A night at the opera with Filmspot

Hello Filmspotters!
We are getting tuned up and ready for our screening of Mike Leigh’s delightful ‘Topsy Turvy’ this Saturday at Isfield Village Hall (6.45pm for 7pm screening, tickets £6 on the door, including wine and nibbles!). Telling the story of Gilbert and Sullivan while they were creating ‘The Mikado’, it has got us in the mood for opera!

Here are a few of our favourite opera-related films
Tales of Hoffman (1951)

We are huge fans of Powell and Pressburger here at Filmspot HQ. In this sumptuous adaptation of Offenbach’s fantasy opera, they brought together many of the team who worked on ‘The Red Shoes’. Their audatious, theatrical style works beautifully. Celebrated director Cecil B Demille is said to have written ‘For the first time in my life, I was treated to Grand Oepra where the beauty, power and scope of the music was equally matched by the visual presentation’.

The Magic Flute (1975)

Considerably lightly than many of this director’s other works, Ingmar Bergman has created an adaptation of one of Mozart’s best-loved works that is undeniably his own: a celebration of love, forgiveness, and the brotherhood of man.
Rigoletto (1993)

A shortened telling of Verdi’s masterpiece – the only criticism of this exquisite rendering of the opera is that its 30 minute run time does not do it justice. That said, it is too beautiful to overlook – Barry Purves is the master of detailed stop motion animation, sadly less known than he should be outside the animation world.
Ruddigore (1964)

British studio Halas & Batchelor’s take on Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘Ruddigore’ is notably the first UK animated TV special, as well as being the first operetta to be animated. Made with the co-operation of the D’Oyle Carte Opera Company, who provide the voices, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, who provide the music, it tells the story of a line of British baronets are cursed to commit a crime every day…or die!
Night at the Opera (1935)

Ok, possibly not an ‘opera film’ as such, but we had to include the Marx Brothers hilarious farce, in which they sabotage an opening night of an opera. A box office smash, the film is also considered to be one of the Marx Brothers’ finest films, being selected for inclusion in the US National Film Registry in 1993.

We hope to see you at Isfield Village Hall this Saturday!

Launching into Summer 2015

Hello there Filmspotters!

We’ve had a fantastic Spring, with launching our new community cinema project with Isfield Village Hall, and a very successful and atmospheric live scored screening of ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’ at St Nicholas Church in Brighton. A full update follows below, but first, here are details of our next two screenings at Isfield Village Hall:

27 June: Topsy-Turvy

Mike Leigh’s charming ‘Topsy-Turvy’, is a musical period comedy-drama about Gilbert and Sullivan. A wonderful meditation on the creation of art, Topsy-Turvy catches Gilbert and Sullivan at a crossroads in their illustrious careers. Having scored numerous hits (like The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore), they’ve reached a creative dry spot with their latest, Princess Ida. Composer Sullivan (Allan Corduner) despairs of ever being taken seriously, and vows to write a “serious” piece, much to the consternation of librettist Gilbert (Jim Broadbent), who’s flummoxed and unyielding when asked to change another of his whimsical, “topsy-turvy” scenarios. All seems lost when, thanks to his wife’s insistence, Gilbert attends a Japanese exposition in London, and faster than you can say “Three little maids from school are we”, inspiration strikes!

22 August: Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson had been away from live-action film making for half a decade before the release of ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ in 2012. A mix of romance, comedy and drama, Moonrise Kingdom is set in 1965 and centres on a pair of twelve-year-olds who decide to run away together. Cue the inevitable search party, featuring the likes of Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Frances McDormand, and the scene is set for one of Anderson’s trademark off-the-wall pieces of cinema. Quirky, funny and with a real identity that sets it apart, ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ is an excellent film, and one that lingers around your brain long after the credits have rolled.

Tickets for both these events cost £6, and include complementary wine and nibbles! The doors open at 6.45pm, with the film starting at 7pm.

Booking is highly recommended, as our last screening was SOLD OUT (see report below), to reserve your tickets, email info@isfieldvillagehall.org.uk


We kicked off Spring with our first event for the Isfield Village Hall community cinema, screening Life of Pi to a small, but very enthusiastic audience. We built upon this for our second, and most recent event at Isfield, showing Singin’ in the Rain to a full house.

Welcoming the audience to Isfield VIllage Hall

Welcoming the audience to Isfield VIllage Hall


The audience enjoying ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ at Isfield Village Hall

In April, we worked with the incredibly talented composer-pianist, Joss Peach, to premiere a new re-scored Anthony Asquith silent, ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’, to a full house at St Nicholas’ Church in Brighton. The screening was very popular, with many attendees writing to us afterwards to say how much the enjoyed the film. We’re now excited to be able to offer this atmospheric film elsewhere, and hope to tour it throughout Sussex and the South of England. If you know have a venue in mind that may be suitable for a screening, do please get in touch! Keep an eye on the Filmspot website and blog for details of future screenings. We shall be uploading some short video extracts from the performance to our YouTube channel shortly – remember to follow us on Twitter and check back here for news!

'A Cottage on Dartmoor' - performance in St Nicholas' Church, Brighton

‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’ – performance in St Nicholas’ Church, Brighton

Finallywe are very pleased to be supporting Sussex Downs College students and Lewes Youth Theatre, with their exciting performance of ‘BEOWULF: The Experience’ at Newhaven Fort this Friday, 5 June. For full details, and to book your tickets, please follow this link.

In honour of our upcoming screening of Topsy-Turvy, we shall be blogging some of our favourite opera-related films in the next couple of weeks, so remember to check back soon!