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LIFF 2021 at the Howard Assembly Room

We’re delighted to be the main historic venue for this year’s Leeds International Film Festival, returning to our cinematic roots to host 20 screenings including Matthew Bourne’s live soundtrack for The Crowd – part of our long-running FILMusic series.

Other highlights include two events in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute marking the centenary of the great science fiction writer Stanisław Lem; cult Japanese cinema old and new; and LIFF’s World Animation Competition, presenting a selection of new shorts from around the world over three screenings.

Tickets for all our screenings apart from The Crowd can be booked via the LIFF website, where you can also find more info on a range of money-saving passes. Alternatively, you can book over the phone on 0113 376 0318 (lines open: before 1 November, 10am–5pm Tuesday to Saturday; from 1–18 November, 10am–5pm Monday to Sunday). Booking in person is available at the Carriageworks Theatre. Tickets will be available on the door where there is capacity, but advanced booking is recommended.

The Parallel Street

Dir. Ferdinand Khittl | West Germany | 1962 | 1hr 26min | German with subtitles | Kafkaesque Cinema

Fri 5 Nov 3.15pm, Sat 13 Nov 1.00pm
This poetic, puzzle-like meta-doc binds together the themes of LIFF 2021’s Kafkaesque selection. Five men sit in a dimly-lit room, where they must solve a series of obscure documents. Intercut with travelogue-style footage, it’s an early highlight of the New German Cinema, and a precursor to Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil.
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Flee

Dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen | Denmark, France, Sweden, Norway | 2021 | 1hr 23min | Danish, Dari, Russian, Swedish | Cinema Versa

Fri 5 Nov 5.45pm, Sat 6 Nov 8.30pm
Heartfelt interviews with Amin, who’s about to marry the man he loves, combine with animation and archive footage to reveal his hidden past, and his extraordinary journey as a child refugee, without revealing his identity.
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Funeral Parade of Roses

Dir. Toshio Matsumoto | Japan | 1969 | 1hr 45min | Japanese with subtitles & English | Rear View

Fri 5 Nov 8.15pm
The radical heart of Japan beats loudly in this nimble melange of late-60s queer/transgender/underground Tokyo culture, Greek tragedy, documentary, parody and schlock horror, all twisted up in a time-shifting structure and fearless stylistic shifts.
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SOA + Pripyat Piano

Dir. Raquel Castro | Portugal | 2020 | 1hr 11min + 18min (short) | Portuguese, Japanese with subtitles & English | Cinema Versa

Sat 6 Nov 12.45pm, Mon 8 Nov 12.30pm
Soundwalkers, sound artists and theorists, field recordists, scientists and architects share fascinating insights into the sonic environment in this extraordinary film about listening and sound that doubles as an aural collage. Screened with Eliška Cílková’s short exploring abandoned pianos in the Chernobyl radiation zone.
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The Witness 

Dir. Péter Bacsó | Hungary | 1969 | 1hr 45min | Hungarian with subtitles | Rear View 

Sat 6 Nov 3.15pm
One of the greatest satires of communism, The Witness was banned for over a decade in Hungary. Ferenc Kállai gives a brilliant comic performance as József Pelikán, an ordinary dike keeper whose troubles begin when he rescues a government official from the River Danube.
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Cow

Dir. Andrea Arnold | UK | 2021 | 1hr 33min | English | Cinema Versa

Sat 6 Nov 6.00pm, Mon 8 Nov 3.00pm
A simple, empathetic and patient approach to documentary is applied to moving effect to Luma, a dairy cow. A long-held passion-project by director Andrea Arnold (Wuthering Heights, American Honey), whose sympathy with female bodies again proffers a unique gaze.
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Throne of Blood  

Dir. Akira Kurosawa | Japan | 1957 | 1hr 50min | Japanese with subtitles | Cert 12A | Rear View 

Sun 7 Nov 7.00pm
Featuring longtime collaborator Toshiro Mifune, Kurosawa’s restaging of Macbeth in Japan’s Middle Ages is electrifying in battle action; crazy in close-up.

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Stanisław Lem Shorts + Sci-fi & Fact Panel 

Films + panel approx. 1h 45min | Polish with subtitles | Rear View | Stanisław Lem Centenary in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute and the University of Leeds

Mon 8 Nov 5.30pm
Legendary animators the Quay Brothers appear in person to present their new short film primer, 11 Preliminatory Orbits Around Planet Lem, alongside Maska, a beautiful adaptation of one of Lem’s short stories made in 2010. Andrzej Wajda’s 1968 short Roly Poly also screens, with a panel discussion exploring Lem’s legacy to follow.
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Pilot Pirx’s Inquest  

Dir. Marek Piestrak | Poland, Soviet Union | 1979 | 1hr 35min | Rear View | Stanisław Lem Centenary presented in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute

Mon 8 Nov 8.30pm
This rarely-screened adaptation of a story by Stanisław Lem follows his most famous character, the space age everyman turned heroic pilot. Sent on a mission to Saturn to evaluate androids which are supposedly indistinguishable from humans, he knows one of the crew members is a robot, but he doesn’t know which one, leading to a dangerous game with his secret opponent.
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The Crowd with Live Score from Matthew Bourne

Dir. King Vidor | USA | 1928 | 1hr 38min | English intertitles| Rear View

Thu 11 Nov 7.45pm
King Vidor’s silent classic – a landmark in realist filmmaking and a lacerating critique of the American dream – is presented with a live accompaniment by pianist Matthew Bourne.
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Wool 100% 

Dir. Mai Tominaga | Japan | 2006 | 1hr 40min | Japanese with subtitles | Cert PG | Fanomenon | Planet Japan 

Fri 12 Nov 1.00pm
A charming yarn about yearning featuring two old sisters whose home has been taken over by their collected junk. One day they discover a mysterious young woman who knits obsessively with the red wool that they found.
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Angel’s Egg

Dir. Mamoru Oshii | Japan | 1985 | 1hr 11min | Japanese with subtitles | Fanomenon | Planet Japan

Fri 12 Nov, 3.45pm
One of the earliest films from Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell), Angel’s Egg has an almost mythical status – a mysterious and mystical anime that audiences rarely get the opportunity to see. Set in a vast abandoned city, it follows the journey of a girl guarding a giant egg and her soldier companion who tells biblical-like tales.
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Summer Ghost + pre-recorded Q&A

Dir. Loundraw | Japan | 2021 | 45min + 30min Q&A | Japanese with subtitles | Fanomenon | Planet Japan

Fri 12 Nov 6.00pm
An urban legend tells of the ghost of a young woman who appears when fireworks are lit. Unable to find their place in the world, three high school students each have their own reasons for meeting the her. One warm summer night, when life and death intersect, where will their emotions take them?
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World Animation Competition 1 

11 shorts | 10 countries | 2020 & 2021 | 1hr 32min | Multiple languages with subtitles & English

Fri 12 Nov, 8.30pm
From festival awards winners, to debut student films, enjoy a collection of the brightest and best. Joanna Quinn’s new film Affairs of the Art won Best Animation at Clermont-Ferrand this year; and Hide is the latest from Daniel Gray, who wowed us back in 2015 with Teeth
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World Animation Competition 2 

11 shorts | 8 countries | 2020 & 2021 | 1hr 34min | Multiple languages with subtitles & English 

Sat 13 Nov, 3.30pm
Films from Canada, Russia, Czech Republic, Spain and two bizarre new films from Belgium: the brilliant Easter Eggs, a tale of two misfit friends directed by Nicolas Keppens which popped up at Berlinale and Fantoche this year; and Dries Bogaert’s Dissolution, an oddly sublime study of disobedience and consequences.
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Final Account

Dir. Luke Holland | UK, USA | 2020 | 1hr 34min | German with subtitles

Sat 13 Nov 6.00pm
British filmmaker Luke Holland’s raw and urgent documentary – featuring in-depth witness statements, previously unseen archival material, and haunting present day footage – reflects on how otherwise ordinary people in Nazi Germany took part in the most extraordinary of all human crimes.
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World Animation Competition 3 

10 shorts | 8 countries | 2020 & 2021 | 1hr 32min | Multiple languages with subtitles & English 

Sat 13 Nov 8.30pm
An epic vision of society in Korean film Opera, directed by professional animator Erick Oh; philosophy over a plate of cakes in Prince in a Pastry Shop by Kraków Film graduate Katarzyna Agopsowicz; and an encounter with three rather odd couples in Norwegian student film Pearl Diver by Margrethe Danielsen.
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