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All films start at 7.45pm unless otherwise stated.

Tuesday 25 and Thursday 27 April

CERTAIN WOMEN (12A)

The latest work from Kelly Reichardt confirms her as as one of today’s leading filmmakers and an extraordinary director of actors. Based on the short stories of Maile Meloy, Certain Women is a portrait of four independent women in small town Montana. Reichardt’s nuanced direction focuses on character and place rather than narrative, to reveal intersecting lives against a backdrop of Montana’s mountains and pastoral, big-skied landscapes.

Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams and Lily Gladstone star in a deeply involving, melancholic drama.

USA, 2016, 107 mins

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

Friday 28 and Saturday 29 April

PERSONAL SHOPPER (15)

Kristen Stewart reunites with her Clouds of Sils Maria director, Olivier Assayas, to play Maureen, a young woman trying to contact the spirit of her recently departed twin brother, in this artful ghost story. Maureen is employed as a personal shopper for Kyra, a high-powered and high maintenance German model; something that both bores and frustrates her, but allows time for her otherworldly search. As time passes contact begins to look increasingly unlikely, until she begins to receive mysterious text messages.

France/Germany (mainly English language with subtitles for French and Swedish dialogue), 2016, 105 mins

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

Tuesday 2 May

MULHOLLAND DRIVE (15)

One of David Lynch's finest works, Mulholland Drive is a beautifully surreal and entrancing neo-noir thriller. Aspiring actress, Betty Elms (Naomi Watts), has only just arrived in Hollywood when she befriends an an enigmatic woman with amnesia (Laura Harring). Weird and seemingly unrelated vignettes may be offering clues to the mystery woman’s identity,  but nothing is certain in Lynch’s subversive and cryptic narrative. This is a masterly tale of love, jealousy, and revenge in Hollywood, and its powers of myth, illusion and delusion.

France/USA, 2001, 143 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian ::

Thursday 4 May

I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO (12A)

I Am Not Your Negro is an adaptation of James Baldwin’s unfinished novel, Remember This House. A novel that never progressed beyond a thirty page letter to his publisher outlining why he couldn’t write what was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends – Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Samuel L Jackson narrates Baldwin’s original words amid a flood of rich archival material to tell Baldwin’s life story, within a radical and powerful mosaic, to uncover a deeper narrative of America's troubled relationship with race.

France/USA, 2016, 93 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Independent ::

Friday 5 and Saturday 6 May

FREE FIRE (15)

Ben Wheatley is proving himself to be one of the least conventional and most conceptual British filmmakers working today. His latest offering is a real-time, bullet-riddled shootout between two gangs in 1970s Boston following a weapons deal gone wrong. Cillian Murphy, Brie Larson and Michael Smiley are among the impressive cast list of this fun and dark action thriller.

France/UK, 2016, 91 mins,  Audio description available

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

Tuesday 9 May

GRADUATION (15)

Romeo Aldea is a surgeon who hopes for a better life for his daughter away from their small Transylvanian town. Eliza has won a scholarship to study psychology in the UK. She just has to pass her final exams – a formality for such a good student. However, when she is subjected to a traumatic attack on the eve of her final exams, he believes that her academic future has been jeopardised and tries to help. Having always refused kickbacks or traded favours, and instilled the same ethics in Eliza, he begins to question Romanian society as well as his own ethical stance.

Cristian Mungiu’s latest work, Graduation (Bacalaureat), deservedly shared the Best Director prize at Cannes (along with Olivier Assayas for Personal Shopper), for this elegant, but gritty, slice of life in contemporary Romania.

A complex film of psychological subtlety and moral weight.

Romania/France/Belgium (Romanian dialogue with English subtitles), 2016, 128 mins

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

Thursday 11 May

AQUARIUS (18)

Neighbouring Sounds director, Kleber Mendonça Filho’s new work is both a portrait of a particular life in contemporary Brazil and a wider statement of social comment and political intent. Sonia Braga, an icon of Brazilian cinema, gives a stunning central performance, playing retired music critic and public intellectual, Clara. Clara is the sole remaining resident in ‘The Aquarius’, an elegant apartment building targeted by avaricious property developers. When it becomes clear that no cheque is big enough to force her from her home a series of escalating actions and reactions ensue.

Aquarius is a film of beautiful subtlety, sly political anger.

Brazil/France (Portuguese dialogue with English subtitles), 2016, 146 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 ::

Friday 12 May

THE EYES OF MY MOTHER (15)

Fusing classic horror ingredients with gothic black-and-white imagery, The Eyes of My Mother is the hauntingly beautiful, shockingly original debut of American filmmaker Nicolas Pesce. Young Francisca lives a sheltered life on a remote farm with her distant father and loving mother. When an inexplicable and violent encounter shatters her world, her gentle psyche is pierced by deeply rooted trauma, triggering the blooming of a psychotic beauty.

Kika Magalhaes gives a superb performance as Francisca, in a brutal slice of Lynchian horror, that is a sublime treat for any discerning horror fan.

USA (B/W), 2016, 76 mins

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

Saturday 13 May

A QUIET PASSION (12A)

A biopic of Emily Dickinson from Sunset Song director Terence Davies, starring Cynthia Nixon as the reclusive American poet. Alongside the flowering and frustrations of her remarkable verse, Davies reveals a passionate and conflicted figure who continually questioned the patriarchal society in which she lived. Keith Carradine and Jennifer Ehle play Dickinson’s supportive father and her confidante sister Lavinia, in an insightful and intelligent film that finds beauty in the little things.

UK/Belgium, 2016, 125 mins

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

Tuesday 16 May

NERUDA (15)

Pablo Larraín follows his biopic of Jackie Kennedy with an epic and engaging character study of Chilean poet-diplomat and politician, Pablo Neruda. Described by Larraín as an ‘anti-bio’, Neruda is a playful tale, artfully presenting political mythmaking and literary creation, narrated by Oscar Peloucchoneau, the policeman set on Neruda’s trail when he finds himself on the wrong side of Chile’s anti-communist drive.

Luis Gnecco and Gael García Bernal play Neruda and his ambivalent nemesis, Peloucchoneau, in a brilliantly ambiguous portrait of a heroic and often venal and hypocritical character.

Chile/Argentina/France/Spain/USA (Spanish and French dialogue with English subtitles), 2016, 105 mins

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

Thursday 18 May

BUNCH OF KUNST (18)

Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods's DIY punk ethos and brutally honest lyrics have earned them a dedicated fan-base across the UK and Europe.  German filmmaker Christine Franz spent two years with the band, and their former bus-driver turned manager, to create this cinéma-vérité documentary about their journey from bedroom recording sessions to playing at Glastonbury and Rock City and signing to Rough Trade Records.

Germany (English dialogue), 2017, 103 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 ::

Friday 19 and Saturday 20 May

THE HANDMAIDEN (18)

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

LADY MACBETH (15)

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

Friday 26, Saturday 27 and Tuesday 30 May

THE SENSE OF AN ENDING (15)

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 ::

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