Sam Mendes / GB, US, 2022 / 115 min.
The Brit Sam Mendes (1965) discovered the magic of cinema during his teens. Nevertheless, Empire of Light which is set in 1981 and which he wrote during the Covid pandemic remains largely nostalgia-free. About cinemas as refuges for lost souls.
The Empire is such a beautiful art-deco cinema palace that it lends even the seediest British seaside town some allure. It is also where outsiders feel at home. Like the manager Hilary (Olivia Colman) who is recovering from a nervous breakdown and the dedicated operator Norman (Toby Jones). The arrival of a young, new employee, the Afro-Caribbean Stephen (Michael Ward) creates a stir on multiple fronts. First of all in Hilary’s heart, as she finally dares to show her true self. However, set as it is in the early 1980s, a period of great societal upheaval, they also have to contend with violence from racist skinheads.
Empire of Light