“The Duke,” a sweet swan song for director Roger Michell, opens May 6 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center.
The film offers a well-acted and engaging dramatization of an entertainingly improbable true story.
In 1961, Kempton Bunton, a 60-year old taxi driver, stole Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. It was the first (and remains the only) theft in the Gallery’s history. Kempton sent ransom notes saying that he would return the painting on condition that the government invested more in care for the elderly – he had long campaigned for pensioners to receive free television.
Only 50 years later did the full story emerge – Kempton had spun a web of lies. The only truth was that he was a good man, determined to change the world and save his marriage, how and why he used the Duke to achieve that is a wonderfully uplifting tale.
Also opening on May 6 is “Cow,” a stark and emotionally resonant look at the life of a farm animal.
Academy Award winner Andrea Arnold returns with an intimate portrait of one dairy cow’s life. The film highlights the beauty and challenges cows face, and their great service to us all. This film is an endeavour to consider cows. To move us closer to them. To see both their beauty and the challenge of their lives. Not in a romantic way but in a real way. It’s a film about one dairy cow’s reality and acknowledging her great service to us.
“The Duke” is rated R for language and brief sexuality, and “Cow” is rated PG-13. Both films are showing through May 19.