Barossa Film Club will show its last film for the 2018 season, with the screening of the British drama “Amazing Grace”. One man’s role in the long battle to outlaw slavery in the United Kingdom sets the stage for this historical drama from director Michael Apted. In 1784, 21-year-old William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd) was elected to the British House of Commons, and soon established himself as a politician with a conscience. Several years later, his close friend William Pitt (Benedict Cumberbatch) became prime minister, and together they made a bold plan to introduce a bill banning slavery before the English legislature. Wilberforce was aided by anti-slavery activists Olaudah Equiano (Youssou N’Dour) and Thomas Clarkson (Rufus Sewell); however, pro-slavery hard-liners Lord Tarleton (Ciarán Hinds) and the Duke of Clarence (Toby Jones) spearheaded a hard-fought opposition to the legislation, and despite Wilberforce’s best efforts, his bill went down in defeat. In 1797, Wilberforce left politics due to poor health and a battered spirit; staying at the country home of his friends Henry and Marianne Thornton (Nicholas Farrell and Sylvestra Le Touzel), he became acquainted with Barbara Spooner (Romola Garai), a beautiful woman with progressive views. Spooner became deeply infatuated with Wilberforce, and she encouraged him not to give up on his noble goals; with her help, Wilberforce launched a second campaign to persuade England’s lawmakers to end the slave trade.
A great cast and beautiful cinematography capture the look and sound of a sumptuous age, and an important period in history. “Amazing Grace” will screen at Faith College Wine Centre from 7.30 pm on Friday 9th November. Admission is free for Club members and membership is obtainable at the door. A trailer is viewable on the Barossa Film Club website. Enquiries 8564 8225.
Our September screening of “Far From Home” gained a huge score of 4.6 out of 5 from the audience, the best score ever. A most impressive and subtle presentation of a very powerful story – great acting by all concerned.
Barossa Film Club presents 2011 Canadian romantic comedy “Cloudburst”, directed by Thom Fitzgerald. This hilarious road movie co-stars Oscar-winning actresses Brenda Fricker and Olympia Dukakis as Dot and Stella, a crackerjack lesbian couple on the run from a nursing home. You’ll laugh so hard you’ll cry. Stella and Dot have been together for 31 years and have faithfully accompanied one another through life’s ups and downs. Now in their seventies, Stella is hard of hearing and Dot is legally blind. Dotty’s prudish granddaughter, Molly (played by Genie Award-winner Kristin Booth), decides the best place for Dot is a nursing home that will provide all the necessities. This forces Stella and Dot to make a bold decision: they will leave their hometown and make their way to Canada, where same-sex marriage is legal. It’s a last-gasp bid to stay together. En route to Canada, they pick up a young hitchhiker, Prentice, played by newcomer Ryan Doucette. A small-town boy turned modern dancer, he is returning to Nova Scotia to visit his dying mother. Despite his bravado, Prentice is a confused and wounded soul who has much to learn from Stella and Dot as they wage their own unexpected battle – after three decades, can they keep their family together?
Winner of 30 best-picture awards, “Cloudburst” will be shown at the Faith College Wine Centre on Friday 19th October, with a short film at 7.30 pm, a break for refreshments and then the main feature. Entry is free for Barossa Film Club members, and membership is obtainable at the door. A trailer of the film can be viewed on the Film Club website and further details from Imelda Carson on 8564 8225.
Barossa Film Club is screening “Loin Des Hommes (Far From Men)”, a 2014 French film directed by David Oelhoffen and starring Vigo Mortensen and Reda Kateb on Friday 21st September at 7.30 pm at Faith College Wine Centre.
It is 1954, the Algerian war is beginning and village schoolteacher Daru (Viggo Mortensen), an ex-French Army soldier, is caught in the crossfire. Born in Algeria but Spanish by lineage, he’s a man out of time and place, perceived as alien by both locals and colonisers alike. So when he reluctantly agrees to escort the dissident Mohamed (Reda Kateb) to a regional police station to face trial for murder, a series of incidents and revelations force the question of where Daru’s loyalties truly lie.
As critic Louise Keller said, “It is with great subtlety that this affecting tale of courage and honour plays out. Based on Albert Camus’ short story The Guest (L’Hote) and set on a western backdrop, director David Oelhoffen has effectively crafted a drama about morality. The landscape is remote and barren, allowing the characters’ dilemmas to be isolated from society as a whole. Donning the mantle of a decent man, Viggo Mortensen is remarkable – in part because of the absence of remarkability of his character, a humble village schoolteacher forced to the crossroads, quietly displaying his despair of killing, respect for humanity and gratitude for living. Mortensen is always remarkable, notwithstanding this is his first French language film, delivered (together with Arabic and Spanish) with consummate ease.”
The evening will commence at 7.30 pm with a short film and the main feature after a break for refreshments. Admission is free for Film Club members and membership is obtainable at the door.
Barossa Film Club presents a classic Australian film “Charlie’s Country” starring David Gulpilil and directed by Rolf de Heer. In Australian cinema, the wilderness has long served as a rebuke to the primacy of Western civilization. With “Twelve Canoes“ and now “Charlie’s Country,” the Dutch-Australian director Rolf de Heer has portrayed the lived experience of Aboriginals that are often treated as part of an exotic landscape. Using a combination of bleak realism, fatalistic humor and a healthy dose of sentimentality, Mr. de Heer traces the downward spiral of a man who has become a refugee in his own homeland. The star David Gulpilil, an Aborigine, plays Charlie, who lives in a shack provided by the government and fitfully feels the pangs of injustice. He leads an easy-come-easy-go existence that results partly from temperament and partly from destitution; the plot lurches along according to his clashes with the police.
Made in 2013, the film was selected to compete in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival where Dad Gulpilil won the award for Best Actor. Beautifully directed and powerfully acted, the film explores themes which are still arousing debate in Australia and the world.
The evening, at the Wine Centre at Faith College, Tanunda, will start with a short film at 7.30 pm and then, after a break for refreshments, the main feature will screen. Admission is free for members, and membership is obtainable at the door. A trailer of “Charlie’s Country” can be viewed on the Barossa Film Club website and President Imelda Carson can provide further information on 8564 8225.
Barossa Film Club’s feature film for July is the delightful 2013 Indian feature “The Lunchbox”. Middle class housewife Ila is trying once again to add some spice to her marriage, this time through her cooking. She desperately hopes that this new recipe will finally arouse some kind of reaction from her neglectful husband. She prepares a special lunchbox to be delivered to him at work, but, unbeknownst to her, it is mistakenly delivered to another office worker, Saajan, a lonely man on the verge of retirement. Curious about the lack of reaction from her husband, Ila puts a little note in the following day’s lunchbox, in the hopes of getting to the bottom of the mystery. This begins a series of lunchbox notes between Saajan and Ila, and the mere comfort of communicating with a stranger anonymously soon evolves into an unexpected friendship. Gradually, their notes become little confessions about their loneliness, memories, regrets, fears, and even small joys. They each discover a new sense of self and find an anchor to hold on to in the big city of Mumbai that so often crushes hopes and dreams. Still strangers physically, Ila and Saajan become lost in a virtual relationship that could jeopardize both their realities.
This was an amazing directorial debut by Ritesh Bara, superbly acted and a striking example of Indian cinema. The film will screen at the Faith College Wine Centre from 7.30 pm on Friday 20th July. Admission is free for Film Club Members, and membership is obtainable at the door. Inquiries to Imelda Carson on 8564 8225.
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.