Another 4.3/5! “Barry Lyndon”

Stanley Kubrick’s great film, “Barry Lyndon”, was well received at the June meeting of the Barossa Film Club, with the audience giving a rating of an average 4.3 out of 5. Kubrick is certainly a gifted director: his “Clockwork Orange” and “2001” are inextricably connected to our imagined future. “Barry Lyndon” is equally of the eighteenth century. Fabulous costumes, great sets, vivid colours, everything needed to immerse the viewwer in a time of lush decadance and extreme emotions. Perhpas none of the actors rose to any great heights but they were secondary to the recreation of an exciting and fascinating period.
A very different film in July, French director Yves Robert’s “My Father’s Glory”, on 20th July.

June Screening of “Barry Lyndon”

Directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Ryan O’Neal, Marisa Berenson and Patrick Magee, “Barry Lyndon”, released in 1975, is a sumptuous adaptation of Thackeray’s 18th century novel. The script strays far from the novel’s story line to create a comical, and at times tragic, story of the rise and fall of an Irish rogue, Redmond Barry, who fights and seduces his way to a fortune, only to lose it all in a horrific, yet farcical, duel.
The film is a feast for the eyes: gorgeous costumes and sets, and Kubrick’s trademark vivid cinematography. This is eighteenth cenury Europe in all its glorious colour and squalor.
This is quite a long movie (187 minutes), so there will be no preceding short, when it screens at the Faith Wine Centre at 7.30 pm on Fridaqy 15th June. Everybody is welcome, with free admittance for members, and non-members asked for a donation to defray screening costs.

Thought-provoking “The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas” to show in May

This film approaches the Holocaust from the perspective of eight=year old Bruno. When his SS father is promoted to a post in the country, Bruno finds his new home, away from his friends in Berlin, ratrher lonely, especially as he is forbidden to go near an adjoining farm, where all the farmers and the children wear striped pyjmas. Sneaking away from his mother, Bruno finds himself up against a barbed wire fence, on the other side of which is another boy, Shmuel.
This 2008 film was directed by Mark Herman and stars Asa Butterfield, David Thewlis and Rupert Friend. The cinematography is excellent, and the performances are impressive, particularly by the two boys and the mother. There are times when the story lacks subtlety, but ultimately it is a moving and life-affirming film.
The preceding short film is the Australian “Yolk” and commences at 7.30 pm on Friday 18th May at Faith Wine Centre. The main film will show after a short break for refreshments.

The Band Wagon: Dancing With the Stars!

A great example of the Hollywood musical “The Band Wagon” will be the April presentation at the Faith Wine Centre on Friday 20th April, with the programme which includes New Zealand short film “This Is Her”, commencing at 7.30 pm. Directed by Vincent Manelli and starring Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse and Jack Buchanan, “The Band Wagon” was first screened in 1953. Regarded by many as second only to “Singin’ In the Rain”, the story is of an aging musical star who hopes that a Broadway play will revitalise his career. However, the play’s director wants to make it a pretentious retelling of Faust, and brings in a prima ballerina, who clashes with the star.
With fabulous dancing by two of the greatest dancers in film history, this is a fun movie with some seriously good choreography.

Bergmann film scores 4.3 out of 5

Ingmar Bergmann’s masterpiece from the 1960’s, “The virgin Spring”. scored 4.3 points out of 5 from the audience at the recent showing by the Barossa Film Club. In lesser hands, this somewhat grim tale of rape and revenge would have been sensational and uncomfortable to watch. Bergmann dealt with it in a totally non-exploitative manner, and created a cinematic masterpiece with some excellent performancs from his cast. The style of acting was typical of its era, slightly theatrical and mannered by modern standards, but no less empathetic for the audience. Bergmann fully deserved his first Academy Award, and the audience agreed with the honour.

Barossa Film Club Annual General Meeting

The Film Club will hold its Annual General Meeting at 6.45 pm on Friday 16th March at the Faith Wine Education Centre. President Imelda Carson will present her report and Treasurer Bronwen Topfer the annual financial statement. All positions on the Committee are open for nomination – Committee duties are by no means time-consuming and, if you have a passion for film, and would like to contribute your views on the selection for showing, please consider standing for a position on the Committee

March 16th: “The Virgin Spring”

Renowned Swedish Director Ingmar Bergman was at the height of his powers when he won his first Oscar with this powerful tale of superstition and religious faith, rape and revenge, set in 14th century Sweden, where the villagers vacillate between Christianity and paganism. Starring Max vaon Sydow, Birgitta Valberg and Gunnel Lindblom, this film is hallmark Bergmann with formal simplicity and overt symbolism, shot in black and white, which adds to the extraordinary power of this classic motion picture. Dialogue is in Swedish and German with English sub-titles.
On Friday March 16th, the Annual General Meeting will commence at 7 pm and the screening is at the Faith Wine Education Centre, with a British short film “The Plank” at 7.30 pm, followed by the main feature after a short break. Everybody welcome.

Million Dollar Baby scores 3.9/5

Our first showing for 2012 was Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby”, the film which proved Hilary Swank’s acting prowess by scoring her an Academy Award. Unfrortunately on the night, due to some untried equipment, we had some technical problems, which meant that we had a running commentary for the visually impaired throughout the film. This spmewhat spoiled the audience picking up on the nuances of the actors’ performances, when each move was explained. In addition, some of the audience found the subject-matter – women’s boxing – somewhat disturbing. Undoubtedly, it was not as graphic as many modern movies, but it certainly made the brutality of the sport quite clear. Under the circumstances, a score of 3.9 out of 5 represented the audience’s feelings quite well.

Wine, Cheese and a Million Dollar Baby to start 2012



We kick off our 2012 programme with one of Clint Eastwood’s best films as a director. “Million Dollar Baby” starring Eastwood himself, and two very fine actors, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman.  Swank earned an Oscar as the white-trash waitress determined to carve out a career as a boxer with the reluctant help of Eastwood.  Made in 2004, this is a fine film, well worth a repeat viewing if you have seen it before, and a must for anyone who is coming to it for the first time.


“Taking Sides” showing 21st October

This is a comparatively recent British film, released in 2003. Directed by Istvan Szabo, it stars Harvey Keitel and Stellan Skarsgard. Based on a true story, Skarsgard plays German Jewish conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler, who stayed in Germany during the Second World War, rather than fleeing the Nazis like most Jewish musicians. Not only did he stay, but he played for Hitler’s birthday and a Nazi rally, and his recording of Bruckner’s 7th Symphony was played after Hitler’s death. Keitel plays Major Steve Arnold who investigates and prosecutes Furtwangler at the U.S denazification trials after the War.
This is an acclaimed film and raises some interesting questions about the morality of Jewish behaviour during the Nazi era – but also the behaviour of the Allies in their quest for revenge after the War.
This is the Film Club’s second-last film for the year before the Christmas break. Screened at the Faith College wine centre. the programme will commence with Australian short film “Fade” at 7.30, then the main feature after a break for coffee and cake.