Choose Paris charmer or a bleaker Russian drama at Royston Picture Palace this week

Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith star in Paris-set film My Old Lady

Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith star in Paris-set film My Old Lady - Credit: Cohen Media Group

The two films screening this weekend at Royston’s Picture Palace don’t fit into the classic blockbuster mould.

One’s a Paris-set charmer aimed firmly at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel market, but there’s also a chance for highbrow film buffs to cast an eye over a much-praised Russian film which is in line for garlands galore.

First up on Friday and Saturday is My Old Lady, in which a rumpled American – Kevin Kline – heads off to Paris to lay claim to an apartment he’s been left by his estranged and now dead dad.

A chance to flog it off quick and make merry with the proceeds? Sadly not – there’s a sitting tenant in the form of Maggie Smith, not to mention her daughter Kristin Scott Thomas.

He can’t flog off the flat until the old dear has shuffled off her mortal coil, and what’s more he owes her a monthly pension every month until she dies.

He grumpily moves into the apartment, too, because he has nowhere else to go. Will they all eventually learn to live together, and is love just around the corner? But of course. The film, showing at 7.30pm on Friday and 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon, is adapted for the screen by first-time director Israel Horovitz and there’s a very stagey feel about it despite the Paris locations, but the dependable stars create a warm and winning entertainment.

On Saturday evening things turn a lot bleaker with Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan, which has already claimed a best screenplay gong at the Cannes Film Festival as well as a nomination for best foreign language film at the Golden Globes.

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It’s billed as an ‘everyman hero against corrupt system’ drama but it goes deeper than that, and there’s no point looking for a pacey storyline or neat endings here.

What you’ll get is a sober and compelling drama about corruption and intimidation in a creaking state, set in a desolate widescreen panorama. Sometimes it’s hard to watch, but the critics agree that it’s worth the effort.

Multiplex releases this week include American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper as the US Army’s true-life top marksman, and Testament Of Youth, a handsome big screen take on Vera Brittain’s memoir of her First World War experiences, also the basis for a hit TV drama series in the 1970s.

The film stars rising star Alicia Vikander in the lead role and there’s lots of top class support, including Kit ‘Game Of Thrones’ Harington and Dominic West.

Book tickets for both films at