Join us for Fantastic Films – March 30-31 2019

Cinema is usually thought of as a realistic art. But there is also a powerful tradition of films that show us worlds that never were, extraordinary people, mythical beings and a life after this one. Fantastic Films is a weekend celebration of those films, chosen by the viewing panel of CFS to entertain and surprise you.

The event is open to the public and takes place at the Playhouse Theatre, Cheltenham, on March 30-31. Tickets are now on sale from the Playhouse box office, either in person, by phone or online.

Playhouse Box Office: 01242 522852


Tickets £6

Day Pass (four films, Saturday or Sunday) £20

Weekend Pass (all eight films) £36

CFS members can buy tickets at discounted prices for themselves and their guests. We shall be selling tickets on film nights at the Bacon Theatre in the run-up to the event, or you can buy them in person from the Playhouse box office, on presentation of your CFS membership card. Please note that tickets bought online from the Playhouse are only available at the standard price.


Tickets £5

Day Pass (four films, Saturday or Sunday) £16

Weekend Pass (all eight films) £30

Playhouse Online Box Office



Saturday 11.00  French with English subtitles

The French writer/director Jean Cocteau created La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast) in 1946, basing it on an 18thcentury fairy tale. The beautiful daughter of an impoverished merchant is imprisoned in the magical castle of a mysterious Beast, who longs to marry her. Starring the great Jean Marais in three roles, it is poetic, inventive and passionate, and full of scenes that have resonated down the years. The source material for the popular Disney versions.



Saturday 2.00 pm           English

In New Jersey in the 1930s, downtrodden waitress Cecilia (Mia Farrow) is a devoted movie-goer. One day she attends a matinee at her local cinema, only to find the lead actor in the movie, Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels), addressing her from the screen. Before she knows it, real life and movie life have become inextricably tangled. A charming and hilarious 1985 comedy from Woody Allen at his most sunny and technically ingenious.


Saturday 5.00 pm           English

A Matter of Life and Death is a spectacular drama from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Pilot Peter Carter (David Niven) is flying home from a bombing raid when he is forced to jump into the Channel with no parachute. A weird celestial glitch finds him trapped between life and death and he is forced to appeal to a heavenly court for the right to stay alive, with the help of a young American airwoman. Released in 1946, this is British cinema at its most romantic and life-affirming.



Saturday 8.00 pm   Spanish with English subtitles

Guillermo del Toro’s uniquely gothic response to the Spanish Civil War, from 2006. The young stepdaughter of a vicious officer in Franco’s army is lured into an underworld labyrinth ruled over by a terrifying faun. He sets her a series of tasks so she can prove herself a true princess and be reunited with her real father. A unique amalgam of brutal war movie and beguiling supernatural fantasy, its spell lingers long after the final reel.


Sunday 11.00 am         English (dubbed)

Our only animated feature, directed by Hayao Miyazaki of the celebrated Studio Ghibli of Japan and released in 2001. Moving to the suburbs with her family, 10-year-old Chihiro is lured into a parallel world of demons, spirits and evil creatures. There she must find and save her parents, who have been turned into pigs. An extraordinary feat of animation, full of detail and visual invention in the service of a great adventure story. We will be showing it in the dubbed English-language version for the benefit of our younger viewers.


Sunday 2.00 pm           French with English subtitles

Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, directors of Delicatessen and Amelie, released this dystopian fantasy film in 1995. In an abandoned oil-rig, evil Krank steals the dreams of kidnapped children using a monstrous machine. Fairground strongman One (Ron Perlman) sets out to rescue his stolen little brother, while evading a pair of conjoined twins who control all the local crime. A cornucopia of filmic imagination and bravura production design that is both disturbing and profoundly memorable. With costumes from Jean-Paul Gaultier.


Sunday 5.00 pm           Swedish with English subtitles

A towering landmark of European cinema, and a great story. An old and exhausted knight, Antonius Block (Max von Sydow), returns from the Crusades to his plague-ridden homeland, only to encounter the figure of Death. They agree to play a game of chess that will determine whether the knight lives long enough to get home. Along the way, he encounters a group of travelling players and tries to bring them safely through the dark Nordic woods. Ingmar Bergman’s medieval fantasy from 1957 is a powerfully affecting piece of film-making, with an influence that has reverberated down the decades.


Sunday 8.00 pm           English

Our second film by the brilliant Guillermo del Toro,  and we make no apologies for that. A winner of four Oscars in 2018, this is a glorious romantic fantasy about a mute young woman (Britain’s Sally Hawkins) in Cold War Washington, whose life changes for ever when she encounters an enigmatic creature captured in the swamps of South America. A sublime aquatic love-story, with breathtaking images and an immersive score.