(12 September 2023 at 19.45)
Mariano Cohn & Gastón Duprat | Spain/Argentina | 2021 | 15 | 115 mins | Spanish | Trailer
The making of a prestige picture is at the heart of a captivating, laser-focused comedy from Argentinian directors Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat. Set in Spain, it follows Penélope Cruz’s maverick film-maker Lola as she prepares her latest project, indulgently funded by ageing pharmaceutical giant Humberto. For the story of two warring brothers, Lola selects two actors who form an intense rivalry from the off. Antonio Banderas is movie megastar Félix, with Oscar Martínez playing revered theatrical thespian Iván. Seamlessly blending elegance and absurdity, the film sharply satirises the hypocrisies and pretensions of its players, whose colossal egos and all-consuming contempt for one another cause all manner of drama. Lola’s eccentric methods result in some hilarious scenes and the cast sends up the industry, and themselves, magnificently.
(26 September 2023 at 19.45)
Éric Gravel | France | 2021 | 12 | 88 mins | French | Trailer
Single parent Julie commutes daily from her remote suburb into central Paris attempting to balance her failing finances, manage her tenuous childcare and keep a grip on her own sanity whilst searching for a new job with more pay that better reflects her skills. At last she gets an interview for the perfect job to get her out of debt when she’s confronted by a paralysing transport strike and her week goes into overdrive, each day more frenetic than the last. With its underlying themes of job insecurity, work inequality and social unrest this is a very different kind of thriller … but just as tense! Almost a one-woman show for Laure Calamy (Call My Agent) who is in nearly every frame playing desperate mum Julie, struggling with the pressures of modern living in this edge-of-your-seat film.
(3 October 2023 at 19.45)
Hylnur Pálmason | Denmark/Iceland *** | 2022 | 12 | 143 mins | Danish/Icelandic | Trailer
The late 19th century and Iceland is a Danish colony. Devout young Danish priest Lucas is commissioned to build a new Lutheran parish church in a remote part of coastal Iceland. The first half of the film tracks his arduous journey on horseback across the harsh landscape made more treacherous by the battle of wills and the language barrier between fragile, snobbish Lucas and Ragnar his gruff, pragmatic Icelandic guide. Undaunted, Lucas begins his work but finds the locals less than receptive to his spiritual advances; more connected to the forces of nature than the will of God. Icelandic director Hylnur Pámason reflects on faith, colonialism, spirituality and human frailty. A psychological epic in the vein of Herzog, Bergman and Tarkovsky. The stunning yet austere landscape of Iceland is a highlight, accentuated by a haunting score that creates an other-worldly atmosphere.
Godland is longer than films we typically screen and is not a casual watch but it rewards patience and investment.
(10 October 2023 at 19.45)
Marie Kreutzer | Austria/Luxembourg *** | 2022 | 15 | 113 mins | German | Trailer
Blending tradition with invention Corsage is a fictional retelling of the life of ‘Sisi’, Empress Elisabeth of Austria as we follow her in her 40th year in 1877. Popular and celebrated for her fashion sense and slender waist she now obsessively strives to maintain this by diet, exercise and lacing her corset ever tighter, but she is bored by her listless life and feels trapped in her role. She has reached an existential crisis and begins to fight for her own self-worth and emancipation, rebelling against her royal duties. A boldly postmodern bio-drama with a stunning central performance from Vicky Krieps who brillliantly conveys Elisabeth’s eccentricity and alienation with all her foibles, flaws and fears; a woman out of her time. Gorgeously filmed, this irreverent account portrays a defiant monarch caught between the historic restrictions of empire and her own desires.
The Quiet Girl/AGM
(24 October 2023)
Colm Bairéad | Ireland | 2022 | 12 | 94 mins | Irish | Trailer
Set in rural Ireland in 1981, young Caít is entrusted into the care of distant relatives for the summer, away from the turmoil of her own dysfunctional family. There she inadvertently discovers a sad family secret but also blossoms, transformed by their unwavering affection. A restrained, beautiful film with an intensely moving final scene. Shortlisted for 2023’s Best International Feature Film Oscar.
(7 November 2023 at 19.45)
Ali Abbasi | Denmark/Germany **** | 2022 | 18 |116 mins | Iranian | Trailer
A powerful thriller; tense and chilling but brutal in places as the harsh misogynistic ethos of the Iranian state is fully exposed. The film asks is serial killer Saeed Hanaei cleansing the country in the name of Islam or is he killing for his own pleasure or reputation? He regards himself as an Islamic hero and although the events occur in 2000-2001 it still has resonance to the disturbing events happening in Iran today. The film is based on a true story.
Warning: The film contains graphic scenes of violence to women including strangulation. It has an 18 certificate and is not a film for the squeamish.
(14 November 2023 at 19.45)
Hirokazu Kore-eda | South Korea | 2022 | 12 | 129 mins | Korean | Trailer
An intertwined tale of a young mother forced to give up her new-born child for adoption who inadvertently becomes involved with ‘brokers’ who steal and sell babies to the highest bidder. Written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda with his usual mix of drama and comedy; he choreographs another unconventional group of disparate characters, this time played by an ensemble of South Korean actors led by Song Kang-ho (Parasite) who won the Jury Prize at Cannes for this role. Who else apart from Kore-eda could get us to love a group of child-trafficking criminals?
The Worst Person in the World
(21 November 2023 at 19.45)
Joachim Trier | Norway *** | 2021 | 15 | 128 mins | Norwegian | Trailer
Julie is a millennial in Oslo, hilariously unsure about what she wants to do with her life. She is initially a medical student but then, with wide-eyed certainty, tells her long-suffering mum she wants to change course to psychology – loftily declaring that she finds the mind more interesting than the body – and then decides she wants to go into photography. She is stuck in the act of chasing after things – men, jobs, desires – before she even knows what she wants. It’s the unintended consequence of freedom of choice without freedom from expectation. Renate Reinsve is utterly beguiling playing Julie, in Norwegian director Joachim Trier’s tender, yet subversive relationship comedy, deservedly winning the Best Actress award at Cannes. The film was also nominated for 2 Oscars and 2 BAFTAs.
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom
(12 December 2023 at 19.45)
Pawo Choyning Dorji | Bhutan/China | 2019 | PG | 110 mins | Dzongkha/English | Trailer
Ugyen, a young teacher in modern Bhutan wants to escape his teaching contract in order to become a singer in Australia. Instead his superiors post him to the most remote school in the world, an eight day trek away. Though poor the villagers extend a warm welcome and the children have a strong desire to learn but Ugyen faces a daunting task without electricity, text books or further supplies. A fascinating insight into Bhutanese culture; winning performances, spectacular scenery and, yes, a yak in the classroom! An enchanting film shortlisted for the 2022 Best International Feature Film Oscar.