We have a great selection of films for 2017, ranging from the outrageous Maggie Smith in “Travels With My Aunt” to open in February, through the deeply moving “Amour” in August and the controversial “Body Heat” in October, and the very funny “Withnall and I” to end the season in November. Check out the trailers on our page 2017 Programme. Note that our screening in May of the Australian classic “The Sundowners” will be at the Nuriootpa Memorial Hall in conjunction with the town Committee to celebrate the early years of film screenings in Nuriootpa, when “The Sundowners” was shown. As always, we do not expect all our members to love every film, but, if you love the art of film, this year’s selection will provide a wide range of styles and genres. As always, all the films (except “The Sundowners”) will show at the Faith Wine Centre at 7.30 pm on the third Friday of each month.
See you there!
Our first screening for 2017, the Maggie Smith vehicle, “travels With My Aunt”, attracted a large audience and quite a few new members. Nearly everybody enjoyed the film, which was really a film adaptation of a stage play adapted from a Graham Greene novel! As always, Maggie Smith totally dominated every scene and was able to portray a teenage schoolgirl, a courtesan in her 30’s and an elderly woman, partly with clever makeup, but mostly by changing the timbre of her voice.
38 people voted and gave an average score of 3.8.
“Travels With My Aunt” takes its title, much of its dialogue, many of its situations and almost all its characters from a fine Graham Greene novel that, in the long run, it does not so closely resemble. The characters include Henry Rulling, a retiring London bank manager; his exuberant Aunt Augusta, well into her ’70’s, with passions modified but unextinguished; Zachary Wordsworth, Augusta’s black and very loyal lover, and Tooley, an affectionate American hippie traveling east on the Orient Express.
East is where everyone else is traveling—to the aid of the kidnapped Mr. Visconti, the charming unspeakable love of Aunt Augusta’s youth. Of Visconti we see very little, except in Aunt Augusta’s memories and in the small parts of him (an amputated finger here, an ear there) that show up along the route.
In type, the film is a comedy adventure-mystery, and ostensibly its aim is to save Mr. Visconti, while there is still some of him left. But its real aim is the revitalization of Henry, sunk deep into his dahlias and conventional middle age. This is achieved, but not so simply as you might imagine. And the great charm of “Travels With My Aunt” is the surprising emotional complexity it manages in terms of its light tone and its nutty, endlessly involved plotting.
Maggie Smith, playing a woman twice her age, seems to have surrounded her character rather than to have inhabited it. She is wonderfully gotten up and made up—even to the most refined shade of carrot-red dye in her hair—and she is energetic enough for any five ordinary performers. But it is the energy of caricature rather than personality, and Aunt Augusta is sufficiently an original not to need any eccentricities added on.
But the film is full of privileged moments, lucid, controlled and graceful, and any of them might serve to epitomize the style and the meaning of the valuable cinema of George Cukor.
Our last showing for 2016, “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence”, received a score of 3.1 out of 5 which is a fair score. Perhaps the biggest criticism was that all the publicity was about David Bowie, who certainly played an intriguing and interesting figure. But the star, at least for English-speaking audiences, was Tom Conti, who gave an outstanding performance.
Barossa Film Club presents “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence”, an intriguing film of wartime interaction between East and West. Conflicting cultural imperatives and repressions between East and West collide with tragic consequences in Nagisa Oshima’s enthralling World War II drama, which sees a war of wills – and unspoken erotic attraction – unfold between a rebellious prisoner (David Bowie) and a Japanese POW camp commander (Ryuichi Sakomoto).
Nagisa Ôshima made his English language debut with this multilayered drama, which also features Tom Conti as a bilingual prisoner who tries to bridge the divides between captor and prisoner, and Takeshi Kitano in his first dramatic role as a sadistic sergeant. But it is Bowie’s maverick and often anarchic Major Celliers that steals the show – “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence” is a testament to his uncanny magnetism on screen.
The evening will commence at 7.30 pm on Friday 18th November at the Faith College Wine Centre with a short film, then a break for refreshments, then the main feature. This is the last screening for 2016 and the Club will offer wine and cheese. All members are welcome (membership, including a limited season screening of three films, is available at the door). A preview of the film is available on the Barossa Film Club website or Facebook page.
Based on the bestselling 2009 debut novel by Jonas Jonasson, the wildly whimsical narrative follows the misadventures of Allan Karlsson (Swedish comedy great Robert Gustafsson) who escapes from an old people’s home just in time to miss his own centenary birthday party.
Shambling to the nearest bus stop in cork-soled slip-ons, Allan buys a ticket to nowhere, accidentally purloining en route a suitcase full of money. Pursued by an incompetent motorcycle gang, and variously teaming up with an ageing rogue, an incomplete man and a feisty woman with a pet elephant, Allan follows a trail of unintentional destruction through which the haphazard cataclysms of his past are refracted. One minute, he’s attempting to dispose of a deep-frozen body in the dreamily chaotic present; the next, he’s flashing back to a life in which his undying desire to blow things up saw him killing a neighbour as a child, becoming embroiled in both sides of the Spanish civil war as a young man and casually helping to invent the atom bomb as a fully grown destroyer of worlds.
A quirky and original film, this is a great example of Scandinavian humour. It is showing at Faith Wine Centre on Friday 21st October, starting at 7.30 pm with a short film and then supper and the main feature. All members welcome – or you can get short-term membership at the door.
An interesting range of responses from the audience who attended our screening of “The Babadook”, with Starbox rating from 1 to 5, giving an average of 3.4 – by no means the worst score for a film, but probably a pretty good indication that most people liked the film but did not consider it the best ever.
Barossa Film Club presents Award-winning Australian thriller “The Babadook”, starring Essie Davis, in a very different role to her incarnation as Phryne Fisher. This was the directorial debut of Jenifer Kent, who also wrote the script. Widely acclaimed at overseas film festivals, such as Sundance, this is not a conventional horror movie. It does not rely on special effects and the gore of many current movies of this type, but more a creeping dread and a study of a mother and son facing the inexplicable.
Six years after the violent death of her husband, Amelia (Essie Davis) is at a loss. She struggles to discipline her ‘out of control’ 6 year-old, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), a son she finds impossible to love. Samuel’s dreams are plagued by a monster he believes is coming to kill them both. When a disturbing storybook called ‘The Babadook’ turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the Babadook is the creature he’s been dreaming about. His hallucinations spiral out of control, he becomes more unpredictable and violent. Amelia, genuinely frightened by her son’s behaviour, is forced to medicate him. But when Amelia begins to see glimpses of a sinister presence all around her, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about may be real.
“The Babadook” will screen on Friday 16th September at the Faith College Wine Centre. The evening starts at 7.30 pm with a short film, then the main feature after a break for refreshments. Members and guests are welcome, with membership obtainable at the door. Further details and enquiries to President Imelda Carson on telephone 8564 8225.
The audience at our screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” gave the film an excellent average rating of 4.2 out of 5. Only one scorer was not so enthusiastic, while most gave 4’s and 5’s. Classic Hitchcock – a suspenseful murder mystery, but equally enthralling were the glimpses of other lives through the windows of the apartments visible from James Stewart’s window.
Barossa Film Club presents one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best films, when “Rear Window” screens on Friday 19th August at the Faith College Wine Centre. The story:
Laid up with a broken leg, photojournalist L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) is confined to his tiny, sweltering courtyard apartment. To pass the time between visits from his nurse (Thelma Ritter) and his fashion model girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly), the binocular-wielding Jeffries stares through the rear window of his apartment at the goings-on in the other apartments around his courtyard. As he watches his neighbours, he assigns them such roles and character names as “Miss Torso” (Georgine Darcy), a professional dancer with a healthy social life or “Miss Lonelyhearts” (Judith Evelyn), a middle-aged woman who entertains nonexistent gentlemen callers. Of particular interest is seemingly mild-mannered travelling salesman Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), who is saddled with a nagging, invalid wife. One afternoon, Thorwald pulls down his window shade, and his wife’s incessant bray comes to a sudden halt. Out of boredom, Jeffries casually concocts a scenario in which Thorwald has murdered his wife and disposed of the body in gruesome fashion. Trouble is, Jeffries’ musings just might happen to be the truth. One of Alfred Hitchcock’s very best efforts, Rear Window is a crackling suspense film that also ranks with Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom (1960) as one of the movies’ most trenchant dissections of voyeurism. As in most Hitchcock films, the protagonist is a seemingly ordinary man who gets himself in trouble for his secret desires.
The evening commences at 7.30 pm with a short film, followed by “Rear Window” after a break for refreshments. Club Membership of 3 screenings for just $12 is obtainable at the door. For details visit the Club’s website or Facebook page or ring Imelda Carson on 8564 8225.
Barossa Film Club presents an unusual and thrilling action film for its screening on Friday 15th July. “Hidalgo” is a Western with a difference, about a legendary American rider and his horse, Hidalgo, and tells the story of possibly the greatest test of man and horse ever seen.
Held yearly for centuries, the Ocean of Fire–a 3,000 mile survival race across the Arabian desert–was a challenge restricted to the finest Arabian horses ever bred, the purest and noblest lines, owned by the greatest royal families. In 1890, a wealthy sheik invited an American, Frank T. Hopkins, and his horse to enter the race for the first time. During the course of his career, Hopkins was a cowboy and dispatch rider for the U.S. cavalry–and had once been billed as the greatest rider the West had ever known. The Sheik puts his claim to the test, pitting the American cowboy and his mustang, Hidalgo, against the world’s greatest Arabian horses and Bedouin riders–some of whom are determined to prevent a foreigner from finishing the race. For Frank, the Ocean of Fire becomes not only a matter of pride and honour, but a race for his very survival as he and his horse attempt the impossible.
The film stars Viggo Mortensen and was directed by Joe Johnson in 2004. It will be shown at the Faith College Wine Centre on 15th July, with a short film showing at 7.30, then a break for refreshments before the main screening. A trailer is available on the Barossa Film Club website and enquiries may be directed to President Imelda Carson on 8564 8225.