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Cinema: An unforgettable classic

Watership Down
Watership Down

After last week’s foray into animations for children we’re going full blast into animations of a more sophisticated and political kind at the Showroom this week with a new season - Animation Nation.

Starting on Wednesday 11 April and running for eight weeks, it’s a rollercoaster ride through landmark animated films from the UK.

From early stop-motion to animated cut-outs, traditional hand drawn cel animation, and more recently CGI, innovation has always been at the heart of animation in Britain. Running alongside Anim18 (a UK wide celebration of animation from childhood favourites to experimental shorts, past, present, and future) we’ll be delving deeper into stories allegorical, bloodthirsty, pastoral and piercing and bringing the past right up to the present with four seminal animations.

Hopefully the Easter Bunny will have safely retreated back to its burrow by Wednesday because first up, it’s the 1978 adaptation of Richard Adams’ ground-breaking adventure Watership Down: a film that resolutely refuses to schmaltz the brutal realities of our world for a multi-generational audience. Two rabbits called Hazel and Fiver are brothers living in harmony in the idyllic countryside until Hazel has a frighteningly apocalyptic vision of imminent destruction and they flee their homeland for safer ground. Out in the wide world they encounter many worries, wonders and terrors. It’s a beautiful, complicated and unforgettable classic rarely seen on the big screen. Other films in the season include the first ever British animated feature, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, as well as Raymond Briggs’ When the Wind Blows and Aardman’s Curse of the Wererabbit. Each film will be accompanied the following week by a film studies lecture by Shelley O’Brien, senior lecturer in stage and screen at Sheffield Hallam University. So, sign up for the full film studies course if you fancy really digging a little bit deeper into the warren. If you like your rabbits slightly more flopsy, mopsy and cotton-tailed then Peter Rabbit also hits the Showroom this week!

BSL Films: When the British short film A Silent Child won this year’s Oscar for Best Live Action Short it was a wonderful watershed moment for equality in film.

The story of a profoundly deaf child, Libby – it uncovers battles between languages and barriers to communication in one of the first times that a film like this has received mainstream exposure.

We’re delighted to be screening A Silent Child on Monday April 9 as part of Lives In Sign language: a programme of contemporary short films that foreground the richness of D/deaf culture and experience.