The spellbinding trailer for Olivia Colman’s new film explores love, racism and the magic of cinema

Olivia Colman and MichealWard are starring in Empire Of Light, a captivating new film from award-winning director Sam Mendes exploring love, racism and the magic of cinema. 

They say you should always make time to appreciate the simple things in life, and after living through the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve definitely gained a new-found appreciation for all the things we once took for granted: sipping a coffee in our favourite cafe, enjoying live music at summer festivals and taking a trip to the cinema.

Award-winning filmmaker Sam Mendes is clearly one person who has been reflecting upon the magic of the big screen because his next film, Empire Of Light, is all about people falling in love at the cinema – both with the stories we watch on screen and the connections we forge inside it. 

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Described as a “powerful and poignant story about human connection and the magic of cinema”, the film has assembled an impressive cast of Brit favourites. Alongside Colman and Ward, the film stars Tom Brooke, Tanya Moodie, Hannah Onslow, Crystal Clarke and Colin Firth, who previously appeared in Mendes’s Oscar-nominated film 1917. You can practically hear the awards buzz already, right?

Empire Of Light

The highly anticipated film, which will premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival before arriving at the BFI London Film Festival in October, has also just received its first captivating teaser, in which we get a glimpse of the pervasive racism in the small town, as well as the quiet, touching romance that grows between Hilary and Stephen.

“Film: it’s just static frames with darkness in between,” Toby Jones narrates in the trailer. “But there’s a little flaw in your optic nerve. So if I run the film at 24 frames per second, it creates an illusion of motion, an illusion of life. So you don’t see the darkness. Out there, they just see a beam of light. And nothing happens without light.”

Interestingly, the film marks Mendes’s solo screenwriting debut – his last project, 1917,  was co-written with Krysty Wilson-Cairns and dominated the awards race in 2019. Of course, with hits like Skyfall and American Beauty under his belt, he definitely knows how to make an impression on the big screen – and seeing as he’s also teamed up with acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins, we know we’ll definitely be paying a trip to the local cinema when it’s released in the UK this autumn.

Empire Of Light will debut at the BFI London Film Festival on 12 October and is set to arrive nationwide on UK screens from 13 January 2023

Images: Searchlight Pictures

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