Northwest Film Event Highlights – January 2016

The New Year gets off to a promising start with HOME’s wide-reaching celebration of Mancunian screenwriter Jim Allen, while FACT have an interesting screening to compliment their Follow exhibition

Preview by Simon Bland | 04 Jan 2016
  • Raining Stones

Ah, January – the month of hastily forgotten resolutions, fresh starts and diets that never seem to last beyond week three. It’s not your fault, though. How are you suppose to resist all those tasty cinema treats? Especially when there’s so much good stuff on.

The Hateful Eight

First up this year is Tarantino’s almost-ditched return to the western genre, The Hateful Eight (8 Jan), starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell and a lineup of the director’s usual suspects. Word has it that Tarantino only has two more big-screen features left in him, so you’d be silly to miss this one. Catch it in its intended 70mm Ultra Panavision cut at a whopping 177 minutes exclusively at Manchester’s Printworks. Don’t worry, they’ll throw in an intermission break.

We Live in Public

After something a little different? Get down to We Live In Public, at FACT in Liverpool (13 Jan). As part of the venue’s current exhibition Follow, this stark documentary feature takes aim at the ways in which the internet and digital connectivity have completely changed how we live day-to-day. Watch as director Ondi Timoner (Dig!Brand: A Second Coming) tracks the rise, fall and bizarre times of the internet’s greatest pioneer, Josh Harris – someone you’ve probably never heard of.

Jim Allen Retrospective

Back over in Manchester, HOME’s Jim Allen retrospective is full of double-bills that celebrate the work of one of Britain’s most important screenwriters. Still Relevant After All These Years (9-31 Jan) includes The Spongers (9 Jan), which is followed by a Q&A with the film's producer Tony Garnett, a double-punch of The Lump and The Big Flame (10 Jan), The Rank and File followed by In the Heel of the Hunt (13 Jan), and The Choice of Evils and Willie’s Last Stand back-to-back (16 Jan). Also screening are the trio of films Allen made with Ken Loach in the 90s (Raining Stones, 20 Jan; Hidden Agenda, 23 Jan; Land and Freedom, 24 Jan). Power, politics, compassion – it’s all here.

Revenge of The Mekons

HOME also screens George Fitzmaurice’s exotic sequel The Son of the Sheik (28 Jan) as part of Manchester Metropolitan University’s Humanities in Public festival, complete with live piano score. The same venue explores the unlikely story of British punk-art band The Mekons with exploratory documentary Revenge of The Mekons (25 Jan). What’s more, original band member Ros Allen will join attendees for a post-screening Q&A to get into the nitty-gritty of the band’s history.

Ben Hopkins Q&A

Speaking of documentaries, Hasret / Yearning, also at HOME (18 Jan), looks at the dark underbelly of Istanbul. British director Ben Hopkins will stick around for a Q&A after the screening to discuss the story behind his film. Looks like 2016’s off to a good start.