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Coton Cinema at the Village Hall

BFI_Neighbourhood_Logo_MONO_POSPerformances take place in Coton Village Hall. Tickets cost £5 on the door, including refreshments.  Evening performances start at 8pm, doors open for refreshments at 7.30pm.

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2017 Autumn Programme

Sunday 17 September: Letters from Baghdad & Exhibition ‘Vanished Iraq’ 
Wednesday 27 September: Interlude in Prague
Sunday 15 October: The Last Romantics (repeat special screening)
Wednesday 25 October: The Red Turtle
Wednesday 22 November: A Man Called Ove

Wednesday 20 December: Loving Vincent

Sunday 17 September: Letters from Baghdad & Exhibition (PG) 1h 35min
‘Vanished Iraq’ Exhibition open from 5.30pm in the Village Hall meeting room; the film starts at 8pm.
Following on from our packed house for the The Last Romantics in July, we have arranged another special screening in September. This documentary tells the story of Gertrude Bell (1868-1926), mainly through her elegantly-written letters, read by Tilda Swinton. Interspersing rare, hitherto unseen, footage of Cairo, Baghdad, and other places in the early 1900s are ‘interviews’ with the people (here played by actors) who knew Gertrude Bell.

After mountaineering in Switzerland as a young woman in the days when female mountain climbers were very rare, a trip to Persia led to her life-long fascination for the Middle East. She learnt Farsi and Arabic, and spent many years travelling in the then Ottoman Empire (always in style, with vast baggage trains of clothes, tents and servants) studying the archaeology, history and architecture everywhere she went. She came to be well known during the First World War in Cairo, when her in-depth knowledge of the countries ad people of the Middle East became very useful. After the war she was instrumental in setting up the new country of Iraq, founding the Baghdad Museum and becoming Iraq’s first Director-General of Antiquities.

To accompany this film Carolyn Postgate will be presenting an exhibition “Vanished Iraq”, showing photographs of places, and examples of arts and crafts now no longer to be found in Iraq, together with some of Gertrude Bell’s books. There will also be some delicious Iraqi food to sample.

Wednesday 27 September: Interlude in Prague (15) 1h 43min
Though Mozart’s cinematic story has been somewhat dominated by the towering classic that is Amadeus, new film Interlude in Prague takes inspiration from one of his most famous works, Don Giovanni. Though the dates and locations here are real, the film makes daring use of Mozart’s opera to paint a new, fictitious story about the composer, in a similar manner to 1998’s Shakespeare in Love. Taking place over the course of several visits to Prague, Mozart (Aneurin Barnard) is invited to the city by Baron Salok (James Purefoy), who bears a certain reputation for vanity and self-obsession. That said, Mozart feels immediately at home with his new patron, and launches work on a new opera to be staged at the Nostitz Theatre. However, Saloka’s betrothed, Zuzanna Lubtak (Morfydd Clark), a talent soprano, falls in love with Mozart and the pair begin a passionate affair, one that has disastrous and tragic consequences. Directed by John Stephenson, the film also stars Les Miserables’ Samantha Barks, Ade Edmondson, and Dervla Kirwan. – Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

Sunday 15 October: The Last Romantics
(15) 1h 43min
Our special screening of this film on 9 July was sold out – 72 people squeezed into the village hall for the film! Many were disappointed not to be able to come, so this is a repeat showing for everyone who missed it first time round, this time with the usual refreshments instead of buffet supper. The Last Romantics was filmed for the BBC TV series Screen Two in Coton from Tuesday 23 to Saturday 27 July, 1991, and was originally screened on BBC2 on Sunday 29 March 1992. The writer of the screenplay, Nigel Williams, has kindly given permission for Coton Cinema to show the film again.

The film stars Ian Holm, Sara Kestelman, Leo McKern, Alan Cumming and Rufus Sewell. This is a biopic about F. R. Leavis, the Cambridge academic who dominated the English literary scene in the mid-20th century. Most of the action takes place in the early ‘60s, with Ian Holm as the elderly, embittered Leavis, an increasingly marginalised figure, his theories discredited, denied a professorship by the university, but supported by his equally intellectual wife, Queenie (Sara Kestelman). His pupils include Tulloch (Alan Cumming), a shy, earnest, working-class Scot, and Costain (Rufus Sewell), a shaggy-maned radical who’s more interested in demos and sit-ins than getting an education. Leavis is also haunted by memories of the First World War and his relationship, as a junior academic, with his mentor Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (Leo McKern). The film is slow-paced until the climax filmed in Coton, but captures the flavour of Cambridge academic life in the 1960s (and 1930s in the flashbacks), and is, of course, Coton’s answer to Grantchester!

The farmhouse at Rectory Farm was used for the interior of the Leavis house, with filming in the Rectory Farm garden. Coton Church was used for the climbing scenes, with a replica spire built in the field behind The Old Rectory (which now houses the alpacas) for the actors to use. Stunt men climbed the real spire. Coton Church was chosen because of the view of Cambridge from the top of the spire. Since filming was done in July, the daffodils which feature in a major scene in Cambridge were artificial and planted specially.

Wednesday 25 October: The Red Turtle (PG) 1h 20min
Mark Kermode’s “Film of the Week
In the wake of Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, Isao Takahata’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s When Marnie Was There, there were reports that Japan’s celebrated Studio Ghibli had run its creative course. But at the Cannes film festival last year, a new pearl was unveiled proudly bearing the world’s most respected animation imprimatur.

A poignant, wordless tale of a man shipwrecked on a desert island, it boasts a sublime simplicity that unifies its complex elements into a singular, universal voice. Eloquent, profound and moving, it left me with a heart full of bittersweet joy, a head dizzy with dreamy visions and cheeks wet from tears that rolled like waves on a distant beach.

We open with a blue-grey vision of the sea, rising like Mount Fuji against charcoal skies – the pre-credits shipwrecking of our nameless Robinson Crusoe. Marooned on an island that in profile resembles a giant whale, this sole survivor discovers a strange new world of scuttling crabs, bamboo forests, precipitous rocks and awesome isolation – Eden and Inferno intertwined. Initially desperate to escape, the man builds a series of rafts, each of which is scuppered by a vast sea beast – the titular red turtle.

To explain more would spoil the experience of this magical realist fable for readers, a discovery that needs no words, just the finely observed gestures and crisp visual storytelling that defined the golden age of silent cinema. Suffice to say that the official one-line synopsis of The Red Turtle – “the milestones in the life of a human being” – rings entirely true; the cycle of birth, death and rebirth is expressed with piercing clarity.

I could say more, but this is a film that respects the sound of silence. It is a work of art which transcends boundaries of language, culture, geography and age. It is simply magnificent. – Extracts from a review by Mark Kermode, The Guardian

Wednesday 22 November: A Man Called Ove (15) 1h 56min
Based on Swedish author Fredrik Backman’s bestselling novel, this feel-good black comedy tracks Ove (Rolf Lassgård), a grumpy, grieving mechanic and “nit-picking obstructionist” who’s just lost his job. A string of Ove’s suicide attempts are thwarted by a series of comically mundane interruptions, which introduce him to new neighbour Parvaneh (Bahar Pars), a straight-talking pregnant Persian with two small children who adore him. Filip Berg plays Ove the young man, giving context to his brittleness in flashback form. It’s moving, then, to see his cantankerousness melted away by Parvaneh’s sunny good nature. By giving voice to blue-collar anxieties before working to resolve them, the film suggests that community can cure almost all ailments. – Simran Hans, The Observer

Wednesday 20 December: Loving Vincent (PG-13) 1h 35min
Stand in front of a painting by Vincent van Gogh for more than five minutes, and your brain starts to react in strange ways. Even today, more than a century after the artist’s death, the brushstrokes pack an almost psychedelic energy, vibrating with an intensity that seems to have sprung directly from van Gogh’s tortured personal life. Now imagine staring at one of these paintings for 90 minutes straight — or crazier still, watching a series of them actually start to move.

Such was the vision Polish animator Dorota Kobiela had for “Loving Vincent,” a truly awe-inspiring portrait of the great Dutch artist that boasts the distinction of being “the world’s first fully painted feature film.” That means every one of the nearly 65,000 frames in this near-lunatic labour of love was rendered by hand with oil paints, following a style intended to mimic that of the master — which has precisely the effect you might imagine, pulling audiences into the delirious, hyper-sensual world suggested by van Gogh’s oeuvre.

The artist himself has been dead a year when the story begins, so we aren’t seeing things through his eyes so much as in ersatz homage to his style, where bold colours and thick, energetic strokes of paint transform traditional live-action footage into living tableaux, rendered all the richer by Clint Mansell’s gorgeous score. It’s an impressive conceit, and one that allows us to float through van Gogh’s “Starry Night Over the Rhone” or pop in for a drink at the “Café Terrace at Night” — just two of nearly 130 actual paintings that Kobiela and co-writer/director Hugh Welchman weave into the relatively conventional detective story (of all things!) that frames this one-of-a-kind work of art. – Peter Debruge, Variety

Performances take place at Coton Village Hall. Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start.
Tickets are £5 at the door (including refreshments), or pre-book with Emma Marks (tel: 212982, email:

The Coton Cinema Team

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