‘Mary Magdalene’ Companion Booklet

According to the Gospels, Mary of Magdala was present at both Jesus’ death and burial; and is identified as the first witness to the resurrected Jesus.

In 591, Pope Gregory claimed that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute, a misconception which remains to this day.

In 2016, Mary of Magdala was formally identified by the Vatican as Apostle of the Apostles – their equal – and the first messenger of the resurrected Jesus.

Download the Companion Booklet here

Mary Magdalene (in cinemas 16th March) is a powerfully imagined portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history. The biblical biopic tells the story of Mary (Rooney Mara), a young woman in search of a new way of living. Constricted by the hierarchies and gender inequalities of the day, Mary defies her traditional family to join a new movement led by the charismatic Jesus of Nazareth (Joaquin Phoenix). She soon finds a place for herself alongside Jesus and at the heart of a journey that will lead to Jerusalem.

Written by Helen Edmundson and Philippa Goslett, and directed by Garth Davis, Mary Magdalene also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tahar Rahim.

This companion booklet offers an insight into the making of the film, as well as questions and reflections for church groups wanting to engage with it more deeply.

More at marymagdalenefilm.co.uk

A closer look at… The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water is rated 15 for strong violence, language, sex, nudity

The Scoop

It’s the height of the Cold War, and Elisa (Sally Hawkins) works as a cleaner at a military facility in Baltimore. She’s isolated by her disability – she’s mute – but has two true friends in Giles (Richard Jenkins), her artist neighbour, and Zelda (Octavia Spencer), her warmhearted co-worker.

When a man called Strickland (Michael Shannon) arrives at the facility with a mysterious ‘asset’ in tow, Elisa is immediately intrigued. This scaly creature (Doug Jones), worshipped as a God by Amazon tribes, is in danger of being killed and dissected by a government only interested in gaining an advantage over the Russians.

Elisa vows to save him – and in the process her tentative bond with the creature becomes a strange and wonderful love affair.

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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 closer look at… First They Killed My Father

 

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First They Killed My Father is available on Netflix

The Scoop

Loung (Sareum Srey Moch) lives an ordinary life in Pnom Penh with her brothers, sisters, mother (Sveng Socheata) and beloved father (Phoeung Kompheak). She catches glimpses of fighting and bombs on the television, but none of it means much to her. Then one day an army marches through the streets outside, and Loung’s world changes forever.

The Khmer Rouge have taken power in Cambodia, and Loung’s father – an educated employee of the former government – could be in serious danger. The family must hide their identity as they are turned out of their home and forced into a labour camp. As conditions worsen and her former life begins to feel ever further away, Loung loses her innocence piece by piece.

Continue reading A closer look at… First They Killed My Father

A closer look at… Okja

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Okja is available on Netflix and on DVD

The Scoop

It’s the latest thing in food production. Lucy Mirando, the new CEO of the formerly ruthless Mirando corporation, is happy to announce that they have developed a new breed of genetically engineered super-pig. As part of a publicity stunt meant to bolster Mirando’s touchy-feely new image, twenty six piglets will be sent out to farms in different parts of the world to be raised by local farmers using traditional methods.

In South Korea, a pig named Okja is brought up by young Mija (Seo Hyun) and her grandfather (Byun Hee-Bong). Girl and pig share a close bond – and Mija is heartbroken when the Mirando corporation return to claim what’s theirs. To make matters worse, animal rights activist Jay (Paul Dano) tells her that Okja is being sent to America to be slaughtered. Can Mija and her friends make a stand  and save Okja’s bacon?

Continue reading A closer look at… Okja

A closer look at…Dunkirk

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The Scoop

Dunkirk, 1940. Allied soldiers, surrounded by the German army, have retreated to the beaches and desperately await evacuation.

On the ground, a young soldier (Fionn Whitehead) survives the slaughter of his unit and takes desperate measures to get on the next boat out. But his ordeal is only just beginning.

In the air, a daring pilot (Tom Hardy) risks his own life to take out the German bombers who are killing the men below.

And at sea, a civilian (Mark Rylance) in his own small boat sets out to do what little he can to bring the stranded army home.

Continue reading A closer look at…Dunkirk

A closer look at… A Long Way Down

This guide comes from our archive. It was written by Rachel Helen Smith.

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The Scoop

Martin (Pierce Brosnan) is a disgraced TV presenter. Jess (Imogen Poots) is the wild child daughter of a politician. JJ (Aaron Paul) is a failed musician from America. Maureen (Toni Collette) is a single mother with a disabled son. These four characters could hardly be more different, but they share a common intent: they want to kill themselves.

Their lives collide one New Year’s Eve on the roof of ‘Toppers’ House’, a popular London suicide spot. The unlikely situation allows them to form an equally unlikely bond, and they all commit to surviving the next six weeks. One holiday, two trips to the hospital and one media firestorm later they’re still friends. But will it be enough to convince them that life is worth living after all?

Continue reading A closer look at… A Long Way Down

A closer look at…Effie Gray

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The Scoop

Bright, beautiful young Effie Gray (Dakota Fanning) marries renowned art critic John Ruskin (Greg Wise), a man who is significantly older and wealthier than her, and whom she has known since childhood. To Effie, it seems like a fairy tale – but from their wedding night onwards, something is terribly wrong. The newlyweds move in with Ruskin’s overbearing parents, and over the years which follow, her in-laws interference and her husband’s neglect cause Effie to waste away.

A ray of hope comes in the form of Lady Eastlake (Emma Thompson), an acquaintance who offers a sympathetic ear. A trip to Venice sets Effie’s mind whirling as to the other possibilities which life could offer; and a holiday to Scotland with Ruskin’s handsome protégé Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge) could bring scandal or salvation.

Continue reading A closer look at…Effie Gray

A closer look at… The Railway Man

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The Scoop

Reserved, eccentric Eric Lomax (Colin Firth) loves trains. He spends his time train-spotting at stations, and curating his collection of timetables. It’s when travelling on a train that he meets Patti (Nicole Kidman), a beautiful woman who isn’t put off by his shyness. One whirlwind romance later, and the two are married.

But Eric has a secret, and as they settle into their life together, Patti discovers that he’s a haunted man. He’s dogged by horrifying nightmares and flashbacks, and though he won’t tell her what’s wrong, his friend Finlay (Stellan Skarsgård) agrees to reveal the truth. As young men, they were taken prisoner during the Second World War and forced to work on the notorious Thai-Burma railway.

The young Eric (Jeremy Irvine) and his friends secretly built a radio in the prison camp, and were caught in the act by their Japanese captors. What followed would leave Eric with deep physical and emotional scars – including an enduring hatred for a man called Nagase (Tanroh Ishida/Hiroyuki Sanada). Can Patti help Eric to untangle the pain of the past, and find some kind of peace?

Continue reading A closer look at… The Railway Man

A closer look at… Before I Go To Sleep

This guide comes from our archive. It was written by Rachel Helen Smith.
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The Scoop

Christine (Nicole Kidman) wakes up every morning remembering nothing. Gradually, she pieces things together. Her walls are plastered with photos of her wedding day to help her remember that she is married to Ben (Colin Firth), the man she finds lying next to her in bed. Every drawer is labelled to help her find her clothes and downstairs is a list of her allergies, hobbies and interests. She spends her days working out who she is and simply passing the time until she goes back to sleep and forgets the day’s events all over again.

Her condition is a result of a traumatic accident that she suffered fourteen years ago and which, of course, she cannot remember. Unbeknown to Ben, she has begun a course of treatment with Dr Nash (Mark Strong) in an attempt to help her recall what really happened. He encourages her to keep a video diary of her daily experiences and soon she is beginning to question everything around her. Can she really trust the secretive Dr Nash? What about Ben, who claims to keep certain things hidden from her for the good of their marriage? Or are her concerns simply the products of a paranoid mind?

Continue reading A closer look at… Before I Go To Sleep