Art and Film Highlights in May

There’s a lot going on in May, so we’ve flagged up some of our highlights for you…

Our season of the best contemporary films from Lebanon continues. On Thu 10 May we’re pleased to welcome director Rania Stephan for a Q&A following his haunting documentary The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni. Then later in the month, Lebanese screen icon and director/star of Caramel, Nadine Labaki stars in the politically charged family melodrama,  Stray Bullet, and we also bring her latest film Where Do We Go Now to our screens for a special preview.

We’re eagerly anticipating the release of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom which opens on Fri 25 May. Set to open Cannes film festival, and with a stellar cast including Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman, it looks like being one of this year’s best films. Take a sneak peak, and see what you think by watching the trailer.

There’s lots to keep you entertained on our screens in the meantime though – including a whole host of French language films. French director Mia Hansen-Løve’s  Goodbye First Love a heartfelt story which explores the pain of first love, and Monsieur Lazhar, the Oscar nominated tale of a supply teacher working in a school in Quebec (if you enjoyed Etre et avoir this is definitely one for you), both screen from Fri 4 May. French-Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y.) returns on Fri 11 May with Café de Flore, a vibrant and mystical film that weaves together two stories of love, one set in present-day Montreal and the other in Paris in 1969.  Also exploring the complexities of love is  Beloved, an epic and exquisitely romantic musical drama starring French screen icon Catherine Deneuve.  At the end of the month, rising French star Tahar Rahim (A Prophet) stars in Free Men, a tense espionage thriller set in Paris in the summer of 1942. Also look out for Angel and Tony an absorbing and quietly emotional French film that follows two lonely souls whose lives are brought together by a personal ad.

Alongside these great new releases there’s an opportunity to see a masterpiece of French cinema in a new print – Jean Renoir’s La Grande Illusion which screens as part of Matinee Classics this month, celebrating 75 years since its original release. Our other Matinee Classics film this month is Ordet. Set in a remote Danish farming community, this film provides an arresting hymn to the power of earthly passion and love.

Also coming to our screen this month are two very different documentary films. Charting the rise and fall of a man who led a very successful African country and then destroyed it is Robert Magabe…What Happened?, which has a one-off screening on Thu 24 May. And for Two Years at Sea artist Ben Rivers uses old 16mm cameras to create a intimate portrait of Jake, an elderly man who lives alone in a ramshackle house in the middle of the forest with his collection of curiosities from a bygone age.

Not seen our current exhibition Subversion yet? Make time to visit this fascinating group show which takes a look at modern Arab identity. The show includes the UK premiere of Wafaa Bilal’s Virtual Jihadi, a nu-anced re-imaging of the Al-Queda version of the widely marketing video game ‘Quest for Saddam’, which is housed in a specially created set of a Gaza internet café. If you want to find out more about the show then sign up for the curator’s tour on Sun 20 May, when we’ll be delving deeper into the work on display.

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