Lean’s times, an Ending and Their Finest hour all on show

PHILIP HOWARD, of the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign, previews the venue’s programme for June, which includes a discussion about the Croydon-born director with a panel including the Assistant Director on Lean’s final film

This is a great time for British and world cinema releases. Many of the films we are showing next month were produced in 2016 and held back until the American giants of the “awards season” had departed – indeed, six of the eight new releases in our June programme featured in October’s London Film Festival.

This allows us to bring you no fewer than six British titles. We’re pleased to announce that we will be screening the two big new releases – the Julian Barnes adaptation The Sense of an Ending and wartime comedy-drama Their Finest.

We were among the LFF audiences who roared with laughter at the deliciously absurd Mindhorn, starring Julian Barrett (The Mighty Boosh) as a TV detective called on to solve a real case, and held their breath at Florence Pugh’s astonishing performance as the bold, desperate antiheroine Lady Macbeth.

Those of you who enjoy our occasional archive screenings will be in clover at the end of the month – we have two! In association with the Croydon Heritage Festival, David Lean’s Brief Encounter will be discussed by a panel of film professionals, including Patrick Cadell, the Assistant Director on Sir David’s final film, A Passge to India.

We travel to St John the Baptist Church for the Purley Festival, showing an early film by Terence Davies (A Quiet Passion): his memoir of 1950s Liverpool, The Long Day Closes.

Before our trip to Purley, we’ll visit Romania, Japan, Iraq and France. Graduation is the acclaimed tale of a morally upright doctor who betrays his principles to safeguard his daughter’s future, while Harmonium sees a family riven by discord when the father gives an old acquaintance a second chance.

Narrated by Tilda Swinton, Letters From Baghdad explores the adventurous career of Gertrude Bell, a contemporary of TE Lawrence (of Arabia), who helped to shape the future of the Middle East after the First World War.

Finally, and among my favourite films of the LFF, Heal the Living is a highly original, beautifully acted and wonderfully humane ensemble drama about the many lives changed over the course of a heart transplant case.

  • Unless otherwise stated, tickets for all screenings are £8. Concessions (Freedom Pass-holders, full-time students, claimants and disabled) £6.50
  • Bookings can be made by clicking here

David Lean Cinema programme June

All films are at 2.30 and 7.30pm unless stated

Thu Jun 1 GRADUATION (15)
2016 Rom/Fra/Bel 128min (subtitled). Director: Cristian Mungiu
Stars: Adrian Titieni, Maria-Victoria Dragus, Lia Bugnar
A middle-aged doctor and his estranged wife now share an tatty apartment with their daughter, Eliza. They have prided themselves on largely avoiding the pervasive system of favours offered and taken to “get things done” in Romania’s dysfunctional society. However, Eliza is assaulted the day before her final school exams and is in no state to achieve the results needed for a scholarship to study abroad. Having brought her up as they have, should her parents now pull strings, and would she accept the favour? “A masterly, complex movie of psychological subtlety and moral weight” (The Guardian).

Tue Jun 6 HARMONIUM (12A) (7.30pm)
2016 Japan/Fra 120min (subtitled). Director: Kôji Fukada
Stars: Tadanobu Asano, Mariko Tsutsui, Kanji Furutachi, Momone Shinokawa
Workshop owner Toshio (Furutachi) lives contentedly with his wife Akie (Tsutsui) and 10-year-old-daughter Hotaru (Shinokawa), a lively girl who struggles to master the harmonium. Life goes on for the three of them, until Toshio hires the mysterious Mr Yasaka (Asano), an old friend who has recently been released from prison. As Yasaka becomes more open about his past, a buried secret threatens to sully Toshio’s good name and sever familial ties. A beautifully crafted film, with strong performances from both the experienced adult cast and young Shinokawa.

2017 UK 108min. Director: Ritesh Batra
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Walter, Michelle Dockery
Tony Webster (Broadbent) is a divorced retiree who leads a purposefully dull and fairly solitary life. Still on friendly terms with his ex-wife, Margaret (Walter), Tony’s life consists of daily rituals, avoiding modern conveniences such as email and Facebook. However, the arrival of an unexpected letter forces Tony to confront his distorted memories of the consequences of decisions made in his youth. A high-class British cast imbues this adaptation of Julian Barnes’s acclaimed novel with mystery and emotional magnetism. * *The 2.30pm screening will be subtitled for those with hearing loss.

Tue Jun 13 LADY MACBETH (15) (7.30pm)
2016 UK 89min. Director: William Oldroyd
Stars: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie
The moors of north-east England, 1865. Married off at a young age, Catherine (Pugh) is isolated in her new home, oppressed and despised by her mine-owner husband and father-in-law. Already discovering her capacity for wilful disobedience, a torrid affair with stableman Sebastian (Jarvis) renders Catherine ruthlessly determined to regain control over her life, by any means necessary. Acclaimed theatre and opera director Oldroyd builds and maintains the tension superbly in his debut feature, while Pugh is utterly captivating in her first – but surely not last – lead role.

Thu Jun 15 LETTERS FROM BAGHDAD (PG) (11am and 7.30pm)
2016 USA/UK/Fra 95min. Directors: Sabine Krayenbühl, Zeva Oelbaum
Stars: Tilda Swinton, Rose Leslie, Paul McGann
The extraordinary Gertrude Bell was an English writer, linguist, archaeologist, diplomat and spy, with an unmatched first-hand knowledge of late 19th and early 20th century Arabia. This fascinating documentary reveals her power and the crucial role she played in forming British policy in what is now Iraq. The film is based on Bell’s letters, voiced by Tilda Swinton, and presented using high-quality original footage, with familiar actors representing key characters. This unmissable personal and professional story provides an acute, revealing and sometimes chilling foretaste of current global troubles.

Tue Jun 20 HEAL THE LIVING (12A) (7.30pm)
2016 Fra/Bel 103min (subtitled). Director: Katell Quillévéré
Stars: Tahar Rahim, Emmanuelle Seigner, Anne Dorval
What should you do when a loved one suffers a critical injury? After a terrible accident, this dilemma is thrust upon the parents of 17-year-old Simon. Following the process of organ donation not just through their eyes, but also those of the recipient’s family and the teams of medical staff involved, Heal The Living is an enthralling and deeply humane look at how life can end yet begin anew. Quillévéré and her fine ensemble cast imbue this medical drama with immense sensitivity and compassion.

Thu Jun 22 THEIR FINEST (12A)
2016 UK 117 mins. Director: Lone Scherfig
Stars: Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy
Facing a new demand for realistic Home Front movies, a London film studio hires copywriter Catrin (Arterton) to write the “slop” (or “girl talk”) – and she proves a real talent, soon working on a patriotic tale based on the Dunkirk evacuation, along with a narcissistic veteran star (Nighy) and a fellow screenwriter (Claflin) who is more appealing than her boorish husband. With Arterton at the head of an excellent British cast, Their Finest is “a funny, winning, beautifully acted ode to working women and cinema” (Empire).
* The 2.30pm screening will be subtitled for those with hearing loss.

Sat Jun 24 BRIEF ENCOUNTER (PG) (2.30pm)
Croydon Heritage Festival screening and David Lean panel discussion
1945 UK 86 mins. Director: David Lean
Stars: Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway
In association with the Croydon Heritage Festival, we celebrate David Lean with this early classic, often considered one of the most romantic films of all time. A bored housewife (Johnson) is helped out by an idealistic doctor (Howard) at a same railway station; arranging to meet again, they find that their innocent friendship is quickly developing into something deeper. Plus a panel discussion examining what’s distinctive and influential about David Lean’s films. Guests include Patrick Cadell, Lean’s Assistant Director on A Passage to India.

Tue Jun 27 MINDHORN (15) (7.30pm)
2016 UK 89min. Director: Sean Foley
Stars: Julian Barratt, Essie Davis, Andrea Riseborough, Kenneth Branagh
In this lovingly crafted homage to 1980s TV crime serials, Barratt (The Mighty Boosh) plays a washed-up actor struggling to rebuild his career since his hit show Mindhorn was cancelled. The detective who can “see truth” is called back into action when an obsessed murderer demands an audience with the vintage TV character. This crime thriller comedy had preview audiences roaring with laughter, and is sure to become a quotable cult classic with its handmade retro design and host of British talents popping up at every turn.

Thu Jun 29 THE LONG DAY CLOSES (PG) (8pm)
Purley Festival screening
1992 UK 85min. Director: Terence Davies
Stars: Marjorie Yates, Leigh McCormack, Anthony Watson
In rainy, 1950s Liverpool, where Davies (Sunset Song, A Quiet Passion) grew up, 11-year-old Bud (McCormack) is the youngest child of a working-class Catholic family. Bud’s father died some years earlier, as Davies’ own dad did, but his mother (Yates) and older siblings remain strong, loving influences in his life. Fond memories — of a night-time trip to the fair, of group sing-alongs on winter evenings — alternate with painful recollections of loneliness and bullying. “Beautifully poetic… rings wholly true” (Time Out).

  • Presented on 16mm at St John the Baptist Church, Dale Rd, Purley; tickets (£5) will be sold in advance as usual, and on the door, with unreserved seating

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