Pablo Larraín’s Spencer is, per the opening text, “a fable from a true tragedy.” This is an ornate (perhaps overly so) way of saying that it is a fictionalized imagining of real events, which feels important to stress these days, lest viewers assume that director Larraín and screenwriter Stephen Knight are crafting something akin to docudrama. It is true that their film is based on real people – namely, Great Britain’s royal family – and that it is set during a real event, the 1991 Christmas weekend, when they gathered at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate and attempted to ignore the obvious splintering of the marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Spencer, according to the press notes, is “an imagining of what might have happened during those few fateful days.” This distinction between fact and fantasy is worth underlining not as a mark against the project; quite the contrary, in fact. We are mired in an age of painfully dull and tritely formulaic biopics, filmed Wikipedia pages like Respect and Bohemian Rhapsody and the like, and Larraín is one of the few filmmakers who seems patently disinterested in such rote affairs. Back in 2016, he directed Jackie, which similarly dramatized and fantasized the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the days immediately following her husband’s assassination – but nothing before, and nothing after. Snapshot biopics like these (Selma and Lincoln also leap to mind) succeed over their cradle-to-grave counterparts because it’s simply impossible to pack an entire, eventful life into a single film’s running time; it’s better to telescope into a tightly constrained period of particular stress, and extrapolate our impressions of them, as people, from how they conduct themselves at those most dramatic moments. - Jason Bailey —


Sun February 20, 2022, 2:00 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium

Mask mandates are currently in place for campus auditoriums. Attendance will also be capped to allow for social distancing.

Chile, Germany, United Kingdom, United States of America; 2021; in English; 117 min • official site

Screenplay: Steven Knight, Director: Pablo Larraín, Cast: Kristen Stewart, Jack Farthing, Sally Hawkins, Timothy Spall, Sean Harris



10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.


Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.


Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

International Film Series

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Established 1941 by James Sandoe.

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(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.

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Virtual titles to stream from home

Cox & Kjølseth
: Filmmaker Alex Cox & Pablo Kjølseth discuss film topics from their own unique perspectives.

: Pablo and Ana share Zoom-based briefs on what's currently playing at IFS

Sprocket Damage
: Sprocket Damage digs deep(ish) into current and classic films and film-related subjects to bring to you insightful, humorous, and enlightening perspectives on the industry.

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