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All films start at 7.45pm unless otherwise stated.

Friday 19 and Saturday 20 May


Based on Sarah Waters' novel Fingersmith, The Handmaiden is the acclaimed, sumptuous erotic mystery thriller from Oldboy director Park Chan-wook. The gripping tale of sex, duplicity and madness is relocated from Victorian-era Britain to 1930s Korea during Japanese colonial rule, where wily pickpocket Sook-hee is hired by a con-man to serve as a new handmaiden for fragile heiress Lady Hideko.

The Handmaiden (Ah-ga-ssi) is wildly entertaining, consummate flmmaking from Chan-wook, a simmering exploration of sexuality, with exquisite set design and sensational plot twists.

South Korea (Korean and Japanese dialogue with English subtitles), 2016, 144 mins

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

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

Tuesday 23 and Thursday 25 May


A thrilling and unsettling 19th century tale adapted from Nikolai Leskov's novel Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. Katherine is a young bride stifled and trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage to an older man, bound by the confines of their draughty moorland home. When left alone after her husband is called away on business, and much to the distress of her increasingly worried maid, Katherine’s eyes are drawn to Sebastian, the handsome, roguish stable-hand.

In an enthralling gothic tale, Florence Pugh stars as the defiant, passionate young woman who will stop at nothing in her pursuit of happiness.

UK, 2016, 89 mins

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

Friday 26, Saturday 27 and Tuesday 30 May


The much-anticipated adaptation of Julian Barnes's 2011 Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Sense of an Ending. Jim Broadbent plays Tony, who is divorced and semi-retired and leading a reclusive and quiet life. One day, he learns that the mother of his university girlfriend, Veronica (Charlotte Rampling), left in her will a diary kept by his best friend.  He at once begins a quest that requires him to revisit the flawed recollections of his younger self, and face up to the devastating consequences of a decision made a lifetime ago.

Harriet Walter and Emily Mortimer play Tony’s ex-wife and daughter, in a moving and suspenseful meditation on ageing, memory and regret.

UK, 2017, 108 mins

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

Thursday 1 June


The Divide tells the story of seven individuals striving for a better life in modern day America and Britain, interweaving interviews with families on the breadline, venture capitalists and economists, with news archive from 1979 to the present day. Taking its lead from Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s book The Spirit Level: Why Equality Is Better for Everyone, Katharine Round’s documentary creates a lyrical, psychological and tragi-comic picture of how inequality controls virtually every aspect of our lives; revealing how economic inequality drives social division, one of the most pressing issues facing countries today.

UK/USA, 2015, 78 mins

There will be a short introduction to this film and an opportunity to discuss it afterwards.

Friday 2 June 6.00pm - 9.00pm - Free Admission

SHOW AND TELL: Staffordshire University Arts, Media & Design Show 2017

Final graduation films from film production students and class of 2017, featuring comedy and action drama, non-fiction and documentary, experimental and personal short films. Complete screening times follow.

Opening night – Friday 2nd June      6pm – 9.30pm
Saturday 3rd June                                11am – 5pm
Sunday 4th June                                   11am – 4pm
Monday 5th June                                  10am – 8pm
Tuesday 6th June                                 10am – 6pm
Wednesday 7th June                           10am – 6pm
Thursday 8th June                               10am – 6pm
Friday 9th June                                     10am – 6pm
Saturday 10th June                              11am – 4pm

Show & Tell

Saturday 3, Tuesday 6 and Thursday 8 June


Their Finest is a charming, nostalgic and spirited romantic wartime drama, starring Gemma Arterton as Catrin, a talented young copy-writer employed by the Ministry of Information to write convincing women’s dialogue. Her natural ability is soon recognised, and she is drafted by dashing film producer Buckley (Sam Claflin) to work alongside a colourful crew to produce the cinematic, morale-boosting stories needed by the nation during the dark times of the Blitz. Bill Nighy plays Ambrose Hilliard, a scene stealing ageing star, struggling to come to terms with the fact his romantic lead days are over.

UK, 2016, 117 mins

Friday 9 and Saturday 10 June


25 years after his career peaked in the hit 1980s detective show Mindhorn, actor Richard Thorncroft is called upon to return to the Isle of Mann to help the police catch a deranged killer. Sensing glory and renewed professional credibility,  Thorncroft is soon en route to the scene of his greatest triumphs.

From the surreal imagination of Mighty Boosh's Julian Barratt and co-writer Simon Farnaby, Mindhorn is a joyously absurd off-the-wall creation, a loving send-up of vintage home-grown detective shows and much more.

A terrific support cast includes Harriet Walter, Simon Callow, Steve Coogan and Kenneth Branagh, alongside Barratt himself as the titular sleuth, whose robotic eye can literally 'see the truth'.

UK, 2016, 89 mins

Thursday 15 June


Letters From Baghdad explores the extraordinary life of Gertrude Bell. As a young woman she travelled extensively throughout the Middle East, producing maps and scholarly works and becoming fluent in Arabic and Persian. Tilda Swinton voices Bell’s letters within a rich tapestry of archive footage and testimony from her peers, including TE Lawrence and Vita Sackville-West, to document the life a writer, archaeologist, diplomat and spy. The most powerful woman in the British Empire in her day, Bell’s openly critical views on colonialism and the future of the region would prove to be stunningly, in many cases tragically, prescient.

USA/UK/France (English and Arabic dialogue with English subtitles), 2016, 93 mins

Friday 16 and Saturday 17 June


In the aftermath of World War I, a young German woman, Anna grieves for her fiancé killed in battle. When a mysterious Frenchman visits his grave, Anna takes comfort in his stories of their friendship, but the rest of the residents of the small German village are more cynical.

François Ozon's latest film is shot in evocative black and white, and thoughtfully explores the post war period in a finely acted and consummately executed tale of love and remembrance.

France/Germany (French and English dialogue with English subtitles), 2016, 114 mins

Thursday 22 June


Hymyilevä mies (original title)

Its 1962 and Finnish boxer Ollie Maki finds himself thrust into the limelight. His upcoming bout against world bantamweight (and undefeated) American champion Davey Moore is being promoted as a ‘historic spectacle never before seen in Finland’ by his showman manager. All Olli has to do is concentrate on his training and make the weight; but with fame and glory within reach, his heart has other plans.

Shot in gorgeous 16mm black-and-white and winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at the Cannes Film Festival, this is a disarming biopic by way of a charming and unforgettable romance.

Finland/Sweden/Germany (Finnish and English dialogue with English subtitles), B/W, 2016, 92 mins

Friday 23 June 7.45pm and Saturday 24 June 3.00pm


Ma vie de Courgette (original title)

An entertaining and witty claymation from Girlhood and Tomboy director Céline Sciamma, adapted from Gilles Paris' book. My Life As A Courgette tells the story of Nine-year-old Icare, ‘Courgette’ to his friends, who finds himself in a local orphanage after the accidental death of his alcoholic mother. At the home he meets a group of children, each with their own emotional burdens and traumas to bear, but determined to find a way to co-exist in relative harmony.

Nominated for the Best Animated Feature Academy Award, this is a brilliant unsentimental animated feature that deals with its mature themes and childhood trauma with subtly and respect.

The English language dubbed matinée screening includes the voices of Will Forte, Nick Offerman, Ellen Page and Amy Sedaris.

Switzerland/France, 2016, 66 mins

** Please note the Friday night screening will be in French with English subtitles. The Saturday matinée will be dubbed in English **

Saturday 24 and Thursday 29 June


Toivon tuolla puolen (original title)

Six years after the award-winning Le Havre, Aki Kaurismäki directs the second in his planned port city trilogy. Kaurismaki regular Sakari Kuosmann stars as Wikstrom, restaurateur and former travelling salesman who crosses paths with a Syrian refugee (Sherwan Haji) after his inadvertent arrival in Finland as a stowaway.

Kaurismaki brings his delightfully lugubrious comedy to address the plight of the refugee with style, compassion and wit, winning the Silver Bear for Best Director at the recent Berlin Film Festival in the process.

Finland/Germany (Finnish, English, Arabic and Swedish dialogue with English subtitles), 2017, 98 mins

Friday 30 June 7.45pm and Saturday 1 July 3.00pm


Storms and grey waves engulf a small island and a nameless man is washed up on a beach alongside the remnants of his boat. Finding the inquisitive crabs scant company, he resolves to escape from the island on a makeshift bamboo raft; only to encounter a mysterious underwater force impeding his departure. Thus begins Studio Ghibli’s first international co-production, a ravishing castaway fable that combines beauty, mystery, drama and heartbreak – all without a word being spoken.

Michael Dudok de Wit directs a sublime, Academy Award nominated, animation, conjuring a charming tale from deceptively simple pencil drawings and watercolour washes.

France/Belgium/Japan, 2016, 81 mins

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