Cambridge Film Festival

There's a feast of treats for cinema lovers this month, with the 37th instalment of the city's film fest

Fom Catalonia to Korea, Marlene Dietrich to Moana, animation to archived treasures, the Cambridge Film Festival (CFF) has laid out a typically diverse and engaging programme for its 37th outing. Run by Cambridge Film Trust with backing from the British Film Institute, the festival takes place 19-26 October at the Arts Picturehouse and various other venues around the city.

There’s something for film lovers of all tastes and interests, whether you want to engross yourself in a scintillating documentary, an obscure indie flick or a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. As ever, there will also be opening and closing night galas, numerous UK premieres and a chance to hear more about the films from the people who made them.  


By popular demand, the festival will be continuing its ongoing showcase of the cinema of Catalonia, one of Europe’s oldest cultures. Camera Catalonia, now in sixth season, will this year feature screenings including One-Eyed King, a dark comedy from writer-director Marc Crehuet, plus Spanish Civil War epic Uncertain Glory, based on the novel of the same name which is considered by many to be one of the best Catalan novels of all time.

This image: Uncertain Glory

Hopping continents, the cinematic output of Africa will also be celebrated at this year’s event as the Cambridge African Film Festival (CAFF) teams up with the Film Festival once again to present five of the best African films from the last year. Leading the line-up, fresh from winning the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize from the Berlin International Film Festival, is Félicité, the dazzling fourth feature film from acclaimed director Alian Gomis.

Microcinema will be another focus at this year’s event, with a special strand exploring a theme of ‘Archive and Memory’. Encompassing both contemporary and historical work, one highlight is sure to be Charity, the newly commissioned film by the 2016 winner of the Margaret Tait award, Kate Davis. This will be shown alongside a rare screening of Tait’s seminal work, On The Mountain, together with a newly restored piece by the avant-garde film-maker Margaret Raspé entitled Blue on White Edges and Frames. Works by Cordelia Swann, Sarah Wood, Gair Dunlop, Sam Ashby and Dick Jewell complete the programme. All the Microcinema screenings will be free to attend and feature a special introduction by and Q&A with programme curator James Mackay. 

The archive strand of CFF will also be making a welcome return, serving up new restorations from major European and US archives, including classics of the sound era and silent rediscoveries accompanied by live music from Neil Brand, Stephen Horne and John Sweeney. Catch screenings of the suspenseful The Wages of Fear, plus rare German silent The Woman Men Yearn For, which sees a young Marlene Dietrich in her first starring role. 

This image: The Wages of Fear

The popular Cambridge Family Film Festival is also back for 2017, offering a bumper programme of much-loved characters, old and new, from film and TV. Highlights include a screening of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney’s very first animated feature, which gets an airing in honour of its 80th birthday, and a singalong version of a much more modern Disney classic, Moana

Younger film fans will love Kate in Oz, a special Wizard of Oz inspired episode from CBeebies' Kate and Mim-Mim. There will be a new series of Peppa Pig for little ones too, as well as an animated short of Michael Rosen’s classic children’s story, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt. Older children are well catered for too, with a great selection of features and shorts from around the world including spellbinding documentary The Eagle Huntress, Studio Ghibli’s The Red Turtle, Indian film I Am Kalam and magical French short The Red Balloon

Tickets go on sale in early October and there’s plenty more announcements to come, so keep an eye on the Cambridge Film Festival website.

This image: French fantasy short The Red Balloon