Cambridge Film Festival Preview

Now in its 33rd year, the Cambridge Film Festival returns on 19 September with its largest programme to date. That means 150 titles will be screening at the Arts Picturehouse and other venues around Cambridge, with many UK and international premieres from 40 countries worldwide!

Opening night kicks off with a gala screening of Hawking, a documentary about the life and work of Cambridge professor Stephen Hawking, the planet’s most famous living scientist, who’s attending the festival for the big night which will be broadcast live to over 60 screens across the UK.

The festival closes on 29 September with Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald’s How I Live Now, an intelligent Orwellian vision of a post-apocalyptic future and a young girl’s fight for survival starring Saoirse Ronan and George MacKay.

Main strands this year include Young Americans, Thatcher’s Britain, Eccentric Britain, music documentaries, surveys of the cinema of Eastern European, Catalonia and Germany, a retrospective of legendary cult German director Roland Klick, the BFI’s Gothic season on tour, and FrightFest highlights.

Young Americans showcases the innovative, indie filmmakers who’ve emerged in the USA over the last few years. Book-ended by the work of David Gordon Green, Young Americans opens with his latest film, a comedic road comedy with a twist, Prince Avalanche starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch, and closes with his impressive debut feature George Washington. Other highlights include UK premieres of filmmaker Joe Swanberg’s All The Light In The Sky, Matt Porterfield’s runaway drama I Used To Be Darker, and a special preview of Primer director Shane Carruth’s genre-defying Upstream Color.

Thatcher’s Britain explores the changes, tensions and opportunities of the Thatcher era as captured in classic British films of the period, including Mike Leigh’s Life Is Sweet, Stephen Frears’ My Beautiful Laundrette, Julien Temple’s Absolute Beginners, Merchant Ivory’s quintessential costume drama A Room With A View, and Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero.

Music fans will be delighted to find a strand of music docs including Made of Stone (Shane Meadows), The Great Hip Hop Hoax (Jeanie Finlay), Oil City Confidential (Julien Temple), and Muscle Shoals which follows the legendary Muscle Shoals studio soul sound in Alabama.

Horror highlights on offer include Big Bad Wolves, Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman, and US remake of the cult Mexican family cannibal horror We Are What We Are. And don’t miss classic chillers such as The Shining, Don’t Look Now and The Wicker Man.

There are plenty of family-friendly events too such as a special preview of Mark Cousins’ A Story of Children And Film, Neil Brand’s Family Comedy silent music event, and a screening of Project Wild Thing, David Bond’s charming and inspiring film which aims to encourage future generations of children to discover the magic of the great outdoors.

Fiction feature highlights include the UK premiere of Wakolda, a chilling story about Josef Mengele living in hiding under a pseudonym in post Second World War Argentina, by the director of XXY, Lucia Puenzo, as well as an adaptation of John Banville’s acclaimed novel The Sea starring Charlotte Rampling and Ciaran Hinds. The French Canadian director of Incendies, Denis Villeneuve returns with an all star Hollywood thriller, Prisoners starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhal, Paul Dano, Viola Davis and Melissa Leo, plus Daniel Auteuil’s adaptations of renowned French playwright Marcel Pagnon’s Marius and Fanny.