Take a look at the highlights of Gloucester Guildhall's film programme for December in this guest blog by Simon Nicholls, Film Programmer at Gloucester Guildhall, as well as gaining an insight into Simon's passion for cinema.

As the Film Programmer at Gloucester Guildhall, I believe that film and its history is more relevant today than ever before, and should and can be enjoyed by all.

My own cinema experience started with a trip to the cinema back in 1968. As an excited 7-year-old, my father came home one Friday evening and announced that we were off to see a new space film. Back then, films were released slowly and eventually made their way to the suburbs, sometimes 6 months after release, so a trip to the big city to see a brand-new release was a huge occasion. What happened that night changed my life for ever. The cinema in question was the ABC Bristol Road Birmingham, and the “space film” was 2001: A Space Odyssey. Everything about the experience was huge, from the cavernous auditorium to the incredible curved screen and projected 70mm image to the stunning multi-track sound that came from every corner of the theatre.

When I recount this story to those who are willing to listen, I always remind them that at that time I was watching TV on a small square black and white screen that took 5 minutes to spring to life, and any music I listened to was heard from a crackly mono record player. Man was getting ready to land on the moon for the first time and Thunderbirds was a TV programme of choice. Kubrick’s classic was not only my introduction to the technical achievements that cinema could deliver, but also to my education in classical music.

Subsequently, as a result of our visit, we upgraded our record player to a superb HMV stereogram (still working to this day) and replaced the old mono LP vinyl soundtrack recording with a stereo version and the rest, as they say, is history.

As I grew up, I explored my new found passion via my school’s 16mm Film Society, and remember programming my very first season when I was about 14. I think the first film I booked and screened was the Clint Eastwood Western Hang ‘Em High, which went down very well indeed. Interestingly, it’s great to know that Clint is still making movies today and his latest release Cry Macho will be screening at the Guildhall in December.

Whilst the Guildhall Cinema may not be the cavernous space I remember from my youth, it does offer the perfect intimate environment to watch a wide selection of films, all carefully selected to appeal to the widest possible audience. When you do visit, hopefully the passion for cinema that goes behind the programming shines through.

What's on in December?

Looking forward to December, I thought I should highlight just a couple of films from our latest programme.

Petite Maman

Early on in the month, we have the latest feature from French filmmaker Céline Sciamma who wowed Cannes with last year’s Portrait of a Lady On Fire. Petite Maman has been described as a near perfect masterpiece by several critics, and this gentle fable is surely a way to begin to discover the charm of French Cinema.

Cry Macho

After an amazing lifetime of filmmaking, Clint Eastwood’s latest Cry Macho is screening just because its Clint Eastwood and it would be rude not to include his work in our programme! After Gran Torino, Clint said he was going to retire from in front of the camera but clearly he missed his acting too much as he both stars and directs.


Back in 1981, David Lynch made a version of Frank Herbert’s novel Dune which was received with mixed reviews mainly due to the special effects which were left wanting. With modern computing power, director Denis Villeneuve has completed the start of a trilogy likely to compete with Peter Jackson’s re-imagining of Lord Of the Rings.

Christmas Films

Finally, and with Christmas just around the corner, look out for new and old Christmas favourites, including Muppet Christmas Carol with a wonderful additional workshop for children as part of a seasonal package. With limited spaces, make sure to book early.

For more details and to check out the full programme, click here




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