LGBT History Month: But I’m A Cheerleader

In order to celebrate LGBT History Month, we’re putting on a special screening at Live Art Bistro at 18:00-21:00 on Wednesday the 28th of February. We’ll be collaborating with the University of Leeds Queer Theory Reading Group to present But I’m a Cheerleader (Jamie Babbit, 1990).

A wilfully trashy satire of the teen rom com genre, But I’m a Cheerleader tells the story of Megan Bloomfield (Natasha Lyonne, Orange is the New Black), a high school cheerleader whose parents send her to a “rehabilitation camp” when they suspect she might be a lesbian. With RuPaul as camp counsellor, what could possibly go wrong?

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The Salt of the Earth

At 5:30-8:30pm, on Wednesday the 31st January, we’ll hold our first screening at The Brunswick.

Kyveli Lignou-Tsamantani (University of York, History of Art) will present The Salt of the Earth (Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribiero Salgrado, 2014). Winner of Un Certain Regard at Cannes, this film explores the career of world-famous photographer, Sebastião Salgrado.

Film Synopsis:

For the last 40 years, acclaimed photographer Sebastião Salgado has travelled the world, tracing the footsteps of an ever-changing humanity. He has witnessed and documented many of the major events of our times, taking in wars, famine, genocide and exodus. But now he is embarking on a new journey: to discover pristine territories, grandiose landscapes and wild nature as part of a huge photographic tribute to the planet’s beauty.

Salgado’s accomplished, moving work and his inspirational life are revealed to us in this Oscar-nominated documentary by his son, Juliano Salgado, and world-renowned filmmaker Wim Wenders (Buena Vista Social Club, Wings of Desire, Paris, Texas, Pina), himself an avid photographer. Powerful, affecting and truly profound, The Salt of the Earth is not just a portrait of a great artist but one of life itself.

— taken from Curzon Artificial Eye

This screening is funded by the Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures.


Our Top 5 Foreign Christmas Films

Feliz navidad! С Рождеством! Buon natale! et Joyeux Noël!

After a few mince pies and glasses of mulled wine we’ve come up with our top 5 foreign Xmas films:

1. Plácido (Placido, Luis García Berlanga, 1961)


Christmas has often been a period that inspires us to consider those less fortunate,  an idea that Plácido both commends and satirises. A community of old women commit to sit a homeless or infirm person at their table on Christmas eve, producing a touching as well as farcically funny results in this classic Spanish Christmas film. Read more on


2. Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром! (The Irony of Fate, Eldar Ryazanov, 1976)


Described as the Soviet equivalent of It’s a Wonderful Life, this is the Christmas film (originally a mini-series) that Russians tune into every year. While it could be described as a Rom-com, The Irony of Fate adds a few typically Russian twists, such as a tragi-comic approach to the festive season and copious amounts of on-screen drinking.


3. Parenti serpenti (Poisonous Relations, Mario Monicelli, 1992)


While being one of the definitive Italian Christmas films, Parenti serpenti is infinitely relatable for anyone who spends the holidays with their relatives. Festive, darkly humorous, and thoroughly underrated outside of Italy, this is one of our top picks for the holidays.


4. Single Bells (Xaver Schwarzenberger, 1998)


Every year Austrians gather round their televisions for this black comedy, which is now approaching its 20th anniversary. Another black comedy about spending Christmas with loved ones, Single Bells might just give Parenti serpenti a run for its money!


5. Un Conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale, Arnaud Desplechin, 2008)


Few Christmas films can boast having been screened in Cannes’ international competition, but A Christmas Tale is one of them. Featuring a stunning cast, including Catherine Deneuve, Mathieu Amalrica and Chiara Mastroianni (daughter of Marcello Mastroianni), this film toes the line between comedy and tragedy as family relationships play out around French matriarch Junon’s (Catherine Deneuve) search for a bone marrow donor.

Those are our top picks for those looking for some slightly alternative Christmas fare! Other films that didn’t quite make the top 5 include The Night before Christmas (Russia, Ladislas Starevich, 1913), Mon Oncle Antoine (Canada, Claude Jutra,  1971), Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (Finland, Aki Kaurismäki, 2010) and Pastorela (Mexico, Emilio Portes, 2011).

Which would you add?

Our Top 10 Classic Christmas Films

Our top 10 classic Christmas films to get you in the mood for mince pies! 🎄🎅

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)


The ultimate Christmas classic, showing at Hyde Park Picture House on from the 18th – 21st December.

2. The Snowman (Dianne Jackson & Jimmy T. Murakami, 1982)


Beloved by David Bowie, this short film will have you singing along before you can help it. Screening at Leeds Town Hall on 17th December.

Trivia: The Snowman had the same musical director as cult vampire film, The Hunger, which Bowie had a leading role in.

3. Trading Places (John Landis, 1983)


Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy star in this farcical Christmas comedy.

4. Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984)

Many of us will remember growing up watching, and being terrified of, Gremlins every festive season.  Between the adorable Gizmo and the film’s own love of movies (who can forget when the gremlins go to the cinema?), this has to be one of the best Christmas films of all time.

Oops, we  missed it! Gremlins was shown with a Q&A at the Hyde Park Picture House on the 5th of December.

5. Home Alone (Chris Colombus, 1990)

Macaulay Culkin, idiotic burglars, and a large dose of Schadenfreude – the perfect accompaniments to mince pies and mulled wine.

6. Nightmare Before Christmas (Tim Burton, 1993)

Tim Burton is one of our favourite directors to watch during the holidays (as you’ll see from the rest of this list!). Start your Burton Christmas season with his best festive film,  Nightmare Before Christmas!

7. Batman Returns (Tim Burton, again, 1993)

(Batman doesn’t seem to be enjoying his Christmas…)

Burton spoiled us with two fantastic films in one year. Batman Returns may not be a quintessential Christmas movie, but after our screening of The Dark Knight last week, we couldn’t leave this Batman film off the list!

8. Bridget Jones’s Diary (Sharon Maguire, 2001)

Because every Christmas requires a bit of comedy, a bit of trash, and the resounding message that, whoever you are, how ever you are, you’re OK. (Oh, and Colin Firth in a Christmas jumper!)

9. Elf (Jon Favreau, 2003)

We were reluctant to put this on our list, lest we encourage more people to add to the chorus of ‘Santa, I know him!’ we’ve heard being shouted this year. However, infinitely quotable and delightfully silly, every Christmas needs Elf.

10. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2016)

If you like Christmas films that make you cry, Carol is a must. Set in December in the 1950s, and made with astounding attention to detail, this story of sexualiy, patriarchy, and forbidden love is not only the best Christmas film, but the best film of 2016. It may be recent, but it’s well worthy of classic status.

That’s our list for 2017. What would you add? (Anyone who suggests Love Actually is getting coal in their stocking!)

The Dark Knight

On Wednesday the 6th of December, 5:30-8:30pm, we return to Wharf Chambers* with a special guest and a screening of The Dark Knight (Nolan, US/UK, 2008).

Lecturer at Cardiff University, Dr Josh Robinson, will be offering a Marxist reading of the film that promises to re-interpret the Joker, critique Slavoj Žižek and blow the film wide open before we sit down to watch it together.

Nolan’s take on the Batman comic boasts an unforgettable cast, including Christian Bale, Maggie Gyllenhaal and, of course, Heath Ledger. It also has been awarded Rotten Tomatoes’ elusive ‘Fresh’ rating, earning 94% from critics and audiences alike. The site describes it as ‘Dark, complex and unforgettable. The Dark Knight succeeds not just as an entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling crime saga.’

As usual, we’ll be discussing the film, as well as Josh’s reading of it, over drinks after the screening.

This event is funded by the Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures.


* Please note that the screening will take place on the Middle Floor, which is not yet wheelchair accessible.

Property is No Longer a Theft

At 5-8pm, on Thursday 30th November, we’ll hold our first screening at the Hyde Park Book Club.

Luca Antoniazzi (University of Leeds, School of Media and Communication) will present Property is No Longer a Theft (Elio Petri, 1973). This film is the third in Elio Petri’s ‘Neurosis Trilogy’ – the first being An Investigation of A Citizen Above Suspicion, which was screened at the Leeds International Film Festival earlier this month.

Film Synopsis:

Having tackled the corrupting nature of power with Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion and taken an angry, impassioned look at labour relations with The Working Class Goes to Heaven, Italian master Elio Petri next turned his attentions to capitalism for the darkly comic Property is No Longer a Theft.

A young bank clerk (Flavio Bucci, the blind pianist in Dario Argento’s Suspiria), denied a loan by his employer, decides to exact his revenge the local butcher (Ugo Tognazzi, La Grande bouffe) who is not only a nasty, violent, greedy piece of work but also one of the bank’s star customers. Quitting his job, the clerk devotes all of his time tormenting the butcher, stealing his possessions one-by-one, including his mistress (Daria Nicolodi, Deep Red).

Told in an off-kilter fashion by Petri, abetted by the woozy sound design and another outstanding score by Ennio Morricone, Property is No Longer a Theft presents a caustic, blackly comic look at a corrupt society.

— taken from Arrow Films

This screening is funded by the Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures.





The Stuff of Dreams

We’ve chosen a special screening at the Leeds International Film Festival this year: Italy’s Oscar nomination, The Stuff of Dreams (Cabiddu, 2017). The film will be followed by a formal Q&A with the director. Moreover, we’ve been invited for drinks with the director afterwards.

We’ll meet at 7.15pm on Tuesday the 7th of November in front of the Parkinson steps at Leeds University and walk down to the cinema together. Please buy tickets in advance, as the event is likely to sell out.

The Stuff of Dreams has already won important awards including the 2017 David di Donatello and the 2017 Globi d’Oro.

*** Watch the trailer (with English subtitles) ***

Here’s how the director, Gianfranco Cabiddu describes the film:

On a wonderful island occupied by a prison for more than 100 years a group of actors, coming from different parts and delved into an out-of-the-world landscape, create an immortal text where Shakespeare and Eduardo cooperate. Like any castway of any storm they are also willing to overcome difficulties thanks to the carelessness of art. That’s the Italian art of getting by, the ability to adapt in order to survive, which can recreate magic, carelessness, imagination and poetry in theatre and in life with just few elements. This film makes you laugh and move at the same time and it leaves a good taste in your mouth when leaving the cinema.