The films 2020-21

Here are details of Cheltenham Film Society’s 2020-21 programme. We were able to show films up to and including The Perfect Candidate before the Covid situation once again caused us to shut up shop. It remains our ambition to show as many of the remaining films as we can, when we can. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy reading about them. Many of them are available on screening services if you don’t mind staring at a glass box.

The titles of each film are linked to the Internet Movie Database, and there is a link to a trailer where available.

Tuesday 22 September 2020


Mark Jenkin | UK | 2019 | 15 | 89 mins | English

Bait tells a simple story of unwelcome incomers in a Cornish fishing village, but it is also an astonishing technical achievement. Using a clockwork camera and shot on short lengths of film, hand processed, it has a unique look that perfectly matches the gritty feel of the narrative. Trailer.

Tuesday 13 October 2020

17:30 and 20:15

Woman at War

Benedikt Erlingsson | Iceland | 2019 | 12 | 101 mins | Icelandic

Halla is a mild-mannered choir teacher who leads a double life as a ferocious eco-warrior. Then she receives a letter telling her that her adoption request has been approved, and everything changes. A drama with lighter moments and a powerful advertisement for its Icelandic setting. Trailer.

Tuesday 27 October 2020

17:30 and 20:15

Wednesday 28 October 2020


Hail Satan?

Penny Lane | USA | 2019 | 15 | 95 mins | English

The Satanic Temple started life as a prank designed to antagonise the religious right in America. Over time, it found itself turning into a real movement advocating the separation of church and state, and documentarist Lane was on hand to witness the transition. The result is thought provoking and often very funny. Trailer.


Tuesday 10 November 2020

17:30 and 20:15

Wednesday 11 November 2020


The Guilty

Gustav Möller | Denmark | 2018 | 15 | 85 mins | Danish

A compelling and potent film about a police officer in an emergency call centre who receives a call from a woman who has been kidnapped. The film doesn’t leave that single set, and its intensity builds, thanks to an excellent performance by Jakob Cedergren as the police officer. Trailer.

Tuesday 24 November 2020

17:30 and 20:15

Wednesday 25 November 2020



Alejandro Landes | Colombia | 2019 | 15 | 102 mins | Spanish

A mysterious para-military group in on a remote South American hillside hold an American woman hostage. By day they train for war; by night they indulge in teenage hedonism. Then chaos breaks out and any vestige of innocence is lost. Powerful filmmaking, set in an extraordinary landscape. Trailer.

Tuesday 8 December 2020

17:30 and 20:15

Wednesday 9 December


The Perfect Candidate

Haifaa Al-Mansour | Saudi Arabia / Germany | 2019 | PG | 104 mins | Arabic/English

A young female doctor decides to run for office in her local elections after the male incumbent ignores her request that he fix the road leading to her clinic. She faces opposition from both family and community. Heartening, gently humorous and inspiring Saudi cinema. Trailer.

Date to be decided

La Belle Époque

Nicolas Bedos | France | 2019 |15 | 110 mins | French

Daniel Auteuil stars as a sexagenarian offered the chance to travel to an elaborate reconstruction of the happiest time in his life, when he met his wife in the 1970s. Of course, things don’t go as smoothly as he hopes. An ingenious and charming approach to the romantic comedy genre. Trailer.

Date to be decided

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Céline Sciamma | France | 2019 | 15 | 121 mins | French

Set in 18thcentury Brittany, Portrait of a Lady on Fire tells of Héloïse, a woman on the brink of an unwanted marriage, and Marianne, a young painter sent to make a secret portrait to send to her suitor. In time, the pair become closer. A breathtakingly beautiful depiction of forbidden desire. Trailer.

Date to be decided

And Then We Danced

Levan Akin | Georgia | 2019 | 15 | 113 mins | Georgian

A remarkable film, filled with dance and music. Two young dancers, after clashing in rehearsal, discover their mutual attraction. The film led to violent protests in its conservative homeland for its sympathetic depiction of a gay love affair. Trailer.

Date to be decided

Emil and the Detectives (CFS Extra)

Gerhard Lamprecht | Germany | 1931 | U | 75 mins | German

First shown in our 1945-6 season. Emil and the Detectives tells the story of a boy sent to Berlin to give 140 marks to his grandmother. The money is stolen and Emil has to recruit some local kids to get it back. Delightfully scripted by Billy Wilder in his pre-Hollywood days.

Date to be decided

Pain and Glory

Pedro Almodóvar | Spain | 2019 | 15 | 113 mins | Spanish

A near-autobiography from the gadfly of Spanish cinema, with Antonio Banderas playing a version of the filmmaker in earlier times and Penélope Cruz as his loving mother. Struggling in his career, Salvador Mallo looks back over his life and loves, his successes and defeats, his triumphs and woes. Trailer.

Date to be decided

System Crasher

Nora Fingscheidt | Germany | 2019 | 15 | 118 mins | German

What is to be done with a nine-year-old child who rejects all authority and has exhausted the efforts of social services to care for her? That’s the premise of System Crasher, a brilliantly energetic account of a seemingly impossible problem. With an astonishing performance by Helena Zengel as young Benni. Trailer.

Date to be decided

Closely Observed Trains (CFS Extra)

Jirí Menzel | Czechoslovakia | 1966 | 15 | 92 mins | Czech/German

Shown by CFS in 1970, Closely Observed Trains is a key film of the Czech New Wave. During the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, a young station guard longs to rid himself of his virginity. His misadventures with women are soon encroached upon by the war.

Date to be decided

By the Grace of God

François Ozon | France | 2019 |15 | 137 mins |French

Three men struggle to break the code of silence that protects a priest who abused them many years ago. A powerful and disturbing drama based on real events and a real change of direction for Ozon, who is known for his narrative twists and turns. Trailer.

Date to be decided

Corpus Christi

Jan Komasa | Poland | 2019 | 15 | 115 mins | Polish

Corpus Christi tells the story of a young offender who has a spiritual awakening and wants to become a priest. Unfortunately, his wish is denied, so he poses as one instead, taking on a village parish; the results are surprising. An absorbing drama with a fine central performance from Bartosz Bielenia. Trailer.

Date to be decided

Three Colours: Red (CFS Extra)

Krzysztof Kiéslowski | France | 1994 | 15 | 99 mins | French

Shown by CFS in 1995, Three Colours: Red is the third film in Kiéslowski’s trilogy inspired by the colours of the French flag and its revolutionary symbolism. Valerie (Irène Jacob) meets a retired judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who spends his time spying on his neighbours. One of the most acclaimed films of recent decades. Trailer.

Date to be decided

Everybody Knows

Asghar Farhadi | Spain | 2018 | 15 | 133 mins | Spanish

Iranian director Farhadi is a CFS favourite, thanks to wonderful films such as A Separation and The Salesman. For his Spanish film Everybody Knows, he wrote his script in Farsi and had it translated. In this gripping psychological thriller, starring Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz, a young girl is kidnapped and ructions ensue. Trailer.

Date to be decided


Pema Tseden | China | 2019 | 12 | 102 mins | Tibetan/Mandarin

A bittersweet family drama about life in Tibet under Chinese rule in the 1980s. Two young boys blow up their parents’ condoms to make balloons. Aside from the shame, this presents a practical difficulty for the sheep-farming family, struggling with China’s recently introduced one-child policy.

Date to be decided

The Farewell

Lulu Wang | USA-China | 2019 | PG | 100 mins | Mandarin/English

An elderly Chinese lady has cancer and her relatives rally round from all over the world to create one last reunion for her, without telling her she is dying. From this potentially tragic material, Wang has created an insightful and gently humorous film about China old and new. Trailer.