Alongside some of the best films of the last 12 months a clutch of acclaimed films from cinema’s history will also be featured at the festival that runs from March 23-29.
Among the recent British successes on offer are Oscar nominated Mr. Turner; Pride, What We Did On Our Holiday and Northern Soul.
Timothy Spall’s compelling portrayal of Turner has already won awards in Cannes and New York.
Pride, which won a BAFTA for outstanding debut by a writer or producer, celebrates what seemed, at the time (1984), an unlikely alliance between striking Welsh miners and London-based gay activists.
It’s Ingrid Bergman’s centenary this year and in Hitchcock’s Notorious she plays Alicia who is asked to spy on Nazis in Brazil. Cary Grant is her co-star in a film that includes the infamous scene that got around the American restrictions on the acceptable length for a kiss.
The French classic, Le Jour Se Leve, begins with a murder – but who is the dead man and why was he killed? Made on the eve of The Second World War, some felt Marcel Carne’s film reflected the political anxieties in France at the time. Brilliantly filmed in black-and-white and screened in a sparkling re-issue Le Jour Se Leve makes for compelling viewing on a Saturday afternoon.
Classic French film making of a different generation is represented by Francois Truffaut’s La Sirene du Mississippi.
Louis (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is a wealthy tobacco planter. He arranges to marry Julie (Catherine Deneuve) whom he knows only through letters. On meeting her she isn’t quite what he expected.
Over the last two days of the Festival two double bills aimed specifically at families are included. The Fox and the Child is a French film that traces the relationship between a ten-year-old girl and a fox. Stunningly filmed amid beautiful countryside this film will grip any that have a passion for wildlife.
The other family programme features White Mane – another simple story, beautifully filmed in black-and-white in the Camargue. A young boy is in competition with a group of ranchers to capture White Mane, a wild horse. An animation set to Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf completes the programme.
Among the recent international films included in the Festival is the Bafta-winning Polish film Ida, which is set in 1962. Anna is set to take her vows and become a nun but Wanda, her only surviving relative, tells her that she is Jewish. Anna and Wanda set off to uncover the family story in this black-and-white movie.
The Belgian Dardenne brothers have many fans. Their latest film Two Days, One Night stars Marion Cotillard, who has a weekend to save her job by persuading her co-workers to give up a bonus they have been offered.
Jonas Jonasson’s novel The 100 year-old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared was a word-of-mouth bestseller. It tells the story of Allan Karlsson who having had an extraordinary life escapes his birthday party and gets involved with a criminal gang on the run from the law.
The Japanese master-animator Hayao Miyazaki says that The Wind Rises is to be his last film. If that is the case he ends on a high. Jiro wants to design beautiful planes. His career begins in the late 1920s. Inevitably some of Jiro’s beautiful planes become efficient weapons of war.
The Golden Dream went down very well with the staff at Manchester’s Cornerhouse last year. It tells the story of three young Guatemalans (later joined by a Mexican-Indian) who make the difficult journey to the US. The trip may be slow and painful – but they are confident about their dream.
You can also see Woody Allen’s latest, Magic In the Moonlight, starring Colin Firth; the griping political thriller Manuscripts Don’t Burn and the emotionally charged Lilting starring Ben Whishaw.
The festival will open at 7.30pm on March 23 with a screening of Pretty Village, a documentary which tells the harrowing story of massacres in a Bosnian village in 1992. The film’s director David Evans and producer Kemal Pervaic will be there for a post-screening discussion.