EMPIRE OF LIGHT – Review by Susan Granger

Oscar-and-BAFTA nominated for Best Cinematography, Empire of Light is set in 1981 in Margate, a small seaside town in Britain, where middle-aged Hilary Small (Olivia Colman) is the forlorn second-in-command at the Empire Cinema, a fading movie palace. Accepting his 16th Academy Award nomination, cinematographer Roger Deakins explained, “I think this film is about companionship. Hilary has this world with her fellow workers, that sort of friendship beings something more into her life, an existence without a great horizon.”

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EMPIRE OF LIGHT – Review by Diane Carson

Empire of Light is a love letter to 1980s cinema. Writer/director Sam Mendes goes behind the scenes to reveal the lives of those who whisked viewers into another world while battling their own demons and society’s racism, sexual predation, and mental health struggles. Behind the glimmer and glamor of that magical theater and blinding projector’s light existed a real, troubled world from which imagination offered escape, the establishment of a surrogate, supportive family.

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EMPIRE OF LIGHT (TIFF 2022) – Review by Cate Marquis

Empire of Light takes place in a grand old movie theater that is now slowly fading away in early 1980s, with a loyal movie-loving staff still selling tickets and popcorn to dwindling audiences. You would expect such a movie to be a love letter to the movies, or at least old movie theaters, fondly recalling the glory days of actual film on reels and the magic of movies. Writer/director Sam Mendes’ nostalgic drama does start out that way, but then it drifts off into something else, a plot touching on mental illness and racial tensions in the 1980s, and involving a May-October romance.

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Telluride Film Fest 2022: A Woman’s Wrap – Diane Carson reports

Over Labor Day weekend, the 49th Telluride Film Festival presented thought-provoking films to its full complement of attendees, a nice rebound from the all-mask 2021 event. As always, no one could come close to seeing all the enticing films on offer, so tough choices and constant second guessing rules. This year women directed and dominated exceptionally strong selections that tell stories of quite different time periods and subjects. Intelligently and insightfully observing internal and external struggles, revealing the specificity of contemporary and historical pressures (so remarkably relevant today), the fest’s films reached out and inspired as they informed. We are, indeed, a global community.

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1917 – Review by Brandy McDonnell

The film – which just earned two Golden Globes, for best dramatic motion picture and best movie director for Sam Mendes – was brilliantly devised, written and lensed to look as if it was shot in one long, unbroken take. Between the clever work of Roger Deakins and editor Lee Smith, it’s an incredible technical marvel.

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1917 – Review by Martha K Baker

In 1917, the doughboys fighting the Great War still thought they’d be home by Christmas. The film “1917” tells the story of two of those soldiers, Lieutenants Blake and Scofield. They are assigned an impossible task, one that makes the goal of “Saving Private Ryan” seem like tiddlywinks.

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1917 – Review by Susan Granger

What’s extraordinary about Sam Mendes’ epic W.W.I film is that it follows the harrowing journey of two young British infantryman in one seemingly continuous shot. On April 6, 1917, when phone lines have been cut on the Hindenberg Line in France, Lance Corporal Blake is summoned to deliver an important directive preventing a planned advance to the front because the Germans have set an ambush.

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