Dates and times may be subject to change. For up-to-date details, see the websites of the venues listed below.
piazza Strozzi 2, tel. 055/295051
From Disney, Kenneth Branagh’s live-action version of the classic fairy story is lush, colourful, fast-paced and self-consciously (post)modern. Helena Bonham-Carter does what she does best as the Fairy Godmother. ‘Nearly a century after that black-and-white cartoon short, and 65 years after a “classic” animated feature that missed the mark, Disney finally got Cinderella right—for now and, happily, ever after’ (Time). ‘Like all of Branagh’s films, even some of the bad ones, Cinderella is practically Wagnerian in its ambitions—it’s so swaggering in its confidence that at times it almost commands us to like it. But it’s also unexpectedly delicate in all the right ways, and uncompromisingly beautiful to look at’ (Village Voice). ‘For all its gossamer, gauze, filigree and refinement, Cinderella drags when it should skip as lightly as its title character when she’s late getting home from the ball’ (Washington Post).
Adaptation of Irène Némirovsky’s celebrated novel. France, 1940. The repressed existence of ‘war widow’ Lucile in a small town is turned around when love blossoms between her and a handsome Nazi officer of the occupying forces. ‘The film is not without its problems—Michelle Williams is an elusive lead, and a wide array of characters come at the expense of depth—but it’s a knotty, thoughtful piece of work nonetheless (Time Out London). ‘Well-played and divertingly handsome, it’s one of those pedigreed visions of love and war which backs away from specifics, reassuring us almost to death with its lavish craft. It’s thoroughly easy to sit through, when it should probably have been harder’ (Telegraph).
INTO THE WOODS
Into the Woods is a modern twist on the Brothers Grimm’s versions of the fairy tales Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel, combining them with an original story in a comedy musical. ‘It benefits from respect for the source material, enticing production values and a populous gallery of sharp character portraits from a delightful cast’ (Hollywood Reporter). ‘Yes, the sets and costumes elicit swoons, but it’s the peerless Sondheim score, however truncated, that makes this Woods a prime destination’ (Rolling Stone). ‘There are brilliant, bewitching moments allied to hilarious and touching ones. Just not enough of them in what veers, at length, between the clever, the terrifying and the bit tiring’ (Empire).
BRITISH INSTITUTE of Florence
Lungarno Guicciardini, 9
April 15 – 8pm
Said by many to be the first postmodern movie, Ridley Scott’s impeccably crafted dystopian sci-fi masterpiece is a fitting opening to a season of movies illustrative of the traits that make up the fabric of postmodern movies. Combining the tropes of the film noir detective genre with the dark vision of Philip K. Dick’s futuristic novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? set in a not so far off Los Angeles 2019, the movie explores the fundamental issues of life in its protagonist’s quest to distinguish replicant from human. ‘This is perhaps the only science-fiction film that can be called transcendental’ (Entertainment Weekly). ‘Blade Runner fully and richly deserves its reputation. It is simply one of the most extraordinary films ever made’ (BBC Films).
April 22 – 8pm
LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST
This year Shakespeare Week highlights the comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost, in which the King of Navarre and three companions vow to desist from frivolous romantic pursuits in order to dedicate themselves to a life of study—with fairly predictable results when the Princess of France and her three companions enter the scene. Kenneth Branagh’s 2000 version turns Shakespeare’s courtly romance into a 1930s-style romantic musical comedy, with retro dance numbers and classic songs. ‘Labour teeters on the edge of the amateur. Yet it’s hard not to root for its moonstruck spirit, or to succumb to the panache of the pastiche’ (Newsweek).
April 29, 8pm
Terry Gilliam’s early masterpiece Brazil ‘is a surrealistic nightmare vision of a “perfect” future where technology reigns supreme. Everyone is monitored by a secret government agency that forbids love to interfere with efficiency. When a daydreaming bureaucrat becomes unwittingly involved with an underground superhero and a beautiful mystery woman, he becomes the tragic victim of his own romantic illusions’ (Universal Pictures). It is also a richly rewarding exemplary postmodern movie showcasing the trend. ‘It remains a stunning achievement, if nearly as exhausting and frustrating as the Tex Avery bureaucracy it roasts, but Gilliam’s stylistic dysfunctionalities, art-directed out of junkyards, are what still percolate in the forebrain’ (Village Voice).