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Widescreen Weekend 2023

In 2023, Widescreen Weekend celebrated large-screen formats and cinema technologies from the past, present and future of film.

Our long weekend of captivating cinema offered glorious 35mm and 70mm print screenings, Cinerama restorations, insightful talks and events that reignited your love for the magical experience of going to the movies.

At Pictureville Cinema, you can experience Cinerama, the invention that sparked the ‘Widescreen War’ in 1952. This pioneering technology utilizes three synchronized projectors to project images onto a deeply curved and wide screen, accompanied by 7-track surround sound. Pictureville is currently the only remaining operating Cinerama venue in the world.

CinemaScope 70

This year we marked the 70th Anniversary of CinemaScope—the anamorphic process which involves squeezing a widescreen image into a 35mm frame. While the anamorphic filmmaking technique behind ‘Scope’ was invented by the French physicist Henri Chrétien in the late 1920s, it was not utilised in cinema until Twentieth Century Fox debuted CinemaScope with How to Marry a Millionaire and The Robe in 1953.  

Because the process was successful and cheap—as it didn’t require multiple cameras like Cinerama—CinemaScope prompted a worldwide widescreen revolution with competing formats such as Panavision, Franscope and TohoScope. 

Our festival in 2023 celebrated the history and legacy of CinemaScope 70 years on, as the process which, along with its rivals and copycats, took widescreen around the world, through a programme of both classic Hollywood and world cinema.

  • Kaagaz Ke Phool / Paper Flowers (dir. Guru Dutt, 1959)

  • The Robe (dir. Henry Koster, 1953)

  • Les Demoiselles de Rochefort / The Young Girls of Rochefort (dir. Jacques Demy, 1967)

  • The Hidden Fortress (dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1958)

  • Lady and the Tramp (dir. Hamilton Luske, 1955)

  • Billy Liar (dir. John Schlesinger, 1963)

Queens of the Scope Age

As part of our CinemaScope celebration, Widescreen Weekend 2023 looked at the stars that helped cement widescreen cinema as the defining experience of the 50s and 60s in our actress spotlight, Queens of the Scope Age.  

The bold, expansive photography ushered in by CinemaScope liberated filmmakers, who in turn demanded equally bold personalities to fill their frame. As a result, icons like Joanne Woodward, Kim Novak, Barbara Stanwyck and Deborah Kerr starred in a range of acclaimed dramas and comedies that showcased the ambitious versatility of CinemaScope. 

Queens Of The Scope Age celebrated the often overlooked contributions of some of the most compelling stars of 20th-century film, with a curated selection of remarkable features from an unforgettable age of cinema.

  • Bonjour Tristesse (dir. Otto Preminger, 1957)
  • No Down Payment (dir. Martin Ritt, 1957)
  • Guys and Dolls (dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz , 1955)
  • When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (dir. Mikio Naruse, 1960)

Special events and screenings

Widescreen Weekend 2023 saw some special events and firsts at Pictureville.

  • Closing night: Roma (dir. Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)
  • The Hateful Eight (dir. Quentin Tarantino, 2015)
  • Battle of the Bulge (dir. Ken Annakin, 1965)
  • Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich (dir. Bill Colleran, 1958)
  • This is Cinerama (Mike Todd, Michael Todd, Jr., Walter A. Thompson, Fred Rickey, 1952)
  • Rebel Without a Cause (dir. Nicholas Ray, 1955)
  • Lord of the Rings all-nighter (Peter Jackson, 2001/2002/2003)
  • Cineramacana
  • The Big Curved Screen Trailer Show

The Hateful Eight introduced by Professor Sir Christopher Frayling

In 2023, Pictureville and Widescreen Weekend hosted a rare 70mm screening of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.

Shot on 65mm in Ultra Panavision 70 for the first time in nearly 50 years and given a roadshow-style limited initial release, it was a unique and fantastic opportunity to screen the print at the festival. To introduce this film for us we were delighted to welcome back cultural historian, critic and award-winning broadcaster Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, who has kindly given us a copy of his introduction for anyone to read and enjoy. 

Read Christopher Frayling's full introduction (PDF).

With thanks to

Widescreen Weekend