|23 September 2016:|
Gemma BoveryFrance/UK 2014 99 mins
Directed by Anne Fontaine
Trust Posy Simmonds to see the funny side of Madame Bovary. Her graphic novel gets full-screen treatment in this wry drama-comedy. Brits Gemma and Charles Bovery are set to play the roles of their tragic near-namesakes...at least in the eyes of one of their new neighbours in Normandy.
7 October 2016:
TimbuktuFrance/Mauritania 2014 96 mins
Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako
Cattle-herder Kidane and his family maintain their independence outside the walls of Jihadi-ruled Timbuktu - at least until a twist of fate draws them into the heart of a proud city now stifled by religious extremists. Sharia law bans music, laughter and sports...and will soon affect Kidane.
21 October 2016:
MustangTurkey/France 2015 97 mins
Directed by Deniz Gamze Erguven
Director Deniz Erguven drew on some painful memories to write and direct this powerful tale of five orphaned sisters in rural Turkey. Some innocent summer fun turns their lives into virtual house arrest, but their irrepressible love of freedom leads to brief escapes. Could they ever taste real liberty?
Society AGM to be held at this meeting.
4 November 2016:
A Most Wanted ManUK 2014 122 mins
Directed by Anton Corbijn
This taut John Le Carre adaptation fizzes with suspense, tightly wound around topical themes of terrorism and "extra-judicial" methods of fighting it. Philip Seymour Hoffman is an unconventional German agent ranged against money-launderers, al-Qaeda... and possibly his own colleagues.
18 November 2016:
MargueriteFrance 2015 128 mins
Directed by Xavier Giannoli
Society grande dame Marguerite Dumont (a nod to the Marx Brothers) loves nothing more than singing. And she is indulged by her friends and relatives. But will they be able to continue with their well-meaning pretence when she decides to perform for real - on a proper Parisian stage? The answer unfolds against a romantic backdrop of Paris in the 1920s.
2 December 2016:
The Golden DreamMexico 2013 102 mins
Directed by Diego Quemada-Diez
Juan, Sara and Samuel - three Guatemalan teenagers with a yen to enter the United States - are joined by young Native American Chauk. They embark on a journey that begins with one border crossing (into Mexico) and finishes with some of them entering the land alluded to in the film's title. Along the way they encounter fellow migrants, drug dealers, border guards and corrupt officials, who all want to cash in on this "human cargo" heading north.
16 December 2016:
Romantics AnonymousFrance/Belgium 2010 80 mins
Directed by Jean-Pierre Ameris
This charming film could be described as a "choc-com" or a "rom-choc". Newly hired, painfully shy chocolatier Angelique makes her boss Rene's heart skip a beat. The trouble is - he's even shyer! Sweet threatens to become bittersweet, unless... The film was released in dozens of countries, each title recognizably featuring variations of "romantics" and "anonymous". Except for Swedish: it's worth exploring how the Swedes came to know it as "Franska Nerver".
|13 January 2017:|
Embrace of the SerpentColombia 2015 125 mins
Directed by Ciro Guerra
This mesmerizing Colombian film leads us into the heart of South America's darkness not through the eyes of an opera-loving European or missionaries, but from the perspective of a local shaman, Karamakate. It's more than a century ago when we first encounter him, grudgingly nursing a feverish German explorer to health. Decades pass and Karamakate is once more called on. He - and we - must stop to consider what is left of the culture that defined him.
27 January 2017:
TangerinesEstonia/Georgia 2013 87 mins
Directed by Zaza Urushadze
This powerful anti-war film is set in the 1992 conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia. Both - as well as Estonia - had spent decades under the smothering control of Moscow's Soviet rulers. With the region descending into turmoil, a group of ethnic Estonians depart for their ancestral homeland. One, however, decides to stay on to harvest his cherished tangerines...and also to nurture some sort of reconciliation between the fighters on both sides.
10 February 2017:
PhoenixGermany 2014 98 mins
Directed by Christian Petzold
"Coolly intelligent and flawlessly paced" (NY Times), Phoenix tells of a German concentration camp survivor (played by Nina Hoss) who undergoes reconstructive surgery...before setting out to find out whether her husband had betrayed her to the Nazis. It's a gripping tale of identity, treachery and loss.
24 February 2017:
La Famille BelierFrance 2014 105 mins
Directed by Eric Lartigau
Rodolphe and Gigi Belier, along with their son Quentin, are deaf. But acting as their "ears" and interpreter is their hearing daughter Paula. What's more, she has a beautiful singing voice, good enough to win a scholarship at an elite choir in Paris, far from the family farm. But does going down that route signify independence or betrayal of those she loves?
10 March 2017:
LeviathanRussia 2014 141 mins
Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev
This powerhouse has been described as equal parts Book of Job, Hobbes and Chekhov. Hot-blooded Kolya is determined to hold on to his ancestral property along the starkly beautiful Barents Sea coastline. His nemesis is the corrupt mayor, bent on building his pleasure dome there. The Kremlin hated this scathing study of naked power - and it's no surprise.
24 March 2017:
Jimmy's HallIreland 2014 106 mins
Directed by Ken Loach
It's 1932, and Ireland's wars (for Independence, then civil) are over. But a pall of social conservatism - encouraged by the Church - threatens to smother the new country. Left-wing Jimmy Gralton chooses to reopen "the Hall", for dances, gatherings and (dangerous) talk. Let battle commence.
7 April 2017:
The Crow's EggIndia 2014 109 mins
Directed by M. Manikandan
Two young brothers scramble to earn a crust in the mean streets of Chennai. Except the "crust" they crave isn't naan, chapatti or popadum. It's pizza from the glitzy new pizzeria. A tale that could be earnest or grim becomes life-affirming because of the boys' naturalism and joie de vivre.