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All films start at 7.45pm unless otherwise stated.

Friday 20 and Saturday 21 April


We Need To Talk About Kevin and Ratcatcher director, Lynne Ramsay, makes her long-awaited return with this brilliantly executed minimalist noir starring Joaquin Phoenix. Phoenix plays Joe, a traumatised Gulf War veteran and former FBI agent who has become desensitised to violence and conventional morality. When Nina, a US senator’s daughter, is kidnapped by a child sex ring, Joe is tasked with bringing his particular talents to bear upon the perpetrators and affect her rescue.

Less concerned by thriller conventions and its sensational subject matter, Ramsay focuses on her relentless protagonist’s psyche, using imagery and Jonny Greenwoods superlative score to create a masterful new work.

UK/France/USA, 2017, 90 mins

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

Tuesday 24 April


Hao jile (original title)

A suitcase full of money proves to be too tempting for an opportunist thief, setting off a chain reaction involving a gangster, a hitman and an inventor of X-ray glasses. Liu Jian’s darkly comic animated film-noir, sets traditional 2D character animation against beautifully drawn, eerily atmospheric backgrounds, to tell a bloodthirsty Tarantino-esque tale. But it isn’t all bone-dry wit and creative violence; Jian also finds time to satirise his characters’ obsessions with capitalism and make pointed political comment.

China (Mandarin dialogue with English subtitles), 2017, 78 mins

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

Thursday 26 April


Here to Be Heard tells the story of The Slits, the world’s first all girl punk rock group,
from the pioneering days of punk rock in mid 70s London, through their individual stories of struggle, reformation of the band in 2005 and the death, from cancer, of singer Ari Up during the making of this film. Archival footage, never before seen images, and interviews with the Slits, their peers and those 
influenced by the band, combine to reveal the The Slits’ trailblazing feminist legacy best described by a quote from Ari Up herself, “I’m not here to be loved, I’m here to be heard”.

UK, 2017, 96 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian ::

Friday 27 and Saturday 28 April


Lion director, Garth Davis’, new work is a thought-provoking retelling of the story of Mary Magdalene, a key apostle of Jesus, and intimate witness to some of the most important events in his life. Breaking from age-old traditions of patriarchal condescension and misinterpretation, Rooney Mara’s Mary is a fiercely intelligent, resourceful woman, dismissive of the expected duties presented to her, intent on following Jesus.

Joaquin Phoenix plays Jesus in a cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tahar Rahim.

UK/Australia, 2018, 120 mins

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

Tuesday 1 May


Per un pugno di dollari (original title)

The opening instalment to Sergio Leone’s peerless western trilogy, adapted from Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. Clint Eastwood stars as the taciturn anti-hero, a nameless, wandering gunfighter who manipulates two feuding families to his own ends in a town torn apart by greed, pride, and revenge. Presented at the Film Theatre in a vivid new restoration, A Fistful Of Dollars is atmospheric cinematic landmark complemented by Ennio Morricone’s distinctive score.

Italy/Spain/West Germany, 1964, 96 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian ::

Thursday 3 May


Sandome no satsujin (original title)

In a striking departure from his usual genre, Hirokazu Kore-eda directs a captivating mystery centred on a murder trial. Misumi has a criminal record dating back many years and freely admits to the killing of a wealthy industrialist; the hallmarks of an open and shut case, but lawyer Shigemori is determined to do all he can to help his client avoid the death penalty. As he digs deeper into the case, however the once confident Shigemori begins to wonder who is telling the truth and what is the motivation for the spinning tales?

Turning convention on its head Kore-eda creates an absorbing and inscrutable puzzle, a riveting study of human behaviour and a characteristically complex moral tale.

Japan (Japanese dialogue with English subtitles), 2017, 124 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian ::

Friday 4 and Saturday 5 May - Matinée 3pm Saturday


Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, the 12-year-old ward of the corrupt Mayor of Megasaki City. When, by Executive Decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, Atari sets off alone across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. Anderson follows up his previous animated outing, Fantastic Mr Fox, with this brilliant and much-anticipated stop motion tale, following Atari’s epic journey accompanied and assisted by his newly found mongrel friends. An impressive voice cast includes Greta Gerwig, Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum and Tilda Swinton.

Germany/USA, 2018, 101 mins

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

Tuesday 8 May

120 BPM (15)

120 battements par minute (original title)

Winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes, 120 BPM is the defiant, riveting account of 90s AIDS activism in France written and directed by Robin Campillo (writer of Palme d'Or-winning The Class). A profoundly humane film that dramatises the debates and protests of HIV/AIDS awareness group ACT UP Paris and their campaigns in the early 90s, driven by their motto: Silence = Death. We follow them as they debate strategy and escalate their actions to fight the public's indifference to a massive health crisis. Amidst the chaos, Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) falls in love with a fellow activist (Arnaud Valois) and comes to terms with his own diagnosis, in a passionate and sensitive drama with moments of warm humour between the heartbreak.

France (French dialogue with English subtitles), 2017, 143 mins

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

Thursday 10 May


Wonderstruck is Todd Haynes’ imaginative adaptation of Brian Selznick’s acclaimed novel, the tale of two hearing-impaired children. In 1977, following the death of his mother, young Ben sets out to New York to find his absentee father. In 1927, Rose is obsessed with silent movie star Lillian Mayhew and escapes from her neglectful father to head to the Big Apple to track her down.

Both a children’s film for adults and a refreshingly grown-up film for children, Wonderstruck interweaves a children’s coming of age tale and a stylish homage to silent cinema, creating an intelligent, engrossing whole.

Terrific performances from its young leads Oakes Fegley and Millicent Simmonds are ably supported by Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams.

USA, 2017, 116 mins

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

Friday 11 May


Paddy Considine follows up his directorial debut Tyrannosaur with this knockout story of a boxer forced to rebuild his life after a near-fatal brain injury. Considine plays Matty Burton, a middleweight boxing champion nearing the end of his career and planning one last bout against a brash, controversy-courting young opponent. Hours after the epic fight that secures a home and future for his wife Emma (Jodie Whittaker) and their baby daughter, he collapses and the real fight begins; as memory loss, personality changes, unexpected bouts of violence impede Matty’s attempts to piece together a new life.

Journeyman is a powerfully moving story of loss, identity and adversity with stunning performances by Considine and Whittaker.

UK, 2017, 92 mins.

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

Saturday 12 and Tuesday 15 May


Jusqu'à la garde (original title)

Winner of the Best Director and Best First Feature prizes at the Venice Film Festival, Xavier Legrand’s directorial debut is an explosive family drama. Myriam has recently left her husband Antoine and is unwilling to allow her youngest son, Julien to see a father she claims is violent. But when a judge rules otherwise, awarding joint custody,  the boy becomes a pawn in a bitter parental conflict.

As gripping as unbearably tense as anything your likely to see this year, Custody is carefully and sensitively directed, with terrific performances throughout, a powerful reminder of the horrors of the home.

France (French dialogue with English subtitles), 2017, 93mins

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

Thursday 17 May

BEAST (15)

Moll is a beautiful and unhappy young woman who has a terrible job as a tour guide on Jersey, she is the black sheep of her oppressive, stiff-upper-lipped family and stifled by the small island community. After being upstaged at her own birthday party by her sister, Moll drifts away, finding herself drawn to fellow outcast, Pascal, the local poacher with an opaque past. He's just the tonic she needs but when a local teenage girl goes missing following a string of murders, Moll must decide what, and whom, to trust. Shot with an intense visual style and with an eye for detail that recalls Andrea Arnold, this is a smartly layered British psychological thriller, a superb debut from its director Michael Pearce.

UK, 2017, 107 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian ::

Friday 18, Saturday 19, Tuesday 22 and Thursday 24 May


The much anticipated adaption of Mary Ann Shaffer's novel from Four Weddings And a Funeral Director, Mike Newell. In a charming period drama, Lily James plays Juliet Ashton, a free-spirited journalist who hopes to tell the story of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club whose love of fiction kept them going through the German occupation of the channel islands. Upon visiting Guernsey, Juliet finds herself beguiled by the locals, especially Dawsey Adams (Game of Thrones' Michiel Huisman), as she gains a deeper understanding of how the islanders survived.

USA/UK, 2018, 124 mins.

Friday 25 and Saturday 26 May


Maxine Peake gives a formidable performance as an aspiring female comedian known only as Funny Cow, standing up to her violent husband and the sexist 1970s Northern England club circuit. Funny Cow is hilarious and heart-breaking, a film about the power of laughter and how to transform pain into humour. Richard Hawley provides a melancholic soundtrack and appears as a would be musical turn, auditioning alongside Kevin Eldon, Vic Reeves and others as club entertainers with simply sublime acts.

UK, 2017, 102 mins

Thursday 31 May


Ghost Stories is an atmospheric anthology of creepy supernatural tales in the British tradition of portmanteau films from the 1960s, such as Dr Terror’s House of Horrors and the Ealing classic Dead of Night. Adapted from their own hit stage show by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, the stage is set by TV celebrity and arch sceptic Professor Phillip Goodman, who embarks upon a terror-filled quest when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three cases of inexplicable 'hauntings'. A terrific ensemble cast is lead by Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse and Nyman himself as the Professor, whose scientific cynicism is tested to breaking point.

UK, 2017, 98 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