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All films start at 7.45pm unless otherwise stated.

Friday 16, Saturday 17 and Tuesday 20 February

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (15)

It’s been seven months since her daughter was murdered and Mildred is frustrated by the lack of progress made by the local police force. Reaching the end of her short tether, she sets about provoking the venerated community leader, Police Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), with a series of messages plastered on three billboards outside her home town. And so begins a rapidly escalating and very public feud. Frances McDormand delivers a blistering performance as the foul-mouthed, tough-as-nails mother, in a scandalously funny drama infused with Martin McDonagh’s trademark dark humour and flashes of violence.

UK/USA, 2017, 115 mins

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

Thursday 22 February

ERIC CLAPTON: A LIFE IN 12 BARS (15)

Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars is an intimate, revealing musical odyssey on the life and career of guitar virtuoso Eric Clapton, told by those who have known him best, including BB King, Jimi Hendrix and George Harrison. Filmmaker Lili Fini Zanuck draws from an extensive archive of performances and home movies to construct a film that reveals Clapton’s restlessness, his struggles with drugs and alcohol and heart-breaking tragedy that informed his evolution as an artist.

UK, 2017, 128 mins

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

Friday 23, Saturday 24 and Monday 26 February

THE POST (12A)

Steven Spielberg directs a timely ode to investigative journalism centred on the battle faced by The Washington Post over the publication of the Pentagon Papers, which revealed previously undisclosed information about the US government's involvement in the Vietnam War. Set in 1971 The Post stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks as The Washington Post’s publisher Katherine Graham and editor Ben Bradlee whose decision to publish the Pentagon Papers risks everything to expose a massive cover up that spanned three decades and four Presidents.

USA, 2017, 115 mins

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

Tuesday 27 and Thursday 1 March

DOWNSIZING (15)

Downsizing is an audacious, fantastical comedy starring Matt Damon as Paul Safranek, an occupational therapist drawn to the possibilities of ‘cellular miniaturisation’, a scientific process that shrinks people to five inches tall. Once downsized he and his wife Audrey stand to gain instant rewards: greater wealth, better housing, a more manageable, less anxiety-ridden existence and a smaller carbon-footprint to save the planet with. Kristen Wiig, Udo Kier and Christophe Waltz join Damon in Alexander Payne’s whimsical social satire, that also offers gentle romance and human drama alongside moments of pure comedy.

Norway/USA, 2017, 135 mins

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

Friday 2 and Saturday 3 March

JOURNEY'S END (12A)

Journey’s End brings R.C. Sherriff ’s 1928 anti-war play to the big screen and features a vast array of British talent, led by Sam Claflin, Asa Butterfeld, Paul Bettany, Tom Sturridge and Toby Jones. Butterfield plays Lieutenant Raleigh, a youthful new recruit who has pulled strings to join his childhood hero, Captain Stanhope (Claflin), in the front line trenches of World War I. Once there, however, he finds that his hero has been altered almost beyond recognition by his years at the front and that they are anticipating a massive German advance. Saul Dibb directs a sensitive and extremely moving film.

UK, 2017, 108 mins

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

Tuesday 6 March

LOVELESS (15)

Still reluctantly sharing their apartment, Boris and Zhenya can’t wait to end their unhappy marriage and begin anew with their respective lovers.

Such is their mutual dislike that they’re oblivious to the terrible effect their constant arguments are having on their shy, lonely 12-year-old son Alyosha, whose disappearance they fail to notice.

Andrey Zvyagintsev continues to chronicle Russia’s 21st century malaise in his latest critically lauded masterpiece. A stark, mysterious story of spiritual catastrophe following the reluctant couple’s search aided by the police and volunteers search teams.

Russia/France/Germany/Belgium (Russian dialogue with English subtitles), 2017, 122 mins

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

Thursday 8 March

SHIRAZ: A ROMANCE OF INDIA (U)

An impressively restored silent film featuring a specially commissioned score by Anoushka Shankar. The story of the 17th-century Mughal ruler Shah Jahan, his queen and the building of the world’s most beautiful monument to love, the Taj Mahal. Shot entirely on location in India with an all-Indian cast, it features lavish costumes and gorgeous settings to tell the story of humble potter Shiraz, who follows his childhood sweetheart when she’s sold by slave traders to the future emperor.

UK/Germany/India, Silent, B/W, 1928, 98 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian ::

Friday 9 and Saturday 10 March

PHANTOM THREAD (15)

In his final film, Daniel Day-Lewis reunites with Paul Thomas Anderson to deliver a masterful performance as a society dressmaker beguiled by a young waitress. Day-Lewis plays Reynolds Jeremiah Woodcock, a celebrated dressmaker to the debutantes of 1950s Britain, but now under pressure from the New Look and influences from across the Channel. Just when he is at his lowest ebb, Woodcock falls in love with a shy, maladroit German waitress of unheeded grace and beauty; but his muse isn’t a mannequin to be controlled and she gradually and subtly begins to assert herself.

USA, 2017, 130 mins

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

Tuesday 13 March

MENASHE (U)

Menashe is a touching and critically acclaimed account of a widower trying to maintain custody of his son against the strict traditions of his ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish community. Though struggling through life in the aftermath of his wife Leah's death, Menashe must prove himself a suitable man of faith and fatherhood. Shot covertly in the Brooklyn's Hasidic Jewish community with winning, unselfconscious performances by a largely non-professional cast, this charming film is the first in roughly seventy years to be performed entirely in Yiddish. A moving portrait of fatherhood, offering an authentic insight into this most insular and private of worlds.

USA (Yiddish and English dialogue with English subtitles), 2017, 82 mins

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

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