The Railway Man

Trainspotting this aint as Colin Firth stars as a British Army officer who was tormented as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labour camp during World War II. Decades down the track, he discovers that the Japanese interpreter he holds responsible for much of his harrowing treatment is still alive and kicking. Setting out to confront him, and come to terms with his haunting past, the film is based on Eric Lomax’s best-selling memoir. Firth is supported by the likes of Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgård and Jeremy Irvine in the thespianage department.

ONCE again the European Film Weeks are being staged in Helsinki. With 2014 seeing European Elections being held, this year’s theme is “Act.React.Impact”.

Here 29 inspirational and courageous films from around Europe showcase various examples of the collective and individual actions of people seeking to make a difference. The subject matter reflects the sheer variety of cinema being currently produced in Europe today. Everything from Sweden’s The Pirate Bay, to the Troubles in Ireland and African refugees in the Canary Islands shares the spotlight.

Inside Llewyn Davis (K12)

Time for another dose of the Coen brothers, after the brilliance of 2010’s western True Grit. Here, idealistic young folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) struggles to make a name for himself in the Big Apple’s Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 1960s. Punctuated with folk tunes crafted with regular cohort T. Bone Burnett, once again the brothers have assembled an intriguing cast. Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, F. Murray Abraham and even a bearded Justin Timberlake take a bow for this outing.

Based on the classic short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, written in 1892, Yellow Wallpaper is premiering at TEHDAS Teatteri, Turku, on Thursday 30 January.

With performances stretching through February and March, the play tells the story of a woman who is unable to fulfill her role as wife and mother in the traditional sense. Forced to undergo psychological treatment and give up her life’s passion of writing, will she break free of society’s shackles?

12 Years a Slave (K16)

Steve McQueen’s third film arrives upon a colossal wave of positive word of mouth, and some 10 Oscar nominations to boot. Here Chiwetel Ejifor takes the lead as a free black man in 1840s America, who soon finds himself sold into slavery by two white men. Based on a true story the film has been lauded by critics, seen as the ultimate in white guilt by cynics and even had its promotional posters scrutinized in Italy, when images of co-stars Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender overshadowed that of Ejifor.