17th February: “Travels With My Aunt”
In the lively comedy/adventure Travels with My Aunt, adapted from Graham Greene’s book, Henry (Alec McCowan), a timid, bookish accountant whose life seems to have died stillborn, discovers how to live with gusto thanks to the rough ministrations of his thoroughly eccentric aunt Augusta (Maggie Smith). Aunt Augusta bursts into Henry’s life during the funeral for his mother, Augusta’s sister. She whisks him to her apartment for a general cheering up, and he is thoroughly bemused by her bohemian ways and her much-younger black Caribbean boyfriend. In the next few hours, she manages to pry him from his dusty life and involve him in a series of incredible adventures involving old love affairs, espionage, kidnappings, and more money than he has ever dreamed of. Before the story ends, Henry has properly entered into the spirit of his madcap aunt’s adventuring.
17th March: “The Kite Runner”
Spanning from the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy to the atrocities of the Taliban reign, an epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, an unlikely friendship develops between Amir, the son of a wealthy Afghan businessman, and Hassan, a servant to Amir and his father. During a kite-flying tournament, an unspeakable event changes the nature of their relationship forever. As an adult haunted by the childhood betrayal, Amir seeks redemption by returning to his war-torn native land to make peace with himself and reconcile his cowardice.
21st April: “The Station Agent”
When his only friend dies, Finbar McBride moves to an abandoned train station in rural New Jersey, to live the life of a hermit. His attempt at solitude is soon interrupted, however, by interactions with his neighbors, including Olivia, a struggling artist coping with the recent death of her young son, and Joe, a thirty-year-old with a talent for cooking and an insatiable hunger for conversation–whether anyone wants to talk to him or not.
19th May: “The Sundowners”
Paddy Carmody (Robert Mitchum) is an Irish-Australian who promises wife Ida (Deborah Kerr) he will quit his free wheeling ways and settle down. He takes a job as a shearer on a sheep farm to save money for a down payment on a farm of their own. Domestic trouble begins when he gambles away the family’s money in an effort to get rich quick.
16th June: “As It Is In Heaven”
An internationally renowned Swedish conductor returns to his childhood village and agrees to help the local church choir hone their singing skills. The harder Daniel works draws out the singers’ hidden inner talents, the more he realizes just what he’s been missing by living in the big city. Before long he’s made new friends, and found a new love. A heartfelt tale of inspiration and discovery, As It Is In Heaven was Sweden’s official submission for Best Foreign Film at the 2005 Academy Awards.
21st July: “Young Goethe In Love”
Germany 1772 – the young and tumultuous Johann Goethe (Alexander Fehling) aspires to be a poet but after failing his law exams, is sent by his father (Henry Huebchen) to a sleepy provincial court to mend his ways. At first, he tries to do his best and wins the praise and friendship of his superior Kestner (Moritz Bleibtreu). But then Lotte (Miriam Stein) enters his life and nothing is the same as before. However, Johann is unaware that Lotte is in fact already promised by her father (Burghart Klaußner) to Kestner. The dramatic and unfulfilled love between the poet and Lotte was the template for his masterpiece “The Sorrows of Young Werther.”
18th August: “Amour”
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple’s bond of love is severely tested.
George Cukor’s remake of the 1940 film Gaslight is the story of a beautiful, innocent woman (Ingrid Bergman) who marries a charming man (Charles Boyer) who tries to drive her insane. Boasting a lavish, detailed production that perfectly recreates the Victorian era, Gaslight is one of the greatest psychological thrillers ever made, thanks to Bergman’s stellar, Oscar-winning performance. Gaslight was later shown in a computer-colorized print.
20th October: “Body Heat”
Lawrence Kasdan’s first directorial effort is a throwback to the early days of film noir. The scene is a beastly hot Florida coastal town, where naive attorney Ned (William Hurt) is entranced by the alluring Matty (Kathleen Turner in her film debut). Ned is manipulated into killing Matty’s much older husband (Richard Crenna), the plan being that Ned’s knowledge of legal matters will enable both conspirators to escape scott-free. This might have been the case, had not Matty been infinitely craftier than the cloddish Ned. Just when it seems as though the film has run out of plot twists, we’re handed yet another surprise.
10th November: “Withnail and I”
Screenwriter Bruce Robinson made his directorial debut with this British comedy. Withnail (Richard E. Grant) is an unsuccessful, pill-popping actor; “I,” or Marwood (Paul McGann), is Withnail’s roommate and another equally underemployed actor. The time is 1969: Withnail is fast becoming a burned-out relic of the ’60s, while Marwood is trying to reassimilate into society. The two take a trip to the country in hopes of rejuvenating themselves, but things go from worse to even worse. Given the intimacy and insight of the screenplay and dialogue, one shouldn’t be surprised that Bruce Robinson (who adapted the film from his own novel) based Withnail & I on his own experiences. The film proves that certain “Age of Aquarius” types were just as bollixed-up in Britain as they were in America.