Running alongside blockbuster hits like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (12A), Sam Mendes’s multi-award winning 1917 (12A) and the eagerly anticipated new adaption of Emma (U tbc), a wide-ranging programme of films from beyond the mainstream lined up for the New Year confirms Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, as the home of independent cinema in Dorset.

Leading the way is New Zealand director Taika Waititi’s BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominated Jojo Rabbit (12A), a satirical black comedy in which a member of the Hitler Youth discovers his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl in the attic. As he questions his beliefs, he must deal with the interventions of his imaginary friend, an idiotic version of Hitler played by the director. A hit on the international film festival circuit, the film also features Sam Rockwell, Alfie Allen, Rebel Wilson and Stephen Merchant.

Having been premiered at Cannes, Robert Eggers’ much-praised psychological horror The Lighthouse (15) finds Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as lighthouse keepers who begin to lose their sanity when they are stranded on a remote island in a storm. Tellingly shot in black and white and with two powerhouse performances at its heart, the film is a dark chiller for a winter’s night.

Another festival hit, Colombian director Alejando Landes’s Monos (15) echoes Apocalypse Now and Lord of the Flies with its taut, violent story about a band of teenage guerrilla bandits gone rogue; while the altogether gentler Waves (PG), writer-director Trey Edward Shults’s human drama about an African-American family navigating love, forgiveness and coming together as they cope with loss, is no less intense in its emotional scope.

Further season highlights are provided by two engaging documentaries – Somebody Up There Likes Me (15), director Mike Figgis’s intimate portrait of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, and Indian Space Dreams, following the scientists in Mumbai who launch India’s first astronomical satellite as well as the children living next door to the Space Centre who have their own dreams.

Elsewhere, with a stellar cast numbering Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw and Paul Whitehouse, satirist Armando Iannucci has conjured a warm and funny version of The Personal History of David Copperfield (PG); and director Marielle Heller offers a new slant on the biopic in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PG) with BAFTA and Golden Globe nominee Tom Hanks stealing the show as US TV icon Fred Rogers, a man who really was as good as his public image.

For full details of the New Year cinema season and to book tickets visit

Published 2 January 2020