Cinema: City of Sanctuary’s spirit

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Sheffield celebrated the tenth anniversary since it became the UK’s first City of Sanctuary this week and this spirit of welcoming and celebrating newcomers to the city and offering sanctuary and support is one of the strongest feelings that visitors and new arrivals often notice when coming to our city.

Migration Matters festival, which is running now at Theatre Delicatessen, DINA, Sheffield Theatres and other venues around the city offers a real wealth of art-forms meeting to tell stories of international celebration, migration and home. Sheffield has a proud history of accommodating those most in need and Migration Matters aims to continue that support, bringing the city together, to share and to celebrate.

The Showroom’s contribution to the festival comes in the form of several screenings with guests and discussion. Alambrista!, screening on Friday evening, is a 1977 story of Mexican migration north to America to work - a subject that is never far from American politics and policies today. On Saturday, a special double-bill begins with 2015’s Oscar nominated Fire At Sea.

This film shows the island of Lampedusa and the experience that its inhabitants have with the constant arrivals of refugees; the search and rescues that they provide; and the trauma that the refugees have endured. Those Who Jump, the second in the double-bill, shows the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla, where thousands of people every year try to cross the wall separating the countries to seek a better future. As with the rest of the events within the festival’s fantastic programme, all the screenings are Pay-What-You-Can in person at the box office or on the telephone.

Also on screens this week is the 50th anniversary restoration of The Graduate. When Mike Nichols made this film I’m sure he didn’t imagine it would have reached such a cult status, but it has become an iconic, quotable and much-loved film which holds a special place in many people’s lives.

Dustin Hoffman may not have become the superstar he did without this break-though role as the young Benjamin, home from college opposite the brilliant Anne Bancroft’s Mrs Robinson, who takes a shine to the young man. Nichols won the Best Director Oscar, and the film was nominated in six more categories. The Graduate has even featured in The Simpsons, which shows just how much it has been absorbed into popular culture and, whenever any of the fantastic Simon and Garfunkel songs that accompany the film are played, people are able to recall the moments in the film precisely.

Released with a beautiful new poster, and restored to its original beauty - this is a real treat to be able to bring back to the big screen and share with fans and newcomers alike. “Here’s to You Mrs Robinson!”