Wednesday, 6 January 2016

January to April 2016

Tuesday 19th Jan. Phoenix.   

Dir: Christian Petzold.  Germany.   2014.   98  mins. 

Nelly (Nina Hoss), a German-Jewish nightclub singer, has survived a concentration camp but with her face disfigured. After undergoing reconstructive surgery, Nelly emerges with a new face, similar but different enough that her former husband Johnny doesn't recognize her. Acclaimed director Christian Petzold weaves a spellbinding mystery of identity, illusion, and deception against the turmoil of post-World War Berlin, creating a complex tale of a nation's tragedy and a woman's search for answers as it builds towards a heart-stopping climax.

Tuesday 2nd Feb. 400 Blows.

Dir: Francois Truffaut. France. 1959. 99mins.

The 400 Blows is one of the defining films of the French New Wave. Told through the eyes of young Parisian boy Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), it sensitively re-creates the trials of director Francois Truffaut’s own childhood; neglectful parents, oppressive teachers, and petty crime. Surrounded by hostile adults Antoine spends his days with his best friend Rene trying to plan for a better life. When one of their schemes goes awry, Antoine ends up in trouble with the law. The 400 Blows is a lyrical masterpiece in love with cinema and Paris.

Tuesday 16th Feb. The President.

Dir: Mohsen Makhmalbaf.  France, Georgia, Germany, UK.  2014. 118 mins.

In an unnamed state the President and his family rule their land with an iron fist, enjoying lives of luxury at the expense of their population's misery. When a coup d'état overthrows his brutal rule, the rest of his family flee, leaving The President and his young grandson behind. Now the country's most wanted fugitive he begins a perilous journey with the boy, criss-crossing the country to reach safety. Inspired by recently fallen Arab dictatorships, master Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf has created a tense and timely allegorical tale about how power corrupts, a vibrant and thrilling film with a satirical sense of humour.

Tues 1st March. The Second Mother. 

Dir:   Anna Muylaert. Brazil. 2014. 112 mins.   

When Val (Regina Casé) left her home to work thousands of miles away as a live-in housekeeper for Fabinho (Michel Joelsas), she carried the guilt of leaving her young daughter Jessica behind with relatives. Now, 13 years later, Jessica shows up in Sao Paulo to take her college entrance exams. Her presence throws into disarray the unspoken class barriers within Fabinho’s home. A savvy, socially conscious crowdpleaser, The Second Mother's compelling characters serve a thought-provoking story beautifully brought to life by a talented cast.

Tues 15th March. 45 Years.    

Dir: Andrew Haigh. UK. 2014. 93 mins.   

There is just one week until Kate Mercer's forty-fifth wedding anniversary and the planning for the party is going well. But then a letter arrives for her husband. The body of his first love has been discovered, frozen and preserved in the icy glaciers of the Swiss Alps. 45 Years offers richly thought-provoking rewards and a mesmerizing acting showcase for leads Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay. Andrew Haigh’s sensitive and devastating portrait of a long, happy marriage in sudden crisis is a quiet gem with the power to move.

Tues 29th March. My Skinny Sister.

Dir: Sanna Lenken. Sweden/Germany. 2015. 95 minutes.

Rebecka Josephson is wonderfully engaging as Stella, an awkward 12-year-old who discovers with horror that her popular figure-skating sister Katja (Amy Deasismont) is hiding a growing eating disorder. Drawing on personal experience director Sanna Lenken examines the web of intimacy and alienation that entraps both sisters, showing the volatile love-hate chemistry between the girls in a way that will ring true for anyone with siblings. An engagingly offbeat portrait of family dysfunction that feels at times like a Nordic cousin of Little Miss Sunshine.

Tues 12th April. Ex Machina.  


Dir: Alex Garland. UK. 2015. 108 mins.    

Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at an internet-search giant, wins a competition to spend a week at the private mountain estate of the company's brilliant, reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac). Once there, Caleb learns he's been chosen to evaluate the possible consciousness of Nathan’s latest experiment in artificial intelligence, Ava (Alicia Vikander), a breathtaking A.I. whose emotional intelligence proves more sophisticated, and deceptive, than the men expect. Alex Garland's directorial debut is a sleek, stylish thriller; Mary Shelleys Frankenstein as a 21st-century battle of the sexes.

Friday, 7 August 2015

September to December 2015

Tuesday 22nd Sept 
Force Majeure. 
DIR: Ruben Östlund, Sweden,  2014, 118 mins.
Starring: Johannes Bah Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli,
Clara Wettergren, Vincent Wettergren, Kristofer Hivju, Fanni Metelius
Language: Swedish, English.

A Swedish family travel to the French Alps for a skiing holiday. But on the second day an incident occurs that leaves their world shaken, a question mark hanging over the father in particular. A critical favorite and word-of-mouth sensation at last year's Cannes Festival, Ruben Ostlund's masterfully composed and subtly devastating psychodrama lays bare the tensions and misunderstandings in a seemingly happy marriage, questioning the nature of masculinity, social roles and the family itself along the way. A thought-provoking treat. 

Tuesday 6th Oct 
The Clouds of Sils Maria. 
Dir: Olivier Assayas, France, 2014, 124 mins.
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Kriten Stewart, Chloe Grace Moretz, Lars Eidinger.
Language: French, English.

Famous actress Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) retreats to Sils Maria, a remote region of the Alps with her assistant Valentine (Kirsten Stewart) to rehearse for an upcoming play about the relationship between a businesswoman and her manipulative assistant. As they rehearse, the border between fiction and reality begins to blur. An absorbing exploration of the mystery of acting and a biting satire on celebrity culture, Clouds of Sils Maria delivers multi-layered complexities, stand-out performances and stunning Alpine vistas.

Wednesday 21st Oct 
Wild Tales. 
DIR: Damián Szifrón, Argentina, 2014, 122 mins.   
Starring:Ricardo Darín, Oscar Martínez, Darío Grandinetti, Rita Cortese, Julieta Zylberberg,
Erica Rivas, Leonardo Sbaraglia       
Language: Spanish.

Oscar-nominated Wild Tales is a wickedly sharp black comedy, an entertaining anthology of six shorts united by vengeance and the limits of our patience. Inequality, injustice and the demands of the world cause some people to explode. This is a film about those people, characters who cross the thin line that divides civilization and barbarism. An amusingly subversive satire full of intrigue, suspense and dark humor, Wild Tales delivers absurd complications with marvellous comic timing and rich cinematic style. Great fun.

Tuesday 3rd Nov 
Dir: Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014, France, Mauritania, 97 mins.   
Starring: Ibrahim Ahmed aka Pino, Toulou Kiki, Abel Jafri.
Language: Arabic, French. 

Not far from the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, ruled by religious fundamentalists, proud cattle herder Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his family. But eventually their quiet lives are disturbed. Witty, beautiful and tough, Oscar-nominated Timbuktu is an engaging, imaginative film stunningly rendered by a master of world cinema. Full of life, irony, poetry and bitter truths, with hushed, memorable performances and the beauty of this desert land in every frame. An inspiring story of defiance and a visual experience to remember. 

Tuesday 17th Nov 
Dir: Dan Gilroy, USA, 2014, 117 mins.      
Starring:  Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton
Language: English.

Set in the nocturnal underbelly of LA, Nightcrawler follows Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) a hustler who muscles into the cut-throat world of nightcrawling, freelance camera crews who film crashes, fires and murder to sell to local TV news channels. Aided by producer Nina (Rene Russo) Lou blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story. Powered by a tour-de-force star performance from Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler offers marvelous neo-noir atmosphere and dark, thought-provoking thrills. 

Tuesday 8th Dec 
While We're Young. 
Dir: Noah Baumbach,USA, 2014, 97 mins.      
Starring:  Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver
Language: English.

Josh and Cornelia (Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts) are a childless New York couple in their mid-forties. As their friends start having children, they gravitate toward young hipster couple Jamie and Darby (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried). Soon the older couple are enjoying the energy of the younger generation. But then Josh begins to suspect Jamie might not be as trustworthy as he seems. A warmly incisive comedy of urban manners that explores the pains of ageing, and the chasms that divide generations with witty precision. 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

January to April 2015

Tues Jan 13th 
In the House
Dir: Francois Ozon. France.  105mins. 2013.
A sixteen-year-old boy insinuates himself into the house of a fellow student from his literature class and writes about it in essays for his French teacher. Faced with this gifted and unusual pupil, the teacher rediscovers his enthusiasm for his work, but the boy's intrusion will unleash a series of uncontrollable events. Ozon’s playful suspense thriller is dark, tense, and wryly funny, with fine performances from a quality cast. This smart, provocative and entertaining drama ingeniously dissolves the barrier that separates fiction from reality.

Tues Jan 27th 
Inside Llewyn Davis
Dir: Joel & Ethan Coen. U.S.A. 104mins. 2013.
In 1961 New York folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) struggles to make a name for himself in the music world, but so far, success remains elusive. Relying on the kindness of friends and strangers, he embarks on a cursed odyssey from Greenwich Village to Chicago where an audition could give him the break he desperately needs. A gorgeous recreation of early 60s New York with its folk-scene clubs and cafes embellishes this fascinating look at artistic temperament. A richly observed, touchingly sad and slyly funny film. One of the Coens' best.

Tues Feb 10th  
Dir: Lenny Abrahamson. U.K. 95mins. 2014
Keyboard player Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) meets weird indie band The Soronprfbs whose lead singer,Frank (Michael Fassbender), wears a giant fiberglass head at all times. They spend months holed up in an isolated holiday home in Ireland recording their next album, fame-struck Jon caught between thesweetly blank face of Frank and the fierce, weary stare of Clara (Maggie  Gyllenhaal). He posts videos of the band on Youtube and they become a cult phenomenon. Darkly sincere with deadpan humour and great music, Frank explores the fragility of the creative spirit and the necessity of masks as psychic protection. A strange, funny gem of a film.

Tues  Feb 24th 
Out of Here
Dir: Donal Foreman. Ireland. 80mins. 2014.
Art college drop-out Ciarán (Fionn Walton), is a young Dubliner recently returned from a gap year in Asia, struggling to fit back in, meandering his home city, fielding questions from well-meaning parents, flirting in pubs, hanging out with old friends. Donal Foreman's full-length debut is funny and touching with great dialogue and plenty to say about austerity Ireland. 'This is what can happen when a talented young director is allowed to make the film he really wants to make,' Donald Clarke wrote. 'One of a kind. What a debut.'

Tues March 10th 
Dir: Steven Knight. U.K. 85mins.  2013,
On the eve of the biggest challenge of his career dedicated family man and successful construction manager Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy)  receives a phone call which sends him driving through the night, from Birmingham to London, setting in motion events that threaten his carefully constructed life. An ingeniously executed and entirely engrossing study in cinematic minimalism, written and directed by Steven Knight with real skill and style and centred on a spellbinding performance from Hardy, by turns seductive, sympathetic and disturbing. 

Tues March 24th 
The Battle of Algiers
 Dir: Gillo Pontecorvo. Italy. 121mins. 1966.
Colonel Mathieu (Jean Martin), a former French Resistance fighter is sent to Algeria to quell the uprisings there. He faces Ali la Pointe (Brahim Haggiag), a former petty criminal who, as the leader of the Algerian Front de Liberation Nationale, directs terror strategies against the colonial French. One of the most influential political films in history, The Battle of Algiers, vividly re-creates a key year in the Algerian struggle for independence. Shot on the streets of Algiers in documentary style it's a case study in modern warfare, with its terrorist attacks and the brutal techniques used to combat them. A film with plenty to say to us still in the 21st century.

Tues April 7th 
Dir: Yann Demange. U.K. 99mins. 2014.

Despatched to Belfast with his regiment, fresh-trained British soldier Gary Hook (Jack O’Connell) is stranded on an estate after his unit accidentally abandons him during a riot. Alone, he must find his way back to safety through the hostile streets of Belfast. Yann Demange’s stunningly well-crafted survival film stays true to its fact-based origins while remaining as gripping as any action thriller. Beautifully shot, smartly written and packed with gritty suspense.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

September to December 2014

Tues Sept 23rd 


Dir: Haifaa Al-Mansour  2012  Germany, Saudi Arabia 100 mins Cert: PG
Starring: Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah, Abdullrahman Al Gohani, Ahd
Language: Arabic
The first feature film made in Saudi Arabia by a woman, Haifaa Al-Mansour's gently subversive film tells the story of a 10-year-old girl who wants to buy a bicycle to race against her friend Abdullah. Only problem is girls are not allowed ride bicycles. Shot in the suburbs of Riyadh (where the director was forbidden from mixing with her male crew and often had to direct via walkie-talkie from the back of a van) the film follows Wadjda as she cheerfully ignores the disapproval of her mother and her teacher and sets out to achieve her goal. 

Tues Oct 7th 

The Lunchbox 

Dir: Ritesh Batra 2013 India 104 minutes Cert: PG
Starring: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddique, Denzil Smith, Bharati Achrekar, Nakul Vaid, Yashvi Puneet Nagar, Lillete Dubey 
Language: Hindi, English 
A mistaken delivery in Mumbai's famously efficient lunchbox delivery system connects a young housewife to an older man nearing retirement as they build a fantasy world together through notes in the lunchbox. Indian director Ritesh Batra’s debut is a witty and perceptive film that reveals the hopes, sorrows and regrets of ordinary people. With its quietly masterful performances, The Lunchbox is a feast for fans of food and love, a charming portrait of two lonely hearts who connect across a city of more than 20 million people.

Tues Oct 21st 

The Past 

Dir: Asghar Farhadi 2013 Iran 130 minutes Cert: 12A
Starring: Berenice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa, Pauline Burlet, Elyes Aguis, Jeanne Jestin 
Language: French 
Writer-director Asghar Farhadi's follow-up to the Oscar-winning A Separation is an intensely gripping emotional drama with a superb script and terrific performances. An Iranian man deserts his French wife and her two children to return to his homeland. Several years later he returns to finalise their divorce and has to confront the reality of the new relationship she's in. The Past is another compelling testament to Farhadi's gift for finely layered drama, films that are both intimate psychological portraits and detailed, nerve-wracking mysteries. 

Tues November 4th 

Enough Said 

Dir:  Nicole Holofcener USA 92 mins Cert: 12A
Starring: James Gandolfini, Toni Collette, Julia Louis- Dreyfus, Catherine Keener
Language: English
A divorced and single parent, Eva (Julia Louis Dreyfus) spends her days enjoying work as a masseuse but dreading her daughter's impending departure for college. She meets Albert (James Gandolfini), a sweet, funny and like-minded man also facing an empty nest.  Nicole Holofcener's delightful film is an astute reading of the foibles of human relationships, a touching, wise and spiky romance with plenty of smart dialogue and real chemistry between the leads. A rom-com that's actually, miraculously, both romantic and comedic.

Tues Nov 18th 


Dir: Sebastion Lelio Chile 2012  110 mins Cert: CLUB 
Starring: Paulina Garcia, Sergio Hernandez, Marcial Tagle, Diego Fontecilla, Fabiola Zamora, Antonia Santa Maria, Coca Guazzini, Hugo Moraga, Alejandro Goic, Liliana Garcia, Luz Jimenez
Language: Spanish
An astutely compassionate account of the personal evolution of a middle-aged divorcee, an office worker in Santiago looking for company and even love at social dance clubs for single adults. Director Sebastian Lelio’s perceptive and sympathetic film is driven by a wonderful performance from Paulina Garcia as a woman made invisible by age aching for intimate contact. The journey of this woman, the type of character all too often neglected in cinema, is honest and sweetly poignant, but ultimately uplifting and enormously satisfying.

Tues Dec 2nd 

The Rocket 

Dir: Kim Morduant Laos, Australia 2013   96 mins Cert: CLUB 
Starring: Sitthiphon Disamoe, Loungnam Kaosainam, Thep Phongam, Bunsri Yindi, Sumrit Warin, Alice Kohavong
Language: Lao
The Rocket is an enchanting fable-like tale, set in Laos, about a ten-year-old boy, Ahlo, who is believed to bring bad luck to his family, a belief seemingly confirmed when they are forced off their land to make way for a dam and Ahlo’s mother dies. But the resourceful Ahlo forges new friendships (with an orphan girl and her wastrel uncle) and participates in a rocket-building contest that might just reverse the family's fortunes. A charming, tough-edged story, rich in atmosphere and local history, and beautifully acted by its young leads.