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All films start at 7.45pm unless otherwise stated.

Friday 18 and Saturday 19 January

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU (15)

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

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

Tuesday 22 January

THE WILD PEAR TREE (15)

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

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

Thursday 24 January

THE MARVELLOUS MABEL NORMAND (15)

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

Reviews: :: The Guardian ::

Friday 25 January

THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT (18)

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.

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