land

Not since the David Lean Cinema re-opened has excitement over an Oscar-nominated film seen its first two screenings at the 60-seater arthouse venue sold out – even before the tickets went on general sale.

But that’s what has happened with La La Land, nominated for a record-equalling 14 Academy Awards, and for which the “Sold Out” signs went up at the David Lean for its two screenings on March 2.

Fortunately for movie fans, there will be further screenings of the musical, which stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, later in the first week of next month.

John Hurt, who died last month, features in Jackie

John Hurt, who died last month, features in Jackie at the David Lean Cinema

And fortunately for those for whom musicals are not necessarily their thing, there’s lots else on offer in March in the Clocktower arts complex’s cinema.

Films on offer include critic Mark Kermode’s favourite film of 2016, plus there’s the other great favourite for multiple Oscar wins later this month, Manchester By The Sea, the fascinatingly timely courtroom drama Denial, and Andrew Garfield’s latest compelling performance in Hacksaw Ridge. And did we mention T2: Trainspotting?

The cinema named after one of Britain’s greatest movie knights will also show one of the final films featuring another. Sir John Hurt, who died last month, had one of his last movie roles in Jackie, which is screened on March 9.

David Lean Cinema programme March 2017

All films are at 2.30 and 7.30pm unless stated

Thu Mar 2 LA LA LAND (12A)
2016 USA 128min. Director: Damien Chazelle
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons

Sat Mar 4  LA LA LAND (12A) (2.30pm)
2016 USA 128min. Director: Damien Chazelle
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons
Meeting in a Los Angeles traffic jam, a restaurant and then a party, budding film actress Mia and jazz pianist Seb are destined to fall in love – but can their relationship survive the strains of professional success? With Stone and Gosling proving to be charming singers, and Hollywood providing a wonderful backdrop, Whiplash director Chazelle has crafted “a sun-drenched musical masterpiece” (The Guardian) in one of the most eagerly-awaited and awards-tipped films of the year.

Tue Mar 7  LA LA LAND (12A) (2.30pm)
See Mar 4 above.

Tue Mar 7 UNDER THE SHADOW (15) (7.30pm)
2016 UK/Jordan/Qatar/Iran 84min (subtitled). Director: Babak Anvari
Stars: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi
After Shideh’s building is hit by a missile during the Iran-Iraq War, a superstitious neighbour suggests that the missile was cursed and might be carrying malevolent spirits. Shideh becomes convinced a supernatural force within the building is attempting to possess her daughter Dorsa, and she has no choice but to confront these forces if she is to save them both. Mark Kermode rates Under the Shadow his favourite film of 2016, as “a brilliantly intelligent chiller… an astonishing feature debut”.

Wed Mar 8 MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (15) (7.30pm)
2016 USA 137min. Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Stars: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges
Lee (Affleck) is a brooding, taciturn loner who works as a handyman for a Boston apartment block. The death of his beloved older brother saddles him with the unexpected responsibility of raising his nephew Patrick. Taking leave of his job, Lee reluctantly returns to Manchester-by-the-Sea to care for Patrick, forcing him to confront an unspeakable past tragedy which separated him from the local community and his then-wife. The third feature by You Can Count On Me director Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea is nominated for six Academy Awards and boasts masterly performances from Affleck and Williams.

jackie-posterThu Mar 9 JACKIE (15)
Croydon International Women’s Week screening
2016 Chile/France/USA 100min. Director: Pablo Larraín
Stars: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, John Hurt
In the immediate aftermath of the assassination of President John F Kennedy, her husband, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy is afforded little space to grieve as she is faced with a series of political, media and family pressures. Larraín’s retelling of these episodes brilliantly captures the feverish, dream-like atmosphere of a critical week in American history, while, as the stricken yet publicly controlled woman caught in the eye of the storm, Portman gives “a performance of mesmeric complexity and commitment” (Daily Telegraph). The film features John Hurt in one of his final screen roles.

hacksaw-ridgejpgTue Mar 14 HACKSAW RIDGE (15)
2016 USA/Australia 139min (partially subtitled). Director: Mel Gibson
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer

Based on the real-life story of Desmond T Doss, a conscientious objector who volunteered as a medic, but refused to carry a weapon during one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. Despite being victimised for his stance, Desmond persisted – evacuating the wounded and braving enemy fire. The Congressional Medal of Honor was eventually bestowed upon Desmond for his service, after singlehandedly saving the lives of 75 comrades from the heavily garrisoned Hacksaw Ridge. Mel Gibson’s comeback film is a visceral, riveting experience with a first-rate performance from Garfield.

denialjpgThu Mar 16 DENIAL (12A) (11am and 7.30pm)
2016 UK/USA 109min. Director: Mick Jackson
Stars: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall, Andrew Scott
American historian Deborah Lipstadt is shocked when British academic David Irving interrupts her lecture – and her professional future is threatened when she is the target of his libel suit. With the burden of proof upon her, Lipstadt’s legal team, led by Anthony Julius QC (Scott), must demonstrate that Irving knowingly obscured evidence of the Holocaust. Weisz and Spall both excel as the stubborn intellectuals, with Irving’s arrogance and self-deception especially showing Spall at the height of his powers.

Sat Mar 18 THE EAGLE HUNTRESS (U) (2.30)
2016 UK/Mongolia/USA 87min (subtitled). Director: Otto Bell
Features: Aisholpan Nurgaiv, Rys Nurgaiv. Narrated by Daisy Ridley

For centuries, the Kazakh nomads of the Altai Mountains have trained golden eagles to catch the animals they need for food and fur. It’s a tradition handed down from father to son. Now, 13-year-old Aisholpan, the daughter of a national champion, demands to learn the secrets of eagle hunting for herself. Strong, determined, devoted to her father and also one of the girls, she is faced with great challenges and the scepticism of the older generation. Filmed in the stunning Mongolian countryside, this is one of the most inspirational documentaries you’ll ever see.

Tue Mar 21 T2: TRAINSPOTTING (18) (7.30pm)
2017 UK 117min. Director: Danny Boyle
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Kelly Macdonald, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle

After 20 years away from Edinburgh, Mark Renton (McGregor) returns home – but the past will soon catch up with him in the form of Begbie (Carlyle), set on revenge after the heist that capped the original film. Boyle’s sequel sees the four central characters older and not necessarily wiser – while acknowledging the disappointments and disillusionment of middle age, it is also “a wildly invigorating and enjoyable film” (The Independent) with a screenplay and soundtrack that match up to past glories.

Thu Mar 23 LOVING (12A)
2016 UK/USA 123 mins. Director: Jeff Nichols
Stars: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Will Dalton

The affecting story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who defied anti-miscegenation laws by marrying in the late 1950s. Smitten with his pregnant girlfriend, and unable to marry legally in their home state of Virginia, Richard travels with Mildred to Washington to tie the knot. The couple plan their lives together, hoping to reside in Virginia peacefully, yet these hopes are threatened when their union is aggressively opposed by the state. An understated dramatization of the Loving family’s story, with moving performances from Negga and Edgerton. * The 2.30pm screening will be subtitled for those with hearing loss.

Tue Mar 28 TONI ERDMANN (15) (7pm)
2016 Germany/Austria/Romania 162min (subtitled). Director: Maren Ade
Stars: Sandra Hüller, Peter Simonischek, Michael Wittenborn

Recently retired and bored, Winfried pays a surprise visit to his daughter Ines, interrupting her rather grim corporate duties at an overseas factory. He’s a relentless practical joker, with an outrageous, bewigged alter ego named Toni Erdmann – but can his clowning change his daughter’s life for the better? This Academy Award nominated black comedy is “a moving and often hilarious portrait of a father-daughter relationship” (Time Out).

Thu Mar 30 LION (PG)
2016 Australia/USA 118min (partially subtitled). Director: Garth Davis
Stars: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara

Saroo and his family live a hand-to-month existence in a small Indian village. One night while out scavenging, he gets separated from his brother and after climbing into a train, ends up utterly lost and alone in Calcutta. Having been adopted by an Australian couple, the adult Saroo begins a search for his family, but the clues he has to their whereabouts are sketchy. Ravishing photography of India and Australia, together with standout performances by the star actors, make this a truly heartrending, true-life story.

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