All screenings take place at:
The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution
16-18 Queen Square
Bath BA1 2HN.
At 7.45pm on Fridays.

Please join us a few minutes
earlier for a glass of wine.

2019/20 SEASON

For further information please call our membership secretary on 01225 316410.

Visit the South West Film Societies' site at

13 September 2019:

Happy as Lazzaro

Italy    2018    128 mins
Directed by Alice Rochwacher

This mesmerising tale of peasant life in southern Italy could be set at any time in the last ten centuries, so timeless are the customs and working lives of the sharecropping farmers. The title suggests that some Biblical allegories are at play. Can we expect some miracles?

20 September 2019:


Japan    2018    121 mins
Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda

Cinema has had its share of plucky outsiders living by their wits on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Mumbai, Cape Town...but Tokyo? Koreeda's film displays a side of Japan that's barely acknowledged, let alone portrayed. Can a motley 'family' of petty thieves survive the arrest of one of their youngest?

11 October 2019:


USA    2017    88 mins
Directed by John Carroll Lynch

Lucky (Harry Dean Stanton's last role) is a 90-year-old looking for enlightenment in his dusty desert town. Lynch draws fine performances from a quirky cast, including another familiar Lynch (David). Echoes of the latter Lynch's work abound, but it's Stanton's desert-dry performance that lingers in the mind.
Society AGM to be held at this meeting.

25 October 2019:


Palestine    2017    96 mins
Directed by Annemarie Jacir

Bethlehem-born Jacir manages the impossible - finding warmth and even humour in a tale set in modern Palestine. Father and son Abu and Shadi hand-deliver hundreds of invitations to a family wedding, exposing some domestic rifts that seem to shove Hamas and the Israelis to the sidelines.

8 November 2019:

The Guardians

France    2017    138 mins
Directed by Xavier Beauvois

Here is a counterpoint to the Great War tales of trenches and vain advances. We've entered the world of the French women ("les gardiennes") left behind to farm while husbands, brothers and sons are away on Flanders' fields. Matriarch Hortense, daughter Solange and local orphan Francine cope with the farm - but will this success survive the men's return?

22 November 2019:

Under the Tree

Iceland    2017    89 mins
Directed by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurösson

Sigurösson was inspired by Iceland's "Neighbour Rage" when planning the screenplay of this hard-to-pin-down film that's part rom com, part thriller, part "this could only be Icelandic, it's so bleakly comic". As with so many multi-layered films, the premise is surprisingly simple: unfaithful spouse holes up with his parents. And they, in turn, are at daggers drawn with a neighbour. Happy ending? Hmm, this is Iceland.

29 November 2019:

Faces Places

France    2017    94 mins
Directed by JR, Agnès Varda

This engaging, quirky documentary is a fitting tribute to (and touching swansong for) the great Belgian-French director and photographer Agnès Varda, who died in March 2019 at the age of 91. The film pairs Varda with JR, a French guerrilla photographer in the Banksy mould. Despite a five-decade difference in age, the pair revel in each other's company, plastering huge versions of JR's photos on walls across France. It's a delight to go along for the ride.

13 December 2019:

God Willing

Italy    2015    87 mins
Directed by Edoardo Maria Falcone

There was a time when a God-fearing Italian family would give thanks if one of the sons entered the priesthood. Not any more - or at least not in any family that has Tomasso at its helm. He's a successful cardiac surgeon and avowed atheist who learns that his son Andrea is considering taking the vows. Cue panic and a plan to discredit the charismatic priest who "brainwashed" the impressionable young man. Will faith triumph over reason? We'll soon find out...God willing.

17 January 2020:

Lift to the Scaffold

France    1958    91 mins
Directed by Louis Malle

Malle's thriller has been seen as a Film Noir par excellence as well as an embodiment of all that was groundbreaking in French New Wave cinema. At its heart is a tense story of a perfect crime that unravels. But Malle takes this potentially hackneyed plot and shakes it up with narrative zig-zags and probing camera work. The icing on the cake for many is the improvised soundtrack by Miles Davis, described by one critic as "the loneliest trumpet sound you will ever hear."

31 January 2020:

The Killing

USA    1956    85 mins
Directed by Stanley Kubrick

The recent BFI retrospective detailed Kubrick's genius and perfectionism, heedless of cost and studio alarm bells. Here's a chance to see how the great director could use a $320,000 budget (peanuts, even counting for inflation) to produce a tense, driven heist film that engages right to the final shocking frame. Sterling Hayden exudes steely menace throughout.

14 February 2020:

Cold War

Poland    2018    89 mins
Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski

"A Star Is Born meets Stalin" isn't the sort of pitch to sway Hollywood execs, but we can thank a consortium of European film studios (including Film 4 and the BFI) for nurturing Pawlikowski's story of star-crossed love spanning decades and East-West borders. It involves Paris jazz clubs and Soviet work camps, but at its heart lies a personal love story.

 NEXT FILM  28 February 2020:


Spain    2017    115 mins
Directed by Lucrecia Martel

Martel weaves a sensual, mysterious tale from seemingly unpromising material. Zama is a haughty colonial bureaucrat languishing in a South American backwater, awaiting news from Spain that will release him from this half life. Lyrical cinematography (calling to mind Mallick and Herzog) and an arresting use of sound magnify a sense of loss and decay.

13 March 2020:


Lebanon    2018    126 mins
Directed by Nadine Labaki

The highest-grossing Arabic film of all time plunges headlong into the chaos (the translation of the title) of Zain, a feisty Beirut street child. His world of prison visits, exploitation and refugees evokes the best of De Sica and Chaplin.

27 March 2020:

Bad Education

Spain    2004    106 mins
Directed by Pedro Almodovar

Fasten your seat belts, because you'll be in for a bumpy paraphrase one of Almodovar's Hollywood idols. Here he takes us on a dizzying voyage that touches on sexual identity, abuse, violence, love...and the magic of cinema. It's a masterwork of a director reaching his mature best.

Please note that we are a Society and only members and their guests may attend our screenings. Full members are guaranteed seats up to 10 minutes prior to the start of the film. Thereafter we admit on a first come first seated basis. Most films are preceded by a short (and often amusing) feature.
Due to circumstances beyond the Society's control, films may be subject to change. Also, please note this season several exceptions to the "every fortnight" rhythm of the BFS schedule.

© Bath Film Society The copyright and ownership of film summaries, images and linked sites is acknowledged. Images are used solely to promote specific films and cannot be used in any other context.

Mark Howard