Movie magic returns to the Gatehouse Theatre as Stafford Film Theatre heads into its 68th year with a Spring season of 12 films, kicking off with Ken Loach’s hard-hitting drama I, Daniel Blake on Tuesday, February 7.
Loach, now 80, remains as passionate about social justice as he was when he directed Poor Cow and Cathy Come Home 50 years ago. Dave Johns, a comedian, plays the title character, who struggles to find work after a heart attack and becomes entangled in the nightmarish bureaucracy of the benefits system.
The following week, the Film Theatre presents another British film, A United Kingdom, which also has powerful political undertones. Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo star in the true-life story of a white typist and black African prince who fall in love but encounter prejudice and hostility from all sides.
The remainder of the season – selected by the Film Theatre’s committee of volunteers from nominations by members – includes films from New Zealand, Japan, France, Iran, Spain and Romania. Four movies from the United States – including Ryan Gosling in the Oscar-tipped musical La La Land, Jake Gyllenhaall in Nocturnal Animals and Adam Driver in Paterson – complete the programme.
Stafford Film Theatre, a self-funding organisation founded in 1949, has enjoyed a surge in attendances since returning to the Gatehouse after a brief exile at the Apollo cinema.
“We’ve averaged 105 per film for the Autumn/Winter season,” said committee member Phil Shaw. “That’s encouraging, but we’re always striving to get more people through the doors to support our excellent programme and meet the costs of bringing these films to the town.”
Admission is just £6 per film, with Concessions at £5, while membership for the season of 12 movies costs only £51 (£4.25 per film) or £39 for Concessions (£3.25 per film).
STAFFORD FILM THEATRE Spring season:
Feb 7 I, Daniel Blake
Feb 14 A United Kingdom
Feb 21 Your Name
Feb 28 Nocturnal Animals
Mar 7 Julieta
Mar 14 La La Land
Mar 21 Things To Come
Mar 28 Paterson
Apr 4 Under the Shadow
Apr 11 Manchester by the Sea
Apr 25 Hunt for the Wilderpeople
May 9 Graduation.