Cambridge Film Festival returns for its 40th outing

Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy star in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy star in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, which will close this year's Cambridge Film Festival. - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Film Festival.

The Cambridge Film Festival is back next month for its 40th outing with an impressive programme of events including a screening of a new Benedict Cumberbatch movie.

Film lovers can rejoice as Cambridge Film Festival (CFF) prepares for its return with an eclectic showing of 95 titles from 44 countries, 21 UK feature premieres, and a further five features making their European premieres.

This year’s CFF, which celebrates its 40th anniversary – making it the third longest running film festival in the country – is set to go ahead as an in-person event at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse between November 18 and November 25.

The full programme has now been published, with bookings open.

Titane can be seen at the Cambridge Film Festival.

Titane can be seen at the Cambridge Film Festival. - Credit: Carole Bethuel

Movies to be screened include the brutal Cannes Palme d'Or winner, Titane, and the audience award-winner at San Sebastian Film Festival, Petite Maman.

Petite Maman can be seen at this year's Cambridge Film Festival.

Petite Maman can be seen at this year's Cambridge Film Festival. - Credit: Cambridge Film Festival.

The cinema programme also features the main prize winner at Tallin Black Nights Festival, Fear, and The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which is 'hotly tipped’ for an Oscar nomination for Jessica Chastain’s performance, alongside a number of further Oscar contenders.

Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye Bakker and Cherry Jones as Rachel Grover in the film The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye Bakker and Cherry Jones as Rachel Grover in the film The Eyes of Tammy Faye. - Credit: Photo courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2021 20th Century Studios

The festival is also hosting its first ever solo UK-wide digital programme between November 21 and December 5, giving audiences right across the country the opportunity to log on and watch many of the films they cannot see elsewhere or have not yet been released.

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Festival organiser are also proud to highlight that 50 per cent of this year’s titles are female directed. 

CFF executive director Matthew Webb said: “We are thrilled to be welcoming audiences back to the Cambridge Film Festival, taking place this November at the Arts Picturehouse.

"The 40th edition will be a fantastic eight-day celebration with an array of guests, including Ai Weiwei and Darcey Bussell. 

“Céline Sciamma, Andrea Arnold, and Joanna Hogg, all return to a programme that is 50 per cent female-directed, and new voices, Laura Wandel and Laura Samani, deliver striking debuts.

"Films and filmmakers from over 44 countries, including Iran, China, Japan, Turkey, Denmark, Chile, Colombia, France, and Argentina, contribute to a feast of world cinema, including the 26 feature-length films premiering during the festival – which I seriously recommend are not to be missed."

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, which will close this year's Cambridge Film Festival. - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Film Festival

As ever, the hugely popular Cambridge Film Festival presents a diverse programme that organisers promise has something suitable for all tastes, from thrillers and horror, to romance and comedy.

Programme highlights include a new 'Gala Screenings' strand, presenting some of the most high-profile films, 'International Festival Highlights', showcasing exceptional award-winning cinema from the world's festival circuit, the ever-popular 'Camera Catalonia' strand, and a special window into contemporary Japanese cinema – in partnership with the BFI (British Film Institute).

There's also a selection of films embracing the emotional complexities of life, a series of screenings that explore the world of eco farming, migration, racism, politics, and unity, and a curated programme of short films from around the world.

Ali (Adeel Akhtar) and Ava (Claire Rushbrook) in Ali & Ava.

Ali (Adeel Akhtar) and Ava (Claire Rushbrook) in Ali & Ava. - Credit: Altitude

Opening night at CFF is always a big deal and this year is no exception with the screening of the feature film Ali & Ava. 

Clio Bernard's latest film explores themes of happiness, belonging, and confronting racism.

Ultimately, it is also a story about reconciliation and finding one's path.

Ali (Adeel Akhtar) and Ava (Claire Rushbrook) in Ali & Ava.

Ali (Adeel Akhtar) and Ava (Claire Rushbrook) in Ali & Ava. - Credit: Altitude

The festival’s closing night movie on November 25 delivers another big hitter with the feature film The Electrical Life of Louis Wain.

Claire Foy and Benedict Cumberbatch star in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Claire Foy and Benedict Cumberbatch star in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, which will close this year's Cambridge Film Festival. - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Film Festival.

Claire Foy and Benedict Cumberbatch lead an all-star cast in the film which features narration by Oscar winner Olivia Colman and cameos from Taika Waititi, Richard Ayoade, Aimee Lou Wood, Nick Cave, Toby Jones, and Sophia di Martino.

Adeel Akhtar, who stars in Ali & Ava, also makes his second appearance in the festival.

Director Will Sharpe, a Cambridge Footlights alumni, highlights both Louis Wain's (Cumberbatch) eccentricities as well as his role in popularising cats through his prolific painting efforts.

Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye Bakker and Andrew Garfield as Jim Bakker in the film The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye Bakker and Andrew Garfield as Jim Bakker in the film The Eyes of Tammy Faye. - Credit: Photo by Daniel McFadden. © 2021 20th Century Studios.

The Gala Screenings strand features a series of outstanding feature films, including The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Michael Showalter (The Big Sick) returns with a humanising and gloriously colourful portrayal of 1970s global televangelist phenomenon Tammy Faye, played by Jessica Chastain.

Chastain's transformation into character has her tipped for an Academy Award.

Titane can be seen at the Cambridge Film Festival.

Titane can be seen at the Cambridge Film Festival. - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Film Festival.

In Titane, Julia Ducournau presents a brutal, intense, traumatic and hypnotic ride. It features exceptional performances by Agathe Rousselle and Vincent Lindon.

Weaving together many cues from Cronenberg to Tarantino, tied together with an almost human body-like score, Ducournau became only the second woman ever to win the coveted Palme d'Or.

Titane can be seen at the Cambridge Film Festival.

Titane can be seen at the Cambridge Film Festival. - Credit: Carole Bethuel

For more on the Cambridge Film Festival, visit camfilmfest.com

The Cambridge Film Festival is made possible with support of the BFI Film Audience Network, awarding funds from the National Lottery to bring this project to more audiences across the UK.


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