‘Fairground ride with dodgy brakes’ is coming to David Lean

Nothing if not eclectic, May’s programme of movies at the David Lean Cinema in the Croydon Clocktower spans Ingmar Bergman’s rendition of a Mozart opera, some Scandi-noir set in Cairo, a Japanese stop-action animation, and the Australian outback in the 1920s.

Plus a film reckoned to be the best British horror for decades.

Ghost Stories has been described by Guardian reviewer Peter Bradshaw as “a barnstormer of an entertainment, a fairground ride with dodgy brakes”. Bringing together Paul Whitehouse (possibly one of this country’s most underestimated comic talents of recent times) with Martin Freeman, and with more than a touch of League of Gentlemen influence, this movie is adapted from writer-directors Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s successful stage show.

There is a Croydon connection, too. Nyman is the magician who has devised productions for Derren Brown.

“The action is wrapped up with a time-honoured narrative trick that has been with us since cinema’s earliest days. It can be overused. But Nyman and Dyson pull it off with tremendous verve,” says Bradshaw.

Tickets for the David Lean Cinema’s May screenings go on sale from Thursday, April 5.

  • Unless otherwise stated, tickets for all screenings are £8.50. Concessions (Freedom Pass-holders, full-time students, claimants and disabled) £7. Rush tickets may also be available for under-25s.
  • Bookings can be made by clicking here

David Lean Cinema programme for May

All films are at 2.30 and 7.30pm unless stated

Tue May 1 THE SQUARE (15) (7pm)
2017 Swe/Ger/Fr/Den 151min (partially subtitled). Director: Ruben Östlund
Stars: Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West

Christian is the prestigious curator of an art museum in Stockholm. His next installation? The Square, an exhibit that invites passers-by to embrace an altruistic lifestyle. However, Christian’s reaction to the theft of his phone leads him into shameful situations, and his chosen PR agents create a shocking promotional campaign for The Square, sending Christian and the museum into a spiralling crisis. With pitch-perfect performances and cutting deadpan wit, this Cannes Palme d’Or winner is a hilarious, unique observation on idealism and cynicism in the modern world.

Thu May 3 SWEET COUNTRY (15)
2017 Aus 113min. Director: Warwick Thornton
Stars: Hamilton Morris, Bryan Brown, Sam Neill

In 1920s Australia, Sam (Morris), an Aboriginal stockman, is charged with the murder of a white man. A trial of nail-biting suspense ensues, amid an atmosphere heavy with racial hatred and threats of summary justice. Fearing the worst, Sam and his wife flee into the desert – a cruel, if stunningly beautiful, environment. With astonishing performances from the native amateur cast, Sweet Country brings a much-needed indigenous perspective to Australian cinema.

Tue May 8 YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE (15) (7.30pm)
2017 UK/Fr/USA 85min. Director: Lynne Ramsay
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alex Manette, John Doman

A military veteran with more traumatic memories than most could bear, Joe (Phoenix) works in the murky and violent world of private security. He’s good at it, and guards his identity carefully. Between jobs, he lives with his elderly mother in his childhood home. When he’s asked to rescue a politician’s missing teenage daughter, a fragile equilibrium is destroyed. This compelling and often hallucinogenic realisation of Jonathan Ames’ novel by Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin) and composer Jonny Greenwood (Phantom Thread) is “bleak psychological artistry… the best kind of feel-bad movie” (Daily Telegraph).

1975 Swe 135min (subtitled). Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Ulrik Cold, Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila

Among Mozart’s best-loved works, The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) stars Köstlinger as Tamino, the young man determined to rescue a beautiful princess from the clutches of parental evil. One of the greatest screen versions of an opera, this is a celebration of love, forgiveness, and the brotherhood of man. Shot on a set replicating a lovely 18th-century theatre, Bergman applies an admirably light touch, making for a performance of musical excellence, dramatic vitality and enormous, effortless charm.

Tue May 15 THE NILE HILTON INCIDENT (15) (7.30pm)
2017 Swe/Den/Ger/Fr 111min (subtitled). Director: Tarik Saleh
Stars: Fares Fares, Mari Malek, Yasser Ali Maher

Sort of Death On The Nile, but without the paddleboat and Poirot’s moustache wax. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Festival, The Nile Hilton Incident is a political thriller set during the last days of the Mubarek regime in Egypt. A detective in the corrupt Cairo police, Noredin (Fares) investigates a singer’s murder at the hotel, which is covered up. Convinced that the crime was politically motivated, he realises that he can no longer accept a bribe and turn a blind eye. The Northern European production team and star Fares give a Scandi-noir feel to a mystery drama that is fast-paced and at times archly amusing.

2017 USA 88min. Director: Alexandra Dean

Raised in a bohemian Viennese Jewish family, and notorious for her role in the steamy Ecstasy while still in her teens, Hedwig Kiesler left for America on the eve of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Austria. Promoted in Hollywood as Hedy Lamarr, “the world’s most beautiful woman”, she starred alongside Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and many others, and in the third-biggest hit of cinema’s young history, Samson and Delilah. Yet science interested her more than stardom, and her contribution to communications technology has now been recognised. Bombshell skilfully tells the story of an extraordinary life, often sad but also inspiring. *The 2.30pm screening will be subtitled for those with hearing loss.

Tue May 22 GHOST STORIES (15) (7.30pm)
2017 UK 98min. Directors: Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman
Stars: Andy Nyman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Martin Freeman

This frighteningly effective adaptation of Jeremy Dyson’s and Andy Nyman’s hit stage play will keep you guessing even if you saw the original. Nyman plays an academic and professional sceptic who takes every opportunity to discredit the supernatural, but will three unsolved cases – passed on by a former parapsychologist – defy explanation? It’s an “exhilarating and entertaining experience” (Screen International) in the tradition of the Amicus anthology horror films of the 1970s, but as requested by the stage version, please don’t reveal its secrets!

Thu May 24 ISLE OF DOGS (15) (11am and 7.30pm)
2018 USA 101min. Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bill Murray

Set in a dystopian future in Japan, and featuring a delightfully expressive voice cast, this stop-motion animated science fiction adventure follows 12-year-old Atari as he searches for his lost dog. When all the dogs of Megasaki City are quarantined on a remote island due to “canine flu”, Atari ventures alone in a miniature turbo-prop in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, other canines help him look for Spots and evade the authorities as Atari begins an epic journey that will determine the fate of the entire prefecture.

Tue May 29 DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME (18) (7.30pm)
2016 USA 120min. Director: Bill Morrison

In 1978, a treasure trove of silent film reels was discovered in the Yukon permafrost. Explaining how it got there, Morrison weaves together the fascinating tales of Dawson City – born in the chaotic Gold Rush of the 1890s – the birth of the movie industry and the wider history of the early 20th century, showcasing dazzling images from those formerly-lost movies to a stirring soundtrack by Alex Somers (Captain Fantastic).

“An instantaneously recognizable masterpiece” (New York Times).

Thu May 31 I GOT LIFE! (15)
2017 Fr 89min (subtitled). Director: Blandine Lenoir
Stars: Agnès Jaoui, Thibault de Montalembert, Pascale Arbillot

Divorced, with two grown-up daughters, Agnes is contending with unemployment, menopause and the prospect of becoming a grandmother. While she cherishes her relationship with her daughters, Agnes isn’t ready to give up on working life or the possibility of romance. As our heroine, Jaoui is magnificent – warm, inspiring and credible as the beating heart of this “vibrant, uplifting look at a stage of life that the movies so often forget.” (Time Out).

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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