Moviola in June

BELFAST and Northern Ireland are rarely far from the headlines, and those of us who have no direct connections with the country probably largely blot them out or rapidly forget them. But Kenneth Branagh’s brilliant semi-biographical film, Belfast, is an enjoyable but also deeply moving reminder of the personal cost of the Troubles.

The Oscar and BAFTA-nominated film is the most requested on the Moviola circuit in June, with screenings at Codford St Peter (Woolstore Theatre), Hanging Langford, Beaminster (Public Hall), Shrewton, Hawkchurch, Colerne, Motcombe, Nether Wallop, Warminster (Civic Centre), Stogursey, Dunster, Halstock, Tatworth and Downton.

The film is an affectionate but throughtful child’s eye view of the increasing tensions between Protestants and Catholics, who had previously lived in relative harmony in a working class area of Belfast. It stars Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Judi Dench, Ciaran Hinds and the brilliant young Jude Hill as the young Branagh.

Branagh is on view, this time on screen as well as behind the scenes, in Death on the Nile, which is being shown at Yetminster (Jubilee Hall), Charlton Marshall, Chard (Guildhall), Steeple Ashton, Membury (Devon) and Hythe.

This latest outing for Branagh’s Hercule Poirot begins in the unlikely setting of the First World War trenches, before moving to the glittering glamour of the international super-rich of the 1920s and the exotic appeal of a cruise on the River Nile. The stellar cast includes Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Arnie Hammer, Gael Gadot, Sophie Okenedo, Rose Leslie and Annette Bening.

Other Moviola films in June include the energetic and engaging new West Side Story, at Nunney, Crowcombe, Frogham, Edington (near Bridgwater) and Winterslow; Mothering Sunday at Hinton St George;  King Richard at Stockbridge; The Electrical Life of Louis Wain at Bransgore and Watchet; The Queen’s Corgi at Warminster (Civic Centre); A Royal Night Out at Hanging Langford; The Phantom of the Open at Norton St Philip; The Duke at Calne, Kilmington (Devon), Great Bedwyn, Kingston St Mary, East Stour, Crowcombe, South Petherton and Marnhull; and Cyrano at Watchet.

For dates for the June Moviola films, see the Arts Diary; for full details of vemues and the films, visit www.moviola.org

Pictured: Scenes from Belfast and Death on the Nile.