Author Archives: Mikel J. Koven

About Mikel J. Koven

I am Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Worcester.

This blog is closing

Hi all, first of all, do not worry, Splendid Cinema is still happening. I’m just finding the task of keeping so many blogs alive and updated overwhelming.

The schedule for Splendid Cinema will now be posted here:

And this link will be continually updated, so the schedule you see here will always be the most accurate one.

Please follow the blog to be kept up-to-date.



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Splendid Cinema goes for the spaghetti this Thursday. Spaghetti WESTERN, that is!


17 November: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (IT, Sergio Leone, 1966) 18 cert. 180 min

This Thursday, Splendid Cinema is super excited to present Sergio Leone’s masterpiece, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as part of our “Cult Film Thursdays” series.And we’re presenting this classic in a restored HD print. It’s going to look gorgeous!

Starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly tells the tale of three treasure hunters searching for a lost chest of gold, set against the back drop of the American Civil War. Ennio Morricone’s epic soundtrack is reason enough to see this classic as it was meant to be seen, on the big screen! So dust off your poncho and trot yourself down to Worcester Arts Workshop, this Thursday, 17 November.

Worcester Arts Workshop, 21 Sansome Street, Worcester, WR1 1UH

Doors open at 19:15 for a 19:30 start

Tickets £5 on the door

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Splendid Cinema Autumn 2016 schedule



Splendid Cinema is Worcester’s Independent “Art” House Cinema. We screen arthouse, avant-garde, Film Noir, Underground and Cult movies, cinema-verite, independent and World Cinema all at Worcester Arts Workshop.

Doors open at 7:15 for a 7:30 start
Tickets are £5 on the door
Below is our Autumn 2016 schedule. Please come and watch some incredible, positively Splendid, cinema.

(links below take you to YouTube, and the film’s trailer)

22 September: Son of Saul (HU, László Nemes, 2015) 15 cert. 107 min. Winner of the 2015 Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival and both the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. During World War II, a Jewish worker (Géza Röhrig) at the Auschwitz concentration camp tries to find a rabbi to give a child a proper burial.

6 October: Anomalisa (US, Duke Johnson & Charlie Kaufman, 2015) 15 cert. 90 min. Both very funny and deeply touching, Anomalisa is widely regarded as an outright masterpiece of stop-motion animation. The film follows a lonely customer service expert (voiced by David Thewlis) who perceives everyone (Tom Noonan) as identical until he meets a unique woman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) in a Cincinnati hotel.

20 October: The Witch; a New England Folktale (US, UK, CA, BR, Robert Eggers, 2015) 15 cert. 92 min. The Witch launches Splendid Cinema’s new “Cult Film Thursdays” programme just in time for Halloween. A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.

3 November: The Lobster (GR, IE, NL, UK, FR, Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015) 15 cert. 119 min. Strange, surreal, and yet, somehow, quite romantic. In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into the woods.

17 November: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (IT, Sergio Leone, 1966) 18 cert. 180 min. Part of our “Cult Movie Thursdays” programme. Leone’s masterpiece on the big screen in HD! Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach race to find buried treasure during the American Civil War. This is one of the greatest Spaghetti Westerns ever made!

8 December: Taxi Tehran (IR, Jafar Panahi, 2015) 12 cert. 89 min. Winner of the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival. In this quasi-documentary, Jafar Panahi is banned from making movies by the Iranian government, so he poses as a taxi driver and makes a movie about social challenges in Iran.

15 December: Black Christmas (CA, Bob Clark, 1974) 18 cert. 93 min. Part of our “Cult Movie Thursdays” programme, and spreading that Yuletide feeling, we present Bob Clark’s classic grand-daddy of slasher film, starring Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, Kier Dullea, and John Saxon. It’s Christmas break, and a killer is stalking sorority girls with obscene phone calls and bloody murder. You better watch out …

Worcester Arts Workshop

21 Sansome Street, Worcester, WR1 1UH

Doors open at 7:15, for a 7:30 start, Tickets £5 on the door


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Spring Season announced!

Check out our line-up for Spring! (with trailers!)


24 April – Girlhood (FR, Céline Sciamma, 2014) Cert 15, 113 mins

Set among the mean streets of the Parisian banlieues, a young black woman tries to survive inside and outside of the street gangs and a life of crime in this highly much-admired film.



8 May – Macbeth (UK, FR, US, Justin Kurzel, 2015) Cert 15, 113 min.macbethsmall1

Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard. Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself. 4 STARS “Stylish and Inspired” The Guardian


phoenix-222 May – Phoenix (DE, PL, Christian Petzold, 2014), Cert. 15, 98 min.

A disfigured concentration-camp survivor (Nina Hoss), unrecognizable after facial reconstruction surgery, searches ravaged postwar Berlin for the husband (Ronald Zehrfeld) who might have betrayed her to the Nazis.



5 June – Theeb (AE, QA, JO, UK, Naji Abu Nowar, 2014), Cert. 15, 100 min.Theeb_Film_Poster

In the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War I, a young Bedouin boy experiences a greatly hastened coming-of-age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer to his secret destination.




Heropage-980x560_4419 June – The Assassin (TW, CN, HK, FR, Hsaiao-Hsien Hou, 2015), Cert. 12, 105 min

Voted the best film of 2015 by the BFI’s Sight & Sound magazine. An assassin accepts a dangerous mission to kill a political leader in seventh-century China.

Films start at 6pm, tickets £5 on the door. 

Worcester Arts Workshop

21 Sansome Street, Worcester, WR1 1UH

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The Tribe (UA, NL, Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, 2014) 18 cert

75d71762d166a68dc9700daa53485b50A visceral cinematic experience like no other, The Tribe is a story that needs no translation. Deaf mute Sergey becomes embroiled in the illegal activities of the fearsome gang that rule the specialized boarding school he attends. His burgeoning love for a fellow student however, soon leads him on a collision course with the gang’s hierarchy. In Ukrainian Sign Language (USL), without subtitles. 126 min.

The Tribe feels like something unmistakably, radically new” Variety



Watch the trailer here:

Worcester Arts Workshop, 21 Sansome Street, Worcester, WR1 1UH

10 April, 2016, 18:00 – 20:00, Tickets £5 on the door.


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Why “Splendid Cinema”

a5a6b13ec2bc8430a754fe58b04f2b5ef303fc3aWorcester Arts Workshop asked me to start contributing to their blog on behalf of Splendid Cinema. Of course!, I said. What a great idea. To start things off, and in advance of this coming Sunday (24 January), I thought I’d answer the basic questions WAW asked me to cover.

Why do you choose the films you choose?

The selection process for Splendid Cinema is always a difficult one.  Over the course of the year, I keep up-to-date with world cinema by reading magazines like Sight & Sound and keeping abreast of what is happening at film festivals around the world. I listen to the buzz regarding films which might be appropriate for the Splendid audience. It is always something of a tightrope walk in actually choosing the films: one the one hand, I want to bring the best of world cinema to Worcester, films which would never play at the Odeon or the Vue because they’re not in English or seen to be “of limited interest”. But I also need to choose films which people have heard about, or which have a built in audience, like our upcoming film The Tribe which is particularly relevant to our hearing-impaired communities.

Why are you so passionate about films?

I know it is a cliché, but film is my life. It always has been, since I was a very young child. I’ve always been movie-mad. Cinema is the great unifier of people; when we sit around the virtual campfire and listen to each other’s stories, we share a communal experience in the global village. Sometimes the stories are familiar, and sometimes they are completely unique. But watching a film says “I want to hear your story”, and I truly believe we become better people for it.

Why people should come to Splendid Cinema?

Splendid Cinema is the only independent cinema space in Worcester, the only place in the Faithful City where international and independent films are screened. Films which are different from the mainstream cinema of Hollywood. My favourite audiences for Splendid Cinema are those who come who know nothing about the film, sometimes they don’t even remember what the film is called, they just trust what we screen will offer them an experience they’ll not get anywhere else in Worcester.  Much of international cinema is now screened inside the home, through DVDs or streaming platforms like Netflix, which is great. But there is nothing equal to watching a film in a communal space, in the dark, where 30 strangers share an experience.  That’s what Splendid Cinema is all about.


imagesNext up is Pasolini (Abel Ferrara, 2014): I chose this film for several reasons, which can be summarized in three words: Pasolini, Ferrara & Dafoe. First of all, Pier Paolo Pasolini is one of my favourite filmmakers (I even did my undergraduate independent study on him, back in the day), so a film about his final 24 hours in the middle of the controversy surrounding his latest film, Salo or 120 Days of Sodom (1975) is motivating in its own right. Secondly, American filmmaker, Abel Ferrara, is tremendous independent auteurs, and whose films like The Driller Killer (1979), The Addiction (1995), Ms. 45 (1982), Bad Lieutenant (1992) and The King of New York (1990)are recognized classics of American independent and exploitation cinema since the late 1970s; so his latest film was always going to attract my attention.  Thirdly, Willem Dafoe stars at Pasolini; one of my favourite actors as one of my favourite directors.  Ferrara treats the sordid details of Pasolini’s death with sensitivity and respect, and Dafoe’s performance as the famous director is astonishing.  I’m really proud to be presenting Pasolini at Splendid Cinema on 24 January.

Splendid Cinema screens at Worcester Arts Workshop (21 Sansome Street, Worcester, WR1 1UH) at 18:00. Tickets are £5 on the door.

Please see our blog ( , follow us on Twitter (@splendidcinema), and join us on Facebook (


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Splendid Cinema: We’ve saved the best for last (of 2015)!


Wild Tales poster

Finishing off 2015, Splendid Cinema is proud to present possibly our favourite film in the season. Wild Tales are six, unrelated short stories which manage to be funny, romantic, tragic and utterly unpredictable. Nominated for the Oscar (Best Film Not in the English Language), Palme D’or at Cannes and for Spain’s Goya awards; swept Argentina’s version of the Oscars too. Not to be missed!

6 December, 2015: Wild Tales (Argentina, Damian Szifron, 2014) 120 min

Worcester Arts Workshop, 21 Sansome St., Worcester, WR1 1UH

6 December, 18:00

Tickets £5 on the door

Wild Tales

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Winter Schedule just announced

Splendid Cinema Winter 2016 Schedule (please note date changes)

images24 January – Pasolini (FR, BE, IT, Abel Ferrera, 2014) 18 cert; controversial American filmmaker Abel Ferrara’s dazzling new film explores the last 24 hours of controversial Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, with a remarkable performance from the always great Willem Dafoe in the title role. 84 min.


7 February – Timbuktu (FE, MR, Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014) 12 cert; This highly acclaimed film from Mauritania chronicles the encroachment of Jihadists on a peaceful farming family in the Malian city. 97 min.

A-Girl-Walks-Home-Alone-at-Night-poster21 February – A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (USA, Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014) 15 cert; In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire. 101 min

the-look-of-silence-poster-pagespeed-ce-tqzt2gs4zc6 March – The Look of Silence (DK, ID, FI, NO, GB, IL, US, DE, NL, Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014) 15 cert; director Oppenheimer reaffirms his status as possibly the most important documentary filmmaker today in this companion piece to his The Act of Killing (2012) wherein a family which survived the Indonesian genocide confront the men who murdered one of their brothers. A film not to be missed! 103 min

MV5BMjQyNzc4NTIyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjQ0NTcwNjE@._V1_SY317_CR2,0,214,317_AL_20 March – The New Girlfriend (FR, François Ozon, 2014) 15 cert; the new film by Splendid Cinema favourite François Ozon sees a young woman make a surprising discovery about the husband of her late best friend. 108 min

MV5BMzYxMTI5MTgxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDM5NzAwNjE@._V1_SY317_CR2,0,214,317_AL_10 April – The Tribe (UA, NL, Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, 2014) 18 cert; fantastic film told entirely through sign language (without subtitles) about a young woman who is drawn into a bizarre cult at a deaf boarding school. 126 minMV5BMjA5MDM1ODE5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjg0MTk5MzE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_

24 April – Girlhood (FR, Céline Sciamma, 2014) 15 cert; set amongst the mean streets of the Parisian banlieues, a young black woman tries to survive inside and outside of the street gangs and a life of crime in this highly much-admired film.  113 min

All films are screened at the Worcester Arts Workshop, 21 Sansome Street, Worcester

Films start at 18:00, admission is £5


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Baby (India, Neeraj Pandey, 2015) 15 cert.

Baby poster

Baby (India, Neeraj Pandey, 2015) 15 cert.

Sunday, 8 November, 2015, Worcester Arts Workshop

19:00; £5

An action-packed Bollywood extravaganza about an elite counter-terrorism unit trying to prevent a massive attack in New Delhi. Baby is the highest rated Bollywood film on IMDB (as of time of writing), with a score of 8.2!

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White Dog (Hungary, Kornél Mundruczó, 2014)

White God PosterSplendid Cinema returns

Sunday, 18 October, 2015

18:00, at Worcester Arts Workshop

White Dog (Hungary, Kornél Mundruczó, 2014) 120 min 15 cert, in Hungarian with English subtitles

Powerful allegory about how we treat the most vulnerable in our society.  At once touching and terrifying, White God contains some of the most intense and harrowing sequences ever filmed. Warning, while this is a film for all animal lovers, some parts of the film sensitive viewers may find upsetting.

Tickets £5 on the door.

Look for us on Facebook (, where you’ll also find the other films in our season.

Worcester Arts Workshop, 21 Sansome Street, Worcester, WR1 1UH

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