Klimt claim campaign is trigger to a tense drama at Royston’s Picture Palace

Woman In Gold

Woman In Gold - Credit: Archant

The two films on offer at Royston’s Picture Palace this weekend could both be highlighted for attention in the Buckingham Palace playlist, if such a thing exists.

First up is Woman In Gold, which would be of interest to a monarch with movies on her mind because it stars Helen Mirren. Those two have a connection, you know...

It’s a true life story, in which the dependable dame plays Holocaust survivor Maria Altman, who in the 1980s took legal action in a bid to reclaim five paintings by celebrated Austrian artist Gustav Klimt stolen from her family during the Second World War by art-hungry Nazis.

They ended up in the hands of the Austrian government, and the campaign by one lone voice against a state machine is a springboard for engrossing drama.

That’s helped by the high quality of the cast, which also includes Ryan Reynolds, Charles Dance, Daniel Bruhl and Jonathan Pryce, with director Simon Curtis – best known for My Week With Marilyn – unfussily moving the story along.

Also showing is a film calculated to appeal to any fan of horseflesh, blue-blooded or otherwise, and underdog stories.

It’s been described as a fairy tale but Dark Horse is actually a documentary, in which director Louise Osmond uses a mix of interviews, reminiscences, TV footage and a variety of amateur video moments of varying quality to tell how an initially shambolic syndicate in a grim and depressed Welsh valley decided that what they really wanted to do was own a racehorse.

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The nag they snagged went by the name of Dream Alliance, and that proved to be prophetic.

Owned by a motley crew of villagers each chipping in £10 a week to keep the steed in nosebags, bred by the cleaner at Asda and with a pedigree that hardly suggested a rival to Nikinsky was in the offing, it was a pipe dream to think that the horse would ever get near the winner’s enclosure.

But you’ll be rooting for the whole team at every step in this rollercoaster story.

Woman In Gold is screening tomorrow, Friday, evening, on Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday at 5pm, with Dark Horse coming in third on Saturday evening. Visit www.roystonpicturepalace.org.uk for more details and to book tickets.

We’re heading into half term so new releases this week include animation The Moomins On The Riviera but also a 3D reboot of perennial frightfest Poltergeist and Return To Sender, another psychological thriller with Rosamund ‘Gone Girl’ Pike in the lead.