What a great selection of films for 2018! We have a silent classic from 1924 (94 years ago!) “The Last Laugh”, which does not even have subtitles. Then there is a great Australian movie starring David Gulpilil, “Charlie’s Country”, and a very fine French film “Loin des Hommes”, in which Vigo Mortensen gives his best performance yet. Film is an engrossing art form, with the capacity to immediately convey emotion, be it happiness or anger or disgust or love – the good films have the emotional depth to move us. Our 2018 season has a range of pictures to do this. Come along to the Wine Centre at Faith College on the third Friday of the month for the screening of a short at 7.30 and then the main feature. See you there!
Barossa Film Club will screen a German film from 1924, “The Last Laugh”, in June. F.W. Murnau’s German silent classic The Last Laugh (Der Letze Mann) stars Emil Jannings as the doorman of a posh Berlin hotel. Fiercely proud of his job, Jannings comports himself like a general in his resplendent costume and is treated like royalty by his friends and neighbours. The hotel’s insensitive new manager, noting that Jannings seems winded after carrying several heavy pieces of luggage for a patron, decides that the old man is no longer up to his job. The manager demotes Jannings to men’s washroom attendant, and the effect is disastrous on the man’s prestige and self-esteem. Logically, the film should end on a note of tragedy, but Murnau adds a near-surrealistic coda, wherein Jannings, having suddenly inherited a fortune, returns to the hotel in triumph. The Last Laugh was a bold experiment for its time: a film told entirely visually, with no subtitles save for the semi-satirical explanation of the climax. In a sense, Karl Freund’s camera is as much a “character” as anyone else, commenting upon Jannings’ rise and fall via then-revolutionary camera angles, jarring movements and grotesque lens distortions. Many historians credit The Last Laugh as the vanguard of the “German invasion” of Hollywood during the mid- to late-1920s.
Admission free to Film Club members; membership obtainable at the door.
Barossa Film Club’s May screening was the John Huston classic “Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, which was well received by the audience. There were a couple of low votes, but generally favourable with an average score of 3.3 out of 5.
John Huston’s 1948 treasure-hunt classic begins as drifter Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart), down and out in Tampico, Mexico, impulsively spends his last bit of dough on a lottery ticket. Later on, Dobbs and fellow indigent Curtin (Tim Holt) seek shelter in a cheap flophouse and meet Howard (Walter Huston), a toothless, garrulous old coot who regales them with stories about prospecting for gold. Forcibly collecting their pay from their shifty boss, Dobbs and Curtin combine this money with Dobbs’s unexpected windfall from a lottery ticket and, together with Howard, buy the tools for a prospecting expedition. Dobbs has pledged that anything they dig up will be split three ways, but Howard, who’s heard that song before, doesn’t quite swallow this. As the gold is mined and measured, Dobbs grows increasingly paranoid and distrustful, and the men gradually turn against each other on the way toward a bitterly ironic conclusion. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a superior morality play and one of the best movie treatments of the corrosiveness of greed. Huston keeps a typically light and entertaining touch despite the strong theme, for which he won Oscars for both Director and Screenplay, as well as a supporting award for his father Walter, making Walter, John, and Anjelica Huston the only three generations of one family all to win Oscars.
The screening will commence with a short film at 7.30 then the main feature at Faith College Wine Centre. Admission is free to Members and membership is obtainable at the door.
Barossa Film Club’s film screening for April is “Katyn”, a powerful film from Poland about one of the tragic events of World War Two. In the spring of 1940, following the invasion of Poland by Russia’s Red Army in 1939, up to 20,000 Polish officers and soldiers were executed by Stalin’s secret police. The men were imprisoned in three POW camps, one of which was based in the Katyn forest. Working from a novel by Andrzej Mularczyk and real life accounts, “Katyn” tells the story of four fictional families, forever separated from one another in 1939. A brutal and devastating work, it also received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 2008.
Director Andrzej Wajda was 83 when he made this film, and is the son of one of the victims of this tragedy. Critic Danusha Goska said, “When a movie is named “Katyn” the viewer knows how it will end; it’s kind of like a movie named “Auschwitz” or “Kolyma” or “Wounded Knee.” There isn’t going to be a surprise ending. I was still surprised by the ending, by how courageous and moving I found it. Once again, Andrzej Wajda managed to wow the film-goer in me. And he managed to move the human in me. See “Katyn.” See a movie you can respect, a movie that is worth your time.”
“Katyn” will be screened at the Faith College Wine Centre on Friday 13th April. The evening will commence with a short film at 7.30 pm, followed by a short break and then the main feature. Admission is free to Barossa Film Club members, and membership can be obtained at the door. A trailer of the film can be viewed on the website barossa.filmclub.org.au. For further details ring President Imelda Carson on 8564 8225.
Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the latest from legendary director Ken Loach is a gripping, human tale about the impact one man can make. Gruff but goodhearted, Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) is a man out of time: a widowed woodworker who’s never owned a computer, he lives according to his own common sense moral code. But after a heart attack leaves him unable to work and the state welfare system fails him, the stubbornly self-reliant Daniel must stand up and fight for his dignity, leading a one-man crusade for compassion that will transform the lives of a struggling single mother (Hayley Squires) and her two children. Graced with humour and heart, “I, Daniel Blake” is a moving, much-needed reminder of the power of empathy from one of the world’s greatest living filmmakers.
Doors open at 7 pm on Friday 16th February with Australian short film “Ace” showing at 7. 30 and then “I, Daniel Blake” after a break for wine and cheese or a cuppa. Free to Barossa Film Club members.
Barossa Film Club presents the 1981 erotic thriller “Body Heat”, with an all-star cast, including Kathleen Turner, William Hurt, Mickey Rourke, Richard Crenna and Ted Danson. An excellent crime drama in the style of Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, and Dashiell Hammett, Director-writer Lawrence Kasdan borrows liberally in style from 1940s film noir and incorporates a plot reminiscent of “Double Indemnity”, but he adds a steamy sexuality more in keeping with contemporary films. Set in steamy hot Florida, the movie follows the ill-fated course of Ned Racine (William Hurt), a rather dim-witted attorney who gets deeply involved with sultry Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), a woman who wants her husband dead. Hurt gives a superior performance–we can actually see him thinking, rather painfully–while Turner makes a fine femme fatale after the model of Lauren Bacall. Ted Danson is also excellent as a slightly nerdy lawyer-friend of Ned’s while Mickey Rourke, in one of his early screen appearances, shows the promise of things to come.
Doors open at 7 pm for a 7.30pm screening on Friday 20th October, at the Faith College Wine Centre. Entry is free to Film Club Members and guests and membership is obtainable at the door. For enquiries, phone President Imelda Carson on 8564 8225
Barossa Film Club’s screening for September is the 1944 classic movie “Gaslight”. George Cukor’s 1944 Hollywood suspense flick “Gaslight” was originally made in 1940 in England under the title “Murder in Thorton Square”. When the Hollywood producers got hold of this hot commodity, they attempted to make the original film vanish from sight and memory by destroying many of the prints. Interesting how this particular tale parallels some of the mental manipulations employed in the film itself.
This tense, atmospheric film takes place in London in the 1870’s several years after a murder shocked the residents of Thorton Square. Paula, the niece of the deceased woman, has inherited her aunt’s house. Strange things start happening when she begins to occupy the place with her new husband. Through a steady thematic build we watch as she slowly loses her mind. “Gaslight” is a classic psychological thriller in the vein of the best Hitchcock with Ingrid Bergman, fresh off “Casablanca”, stealing the show as the innocent victim of mental illness. Bergmann won the Best Actress Academy Award for her performance, while 17 year old Angela Lansbury made her film debut and received an Academy nomination.
The film will screen at the Faith College Wine Centre at 7.30 pm on Friday 15th September. Admission is free for Film Club members and membership is obtainable at the door. For enquiries contact President Imelda Carson on 8564 8225
Barossa Film Club presents acclaimed French film “Amour” as its August screenings. Directed by Michael Hanneke and starring Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Isabelle Huppert, the film tells the story of Georges and Anne who are a couple of retired music teachers enjoying life in their eighties. However, Anne suddenly has a stroke at breakfast and their lives are never the same. That incident begins Anne’s harrowingly steep physical and mental decline as Georges attempts to care for her at home as she wishes. Even as the fruits of their lives and career remain bright, the couple’s hopes for some dignity prove a dispiriting struggle even as their daughter enters the conflict. In the end, George, with his love fighting against his own weariness and diminished future on top of Anne’s, is driven to make some critical decisions for them both.
Winner of a 2013 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Film Critic David Stratton commented, “This is a profound look at love about a couple who have lived with each other for so many years, know each other so well and this terrible thing that is facing them and there’s a serenity there which makes it even more moving, I think.”
The film will screen at the Faith College Wine Centre at 7.30 pm on Friday 18th August. Admission for Film Club members is free and membership is obtainable at the door. Inquiries to Imelda Carson at 8564 8225.
Swedish film “As It Is in Heaven”, directed by Kay Pollack, is Barossa Film Club’s selection for screening in June. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, it was made in 2004, and stars Michael Nyqvist, Frida Hallgren and Helen Sjoholm, telling the story of Daniel, a successful international conductor who suddenly interrupts his career and returns alone to his childhood village in Norrland, in the far north of Sweden. It doesn’t take long before he is asked to come and listen to the fragment of a church choir, which practises every Thursday in the parish hall. Just come along and give a little bit of good advice. He can’t say no, and from that moment, nothing in the village is the same again. The choir develops and grows. He makes both friends and enemies. And he finds love.
It’s all about finding your own voice, Daniel tells the villagers and the choir. And when those individual voices come together — mystically, inexplicably, beyond any rational explanation of notes or time signatures — something close to rapture can occur. It happened to Daniel once before, for 58 seconds, when the lights went out and his orchestra kept on playing in the dark. You might suspect it’ll happen again. And when it does, you can be sure it’s a culmination of the film’s every pointed lesson: that loving matters more than judging, that true community blossoms in an atmosphere of honesty and trust.
“As It Is in Heaven” screens on Friday 16th June at 7.30 pm at Faith College Wine Centre. Admission is free to members and membership is obtainable at the door. A trailer of the film can be viewed on the Club’s website. Inquiries to President Imelda Carson on 8564 8225.