Enthralling autumn at Strode Theatre

STRODE Theatre, Street, has a well-deserved reputation for offering the area’s most interesting and varied film programme and this autumn there are some new features to add spice to the mixture.

Starting on 25th September, the theatre introduces Secret Cinema, Monday evening screenings in the studio  of unannounced films. There may be a few clues, and anyone who guesses what the film will be will get a free ticket!

There is also an autumn season of triptychs – five trilogies of films with a linked theme: maverick film director David Lynch, Victoriana, Coming Out, Why Look At Animals? and Neoclassical.

Each group includes one new or very recent release – David Lynch: The Art Life (a 2016 documentary), Victoria and Abdul (2017), Tom of Finland, Kedi (a 2016 documentary about the cats of Istanbul) and  The Death of Louis XIV (2016).

The addition of the smaller studio extended the range  to include arthouse and world cinema productions which would probably not fill the main house – the success of that development has increased the flexibility of screening times. A film that proves unexpectedly popular can be shown more than once, or in the larger venue, and a predictable audience favourite can be repeated at various times in both houses.

September begins with the thriller Baby Driver on 5th and 7th September, and critically acclaimed Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, starring Richard Gere, on 5th and 190th.

There is a particularly important film in the studio on Thursday 7th – The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger, a documentary by Tilda Swinton, Colin MacCabe and Christopher Roth, about the influential poet, art critic, painter, novelist and intellectual who died in January this year.

Living in the French Alpine village of Quincy, Berger realised that subsistence farming, which had sustained humanity for millennia, was threatened and declining and he determined to spend the rest of his life bearing witness to this huge change in rural life.

Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled is on 8th and 10th September, and An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Al Gore’s follow-up to An Inconvenient Truth, is on 9th and 10th. On the same dates, there is a real treat with The Midwife, starring two great French actresses Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot, about a meeting between a midwife and the mistress of her late father.

Sunday 10th is an exceptionally busy day which also includes Despicable Me 3, the ravishing animated film The Red Turtle, and the first of three showings of an Indian comedy, Hotel Salvation (also on 12th and 15th).

On Tuesday 12th, the Strode theatre audience can revisit one of cinema’s great creations, Jacques Tati’s Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday, at 7.30pm.

There are two showings in the studio, on 12th and 14th, of the shocking Land Of Mine – based on the true story of young German PoWs forced by the Danish army at the end of the war to clear beaches of the landmines which had been laid by the Nazis. This is a film that asks hard questions about war and our sense of common humanity and what role revenge and retribution should have in the search for peace after conflict.

Other films that week are Kedi, the charming Turkish documentary about cats (14th and 19th), the true life romance, The Big Sick (15th, 109th and 21st) and the Giacometti biopic Final Portrait on Saturday 16th. Also on Saturday 16th, there is the first of two screenings of Williams (also on 18th), a documentary about the legendary  Frank Williams who founded one of the most famous Formula One racing teams, The Odyssey (22nd, 25th and 28th) a voyage through the life of Jacques Cousteau, and David Lynch: The Art Life (22nd).

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (28th) is the latest from Werner Herzog, Filmed over a year in the remote Siberian village of Bakhtia, it is a story of people without telephone, running water or medical aid, whose culture and daily lives have barely changed over the centuries.

The month ends with Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit (29th-30th September and 2nd and 5th October), a true story of the events of 1967, the worst race riots in American history.

The Short Films of David Lynch are in the studio on 29th, and The Death of Louis XIV is in the theatre on Saturday 30th.

For full details of dates and timings (and any additional screenings), check out the website www.strodetheatre.org.uk

Pictured: The Seasons in Quincy; Happy People: A Year in the Taiga; The Midwife; Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday.