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All films start at 7.45pm unless otherwise stated.

Thursday 15 November


A masterful tale of twisted friendship from Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone.

Marcello is an unassuming dog groomer living in a grotty seaside village near Rome, eking out a meagre living and running petty errands for local thieves while trying to be a good father to his devoted young daughter. After making the mistake of supplying cocaine to the local bully Simone, Marcello finds himself trapped in a perilous relationship and led towards further, ever more serious criminality.

Garrone’s visceral and intelligent drama has an understated, tragicomic atmosphere, detailing the minutiae of lives on the margins, aided in no small part by Marcello Fonte’s terrific central performance which deservedly earned him the Best Actor award at Cannes.

Italy/France (Italian dialogue with English subtitles), 2018, 102 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Friday 16, Saturday 17 and Tuesday 20 November


Damien Chazelle reunites with his La La Land star Ryan Gosling, in an elegant, epic biopic, relating the last leg of the space race from the perspective of the aeronautical engineer turned NASA astronaut who would go on to win it. Gosling’s thoughtful character study brings Neil Armstrong back down to earth, to suburbia and the domestic fallout from his single-minded commitment to the mission, through the slow build-up of the 1960s and the pain of failed launches, bungled tests and tragedies.

USA, 2018, 138 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Thursday 22 November

UTØYA - JULY 22 (15)

Utøya – July 22 recounts the murderous attack on a youth summer camp on Utøya island in 2011 by far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik from the perspective of 18-year-old Kaja. Filmed on Utøya island in a single take, director Erik Poppe’s camera ceaselessly follows Kaja, starting with her and her friends’ shock at the news of the initial bombing in nearby Oslo and their seeking reassurance that their relatives are safe. But their sense of their own isolated security is shattered as shots ring out. As the threat grows closer, minute by minute, Kaja tries desperately to survive, hiding from Breivik and marshalling and bringing some small comfort to younger children, even as she searches for her own missing sister.

Utøya – July 22 isn’t easy viewing, but it’s a lucid, critical reminder of the tremendous cost of mass tragedy and a powerful memorial to its young survivors, who refused to let Breivik kill their ideals.

Norway (Norwegian dialogue with English subtitles), 2018, 92 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Friday 23 November


Paul Feig’s unexpected detour from comedies such as Bridesmaids and The Heat, is a fresh, stylish Gone Girlesque film noir starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively. Adapted from Darcy Bell’s best-selling novel A

Simple Favour centres around mommy blogger Stephanie, who seeks to uncover the truth behind her wealthy, beautiful best friend Emily’s sudden disappearance. She is joined in her search by Emily’s husband Sean, but is soon embroiled in troubling ambiguities and the revolving question of who is duping whom. This is a hugely entertaining thriller filled with twists and betrayals, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge.

UK, 2018, 117 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Saturday 24 and Tuesday 27 November


Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot stomping biopic celebrating Freddy Mercury and Queen’s career, and their show stopping performance at 1985’s Live Aid concert. Following the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and their near implosion as Mercury’s lifestyle spirals out of control.

Rami Malek gives a commanding central performance as the showman facing the battle for his life with his HIV diagnosis and leading the band in a performance that cements their legacy.

UK/USA, 2018, 134 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Thursday 29 November

WARU (15)

A groundbreaking film made by eight female Māori filmmakers, telling the story of a small New Zealand town coming to terms with a bitter tragedy – the death of a small boy at the hands of his caregiver. The impact of the boy’s death is seen in bold, authentic, multi-layered story and the grief, guilt and bravery that ensue. Waru explores themes of culture and custom in New Zealand’s contemporary Māori community, beset by societal pressures to abandon their indigenous ways.

New Zealand (English and Maori dialogue with English subtitles), 2017, 86 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian ::

Friday 30 November, Saturday 1 and Tuesday 4 December


In his first film since Mr Turner, Mike Leigh dramatises the events surrounding the infamous 1819 Peterloo Massacre, where British Government Forces fired on a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter’s Field in Manchester. Maxine Peake and Rory Kinnear lead the cast bringing a defining moment in radical British history to the screen, weaving multiple stories of everyday people into a socialist tapestry and depicting an act of police brutality. This is a major new cinematic work with huge contemporary relevance.

UK, 2018, 154 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Thursday 6 December


Demoted and demotivated, police officer Asger Holm approaches his telephone shift at emergency despatch with a distinct lack of empathy. But when a call from a distressed woman is abruptly terminated, his dormant conscience is piqued and, though unable to leave the office, he begins a dramatic and unrelenting pursuit to save her, piecing together clues using the telephonic and information technology at hand. The Guilty is an expertly plotted, gripping thriller that doesn’t let up, peeling back layers of truth and challenging expectations until its final beat.

Denmark (Danish dialogue with English subtitles), 2017, 85 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Friday 7 December


Lulu Danger’s unspectacular social life is jolted into action when she sees a TV ad for "An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn; For One Magical Night Only." Aubrey Plaza is the deadpan, obsessive Lulu, who is resolved to see the mysterious figure for reasons that she is reluctant to share with the other half of her unsatisfactory marriage.

An experience as entirely unusual as only the mind behind The Greasy Strangler could conjure, or in the case of the eponymous stage turn, communicate, this is cinema from the outer margins.

At this point we would like to add the assurance that, unlike director Jim Hosking’s earlier work, The Greasy Strangler, there is nothing here that you would wish to un-see or any smells that you would like to un-imagine. That said, for one magical night only, be prepared for a suitably deranged piece of bad-taste cinema sans frontiers.

USA, 2018, 108 mins

Saturday 8 and Tuesday 11 December


When Veronica’s husband is killed during a daring robbery, she and the wives of the men he worked with discover money was owed to some particularly nasty people. And now they want it back.

Steve McQueen and co-writer Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), offer a strikingly contemporary reworking of Lynda La Plante’s groundbreaking 1980s television series, relocating the action to Chicago with a stellar cast led by Viola Davis as Veronica, the leader of the gang, who find empowerment and unexpected solidarity in tackling unfinished business in a satisfying heist thriller.

UK/USA, 2018, 128 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Thursday 13 December


Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Palme d’Or winning new work is a profoundly

moving drama about the forces holding a struggling family together.

Osamu is the head the Shibatas; a poverty-stricken family living in a ramshackle Tokyo bungalow, who routinely turn to petty thieving to make ends meet. After one of their shoplifting sessions they happen upon Yuri, a little girl sheltering from the cold, and take her in.

Kore-eda ’s trademark subtlety and nuanced moral inquiry gives rare prominence to Japanese society’s urban underclass with insight, compassion and humour.

Japan (Japanese dialogue with English subtitles), 2018, 121 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Telegraph ::

Friday 14 and Saturday 15 December


When teenager Joe (Ed Oxenbould) and his parents move to suburban Montana, a fresh start seems to be on the cards; but cracks soon show when his volatile father Jerry loses his job and then leaves to fight forest fire raging close to the Canadian border. While this is happening Joe’s mother Jeanette is clinging onto the façade of happiness by her fingernails.

 Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan inhabit the meticulously performed characters of Joe’s parents, with wit, sadness and maturity, in an emotionally powerful drama. Actor Paul Dano makes his directorial debut with this sober, beautifully realised postwar American family drama, adapted from Richard Ford’s novel.

USA, 2018, 104 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Tuesday 8 January


Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria pays homage to Dario Argento’s cult giallo film, retaining its key plot points; but this is no ‘remake’. Instead Guadagnino directs a delirious, feminist supernatural horror that unfolds in Berlin in 1977, where American Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson) is auditioning for a prestigious international dance school where a vacancy for a boarding student has unexpectedly become available. The strange mistresses who run the all-female school are captivated by her untutored passion for dance, in particular, the precise Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton). Thom Yorke contributes a terrific, eerily dramatic, disquieting score, enveloping the darkness swirling at the centre of the dance company and threatening to engulf the artistic director, its young dancers, and a grieving psychotherapist caught in the intrigue.

Italy/USA, 2018, 152 mins

Further information regarding scenes used by the BBFC to determine the film's certification, may be found at the extended classification link  – please note that this page contains spoilers.

Thursday 10 January


In 1974, in response to General Pinochet’s military coup, and in solidarity with the people of Chile, workers at the Rolls-Royce factory in Glasgow refused to undertake vital inspections of engines of the Chilean Air force's Hawker Hunter aircraft; retaining the engines in quarantine for four years until they disappeared overnight in mysterious circumstances.

Forty years later Nae Pasaran recounts the tale, reuniting the figures behind the boycott and revealing the impact of their actions.

UK (English and Spanish dialogue with English subtitles), 2018, 96 mins

Friday 11 and Saturday 12 January


The story of Forrest Tucker, an audacious career criminal, whose CV included breaking out of 18 prisons (including San Quentin at the age of 70) and an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public. In what is reportedly his final film, Robert Redford stars as Tucker, leaving the silver screen with an effortlessly charismatic performance that radiates wisdom and charm, in an entertaining and endearing tale of cops and robbers and romantic outlaws.

USA, 2018, 93 mins

Tuesday 15 January


In 1892 Lizzie Borden is unmarried, living an oppressed existence under the iron rule of her authoritarian father. When new housemaid Bridget Sullivan comes to work at the Borden house, Lizzie finds in her a friend and confidante, but as their relationship blossoms familial tensions rise.

Craig William Macneill directs Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart in something more than a simple retelling of a much-documented case, lending a claustrophobic foreboding and reframing Borden from axe-wielding monster, to victim taking revenge on the patriarchal world that subjugates her.

USA, 2017, 105 mins

Thursday 17 January


Disobedience is director Sebastián Lelio’s English language debut, a rich and rewarding British drama about forbidden love and fighting for what you truly believe in. Rachel Weisz stars as Ronit, a photographer happily living in New York, who returns to London after the death of her father. Once back, and again the black sheep of the Orthodox Jewish community, she discovers that her childhood friend Esti, with whom she once shared a complicated romantic bond, is now the wife of the young rabbi most likely to replace her father at the synagogue.

UK/Ireland/USA, 2018, 114 mins

Friday 18 and Saturday 19 January


Sorry To Bother You is an inventive satire, in which Cassius, a mild-mannered African-American call centre operator, discovers that the secret to success lies in cultivating a “white voice”. But as Cassius soon discovers, rising through the ranks has it consequences; alienation from both his colleagues and his activist girlfriend, Detroit, and worse still, his boss has disturbing ambitions for him.

Boots Riley directs with visual panache and caustic wit, acerbically lampooning office life.

USA, 2017, 98 mins

Tuesday 22 January


After graduating from university, Sinan returns from the bright lights of Cannakale, to Can, his rural hometown, where his father is knee deep in gambling debts and his family is pitied. He would like recognition for his writing talents but lacks funds to publish a book of his essays and stories.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s follow-up to his Palme d’Or-winning Winter Sleep, is a discursive and engrossing portrait of the opinionated and bemused young writer at odds with his hometown and family. The Wild Pear Tree sets Sinan against a gallery of superbly played characters and interwoven themes to create a gently penetrating dissection of the flawed male psyche.

Turkey/Republic of Macedonia/France/Germany/Bosnia and Herzegovina/Bulgaria/Sweden (Turkish dialogue with English subtitles), 2018, 188 mins

Thursday 24 January


Mabel Normand was a trailblazing silent film star in 167 shorts and 23 features, epitomising the irrepressible spirit of early Hollywood. An extraordinary performer, from the anarchic days of Mack Sennett’s Keystone company to the refined comedies of the 1920s, she was first lady of silent comedy, directed her own films and ran her own production company.

The Film Theatre presents a celebration of her work with four shorts from the BFI National Archive; Mabel’s Blunder (1914), Mabel’s Dramatic Career (1913), His Trysting Place (1914) and Should Men Walk Home? (1927). They featuring Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle and a young Oliver Hardy, but Mabel was always the star. A newly commissioned recorded score by The Meg Morley Trio complements the films.

USA (silent, B/W), 1914-1927, 78mins

Friday 25 January


Attracting a level of notoriety that only arch-provocateur Lars Von Trier could command, his new work stars Matt Dillon as a serial killer, who views his crimes as art and his continuing liberty as an expression of the failures of society. Tongue-in-cheek and deliberately challenging, The House That Jack Built is graphically violent and beautifully shot, with a spectacular finale. Von Trier’s cast also includes Uma Thurman, and Bruno Gantz as the man to whom Jack recounts five incidents.

USA, 2017, 98 mins

Further information regarding scenes used by the BBFC to determine the film's certification, may be found at the extended classification link – please note that this page contains spoilers.

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Stoke Film Theatre, College Road, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 2EH Registered Charity no. 504600