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 launching this weekend, 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.

Involving local students

Local students have also been involved in curating some of the events in the season, and will be sharing their learnings in 'zine-making workshops, film introductions, art exhibitions and a selection of podcasts, produced by Bexhill Filmspotters group.

Here's one of the episodes, focused on the influence of Powell and Pressburger on Greta Gerwig, director of Barbie (and Lady Bird, which the students have chosen to screen on 18 November) - check out the rest!

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 

Saturday 4 November, 2.30pm - taking place at Hastings Contemporary

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.

Book via the Hastings Contemporary website >>

Cafe/Bar Open, plus Wes Anderson-style zine workshop

collage of Wes Anderson film stillsSaturday 4 November, 2.30pm

Drop in to enjoy a drink or snacks at our cosy cafe/bar for the launch of our Powell and Pressburger season.

Relax with a drink in our cosy cafe/bar during the launch of our Powell and Pressburger season at this special afternoon opening with a new art show by Tiger-lily Martinez, local artist and printmaker.

For the creative-minded, we will also be offering a limited capacity zine-making session inspired by the striking palette and treasure of artefacts celebrated throughout Anderson's oeuvre. Led by Martinez you can have a go at making your own low-fi zines and badges - all inspired by Wes Anderson - who in turn was inspired by Powell and Pressburger films and aesthetics!

Spaces for the workshop are free, but limited, so book now to secure your place.

Book for the zine making session >>

Group of 20+ people in a circle around the edge of the text: The Grand Budapest HotelStudent Saturdays: Wes Anderson night
The Grand Budapest Hotel plus added extras!

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. All welcome.

As part of local students' involvement in curating the events, they will be recording and releasing four podcasts focused on each of the upcoming Student Saturday events. We'll share the links when they're live!

Book now for The Grand Budapest Hotel >>

Man and a woman in an embrace and looking up towards the sky in the distanceA Matter of Life and Death, plus guest introduction from Sight and Sound film critic Pamela Hutchinson

Sunday 5 November, 11am

See the classic Powell and Pressburger fantasy-romance starring David Niven and Kim Hunter. Plus, a recorded introduction from film historian and film critic for Sight and Sound, Pamela Hutchinson.

Book for A Matter of Life and Death >>

A couple in a wood - the woman lying down and the man kneeling over herLet's Talk Film: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Powell and Pressburger

Wednesday 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 Ever 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.

Book now for the interactive course >>

Two young women in school uniform looking mildly annoyedStudent Saturdays: Women and Girls in Powell and Pressburger - Greta Gerwig night with Lady Bird and surprise extras!

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.

Book now for Greta Gerwig night >>

A couple look at each other with longingI Know Where I'm Going, with live VJ film and guest introduction by film critic Pamela Hutchinson

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.

Includes live VJ session from filmmaker Rebecca E Marshall of clips filmed during the Filming in Technicolour film workshop earlier in the month. Plus live introduction from Sight and Sound film critic and author of The Red Shoes BFI book, Pamela Hutchinson.

Book for I Know Where I'm Going >>

Student Saturdays: The Queer Worlds of Powell and Pressburger

Saturday 2 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.

Nun looking pensiveBlack Narcissus with Q&A

Sunday 3 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.

Book now for Black Narcissus >>

Christmas Film Quiz

Friday 8 December, 7.30pm

A great fun night for both high-brow film nerds and Blockbuster fanatics alike! Includes a special Powell and Pressburger-themed round!

Book now for the film quiz >>

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.

Booking link coming soon

Woman ballerina with red shoesThe Red Shoes with introductions by film critic Pamela Hutchinson and Glenys Jacques

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.

With live introduction by film historian Glenys Jacques and recorded analysis by film critic Pamela Hutchinson, Sight and Sound contributor and author of BFI Film Classic The Red Shoes.

Book now for The Red Shoes >>

Powell and Pressburger BFI and National Lottery logos

Screening as part of Cinema Unbound: The Creative Worlds of Powell + Pressburger, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network.

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