Empire of Light among the New Park films this week in Chichester

Empire of Light, Sam Mendes’ personal love letter to cinema, begins a two-week stint at the New Park.
Empire of LightEmpire of Light
Empire of Light

A celebration of big-screen escapism, a study of loneliness, and a call for viewers not to give up on themselves or each other, it is writer-director Sam Mendes' most personal work to date - and his first solo script. Set in a seaside cinema in the early 80s, it charts the relationship between duty manager Hilary (Olivia Colman) and new usher Stephen (Micheal Ward). The leads are excellent. Toby Jones finds every bit of gold in his role as their projectionist colleague. The work of cinematographer Roger Deakins and composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is magical, heightening the cocoon feeling of a trip to the pictures.

I Wanna Dance with Somebody is the joyous, emotional, heart-breaking celebration of the life and music of Whitney Houston, one of the greatest female R&B pop vocalists of all time. There’s never a false note in Naomi Ackie’s performance. It feels effortless, avoiding any sense of imitation and she fully inhabits the role.

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Where is Anne Frank begins with a miracle, Kitty, the imaginary friend to whom Anne Frank writes in her famous diary, comes to life in present-day Amsterdam. Unaware that 75 years have gone by, Kitty is convinced that if she's alive, then Anne must be alive too. It's the beginning of an adventurous journey. It's the story of Kitty's quest across Europe searching for her beloved friend.

Richard Warburton

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