In My View: Around the world in 80 films at Cinema City in Norwich

Milly Kirby. Picture: Jenny Allison

Milly Kirby. Picture: Jenny Allison - Credit: Jenny Allison

Most people have what we might call a 'bucket list', a series of goals to achieve and experiences to have before they depart this life.

Cinema City, Norwich.

Cinema City, Norwich. - Credit: Archant

Maybe yours is learning to fly or play a certain instrument, or even running a marathon or skydiving. But I would bet that many include travelling and exploring parts of the world either close to home or far away.

I've had a bit of a travelling bug since I went off to discover Venice by myself at the tender age of 18, and I have always been particularly drawn to places where the culture and landscape is completely different to anything I have experienced before.

Some highlights include visiting the ancient ruins of Palmyra in Syria - made ever more poignant now by the plight of the country and its people, eating a falafel the size of my face in Beirut and seeing hippos bathing in the beauty of Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda.

My own personal bucket list is still full of continents unvisited and cultures not yet experienced and, whilst I reach the more settled years of my life - dog, house, husband... in that order - I accept that there may be much of this I will never find the time or money to see. Although, as I write this, my recently retired mother is trekking around Cuba, so I've not completely written off running away for an adventure in my later years.

A scene from 1955 film Pather Panchali, set in India.

A scene from 1955 film Pather Panchali, set in India. - Credit:

Increasingly though, I turn to film to immerse myself in countries, people and culture. I feel that film, especially when viewed on the big screen, has a way of transporting us to a place more than any other medium.

Many people have an aversion to foreign language films due to preconceived notions of pretentiousness and a difficulty with subtitles but I urge you to explore as much of international cinema as you can, you will soon be forgetting that it is subtitled and lose yourself in a brave new world.

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Since working at Cinema City I have been fortunate enough to watch some incredible films that have been made in far-off lands, and it has been fascinating to see the resurgence in popularity of cinema from places such as the Middle East, Australia and South America.

Some highlights for me that I've seen in more recent months would be The Pearl Button - a documentary exploring Chile's troubled past, both difficult to watch but also beautiful as it journeys through the expanse of Chile's Patagonian Archipelago, and also Close-Up - by legendary Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, who sadly passed away last year but left a legacy of wonderfully humanist films. This particular work of docu-fiction is set in Northern Tehran.

Wherever it may take you I wish you bon voyage, safar khosh and szcz??liwej drogi on your journey through world cinema!

If you'd like to explore world cinema further, Cinema City Education are offering A Beginner's Guide to World Cinema evening course starting on Wednesday, April 26 for ten weeks. From Bollywood to Beijing and beyond, journey through the rich diversity of cinema from around the globe.

You can also book for our Women in Iranian Cinema evening course starting on Tuesday, May 16 for six weeks. We'll be looking at a range of films, exploring the work of women and their representations both in front and behind of the camera since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Our courses are friendly, informal and open to all abilities. To find out more about our current programme visit our website - - email us at or call 01603 625145.