20th FEBRUARY, 7.00 pm: “The History Boys” is a 2006 British comedy-drama film adapted by Alan Bennett from his play of the same name, which won the 2005 Olivier Award for Best New Play and the 2006 Tony Award for Best Play. It was directed by Nicholas Hytner, who directed the original production at the Royal National Theatre in London, and features the original cast of the play. The film centres on an unruly class of bright, funny teenage boys in pursuit of sex, sport and a college degree. Bounced between their maverick English teacher, a young and shrewd professor hired to up their test scores, a grossly out-numbered history teacher, and a headmaster obsessed with results, the boys attempt to sift through it all to pass the daunting university admissions process. Their journey becomes as much about how education works, as it is about where education leads.
20th MARCH, 7.30 pm: “Back of Beyond” (1954) is a feature-length award-winning Australian documentary film produced and directed by John Heyer for the Shell Film Unit. In terms of breadth of distribution, awards garnered, and critical response, it is Heyer’s most successful film. It is also, arguably, Australia’s most successful documentary: in 2006 it was included in a book titled 100 Greatest Films of Australian Cinema, with Bill Caske writing that it is “perhaps our [Australia’s] national cinema’s most well known best kept secret. In simple terms, the film follows a “typical” journey made by Tom Kruse, from Marree to Birdsville, some 325 miles away, showing the various people he met along the Track and the sorts of obstacles he faced. In fact, sometimes described as a docudrama, the film was closely scripted: it comprises a number of re-enactments and a ‘lost children’ story, rather than chronicling an ‘actual’ trip.
10th APRIL, 7.30 pm: “The Rocket” is a 2013 Australian drama film written and directed by Kim Mordaunt. This was the seventh Australian film to be selected for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, but it was not nominated. It tells the story of a boy who is believed to bring bad luck leads his family (and a couple of ragged misfits) through Laos to find a new home. After a calamity-filled journey through a land scarred by war, the boy builds a giant rocket to prove he’s not cursed and to enter the most lucrative but dangerous competition of the year: a rocket festival.
15th MAY, 7.30 pm: “Adam’s Rib” is a 1949 American film written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin and directed by George Cukor. It stars Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as married lawyers who come to oppose each other in court. Judy Holliday co-stars as third lead in her second credited movie role. The music was composed by Miklós Rózsa, except for the song “Farewell, Amanda”, which was written by Cole Porter. In this comedy, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn play Adam and Amanda Bonner, a husband-and-wife attorney team who are drawn to a case of attempted murder. The defendant had attempted to shoot her husband and his mistress. Adam decides to work for the prosecution, while Amanda defends the accused woman.
19th JUNE, 7.30 pm: “Calle 54” is a 2000 documentary film about Latin jazz by Spanish director Fernando Trueba.] With only minimal introductory voiceovers, the film consists of studio performances by a wide array of Latin Jazz musicians. Artists featured include Chucho Valdés, Bebo Valdés, Cachao, Eliane Elias, Gato Barbieri, Tito Puente, Paquito D’Rivera, Chano Domínguez,Jerry Gonzalez and Michel Camilo. The film takes its name from Sony Music Studios, where much of the film was shot, which are located on 54th Street in New York City. Filmmaker Fernando Trueba was introduced to Latin jazz in the 1980s, when he was beginning his career as a director, and he has since become a devoted fan of the music. After employing noted jazz artists to score some of his films, Trueba took his love of the music one step further with this documentary, in which he gathered together a number of his favorite Latin jazz artists for a series of interviews and performances at the Sony Music recording studios in New York City.
17th JULY, 7.30 pm: “For a Few Dollars More” is a 1965 Italian spaghetti western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Gian Maria Volonté. German actor Klaus Kinski also plays a supporting role as a secondary villain. The film was released in the United States in 1967 and is the second part of what is commonly known as the Dollars Trilogy, following “A Fistful of Dollars” and preceding “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. This pulse-pounding follow-up to “A Fistful of Dollars” brings back Clint Eastwood as the serape-clad, cigar-chewing “Man With No Name.” Engaged in an ongoing battle with bounty hunter Col. Douglas Mortimer ( Van Cleef), the Man joins forces with his enemy to capture homicidal bandit Indio (Volontè).
21st AUGUST, 7.30 pm: “Flower in the Pocket” is a 2007 Malaysian independent film by Liew Seng Tat. It is produced by Da Huang Pictures, and is in the Mandarin, Cantonese and Malay languages. Two boys, Li Ahh and Li Ohm, grow up motherless. Their father, Sui, is a workaholic who shuts himself out of the world. The boys’ quest to reach out to their father leads them to adopt a puppy. But when the animal is sent away for being a nuisance, the boys are devastated. For the first time, Sui realizes that all his children ask is simply to love and be loved.
18th SEPTEMBER, 7.30 pm: “Four of a Kind” is the debut feature film for director Fiona Cochrane. It was completed in 2008 and released in 2009. It is based on the stage play Disclosure by Helen Collins as presented at La Mama Theatre during the 2006 Melbourne Fringe Festival. It was shot on location in Melbourne.
Synopsis: Lies. Betrayal. Blackmail. Murder.
Four different women, each with a well-hidden secret they are coaxed, tricked or forced into revealing. Through a veil of lies all four flirt with the truth as they experience betrayal, ambition, loneliness, pain and anger. But the lies they tell themselves might be the ones that hurt the most
16th OCTOBER, 7.30 pm: “ The Red Circle” is a 1970 crime film set in Paris, France. It was directed by Jean-Pierre Melville and stars Alain Delon, Andre Bourvil, Gian Maria Volonté and Yves Montand. It is known for its climactic heist sequence which is about half an hour in length and without any dialogue. Corey (Alain Delon) is the young gun in the French underworld who has just been released from prison. Escaped convict Vogel (Gian-Maria Volonté) hides in the trunk of Corey’s car. The two enlist the help of an alcoholic former cop (Yves Montand) for an elaborate jewellery-store robbery. Police inspector Mattei (Bourvil) whom Vogel escaped in the beginning of the film is on the case trying to recapture the criminals. He is not opposed to using blackmail techniques to get answers out of the unwilling witnesses and criminals brought in for questioning.
20th NOVEMBER, 7 pm: “Monsieur Lazhar” is a 2011 Canadian French-language drama film directed by Philippe Falardeau. The screenplay was developed from “Bashir Lazhar”, a one-character play by Évelyne de la Chenelière. The film was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards. In Montreal, an elementary school teacher dies abruptly. Having learned of the incident in the newspaper, Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag), a 55-year-old Algerian immigrant, goes to the school to offer his services as a substitute teacher. Quickly hired to replace the deceased, he finds himself in an establishment in crisis, while going through his own personal tragedy. The cultural gap between Bachir and his class is made immediately apparent when he gives them a dictation exercise that is beyond their reach. Little by little, Bachir learns to better know this group of shaken but endearing kids, among whom are Alice and Simon, two charismatic pupils particularly affected by their teacher’s death. While the class goes through the healing process, nobody in the school is aware of Bachir’s painful past; nor do they suspect that he is at risk of being deported at any moment.