Passion and Paradox: ‘Messiah’ at the cinema, part 2

We’re thrilled to be working with event cinema experts CinemaLive in bringing Handel’s Messiah from Bristol Old Vic to cinemas across the UK and Ireland. This dramatised production, in cinemas for one night only (Wednesday 28th March 2018), retells the Easter story in a striking new way. 

Alison Hargreaves is a freelance performing arts producer and filmmaker. I spoke to her about the challenges of staging Messiah.

Hi Alison, thanks for being part of our blog series. With so many productions of the Messiah happening every year, what makes this one special? 

AH: This piece of music is very familiar to lots of people – but it might be difficult to understand the human story. I felt the drama would help make sense of that story.

We’re trying to reveal the drama inside a piece of music people might assume they know, or assume is only relevant to people who already believe. Our production explores the question of why people might want to believe in the first place. That’s what drama is good for – to try and relate emotionally to people who have lived at a different time, had different lives.

Continue reading Passion and Paradox: ‘Messiah’ at the cinema, part 2

Passion and Paradox: ‘Messiah’ at the cinema

We’re thrilled to be working with event cinema experts CinemaLive in bringing Handel’s Messiah from Bristol Old Vic to cinemas across the UK and Ireland. This dramatised production, in cinemas for one night only (Wednesday 28th March 2018), retells the Easter story in a striking new way. 

Book tickets at a cinema near you

About Messiah

Messiah is the most popular choral work ever written in English. The music was composed by George Frederic Handel in 1741, over a period of just 24 days. The words were put together from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer by Handel’s collaborator Charles Jennens, who wanted to create ‘a meditation of our Lord as Messiah in Christian thought and belief’.

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A closer look at… Coco

This is a child-friendly guide; some of the discussion questions are for younger viewers.  Coco is rated PG for mild threat, violence. 

The Scoop

Young Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming a musician, just like his departed icon Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). But Miguel’s family is set against his ambitions. Years ago, his great-great grandfather abandoned his wife and daughter to pursue his own musical career, and since then music has become a household taboo.

Desperate to enter a local Day of the Dead talent contest – and believing he’s discovered a secret connection between himself and his hero – Miguel steals a guitar from de la Cruz’s shrine. However, the theft curses Miguel and transports him to the Land of the Dead.

With the help of shambling skeleton Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), he has until sunrise to obtain a blessing from his dead ancestors – or risk never getting back to the Land of the Living.

Continue reading A closer look at… Coco

‘Tonight is an awakening’: #TimesUp at the Golden Globes

Monday morning this week found me getting a bit teary at my desk. (And no, not because it’s January and it’s cold and I wanted to be back in bed.) The news was full of inspiring women speaking up for themselves, amplifying the voices of others – and perhaps, finally, being heard.

At the 2018 Golden Globes, the #TimesUp movement was the talk of Hollywood. The black dresses on the red carpet were, as actress Amber Tamblyn explained, not a fashion statement. ‘It is a statement of action. It is a direct message of resistance. Black because we are powerful when we stand together with all women across industry lines. Black because we’re starting over, resetting the standard. Black because we’re done being silenced and we’re done with the silencers. Tonight is not a mourning. Tonight is an awakening.’

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‘My faith grew deeper in my own darkest hour’: Community comment

Last night our team braved the cold to attend the premiere of Darkest Hour in London’s glittering Leicester Square. The Christmas decorations were up, the stars were out, and Joe Wright’s gripping Winston Churchill biopic was enjoyed by a packed cinema audience.

Justin and Melissa Montague walk the red carpet

Our community guests for the event included veterans from the Second World War, as well as from more recent conflicts. Retired Royal Marines Lance Corporal Justin Montague, who came with his wife Melissa, has served in Afghanistan – an experience which took him on a personal journey with a surprising destination. Justin is now training to be a Christian minister, saying that ‘my faith has grown deeper in the midst of my own “darkest hours”‘. 

I spoke to him about the film’s exploration of leadership, and what this meant to him as someone who’s been a leader in two very different contexts.

Continue reading ‘My faith grew deeper in my own darkest hour’: Community comment

Christmas is About…

We’re so inspired by the community organisations we partner with, who this year have included the brilliant organisations below.  The work they do and the values they represent are amazing all year round, of course. But at Christmas they have a special relevance.

Inspired by our partners, I’ve picked some of my personal favourite films which capture the spirit of what these organisations do – and reflect the real reason for the season.

You won’t find any tinsel or sleigh-bells here: these are films with an evergreen message. 

This year our partners have included:

Continue reading Christmas is About…

A closer look at… Mudbound

The Scoop

In 1930s Tenessee, 31-year-old ‘spinster’ Laura (Carey Mulligan) makes a marriage of convenience to Henry McAllen (Jason Clarke) – despite being more attracted to his charming brother Jamie (Garret Hedlund). When the war breaks out, Jamie enlists, while Henry announces that he will be moving Laura, their children and his elderly father (Jonathan Banks) to a farm on the Mississippi delta.

Hap Jackson (Rob Morgan), one of Henry’s tenants, longs to own the land that he farms, as did his slave ancestors before him. His wife Florence (Mary J Blige) agrees to work for the McAllens, fearing what her absence might mean for her own children.  Meanwhile their son Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) becomes a sergeant in a tank regiment, discovering that in Europe he’s seen as a liberator and a hero, not a second class citizen.

When the war ends, bringing Jamie and Ronsel home, the precarious balance of both family’s lives comes under threat.

Continue reading A closer look at… Mudbound

‘A Long-Awaited Reckoning’: Hollywood after Weinstein

On 5th October, New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey published a story detailing decades of sexual harrassment allegations against Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein. This predatory behaviour had been part of the rumour mill for years, but previous attempts to publish anything substantial had fallen foul of Weinstein’s far-reaching influence.

This article went off in Hollywood like a bomb. Within days, Weinstein had been sacked, and more women were coming forward. On 10th October, the New Yorker published a piece by journalist Ronan Farrow accusing Weinstein of many more counts of sexual harassment and assault. High-profile actresses like Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow joined the chorus.

The New Yorker

And it didn’t stop there. Emboldened, women – and men – across the entertainment industry spoke about their own experiences of being sexually harassed, assaulted and intimated at work. Their stories implicated Kevin Spacey,  Steven Segal, producer Brett Ratner, comedian Louis CK, and many more. They lifted a lid on a toxic culture where powerful men feel entitled to do whatever they want, without fearing consequences.

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A closer look at… Paddington 2

This is a child-friendly guide; some of the discussion questions are for younger viewers.  Paddington 2 is rated PG for mild threat.

The Scoop

Paddington (voice of Ben Wishaw) is now living happily with the Brown family, and has friends all over the neighbourhood. But though he’s settled into London life, he’s still thinking of Aunt Lucy (voice of Imelda Staunton), who he left behind in Peru. He wants to send her a very special birthday present, and he thinks he’s found the perfect gift – a beautiful pop-up book showing famous landmarks of London.

But while Paddington is trying to save enough money to buy the book, it catches the attention of egotistical faded actor Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant). He knows that there’s more to the book than meets the eye, and hatches a devious plan to steal it and frame Paddington for the theft.

With their beloved bear wrongly imprisoned, it’s up to Mrs Brown (Sally Hawkins), Mr Brown (Hugh Bonneville) and the rest of Paddington’s friends to clear his name.

Continue reading A closer look at… Paddington 2

A closer look at… Blade Runner 2049

Warning: Contains plot spoilers

The Scoop

K (Ryan Gosling) is a Blade Runner, hunting down old-model replicants, synthetic slaves who once mounted an uprising against the human race. In the neon and shadows of futuristic Los Angeles, K lives a lonely life. His only companion is his holographic girlfriend Joi (Ana de Armas), who is programmed to please him.

Then while out on a routine job, K stumbles across a mystery which could disrupt the delicate truce between humans and replicants, leading to all-out war. As he follows the trail of clues, pursued by ruthless replicant-maker Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), K must confront a crisis that goes right to the heart of who he is.

Continue reading A closer look at… Blade Runner 2049