Cinema: Trio of northern stories
Tonight, the Showroom is launching Our North: a short season of films that explore films written by the Barnsley-born Barry Hines. Hines was one of those rare writers who remained wholly committed to writing about where he came from and the issues that faced the working class.
Beyond Kes, there are three films from the 80s that focus on the deeply transformative effects of Thatcherism on the North. Starting with The Gamekeeper, directed by Ken Loach and adapted from Hines’s novel of the same name, a former steelworker turned gamekeeper for a Duke’s estate (Wortley Hall features as the Duke’s stately home) navigates an uneasy relationship between nature, his occupation and the other locals: his position as someone who upholds the rules and rights of the upper class sets him apart. Looks and Smiles is the second film in this trilogy-of-sorts, once again adapted from a Hines novel and directed by Loach. It is beautifully shot in black and white, and follows Mick and his mate Alan (a young Tony Pitts) who are two teens looking for work in recession-hit Sheffield. The New York Times made a point - in what was actually a glowing review - that the Sheffield dialect meant that “a great deal of the dialogue remains unintelligible to the American ear” - so there’s a reason to come and see the film in case you needed one!
The unparalleled Threads finishes the season: the 1984 documentary-style TV drama that terrified a nation who watched on as the Kemp and Beckett families struggled to survive a nuclear attack. It’s a rare opportunity to catch these films on the big screen and we are thrilled to be showing them, supported by Film Hub North and in partnership with the Kes 50 project.
If thoughts of nuclear war leave you feeling sleepless at night, perhaps cuddling up to one of the most loveable characters in literary history might help to soothe? From Friday we’ll be venturing to the Hundred Acre Wood - or, we will be, if Christopher Robin can rekindle the dampened spark of his imagination and get back in touch with his stuffed childhood friends. Featuring Ewan McGregor as our titular hero, Christopher Robin tells the story of a man who has grown up and lost his way.
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If you prefer to venture into the annals of British history through 100 years of rarely-seen wonderous archive material set to a hypnotic electro-folk soundtrack - Arcadia is a definite must-see this weekend.
Paul Wright offers a kaleidoscopic tour around the wild and wonderful British rural landscape, scored by Portishead’s Adrian Utley and Will Gregory of Goldfrapp.