19th February THE BAKER’S WIFE Third Friday
LA FEMME DU BOULANGER (original title)
French | 133 mins | 1938 | Comedy/Drama | Dir: Marcel Pagnol
Cast: Raimu, Ginette Leclerc, Fernand Charpin
An undisputed classic from the Golden Age of French cinema.
The story is simply told. Aimable the baker is married to a much younger Aurelie. Aurelie runs off with the local hunk and Aimable refuses to bake any more bread until she returns. Faced with this crisis the villagers set about getting her back. Husband and wife are eventually reconciled in one of the greatest scenes ever put on film and Aimable resumes baking ‘le pain extraordinaire’.
“It is the finest, the most human film that I have ever seen.”
19th March IN A BETTER WORLD Third Friday
HÆVNEN (original title)
Denmark | 119 mins | 2011 | Drama/Thriller | Dir: Susanne Bier
Cast: Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Markus Rygaard
In parallel stories set in Denmark and Africa, the film, which won the 2011 Academy Award for best foreign film, considers characters who act with cruelty and those who deliberately seek to act with empathy, and poses some moral choices for those of us who fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Impeccably acted and against a background of the contrasting scenery of Denmark and Africa, the film examines the difficult choice between revenge and forgiveness that one family must make.
9th April SUNDAY TOO FAR AWAY Second Friday
Australia | 1975 | 90 mins | Drama | Dir: Ken Hammam
Cast: Jack Thompson, Max Cullen, Reg Lye,
John Ewart, Robert Bruning, Peter Cummins
A story about the struggles of itinerant sheep shearers in the outback in the 1950s. Thompson won an Australian Best Actor prize for his memorable performance as Foley, a hard-drinking, hard-working gun shearer who leads a shearers’ strike.
This film was the first feature produced by the South Australian Film Corporation and was shot on location near Port Augusta and Quorn.
It made history by being the first Australian film selected for the Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival.
An Australian cinematic classic, showing Thompson at his very best.
21st May THE KING’S CHOICE Third Friday
KONGENS NEI (original title)
Norway | 2017 | 133 mins | Biography/Drama/History | Dir: Erik Poppe
Cast: Jesper Christensen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen,
Karl Markovics, Tuva Novotny, Juliane Kohler
The King’s Choice is based on the true the story of three dramatic days in April 1940, when the King of Norway is presented with an ultimatum from the German armed forces: surrender or die.
Hunted by Nazi soldiers, the Royal Family is forced to flee Oslo.
The film is a beautifully photographed and thoughtful nail-biter and a suspenseful historical drama, with fine acting and characterisation.
18th June THE HEIRESSES Third Friday
LAS HEREDERAS (original title)
Paraguay | 2018 | 117 mins | Drama | Dir: Marcelo Martinessi
Cast: Anna Brun, Margarita Irun, Nilda Gonzalez
This unusual film won multiple awards, including best actress at the Berlin Film Festival and best feature film at the Sydney Film Festival.
It is a moving and subtle drama about two women who both come from wealthy homes, but now find that their world is crumbling as their debts mount and they slide into poverty.
The contrast between rich and poor in Paraguay is one of the strengths of the film, which also explores themes of class, loneliness, sexuality and the role and influence of women in a conservative patriarchal society.
16th July THE OFFICIAL STORY Third Friday
LA HISTORIA OFICIAL (the original title)
Argentine | 1985 | 112 min | Drama/War | Dir: Luis Puenzo
Cast: Norma Aleandro, Hector Alterio, Chunchuna Villafane
Alicia is a high school history teacher who is leading a comfortable life with her husband, Roberto, a businessman with ties to the military, and their adopted daughter. When Alicia begins to wonder about the identity of the little girl’s birth parents, she finds herself suspecting that her daughter may be the child of people abducted or killed by the government’s brutal crackdown on leftist groups. A search is undertaken by Alicia to locate what happened to her adopted daughter’s biological mother.
“‘The Official Story’ is part polemic, part thriller, part tragedy. It belongs on the list with films like “Z,” “Missing” and “El Norte…”
Roger Ebert (11 November 1985)
20th August ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE Third Friday
USA | 2013 | 123 mins | Comedy/Drama/Fantasy | Dir: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, John Hurt
Set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangiers, Adam (Hiddleston), an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover, Eve (Swinton). Their love story has already endured several centuries, at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by Eve’s wild and uncontrollable younger sister, Ava (Wasikowska). Can these wise, but fragile, outsiders continue to survive as the modern world collapses around them?
Nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, this offbeat vampire romantic comedy was American independent filmmaker, Jim Jarmusch’s, thirteenth directed film.
17th September CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY Third Friday
UK | 1951 | 103 mins | Drama | Dir: Zoltan Korda
Cast: Canada Lee, Sydney Poitier, Charles Carson,
Joyce Carey, Edric Connor and Geoffrey Keen
A black minister travels from the back country of South Africa to Johannesburg in search of his missing son and sister. He and the Reverend Misimangu, played by Sidney Poitier, search for the family members in the slums of the city.
This film, based on Alan Paton’s novel, was shot in South Africa during the apartheid era and it exposed the human suffering and struggle that racial segregation caused.
Sidney Poitier is in his twenties and there is a strong supporting cast.
15th October Third Friday
THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER
UK/France | 1989 | 118 mins | Crime/Romance | Dir: Peter Greenaway
Cast: Helen Mirren, Michael Gambon, Alan Howard, Tim Roth
The wife (Mirren) of an abusive criminal (Gambon) finds solace in the arms of a kind regular guest (Howard) in her husband’s restaurant. That is the storyline of this film as an understatement. Is there a taboo in this film that Greenaway doesn’t break?
The film is excessive, grotesque and confrontational. But the music (Michael Nyman) is hauntingly beautiful and soul-stirring, colour dominates the lavish sets and the principal actors are first-rate. Mirren’s portrayal of the wife is heart-wrenching and Gambon, as the thief, depicts one of cinema’s cruellest villains. Not for the faint-hearted or prudish, this masterpiece is unforgettable.
19th November THE BICYCLE THIEF Third Friday
a.k.a. THE BICYCLE THIEVES
Italy | 1948 | 93 mins | Drama | Dir: Vittorio De Sica
Cast: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carrell
An unemployed worker in post-war Rome gets a job that requires a bicycle, but the bicycle is soon stolen and the man and his little boy crisscross the City searching for the bike as, without it, the family may not survive.
The father and son relationship is beautifully drawn. The director chose non-actors for the two main roles to enhance the realism of the tale and the result is striking. The two searchers travel through the war-damaged city encountering the acute class differences of the time. This is a heart-breaking, powerful film and it has been a critical favourite since its inception. The film’s great depth makes it a must-see (and must-see again) film.