Grab that gold-plated bucket and spade – the Downton Abbey clan are off on their jollies.
Anyone hoping to see Maggie Smith caning it in 1920s Ibiza will be sadly disappointed, however – they’ve opted for a gentle saunter round the South of France instead.
Meanwhile, time is running out for a pregnant student in 1960s France in Happening, and a new nature doc searches for snow leopards in the misty mountains of Tibet…
Downton Abbey: A New Age
It’s all change for the Crawleys in this second big screen outing for writer Julian Fellowes’ much-loved upstairs-downstairs TV drama.
Not only is their beloved home suddenly filled with ghastly filmmaker types – invited by Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) to shoot at Downton in order to fund the repair of the venerable pile’s leaky roof – but the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) announces that she has unexpectedly inherited a rather nice villa in the South of France.
Cue a family jaunt to the Côte d’Azur and a discovery that shocks Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) to his core – while back home, Lady Mary finds herself increasingly drawn to the film’s dashing director Jack (Hugh Dancy)…
A bright young working class student in 1960s France finds herself dealing with an unwanted pregnancy in this highly acclaimed drama, which won the prestigious Golden Lion at last year’s Venice Film Festival.
Realising that having the child would prevent her from finishing her studies and close the door on the better life she has been striving towards, Anne (Anamaria Vartolomei) is determined to seek a termination – but in an era when even helping someone to get an abortion could result in a prison sentence, Anne finds herself in an increasingly desperate situation.
Glowing reviews suggest that it’s a subtle yet powerful film which marks director Audrey Diwan as a major talent, with Time Out calling it ‘an atmospheric, gripping drama with a poignant contemporary relevance’.
Aesthetica at York Theatre Royal: Comedy and Animation
The Aesthetica Film Festival’s season of screenings at York Theatre Royal continues this weekend with two of their most popular genres.
On Friday 29th at 7:15pm, Comedy Club: Join us for a Laugh showcases six humorous shorts, from the intriguingly titled The Impatient Man Who Made His Life Considerably Shorter to Smear, a tale of medical mishaps from director Kate Herron, who has since gone on to helm last year’s multiverse-hopping Marvel TV series Loki.
Then on Saturday 30th at 2:15pm, Animation: Imagination & Discovery aims to introduce children to the endlessly creative world of animated shorts, with six films in a variety of styles from CGI to hand-illustrated and stop motion.
Tickets for each screening are £5.00, and can be booked from Theatre Royal’s website.
Nature lovers can join the search for one of the animal kingdom’s most elusive denizens at City Screen this week, as documentary The Velvet Queen: Snow Leopard (Fri 29th, Mon 2nd – Weds 4th) follows renowned photographer Vincent Munier on his journey to spot the titular big cat up in the wilds of the Tibetan plateau.
With musical accompaniment from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, it’s a film which the Guardian suggests inspires ‘real wonder’.
Also showing at City Screen this week (Fri 29th, Sun 1st, Tues 3rd) is Ennio, a tribute to the legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone, whose instantly recognisable scores graced the classic westerns of Sergio Leone and many other films besides – including Cinema Paradiso, whose director Giuseppe Tornatore helms this homage to his late friend.
City Screen’s François Truffaut season continues with 1964’s The Soft Skin (Sun 1st) – one of the French director’s less well-known works, it follows the affair between a successful academic and a young air stewardess (played by Françoise Dorléac, elder sister of Catherine Deneuve, whose acclaimed Truffaut collaboration The Last Metro concludes the season next week).
The highly-rated debut feature from Italian director Laura Samani, Small Body is a folklore-infused tale of a young woman’s journey to save the soul of her stillborn child – it shows in City Screen’s regular Discover strand on Tues 3rd.
Vue’s epic voyage through the Bond back catalogue arrives at the third instalment in the Connery era with 1964’s Goldfinger (Sat 30th), the film which gave us Pussy Galore, “Do you expect me to talk?” and Shirley Bassey’s iconic rendition of the title song (though I’d argue Alan Partridge’s roadside singsong is a close second).
And from one legend of cinema to another, Everyman kick off a Nicolas Cage season this week with the actor’s 1987 Coen brothers caper Raising Arizona, screening on Tues 3rd.
Finally, your budget family-friendly offering this week is the same across the board, as hit talent show sequel Sing 2 screens at Cineworld (Sat 30th – Mon 2nd, tickets £2.50), Vue (Sat 30th – Mon 2nd, £2.49) and City Screen (Sat 30th, £3.00) – you can also catch an autism-friendly showing of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 at Cineworld on Sun 1st (tickets standard price).