RAF Kenley celebrated with screening of Reach for the Sky

There’s more than a sense of stiff upper lip and Battle of Britain spirit about the offerings from the David Lean Cinema for July and (a bit of) August, tickets for which have gone on sale today.

For a start, there’s a bit of “make do and mend” going on at the cinema itself, as the venue is to close for a fortnight in August for some repair work.

And then there’s the two Second World War movies, one made recently, and another a classic of the genre which is being shown to celebrate the Kenley Revival history project which is underway at the country’s last, intact, Battle of Britain airfield.

Reach for the Sky is the story of Douglas Bader, the epitome of the Blitz spirit of those dark days of nearly 80 years ago. At 21, in 1932, the gung-ho young RAF pilot crashed his plane and lost both legs. Yet come outbreak of war, and Bader was signing up to fly again, becoming one of “The Few”, piloting Spitfires and Hurricanes.

Many of the flying sequences were filmed at Kenley in the early 1950s, with Kenneth More playing the lead role in a film which today serves as an important document of the historic airfield in its wartime set-up.

Before that, there’s another chance to see a more modern take on the Battle of Britain, with Their Finest, starring Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy in a special “Babes in Arms” screening.

And the pick of the month’s films has got to be The Levelling, a harrowing (pun intended) drama from first-time director Hope Dickson Leach which deals with difficult modern issues, including suicide and troubled family relationships in a claustrophobic countryside, which fans of The Archers may find familiar on a number of levels (no pun intended).

  • 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 July – August

All films are at 2.30 and 7.30pm unless stated

Sat Jul 1 THE RED TURTLE (PG) (2.30pm)
In this animation, a shipwrecked man has a life-changing encounter with a giant turtle.

Tue Jul 4 THE RED TURTLE (PG) (7.30pm)

Thu Jul 6 FRANTZ (12A)
In François Ozon’s film set in post-WWI Europe, a young German meets a mysterious Frenchman at her fiancé’s grave.

Tue Jul 11 THEIR FINEST (12A) (11am)
2016 UK 117min. 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). A Babes in Arms screening.

Tue Jul 11 THE LEVELLING (15) (7.30pm)
A young vet returns to the family farm after her brother’s sudden death, in this debut film from Hope Dickson Leach.

Thu Jul 13 THE HAPPIEST DAY IN THE LIFE OF OLLI MÄKI (12A) (11am and 7.30pm)

A Finnish boxer falls in love just before a world title fight: a true(ish) story!

Tue Jul 18 DER MÜDE TOD (PG) (7.30pm)
In Fritz Lang’s restored silent classic, Death gives a young woman three chances to save her fiancé from his fate.

A new version of Daphne du Maurier’s classic tale starring Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin.

Sat Jul 22 MY LIFE AS A COURGETTE (PG) (2.30pm)

A young orphan boy learns about trust and true love in this stop-motion animation.

Tue Jul 25 AFTER THE STORM (PG) (7.30pm)

A private detective struggles to reconnect with his ex-wife and young son in this drama from Hirokazu Koreeda (Our Little Sister).

Wed Jul 26 GIFTED (12A)
A single man raising his child prodigy niece and her one-eyed pet cat is drawn into a custody battle with his mother.

Tue Aug 1 MY LIFE AS A COURGETTE (PG) (7.30pm)

In this film of Stephen Fry’s novel, Roger Allam is a disgraced poet looking into some unexplained miracles.

Sat Aug 19 REACH FOR THE SKY (U) (2pm)
This classic film, telling the story of WWII pilot Douglas Bader (Kenneth More), was filmed at Kenley aerodrome.

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