03 September 2023 / Annie Waite

The creative worlds of Powell and Pressburger

Celebrate and take a closer look at the work of the masters of the big screen in our upcoming season of screenings and events.

We're celebrating the British film-making partnership of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, who made a series of influential films in the 1940s and 1950s - with their influence still being felt in cinema at large well into the 21st century.

In our series coming up before the end of the year, see original Powell and Pressburger classics, learn about their craft in filmmaking workshops, and enjoy a selection of modern films which bear the hallmark of their impact on filmmaking beyond the pair's generation.

Booking links to follow!

Who were Powell and Pressburger?

Screenings at the Electric Palace form part of a major UK-wide celebration of one the greatest and most enduring filmmaking partnerships: Michael Powell (1905-1990) and Emeric Pressburger (1902-1988).

The pair and their work are described by the British Film Institute (BFI): "Bold, subversive and iconoclastic, challenging and changing the visual language of film, their passionate collaborative artistic vision, spanning 24 films together between 1939 and 1972, is a vital part of the fabric of British cinema history. Startlingly innovative, Powell and Pressburger’s work continues to inspire creatives and increasingly connect with international audiences."

Events to enjoy during the season:

Person with a camera, positioned on the edge of a roadFilmmaking workshop: Filmmaking in Technicolour 

Date TBC

An opportunity to watch clips of ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ and participate in discussion around themes of colour and framing before going out into Hastings Old Town and generating your own film clips of daily lives on mobile phones. With filmmaker Rebecca E Marshall.

Man in cap in hot desert setting stares at cameraStudent Saturdays: Film as Collaborative Practice - Wes Anderson

Saturday 4 November, 7.30pm

This is the first or our Student Saturdays, devised and curated by people under 25 - to explore the influence of Powell and Pressburger on contemporary filmmakers today. Film as Collaborative Practice will focus on the work of Wes Anderson.

Man and a woman in an embrace and looking up towards the sky in the distanceA Matter of Life and Death, plus short film made by local filmmakers at Filmmaking in Technicolour

Sunday 5 November, 11am

See the classic Powell and Pressburger fantasy-romance starring David Niven and Kim Hunter, plus a 10 minute live film show featuring gloriously saturated clips of Hastings Old Town.

A couple in a wood - the woman lying down and the man kneeling over herIllustrated talk: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Powell and Pressburger but were afraid to ask

Friday 8 November, 7.30pm

Spend an evening with resident cinephile Ben Newell as he takes you through a brief journey into the world of Powell and Pressburger. ‘Everything You Wanted to Know about…’ aims to introduce film goers to new ways of exploring and thinking about certain directors and their oeuvre. Whether you’re a budding cinephile or a completely fresh to the work of Powell and Pressburger, we invite you to share your love for cinema through informal discussion in an open space and take a closer look at pair who called the shots and crafted cinema experiences that have enthralled generations of moviegoers.

Student Saturdays: Women and Girls in Powell and Pressburger

Saturday 18 November, 7.30pm 

The second of our Student Saturdays, devised and curated by under 25s - to explore the influence of Powell and Pressburger on contemporary filmmakers today. Girls and Women on film will focus on the films of Greta Gerwig and the music of Kate Bush.

A couple look at each other with longingI Know Where I'm Going, with Q&A

Sunday 19 November, 11am

Powell and Pressburger's 1945 love story. Joan, a stubborn English woman, sets out to travel and marry Robert, a wealthy industrialist. On her way, she gets trapped in Mull Island. There, she meets Torquil, and gradually, they fall in love.

Student Saturdays: The Queer Worlds of Powell and Pressburger

Saturday 3 December, 7.30pm

The third of our Student Saturdays, devised and curated by under 25s - to explore the influence of Powell and Pressburger on contemporary filmmakers today. Queer Worlds will focus on the representation of LGBTQUI+ characters and themes in the films of Powell and Pressburger.

Black Narcissus with Q&A

Sunday 4 December, 11am

Powell and Pressburger's classic 1947 story of a group of Anglican nuns, led by Sister Clodagh (Deborah Kerr), who are sent to a mountain in the Himalayas. The climate in the region is hostile and the nuns are housed in an odd old palace. They work to establish a school and a hospital, but slowly their focus shifts. Sister Ruth falls for a government worker, Mr. Dean, and begins to question her vow of celibacy. As Sister Ruth obsesses over Mr. Dean, Sister Clodagh becomes immersed in her own memories of love.

Christmas Film Quiz

Friday 8 December, 7.30pm

Includes a special Powell and Pressburger-themed round!

Student Saturdays: The Cinema of Excess in Powell and Pressburger

Saturday 16 December, 7.30pm  

This is the final Student Saturday in the season, devised and curated by under 25s - to explore the influence of Powell and Pressburger on contemporary filmmakers today. The Cinema of Excess will focus on the work of Baz Luhrmann.

The Red Shoes with Q&A and short film

Sunday 17 December, 11am

Based on a Hans Christian Andersen tale, a young ballerina is torn between her art and her romance with a young composer. The Red Shoes is regarded as one of the best films of Powell and Pressburger's partnership and one of the greatest films of all time.

BFI Fan Network and National Lottery LogoWith support of the BFI Film Audience Network, awarding funds from the National Lottery in order to bring this project to more audiences across the UK.

Stay up to date with all our listings and events in our enewsletter: