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All films start at 7.45pm unless otherwise stated.

Thursday 22 June


Hymyilevä mies (original title)

Its 1962 and Finnish boxer Ollie Maki finds himself thrust into the limelight. His upcoming bout against world bantamweight (and undefeated) American champion Davey Moore is being promoted as a ‘historic spectacle never before seen in Finland’ by his showman manager. All Olli has to do is concentrate on his training and make the weight; but with fame and glory within reach, his heart has other plans.

Shot in gorgeous 16mm black-and-white and winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at the Cannes Film Festival, this is a disarming biopic by way of a charming and unforgettable romance.

Finland/Sweden/Germany (Finnish and English dialogue with English subtitles), B/W, 2016, 92 mins

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

Friday 23 June 7.45pm and Saturday 24 June 3.00pm


Ma vie de Courgette (original title)

An entertaining and witty claymation from Girlhood and Tomboy director Céline Sciamma, adapted from Gilles Paris' book. My Life As A Courgette tells the story of Nine-year-old Icare, ‘Courgette’ to his friends, who finds himself in a local orphanage after the accidental death of his alcoholic mother. At the home he meets a group of children, each with their own emotional burdens and traumas to bear, but determined to find a way to co-exist in relative harmony.

Nominated for the Best Animated Feature Academy Award, this is a brilliant unsentimental animated feature that deals with its mature themes and childhood trauma with subtly and respect.

The English language dubbed matinée screening includes the voices of Will Forte, Nick Offerman, Ellen Page and Amy Sedaris.

Switzerland/France, 2016, 66 mins

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

** Please note the Friday night screening will be in French with English subtitles. The Saturday matinée will be dubbed in English **

Saturday 24 and Thursday 29 June


Toivon tuolla puolen (original title)

Six years after the award-winning Le Havre, Aki Kaurismäki directs the second in his planned port city trilogy. Kaurismaki regular Sakari Kuosmann stars as Wikstrom, restaurateur and former travelling salesman who crosses paths with a Syrian refugee (Sherwan Haji) after his inadvertent arrival in Finland as a stowaway.

Kaurismaki brings his delightfully lugubrious comedy to address the plight of the refugee with style, compassion and wit, winning the Silver Bear for Best Director at the recent Berlin Film Festival in the process.

Finland/Germany (Finnish, English, Arabic and Swedish dialogue with English subtitles), 2017, 98 mins

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

Friday 30 June 7.45pm and Saturday 1 July 3.00pm


Storms and grey waves engulf a small island and a nameless man is washed up on a beach alongside the remnants of his boat. Finding the inquisitive crabs scant company, he resolves to escape from the island on a makeshift bamboo raft; only to encounter a mysterious underwater force impeding his departure. Thus begins Studio Ghibli’s first international co-production, a ravishing castaway fable that combines beauty, mystery, drama and heartbreak – all without a word being spoken.

Michael Dudok de Wit directs a sublime, Academy Award nominated, animation, conjuring a charming tale from deceptively simple pencil drawings and watercolour washes.

France/Belgium/Japan, 2016, 81 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