Welcome Back: What to Expect in November
You would think with Leicester in one endless lockdown not that long ago, we’d have gotten used to closures at Phoenix – but these two months have dragged on interminably. As a programmer it’s particularly frustrating seeing a parade of world-class films released while we are closed, so we do have a lot of catching up to do!
When we reopen, we will screen a hearty selection of films we missed with some new releases sprinkled in for good measure. There’s so many films that it would be handy to have our new screens open now, but that awaits us in January.
Rest assured, whether it’s one one screen, two or four; our programme will again be overflowing with our usual mix of cinema; from tiny world cinema gems to the latest crowd-pleasers and absolutely everything in between.
We kick off November with The Lost King which recounts the discovery of King Richard III. Having followed the film’s progress since production began, my heart sank when the film’s distributor announced the release date would be during our closure.
More homegrown delights include a superb Bill Nighy in Living – adapted for the screen by literary royalty Kazuo Ishiguro and based on Kurosawa’s Ikiru.
And if that wasn’t enough, Mrs Harris Goes to Paris offers a slice of indulgent escapism with Lesley Manville playing the titular war-widow who sets her sights on buying a Dior gown.
Skipping right to the end of the month, we offer Ralph Fiennes on delicious form in The Menu, a darkly comic skewering of class and culture set at an exclusive restaurant where the guests are in for a night they won’t forget… (we’ve said too much already)!
In the same week, we recommend topping up on your SPF for Aftersun. If you haven’t heard much about Charlotte Wells’ feature debut yet, expect to read multiple rave reviews soon. The film arrives on a wave of praise from audiences and critics alike and reunites us with Paul Mescal (Normal People).
We welcome the return of Martin McDonagh with The Banshees of Inisherin which reunites his In Bruges stars Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell as two feuding friends heading towards disaster.
Park Chan-wook (The Handmaiden) also returns to the director’s chair with his noir thriller Decision to Leave. The story of a detective who becomes obsessed with a dead man’s mysterious widow scooped the Best Director award at Cannes Film Festival.
And finally, get the sick bag ready for Ruben Östlund’s (The Square) Triangle of Sadness. Set aboard a $250 million yacht, chaos ensues when a storm threatens the ship.
For documentary fans, we have a triple treat – kicking off with Brett Morgen’s stunning Moonage Daydream. This immersive sensory feast for the eyes and ears HAS to be experienced on the big screen!
There’s even more music to our ears with Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song which truly is a love letter to one of the most famous songs in the world.
If music isn’t your thing, check out climate change documentary The Ants and the Grasshopper. We’re working with Climate Action Leicester and Leicestershire (CALL) for this one-off Pay What You Can showing, which will also be followed by a panel discussion.
So, there it is! A little insight into what films we have coming up – I didn’t even have space to complain about Netflix and their release strategy for Glass Onion but more on that another day.
Amongst all the film goodness, we do reopen in precarious times. The film industry was rocked last week when the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI) entered administration.
CMI was the parent charity for the Edinburgh Film Festival, Edinburgh Filmhouse and Aberdeen Belmont Filmhouse – all three of these organisations were closed with immediate effect and over a hundred people made redundant. It is a devastating loss to film culture and as filmmaker Mark Cousins pointedly put it; “it’s also probably a warning to other cities and communities. Please don’t take your cultural cinemas for granted. Please treasure them.”
Phoenix is only here because of the loyalty of our customers and the passion of our staff, and we want to be here for a long time – hopefully we’ll see you at the movies soon.
Film images provided by the film’s distributor, in order, Warner Bros., Disney, MUBI and Universal Pictures.