Film Hub Fortnightly – October Pt 1

28th September 2020 4 Minute Read

Despite the considerable challenge that the pandemic continues to pose, cinemas in Northern Ireland are still open, with not only increasingly diverse programmes but, as we are coming into October, the onset of festival season.

It begins with a festival usually centred on one city but now that we are in unusual times, will be bringing its titles online and UK-wide. The BFI London Film Festival, which runs from the 7th to the 18th of October is one of the world’s ten biggest film festivals. Hosting the UK premiere of many of the most acclaimed films of the year. One of its many venue partners this is the year is the Queen’s Film Theatre, which will be screening choice titles from this year’s selection.

LFF at QFT begins on the 7th with a new film from the director of Hunger (2008) and 12 Years a Slave (2013). Part of McQueen’s ambitious Small Axe (2020) project--a cycle of five, standalone films which depict seminal moments of modern black British history while drawing from the director’s own upbringing—Mangrove (2020) dramatizes the notorious wrongful arrest and trial of nine activists associated with the eponymous London community centre and site of black thought and resistance. Herself (2020), showing on the 8th, is a Dublin set drama from the creators of Mamma Mia! (2008), about a single mother struggling to provide for her children and to survive the aftermath of an abusive relationship.

Shirley (2020), screening on the 9th, is a biopic of the horror writer Shirley Jackson, played by Elizabeth Moss, while Mogul Mowgli (2020), showing on the 10th, stars Riz Ahmed as a rapper whose path to success is unexpectedly curtailed. On the 11th, the festival offers two titles; Time (2020), a documentary about a woman’s quest ropetition for her incarcerated husband’s freedom and the United States’ deep-seated racial inequality. While Supernova (2020) stars Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci as a couple whose peace is threatened by the onset of illness. And on the 12th you can see Undine (2020), the newest film, and fairy-tale, from acclaimed filmmaker Christian Petzold.

Steve McQueen's 'Mangrove'

More information on individual films, the festival schedule and on buying tickets can be found at the Queen’s Film Theatre website.

Though a major part of its upcoming attractions, the QFT will be not exclusively devoted to the LFF. For instance, from now till Thursday the 1st, you can still see Rocks (2019), a coming of age drama set in London and featuring a cast of newcomers, and Monsoon (2019), a drama about a man who returns to Ho Chi Minh city, which he fled during his childhood and the Vietnam war, in order to discover both his homeland and himself. Screening until Sunday the 4th, you can see David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (2020). And between the 2nd and 8th you can see see a trio of new titles, with director Sofia Coppola reuniting with Bill Murray for On The Rocks (2020), a comedy also starring Rashida Jones.

Rialto (2019) features Love/Hate star Tom Vaughn-Lawlor as a Dublin dockworker who, under pressure from work and the spectre of his late, domineering father, begins to question his sexuality. While The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) is a true life, civil rights drama from writer, turned director Aaron Sorkin and starring Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance, Sacha Baron Cohen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

October sees the launch of the 31st Cinemagic Festival beginning on the 1st and running through the month. The usual mix of workshops, tutorials, tremendous films from around the world, topped off with all the star power we’ve come to expect. This year sees the festival go virtual, but some events will take place in cinemas, including the much awaited screening of Poster Boys (2020), screening at QFT. All events can be found here.

At Movie House fans of 90s grunge culture can catch Schemers (2020), a biopic of Scottish music manager and promoter David McLean and the eternal boxing classic Rocky (1976).

Bronagh Gallagher in 'Bump Along the Way'

The Strand Arts Centre will also be showing David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (which can also be seen at all Movie House sites), from now till Wednesday the 30th. You can also still catch The Snow Queen: Mirrorlands (2018), The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020), the new version of Pinocchio (2019), Parasite (2019) and the Bronagh Gallagher starring, Derry set comedy A Bump Along The Way (2019). All of which are screening until Thursday the 1st. Composer Matthew Bourne’s ballet reimaging of the Powell & Pressburger classic The Red Shoes will also be screened on the 30th and the 4th. Followed later by more filmed classical musical theatre, with the opera film Three Tenors: Voices for Eternity (2020) showing on the 10th and 11th.

There will be a pair of silver screenings, with classic spoof Airplane! (1980) showing on the 1st and the Ewan McGregor and Pete Postlewhaite mining comedy Brassed Off (1996) showing on the 1st and the 8th. As well as a pair of family screenings + workshops, with The Three Caballeros (1944) on the 3rd and Chicken Little (2005) on the 10th.

Outside of the main independent theatres and chains, the Second Chance Cinema, a documentary exhibition outfit based on Belfast’s Ormeau Road, have launched a new website with hopefully more events planned on the horizon.

By Ruairí McCann

More details about booking, social distancing measures and complete listings can be found at each cinema’s website, details of which are collated here as part of Film Hub NI's #backtocinemaNI campaign.