Skip to main content
Empire of Light, director Sam Mendes, starring Olivia Colman

Empire of Light

This event has passed

A valentine to the movies from 1917 and Skyfall director Sam Mendes (here taking a solo screenplay credit for the first time), set in and around an English seaside cinema in the early 1980s. For Hilary (Olivia Colman), it’s not the most glamorous job in the world, shoveling popcorn and warmed over dogs for a dwindling number of punters, and sordid backroom fumblings with her manager (Colin Firth) don’t make her feel any better about herself. But when young, good-looking Stephen (Micheal Ward) joins the team, her outlook soon brightens. Indeed, the two of them forge an unexpectedly intense bond.

Colman must be odds-on favourite to make it four Academy Award nominations in five years for her deeply affecting and acutely nuanced portrait of an unhappy woman rediscovering her sense of joy. But there is another story going on here: Stephen is Black, and not likely to forget it in the racially entrenched and divisive surroundings of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain. Small wonder the lovers seek refuge in their dreams.

Master cinematographer (and Mendes regular) Roger Deakins conjures all his wizardry here, and the Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross score pulls everything together. Mendes has helmed a transformative movie.

 

Director

Sam Mendes

Cast

Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, Tom Brooke

Credits
Country of Origin

UK/USA

Year

2022

Language

English

18+
119 min
Drama Romance

Book Tickets

This event has passed.

Missing VIFF? Check out what’s playing at the VIFF Centre

Chicken For Linda!

Husband and wife duo Chiara Malta and Sébastien Laudenbach (The Girl Without Hands) evoke the freewheeling farcical slapstick spirit of Jacques Tati and the palette of Henri Matisse in this sparkling animated gem for all ages.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre VIFF Centre - Lochmaddy Studio Theatre

Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World

Radu Jude takes two days in the life of a stressed Romanian p.a. and gives us an urgent, pissed off, sourly funny polemic on the state of late capitalism. Exploitation, discrimination and hypocrisy are his targets; dialectics are his dynamite.

VIFF Centre - Lochmaddy Studio Theatre VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

Before I Change My Mind

Trevor Anderson's coming of age movie -- set in Edmonton, 1987 -- slyly subverts expectations, embracing complexity and contradiction in its nuanced take on fledgling identities, while delivering laugh-out-loud moments and big emotional showdowns.

VIFF Centre - Lochmaddy Studio Theatre

A Matter of Life and Death

In this splendid WWII fantasy, RAF pilot Peter (David Niven) cheats death when his plane is downed over the Channel. Washing up on an English beach, he must plead his case for a life extension in the highest court of them all...

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

The Zone of Interest

Glazer's award-winning film follows Hedwig Höss (Sandra Hüller), mother of five, and wife to Rudolph. They live in an idyllic villa with a the bucolic garden, literally a stone's throw from Rudolph's place of work -- he's Camp Commandant at Auschwitz.

VIFF Centre - Lochmaddy Studio Theatre VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

500 Days in the Wild

Ten years ago Dianne Whelan decided to trek across Turtle Island, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the Arctic Oceans, along the Trans-Canada Trail... All 24, 000 km of it. Little did she know what was in store...

VIFF Centre - Lochmaddy Studio Theatre

Credits

Michael Lerman, Julie Pastor

Producer

Pippa Harris, Sam Mendes

Screenwriter

Sam Mendes

Cinematography

Roger Deakins

Editor

Lee Smith

Production Design

Mark Tildesley

Original Music

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross