Widescreen Weekend at The National Science and Media Museum

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor
Widescreen Weekend

Widescreen Weekend at National Science and Media Museum, Leeds 28 September — 2 October 2023 Tickets from £60 — Book now

Widescreen Weekend returns to Bradford’s National Science and Media Museum’s Pictureville Cinema this Autumn with a programme designed to celebrate the scale and scope of the big screen experience at its best. The venue boasts both an IMAX screen and the only remaining public Cinerama screen in the world, both of which will be getting a work out as audiences are treated to everything from a The Lord of the Rings marathon, to a 60th anniversary screening of local CinemaScope classic Billy Liar.

The line up features such a treasure trove of titles, that it’s difficult to decide what to highlight first. There’s a new 35mm print of Nicolas Ray’s gorgeous Rebel Without a Cause, with the James Dean film selected as part of the BFI’s Keep Film on Film campaign. That’s joined by a 70mm showings of Quentin Tarantino’s 2015 snowbound western, The Hateful Eight and Alfonso Cuaron’s personal 2018 epic Roma.

The fest plays homage to CinemaScope, the superwide anamorphic process on its 70th anniversary. Developed to differentiate cinema from television, Cinemascope dominated screens in the 1950s and 60s as screens became wider and more immersive. Opening night film 1959’s Kaagaz Ke Phool or Paper Flowers was the first South Asian film to be in CinemaScope. While there are also outings for 1953’s The Robe, which was the first ever CinemaScope film, and classic 1955 Disney film Lady and the Tramp, the first animation to use the process.

The venue boasts both an IMAX screen and the only remaining public Cinerama screen in the world

There are also examples of international variations on the process, including the French ‘Franscope’, with a screening of Jacques Demy’s glorious 1967 The Young Girls of Rochefort featuring Gene Kelly, as well as Japan’s ‘TohoScope’, with Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 classic The Hidden Fortress. As if that wasn’t enough, Widescreen Weekend presents Queens of the Scope Age, spotlighting the talents of Joanne Woodward, Deborah Kerr, Jean Simmons, and Hideko Takamine — pulling classics such as Bonjour Tristesse and Guys and Dolls from the archive for your viewing pleasure.

If you’re looking for something a little more contemporary, then there’s that Lord of the Rings marathon, which bring’s Peter Jackson’s films to the unique curved Cinerama screen, for a Saturday night to remember. Meanwhile, festivalgoers have the opportunity to explore the city, with partner screenings and events with Bradford Cathedral, Bradford Queer Film Club, The Unit and The Bradford Movie Makers.

As expertly curated and generously proportioned as ever, Widescreen Weekend full festival passes are on sale now — get ’em while you can.

Widescreen Weekend at National Science and Media Museum, Leeds 28 September — 2 October 2023 Tickets from £60 Book now

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