One of the most anticipated — and mysterious — films of the fall festival season is “Empire of Light.”
Sam Mendes’ first film since his stunning war epic “1917” promises to be a departure from the blockbuster filmmaking that has consumed him in recent years. The film, which Mendes wrote himself, is a smaller and more personal reflection about the power of cinema and the effect that it can have on people in difficult circumstances. Many have compared the film to Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film “Belfast.” which won him his first Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
A new series of promotional images released by Searchlight Pictures shed a bit more light on the project, giving fans a better look at the film’s star-studded cast that includes Colin Firth, Olivia Colman, and Micheal Ward. And if you find yourself wondering why the images look so beautiful, it’s probably because two time Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins is behind the camera. Deakins has frequently collaborated with Mendes in recent years, including on the James Bond film “Skyfall” and “1917,” the latter of which won Deakins his second Oscar for Best Cinematography. Any time the two of them work together, it’s an event worth noting for cinephiles.
The film’s official synopsis reads: “set in an English seaside town in the early 1980s, ‘Empire of Light is a powerful and poignant story about human connection and the magic of cinema.” Its title refers to the small town movie theatre where the film takes place, with Colman starring as a concession stand employee whose existence is weighed down by the unpleasant behavior of her manager, played by Colin Firth. When a young man (Ward) moves into town and begins working at the theatre, the two young employees strike up a connection that adds a considerable deal of light to both of their gloomy existences.
“Empire of Light” makes its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on Saturday, September 3. Searchlight Pictures will release the film in theaters on Friday, September 9. Keep reading to see the latest images released from the film, courtesy of Searchlight Pictures.