I have prepared for you a list of films and theatre events that are coming up in October, in and around Manchester. Specially selected to provide you with an unforgettable experience, each of these events is sure to be a lasting memory and a topic for discussion.
This is the first of these posts, which is why it’s appearing so far into October. The others from this series will be published at the start of the month they focus on. Of course, we can’t cover everything that takes place due to time constraints and the sheer amount of exciting things happening. But, if you know of something interesting in the Greater Manchester area and you think we should write about it, leave a comment below
NB: This month’s round-up is dominated by movies – what can I say, I love the movies!
Blade Runner 2049
Cinematically stunning, a gripping story, and a director with a vision make this a must-see film.
The sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 iconic and highly influential film Blade Runner was released on the 6th of October and, we suspect, is going to stay on our screens, and on our minds, for a while. Why are we writing about a blockbuster which is on general release across the country when we promised to focus on Manchester related events? For two reasons.
Blade Runner 2049 is directed by Denis Villeneuve, a Canadian film director who has most recently blessed our screens with Arrival (2016) a science fiction film starring Amy Adams as a linguist working for the U.S. Army in their attempts to communicate with the inhabitants of an extra-terrestrial spaceship which has landed in the USA, and a crime thriller Sicario (2015) starring Emily Blunt as an FBI agent whose job it is to go after the leader of the most powerful drug cartel in Mexico. Both films received critical acclaim and were nominated for multiple awards. We highly recommend watching them both!
Villeneuve makes films which are visually stunning and very entertaining and, to put it simply, fun, whilst at the same time being meaningful. Not in a pretentious way! His films don’t constantly point towards the meanings underneath; the meanings are not there for the sake of impressing a cultured audience; they don’t bask in their own self-importance and grandiose. No. There are layers and layers of meaning underneath everything we see which stay with us for a long time after watching his films; which make us wonder and think, make us discuss and argue. And, as I said, they are just so fun to watch! A feast for the eyes and the soul, so to speak. So was the case with Arrival and we hope the same will apply to Blade Runner 2049.
We are incredibly lucky here in Manchester in that we can enjoy this film, and many others (!!!), on a very very big screen. I am talking here of course about the IMAX screens at the Printworks and the Trafford Centre. Seeing a film on such an enormous screen with a sound system which quite literally blows you off your feet is an experience like no other. Though the prices can get a little steep, getting an IMAX ticket once in a while for a film which you simply must see on a big, and we mean BIG, screen is worth the price. Blade Runner 2049 is such a film.
And if that hasn’t convinced you yet then watch the clip below and then head to your nearest cinema to watch Blade Runner 2049.
Enter the world of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings in this first fully painted animation feature.
Also out right now is a film which is truly unlike any other. I am writing of course about the first fully painted film Loving Vincent. Fully painted? Yes, you read that right! The directing duo, Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, have gifted us with a fully oil painted animation feature.
The film tells the story of Armand Roulin, played by Douglas Booth (The Riot Club), who is on a quest to deliver a letter to van Gogh’s brother, which was written by van Gogh before his death. The film quickly turns into a detective/murder mystery, as Armand tries to piece together what exactly happened to Vincent van Gogh. But it’s not the story which is most interesting here but the way it is told.
The film was initially shot as a live action film, which was then used as a guide for the creative team in their making of the movie. Each frame was then painted using oil paints. The style, of course, is that of Vincent van Gogh – the painters studied van Gogh’s works and tried to closely recreate his famous technique.
125 painters were involved in the making of this feature. Together, they created 65,000 frames, each of them a hand-painted oil-painting. The effect? A breath taking, mesmerising, and stellar achievement. The creative team’s motto, which has been used in the marketing of the movie, is a sentence from a letter written by van Gogh a week before his death:
“We cannot speak other than by our paintings.”
The style of the film allows us to immerse ourselves in the paintings – we enter their world completely and perhaps even, dare I say, enter, or just sneak a peek at the entrance hall of, Vincent van Gogh’s mind.
Let the paintings and the film speak for itself. Go see it if you are willing to listen.
If you want to hear more about the film from a less allusive source, then you should definitely come along to a masterclass at HOME with the directors during which they’ll talk about how the film was brought to life. This is your opportunity to meet the brains behind this enormous operation.
The Threepenny Opera @ Bolton Octagon
The stage is set. The instruments are tuned. Be ready for conflict and mayhem in this thrilling dark comedy.
Bertolt Brecht’s famous “play with music” is currently playing at the Bolton Octagon Theatre until the beginning of November. The Threepenny Opera is perhaps Brecht’s best known dramatic work and it isn’t hard to see why.
The play, written in collaboration with Elizabeth Hauptmann with music by Kurt Weill, is based on John Gay’s The Beggars Opera. In it, we follow the criminal underworld of London in a turbulent narrative set in motion by the secret marriage of our main character, a London criminal called Mack the Knife. The action takes place shortly before the coronation of a new king, who in the Octagon’s version happens to be Charles III, at a time of a ‘power vacuum’ which turns out to be a potent time for conflict and power struggles. So, just the right time for us all to enjoy a bit of mayhem.
The music by Kurt Weill is brought to life in the new production. The 9 actors who form the ensemble of the piece are also musicians, and together master the 23 different instruments that create the score of the play. Simply put, an achievement you must see for yourself to believe!
The play itself is surprisingly relevant to the world we live in today. By setting it in our contemporary world, the Octagon’s creative team have sharpened even further a play which is in itself politically sharp. It’s so in the moment, you expect a few (in)famous faces to show themselves during the performance (though, maybe it’s better that they don’t).
On Saturday 28th the Octagon is having another of their Investigate Days, this time accompanying their production of The Threepenny Opera. Join the actors and theatre specialists in an exploration of the play and the current production and hear for yourself how this incredible piece of theatre was thought out and created.
The Breakfast Club
A remastered version of an 80’s classic back on the big screen – a blast from the past for everyone to enjoy.
The newly opened Vue Cinema at the Manchester Printworks has a very special treat for us this October. As part of their 4K Season, Vue Cinemas are giving film fans an opportunity to revisit a few well known classics which have been remastered (stunning 4K definition, beautifully enhanced colours and all that jazz). On Sunday 29th they will be showing the hit 1985 American classic The Breakfast Club. For many this will be a trip to the past, be it the first time they saw the movies at the cinema or their own teenage years; and for others, including us here at the blog, this will be an opportunity to see this iconic film on a big screen for the first time!
If you’re already a fan, then you don’t need much convincing – go get your tickets now before they sell out! If you’ve never heard of The Breakfast Club then suffice it to say, the film will speak to the teenage you who is still somewhere inside, hidden (or burdened) behind all our baggage of adult lives. The film touches upon themes which are still relevant now concerning the lives of teenagers and the world around them which was created by adults. We would be wise not to forget what it was like being a teenager and this film is sure to reawaken that feeling.
The Village Scream – Halloween @ Victoria Baths
Bask in the moonlight as you catch a spooktastic movie at the beautiful Victoria Baths.
The Green Village Events are back with yet another unique viewing experience. This time they are taking over the Victoria Baths in Manchester for the Village Screen Halloween.
Victoria Baths is a Grade II listed building; opened in 1906, it served the people of Manchester for 87 years as a place of recreation and leisure. The Baths were closed in 1993 and later a charitable trust was established to fund the restoration of the Baths so they can be once again open to the public. The building is currently partly restored and the trust is still working on bringing it back to its former glory.
It is truly a gorgeous building, featuring beautiful stained glass windows, green tinted tiles and a skylight – the place gives you a real feel of a past epoch. The eerie atmosphere of the Baths, especially after nightfall, is perfect for a spine-tingling viewing experience.
The Village Screen Halloween runs on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th. They will be showing three Halloween family classics – Hocus Pocus (1993), The Addams Family (1991) and Beetlejuice (1988). These films aren’t too scary, and though they do provide a few jumps and chills all are laugh-out-loud comedies with some really great musical numbers. Perfect movies for a not-too-romantic date, a family night out, or a friends get together.
The screenings will be accompanied by Halloween themed tunes brought to you by DJ Matt Hydes. You will also be able to treat yourself to some great street food from The Blue Caribou Canteen, Mac Daddies, and Dim Sum SuGet, or get some snacks for the film and some bubbly (or a hot drink if that’s your preferred way of warming yourself up).
Make sure you wrap up warm and bring blankets, or you’ll catch your death!