18th February (3rd Friday)
LA POISON (original title)
French | 85 mins | 1951 | Comedy/Crime | Dir: Sacha Guitry
Cast: Michel Simon, Jean Debucourt and Jacques Varennes
A joy, and everything great about the French ‘Old Wave’ and as good as any French film: Then why have you never heard of La Poison before?
Fed up with his wife, an alcoholic decides to get rid of her. But before taking any action, the sly fox first consults a criminal lawyer and skilfully finds out from him about the best way to go about murdering his wife. Back home, the alcoholic’s wife (equally fed up with her partner) tries to poison him instead.
18th March (third Friday)
AN (original title)
Japan | 113 mins | 2015 | Drama | Dir: Naomi Kawase
Cast: Kirin Kiki, Masatoshi Nagase and Kyara Uchida
At 52 years of age, Kawase is one of Japan’s leading film directors. “Sweet Bean” competed in the Un Certain Regard section at 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
The manager of a dorayaki (small pancake) stall finds himself confronted with an oddly eccentric, but sympathetic elderly woman looking for work. A taste of her homemade red bean paste convinces him to hire her, which starts a relationship that is about much more than just street food.
8th April (2nd Friday)
TROUBLE IN STORE
English (UK) | 1953 | 85 mins | Comedy / Slapstick | Dir: John Paddy Carstairs
Cast: Norman Wisdom, Margaret Rutherford, Moira Lister and Lana Morris
Norman (Wisdom) is working in the stockroom of a large London department store, but he has ambition (doesn’t he always?): he wants to be a window dresser making up the public displays. While trying to fulfill his ambition, he falls in love (doesn’t he always?) with one of the shopgirls (Morris). Together he and the shopgirl of his dreams stumble on a plot to rob the store.
Watch out for Rutherford (as Miss Bacon) when Wisdom helps carry her bulging suitcases out of the store, unaware that she is an audacious shoplifter.
“Trouble In Store” was the second most popular film at the British box office in 1954.
20th May (3rd Friday)
TÔKYÔ MONOGATARI (original title)
Japan | 1953 | 136 mins | Drama | Dir: Yasujirô Ozu
Cast: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama, Sô Yamamura
Haruko Sugimura and Setsuko Hara Ozu’s masterpiece is a beautiful piece of art and cinema.
“No story could be simpler. An old couple come to the city to visit their children and grandchildren. Their children are busy, and the old people upset their routines. In a quiet way, without anyone admitting it, the visit goes badly. The parents return home. A few days later, the grandmother dies. Now it is the turn of the children to make a journey.
“From these few elements Ozu made one of the greatest films of all time. “Tokyo Story” lacks sentimental triggers and contrived emotion; it looks away from moments a lesser movie would have exploited. It doesn’t want to force our emotions, but to share its understanding. It does this so well that I am near tears in the last 30 minutes. It ennobles the cinema.” Roger Ebert (9 November 2003)
17th June (3rd Friday)
THE GREAT DICTATOR
USA | 1940 | 125 mins | Comedy | Dir, Producer & Writer: Charlie Chaplin
Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard and Jack Oakie
Hitler chose the toothbrush moustache in Chaplin’s ‘Little Tramp’ for his own personal trademark image.
Exploiting that resemblance, Chaplin devised a comedic satire in which the fascist dictator Adenoid Hynkel and a Jewish barber, from the regime’s ghetto, would be mistaken for each other. Chaplin acted in both roles. The film is as relevant now as it was when it was made.
15th July (3rd Friday)
THE BLUES BROTHERS
USA | 1980 | 133 min | Comedy / Musical | Dir: John Landis
Cast: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Kathleen Freeman, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy, Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, Tom ‘Bones’ Malone, Steve ‘The Colonel’ Cropper, Willie ‘Too Big’ Hall, Henry Gibson, John Candy, Carrie Fisher and Twiggy
After the release of Jake Blues (Belushi) from prison, he and brother Elwood (Aykroyd) go to visit ‘The Penguin’ (Freeman), the last of the nuns who raised them in an orphanage. They learn the Archdiocese will stop supporting the school and will sell the place to the Education Authority. The only way to keep the place open is if $5,000 tax on the property is paid within 11 days. The Blues Brothers (Belushi and Aykroyd) want to help and decide to put their blues band back together and raise the money by staging a big gig.
19th August (3rd Friday)
THE MOLE AGENT
EL AGENTE TOPO (original title)
Chile | 2020 | 84 mins | Drama / Fiction-Documentary | Dir: Maite Alberdi
Cast: Sergio Chamy, Romulo Aitken and Marta Olivares
Official submission of Chile for the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category of the 93rd Academy Awards in 2021.
A private investigator in Chile hires an 83-year-old man to pose as a resident at a retirement home where a client of his suspects the caretakers of elder abuse. Who needed a James Bond film in 2020, when we had Alberdi’s delightful hybrid drama-documentary, “The Mole Agent” ?
To date, of Alberdi’s four directed films, “The Mole Agent” received her lowest rating from Rotten Tomatoes (Film Review Aggregator) of 95% “Certified Fresh”.
16th September (3rd Friday)
ZIMNA WOJNA (original title)
Poland | 2018 | 90 mins | Drama / History / Music | Dir: Pawel Pawlikowski
Cast: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot and Borys Szyc
Filmed in magnificent black and white, with a beautiful soundtrack and star-studded performances, “Cold War” is not a romance film, but rather a tragedy.
In the 1950s, a music director falls in love with a singer and tries to persuade her to flee communist Poland for France.
The first Polish-language movie since 1990 to be shown in the 2018 Cannes Film Festival competition (winning Best Director Award) and also winning 2019 Goya Award for Best European Film.
21st October (3rd Friday)
I LOVED YOU SO LONG
IL Y A LONGTEMPS QUE JE T’AIME (original title)
French-Canadian | 2008 | 117 mins | Mystery / Drama | Dir: Philippe Claudel
Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Elsa Zylberstein and Serge Hazanavicius
After serving 15 years in prison for killing her young son, Juliette (Thomas) moves in with her younger sister, Lea (Zylberstein). Lea has built a comfortable family life in the years since Juliette was incarcerated, but she remains affected by her sister’s awful crime. Juliette attempts to get past the years of estrangement from Lea and attempts to reconnect with her.
Winner of the 2009 BAFTA Best Film Not in the English Language Award.
18th November (3rd Friday)
DEATH IN BRUNSWICK
Australia | 1991 | 109 mins | Comedy | Dir: John Ruane
Cast: Sam Neill, Zoe Carides and John Clarke
Carl (Neill), a fortyish no-hoper works as a cook in a sleazy inner Melbourne nightclub to escape his grumpy mother. Flirting with the nightclub owner’s fiancé, Sophie (Carides), Carl finds himself on the wrong side of the club owner’s nasty bouncer. When attacked by a drug dealing Turkish kitchenhand, Carl defends himself sparking off a gangland feud. Best mate Dave (Clarke) is soon employed as Carl’s bodyguard (and gravedigger) as a band of thugs block Carl’s path to Sophie.
At the 1991 APRA Music Awards, “Death in Brunswick” won Film Score of the Year.
“A black comedy which isn’t afraid to take risks, to shift moods, to push to the limit.”