The third-longest film festival in the country, with a growing international reputation, the Cambridge Film Festival takes place at the Arts Picturehouse and at other venues – some of them delightfully unusual – in and around the city.
This year’s festival takes a close look at contemporary German cinema, retro 3D, Catalan and sci-fi, as well as offering a chance to see new releases such as thriller Before I Go To Sleep, starring Nicole Kidman and adapted from the novel by SJ Watson; Night Moves with Jesse Eisenberg and brand new black comedy Life of Crime with Jennifer Aniston.
Whatever your tastes, Cambridge Film Festival offers the perfect opportunity to branch out and discover films you might not ordinarily see. Make sure to take a chance on that silent film or French documentary: you might end up being pleasantly surprised.
“I think the festival breaks into three strands,” says Owen Baker, marketing manager. “You’ve got the relatively mainstream stuff with famous directors, famous actors… then at the other extreme there’s the art-house films, that are maybe a bit more niche and suited to the real cinephiles. But in the middle there are a lot of films that might look unfamiliar, but won’t disappoint. They might be in black and white, have subtitles or something, but they’re completely mainstream. Those are the films that might surprise people, and the films people should seek out.”
The Festival opens with The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq by Guillaume Nicloux on 28 August. When bestselling and famously reclusive French novelist Michel Houellebecq disappeared during a book tour in 2011, the rumours of his whereabouts led to endless speculation, including a kidnapping. Based partly on real events and starring the controversial, award-winning novelist as himself, it playfully blurs the line between fiction and documentary. Guilaume Nicloux will present his highly entertaining film at the Festival.
Family Film Festival
Meanwhile the ever-popular Family Film Festival will be bigger and better this year, with a special focus on Roald Dahl, marking the 50th anniversary of the publication of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We also like the sound of Superhero Saturdays, and watch out for banana skins and cream pies when Slapstick Sunday comes around.
Movies on the Meadows
And, always a highlight of the Festival, the wonderful outdoor screenings return to Grantchester Meadows for a unique cinema experience under the stars. The Grantchester screenings take place on 23 and 24 August, or take a seat at the lido on Jesus Green for a special poolside screening on 14 September. Click for more info and the full programme.