Headline Acts: A Summer of Music Films - Picturehouse Spotlight

Headline Acts: A Summer of Music Films

Big sound requires a big screen.

Move aside Glastonbury! This Summer, we’re bringing some of the biggest voices back to the big screen as part of our Headline Acts: Summer of Music season at Picturehouse Cinemas. From vintage cabaret classics to docs about musical legends and the latest summer blockbusters Rocketman and Yesterday, this is a season that demands to be seen (and heard!) on the big screen.


From Friday 10 May | Amazing Grace

A spine-tingling performance from Aretha Franklin, returning to her gospel roots after many years, is the subject of this brand new concert film, which captures the queen of soul’s two-night recording session in a Los Angeles Baptist church in January 1972.


Sunday 19 May | A Star Is Born (1976)

The velvet-voiced Barbra Streisand sings like an angel in Frank Pierson’s take on the timeless tale of doomed romance. The film’s musical centrepiece, ‘Evergreen’, a tender ballad co-written and performed by Streisand, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

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Wednesday 22 May | Asbury Park

Once a popular seaside resort, Asbury Park, New Jersey was also home to the Upstage, a now legendary club where musicians such Steven Van Zandt, Southside Johnny Lyon and Bruce Springsteen got their first breaks. It was there that Springsteen met players such as Vini ‘Mad Dog’ Lopez, David Sancious, Garry Tallent, Danny Federici and Ernest ‘Boom’ Carter. These musicians brought the sound of Asbury Park to the wider world. Then on Independence Day, 1970, Asbury Park experienced seven days of race riots which crippled the town for the next 45 years and destroyed the famous Westside jazz and blues scene.

This film features a concert given to a sold-out Paramount Theater by Van Zandt, Southside Johnny and Springsteen plus never-before-seen interviews and performances, and an Upstage reunion jam. A mindblowing theatrical event in Asbury Park where it all began.

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From 24 May | Rocketman

Rocketman is an epic musical fantasy about the breakthrough years of larger-than-life superstar Elton John (Taron Egerton). Set to John’s most beloved songs (performed by Egerton), it tells the uncensored human story of how small-town boy and shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture. Rocketman also stars Jamie Bell as John’s longtime lyricist and writing partner Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as John’s first manager, John Reid, and Bryce Dallas Howard as John’s mother Sheila Farebrother. Dexter Fletcher, who took over directorial duties for the smash hit musical biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, is at the helm.


Sunday 26 May | The Last Waltz

In many ways the definitive rock concert doc, Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz feels as fresh and invigorating today as ever. Capturing what was billed as The Band’s last ever live performance in San Francisco on 25 November 1972, Scorsese’s film provides an intimate first-hand portrait of a group weary from 16 years on the road but still dedicated to their loyal following.

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Wednesday 29 May | Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church

“We all played guitar. We all knew a bit. But he seemed to know more than us.” – Paul McCartney

In July 1970 rock music’s burgeoning festival culture descended en masse on the tiny rural village of Byron, Georgia and witnessed an unforgettable performance by Jimi Hendrix in full flight. In the dark shadow of civil rights unrest and the unrelenting toll of the Vietnam War, the legendary guitarist drew in over 300,000 people – the largest US audience of his career – to the Second Atlanta International Pop Festival for his concert on 4 July.

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Sunday 2 June | Cabaret

Bob Fosse’s stylishly directed and choreographed screen adaptation of John Kander’s fine musical based on Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin stories. With a chilling vision of Weimar Berlin, a city of gaiety and perversion, champagne and Nazi propaganda, Cabaret features a show-stopping, Oscar-winning musical performance from Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey as the unforgettable emcee, and a truly extraordinary final fadeout.

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Monday 3 June | Ella Fitzgerald: Just One Of Those Things

Ella Fitzgerald was a 15-year-old street kid when she won a talent contest in 1934 at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Within months she was a star. Over the next six decades, her sublime voice would transform the tragedies of her own life and the troubles of her times into joy.  Just One Of Those Things retraces this extraordinary journey.

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Sunday 9 June | Jazz On A Summer’s Day

A documentary record of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, Jazz On A Summer’s Day is popularly hailed as one of the first and most influential live concert films. A who’s who of legendary jazz and rock ’n’ roll performers make up the impressive line-up, with director Bert Stern’s deft, economical style capturing them in all their glory. In terms of stand-out turns, it’s too close to call, but Chuck Berry’s rendition of ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’ nestles pretty near the top of the pile, with Mahalia Jackson’s spine-tingling performance of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ closely jostling.

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From Friday 28 June | Yesterday

From Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis comes a British musical comedy about dreams of stardom and unexplained phenomena. Aspiring singer-songwriter Jack Malik (Patel) is struggling with his career. He’s just a man with big dreams and a guitar, loved and supported by his childhood best friend, Ellie (James); and he’s far from famous. Until one day, during a mysterious global blackout, a car hits him and he comes round to find that nobody remembers The Beatles – apart from him! Feeling obliged to bring the legendary melodies of the Fab Four back to life, and with a little help from his steely American agent (McKinnon), Jack rises to global stardom faster than you can say, ‘I believe in yesterday.’ But he may have taken on more than he can handle.


Monday 8 July | Quadrophenia (40th Anniversary)

Based on The Who’s 1973 rock opera of the same name, Quadrophenia has been hailed as the most exciting, stirring and perceptive youth film since Rebel Without A Cause. The sensational feature debut from Franc Roddam, a successful TV director who has gone on to create Auf Wiedersehen Pet and Masterchef.

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Saturday 13 July | Pavarotti + Satellite Q&A with Exclusive Content

Award-winning director Ron Howard and the team behind The Beatles: Eight Days A Week celebrate the life of beloved opera star Luciano Pavarotti, who sold over 100 million records in his lifetime and brought opera to the people. Using footage from concerts, interviews and the Pavarotti family archives, Howard goes beyond the iconic public figure to reveal the man himself. Charting his rise from humble beginnings in Northern Italy through to superstardom, Pavarotti lifts the curtain on the great tenor as a husband and father, a committed philanthropist, and a fragile artist who had a complex relationship with his unique talents.

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Headline Acts
Headline Acts

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