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Supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI's Film Audience Network, and funded by Screen Scotland and National Lottery Funding from the BFI

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Empire of Light

"Hilary and Stephen have been buffeted all their lives by the message that they are less-than, undeserving, unimportant. Empire of Light highlights the ineffable joy when both discover that none of these things are true."

EMPIRE OF LIGHT (UK) 2022 Drama / Romance

Director : Sam Mendes

Starring : Olivia Coleman  
Micheal Ward    
Colin Firth
1 hr  55 min    

Central to the film is Margate’s art-deco landmark Dreamland. Its vintage seaside theme park and former cinema (transformed into Empire Cinema in the film) are the central backdrops to the unlikely relationship that develops between cinema manager Hilary (Olivia Colman) and new employee Stephen (Micheal Ward). Those familiar with the iconic venue will also recognise the retro roller disco that Hilary and Stephen visit as Dreamland’s Roller Room.

Sam Mendes’ new romantic drama film “Empire of Light” sets out to explore the magic of cinema while also chartering a love story at a time of social turmoil. It presents the tale of a film theater’s deputy manager, Hilary Small, and how she finds love and comfort in her new younger colleague, Stephen. Set in the early 1980s in England, the film also focuses on racial tension and abuse in society following Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as the country’s Prime Minister.

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Our Details


Our Screenings are at the Ayr Town Hall on Thursday nights: doors open 6.45 pm for screening at 7.15


Tony Scott,
Chair. Tel: 01292 281085

Ron Currie,
Treasurer and Secretary. Tel: 01292 283435
Mobile: 07866 878349


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