Films around Cheltenham from 22 May 2022

Cheltenham International Film Festival

Never mind “around “Cheltenham, the big news this week is the opening of the Cheltenham International Film Festival, which opens on Monday evening at the Playhouse with The Good Boss, a Spanish comedy directed by Fernando Alon de Aranoa and starring the magnificent Javier Bardem.

There are probably more international films screening in the next two weeks than we have seen all year in this area. The country focus is on Ukraine, and there will be three films from that country: Reflection on Saturday, and the following week Olga and Rhino, both with Q & A sessions afterwards.

Highlights of week one include Waiting for Bojangles and Eiffel, both starring Romain Duris; Between Two Worlds starring Juliette Binoche as a writer who takes a job as a cleaner on a cross channel ferry; and Abu Omar, an Israeli/French co-production telling the story of a bereaved father intent on returning the body of his son to the Occupied West Bank. On Thursday 6th May at 3pm at the Pump Room there is a very special event: Dame Judi Dench in conversation with Jonathan Dean of the Sunday Times‘s culture section. Bound to be full of humour and a wealth of anecdotes from Dame Judi’s career.

Films are showing at various venues in and near Cheltenham including the Playhouse, the Parabola and the Roses Tewkesbury. If you are unable to get to the screenings, many films are also available to stream online. For full details see


Very little change at either Cheltenham or Gloucester Cineworld this week, but both have Top Gun: Maverick, (dir. Joseph Kosinski), a somewhat belated sequel to the original Top Gun of 1986, starting on Wednesday. Tom Cruise reprises his role as the US Navy’s top fighter pilot, who has to train a new team of elite pilots to carry out a raid on a nuclear enrichment plant located in an unnamed enemy state. The Cheltenham Cineworld is showing Benediction, a biographical film about the poet Siegfried Sassoon, directed by Terence Davies. This film has divided critical opinion, including amongst the contributors to this august newsletter. (Full declaration: I like it. PW) There is already much material about the poets of World War One, but less attention has been paid to the later lives of those who survived. There are flashbacks to the war of course, but the film’s main focus is on Sassoon’s experiences through the brittle and often superficial “Roaring Twenties”, his homosexuality, his marriage and his crises of faith as he sought the benediction of the title. Jack Lowden plays Sassoon as a young man and Peter Capaldi is the older version. Many of the locations for filming are local to this area: the eagle-eyed amongst you might spot Kidderminster, Leamington Spa and the grander parts of Wolverhampton. (PW)


The Tivoli is also showing Benediction, as well as continuing with Downton, Dr Strange, Operation Mincemeat and Everything Everywhere all at Once (PW)


There are a few more showings of The Northman, and, one can only hope, the last throes of Downturn and Mincemeat. (PW)


The Sherborne has Downton Abbey all week, with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 at the weekend(PW)

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