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  • Writer's pictureSouth West Silents

In Conversation with Stephen Frears

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

We are very excited to announce that British film director and producer Sir Stephen Frears will be joining us in person this coming November to discuss his love of film noir. Not only that but Stephen will be showcasing some of his great noir related films and selecting one of his favourite films (thankfully it happens to be a noir as well by the way).

As you might have guessed, these screenings will be very busy so we highly recommend you book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

Saturday 25th November: Watershed, Bristol:

Adapted for the screen by Donald E. Westlake, from the 1963 novel by Jim Thompson, The Grifters features a stellar cast, including John Cusack, Anjelica Huston, Annette Bening and J. T. Walsh.

When small-time cheat Roy Dillon (Cusack) winds up in hospital following an unsuccessful scam, it sets up a confrontation between his estranged mother Lilly (Huston) and alluring girlfriend Myra (Bening). Both Lilly and Myra are con artists playing the game in a league far above Roy, and always looking for their next victim. As Roy finds himself caught in a complicated web of passion and mistrust, the question is – who's conning who?

Director Stephen Frears teams up with producer Martin Scorsese to bring one of Jim Thompson’s LA noir classics to the big screen with perfect cinematography by Oliver Stapleton and music by Elmer Bernstein.

Special in person intro by director Stephen Frears.

Terence Stamp plays Willie, a gangster’s henchman turned ‘supergrass’ (informer) trying to hide out peacefully in a remote Spanish village. Sun-dappled bliss turns to nerve-racking suspense, however, when two hit men, one soulless (John Hurt) and one a loose cannon (a youthful Tim Roth), come calling to bring Willie back for execution.

This stylish early gem from Stephen Frears boasts terrific hard-boiled performances from a roster of England’s best actors, music by Eric Clapton and virtuoso flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía, and ravishing photography of its desolate Spanish locations, which makes a splendid backdrop for a rather sordid story.

Join us for this rare chance to see an underrated classic (a favourite of Christopher Nolan) on the big screen, with a special introduction and Q&A hosted by Matthew Sweet and Stephen Frears.

Sunday 26th November: Former Bristol IMAX (Bristol Aquarium):

To conclude the weekend we have a special British film noir double bill on the biggest screen in the south west (the former Bristol IMAX) located at Bristol Aquarium.

Tickets available here

Celebrating the many aspects of British Film Noir, Film Noir UK presents a special double bill involving Carol Reed's masterpiece The Third Man (1949) and a rare chance to see less well known British noir Wanted for Murder (1946).

Carol Reed's classic will be introduced by fan of The Third Man, Stephen Frears. Also, as part of the BFI's Powell and Pressburger Screen Unbound season, writer and broadcaster Matthew Sweet will introduce Lawrence Huntington's Wanted for Murder which was written by Emeric Pressburger.

12pm: The Third Man (1949): The Third Man has been beautifully restored in 4K for the first time, showcasing the genius of this celebrated British noir, voted the ‘The greatest British film of all time’ by a British Film Institute poll.

Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton, Citizen Kane ), a naïve writer of pulp westerns, arrives in Vienna to meet his old friend Harry Lime (the incomparable Orson Welles) nut finds that Lime has apparently been killed in a suspicious accident. Martins, too curious for his own good, hears contradictory stories about the circumstances of Limes death and as witnesses disappear he finds himself chased by unknown assailants.

Complicating matters are the sardonic Major Calloway (Trevor Howard, Brief Encounter), head of the British forces, and Lime’s stage actress mistress, Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli). Will Martin’s curiosity lead him to discover things about his old friend that he’d rather not know?

Brilliantly scripted by Graham Greene and set to Anton Karas’ evocative zither score, this justly celebrated classic is further enhanced by Robert Krasker’s Academy Award winning cinematography and Orson Welles in one of his most iconic screen roles.

3:30pm: Wanted for Murder (1946): As the son of an infamous prison hangman, London businessman Victor Colebrooke (Eric Portman) was long troubled by his family legacy... and the fixation pushed him to become a serial strangler.

Daring Scotland Yard to end his rampage, will the clues add up before a salesgirl date (Dulcie Gray) becomes his seventh victim?

Unusual British suspenser also stars Derek Farr, Ronald Culver, Stanley Holloway, Bonar Colleano; Emeric Pressburger adapted the Terence de Marney play for the screen. Starting at 12pm with Stephen's favourite film noir, Carol Reed's masterpiece, The Third Man (1948) starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, Trevor Howard and Anna Schmidt. Stephen will introducing this classic in person with Matthew Sweet.

Tickets available here

This screening is part of the BFI's Powell and Pressburger Screen Unbound season.

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