At time of writing, Venice Film Festival has just kicked off. Although unfortunately not during the festivities, I was there recently. I can’t imagine a more perfect setting for it. Not unlike Edinburgh, which hosts our own yearly EIFF - the winding streets, the weight of history and the spectacular architecture - a city that yearns for art and action. I stayed in Lido, and if I had had the pleasure of being there during the festival I’m sure it would have been created a memory like no other - but as it stands my favourite film memory of the summer belongs in Belfast, at a cinema called the Queens’ Film Theatre.
QFT is not unlike Belmont Filmhouse - boasting a similarly curated programme and feeling distinctly different from the multiplex experience. I had arrived in Belfast to visit family and had a few hours to while away in the city. I sought refuge in QFT’s screening of the new re-release of Jaws, and felt very much at home. The staff were lovely, the coffee invigorating and the film, as ever, was super on the big screen. And it really struck me how thoroughly grateful I am that these places exist, both away and right here at home in Aberdeen. Although glamorous festivals in the likes of Edinburgh, Venice or Cannes are wonderful, cinema experiences which are welcoming, comforting and safe are necessary too. I feel proud that I’ve worked at Belmont Filmhouse for now nearly 12 years, and hope you feel as at home here as I do.
Venice opener Ad Astra runs into this programme from the last and it is garnering wonderful reviews. Joining it are Joaquin Phoenix in the Golden Lion winning Joker, the thoroughly excellent The Farewell, Chris Morris’ The Day Shall Come and Renée Zellweger as Judy, for which we’ve also programmed an all-singing all-dancing Judy Garland mini-season - a real treat. Documentary For Sama, shot over a number of years in Aleppo, appears to be a triumph of filmmaking, and I’ll also keenly highlight Alejando Landes Monos as breathtaking and with incredible sound design by Mica Levi. October is Black History Month and we encourage you to join us for I Am Not Your Negro and The Last Tree among a wider mini-season. Since it’s almost Halloween, we’ve also gone ghoul-crazy, with Kino Bar horrifying for the whole month and no less than four Halloween classics in the main screens... BOO!
Lastly, I’m pleased to herald the return of the Metropolitan Opera Live, starting with Turandot on 12 October. Beamed live from New York, this season runs right through till 12 May 2020. Book now!
Colin Farquhar, Head of Cinema Operations