17th February (3rd Friday)
THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER
USA | 92 mins | 1955 | Noir/Thriller | Dir: Charles Laughton
Cast: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish
A bogus preacher (Mitchum) marries an outlaw’s gullible widow (Winters) in search of the man’s hidden loot. The widow’s children are reluctant to divulge details of their father’s money that he’d stolen in a robbery.
Mitchum’s formidable performance as the child-hunting preacher, The Night of the Hunter is a masterpiece of tone and suspense and is a disturbing look at good and evil.
“Charles Laughton’s “The Night of the Hunter” (1955) is one of the greatest of all American films…” Roger Ebert (24 November 1996)
17th March (3rd Friday)
[EL VERDUGO] (original title)
Spain | 90 mins | 1963 | Drama | Dir: Luis Garcia Berlanga
Cast: Nino Manfredi, Emma Penella and José Isbert
In 1960s Spain, an unlikely romance brews between an undertaker, Jose (Manfredi), and an executioner’s daughter, Carmen (Penella). Carmen’s father, Amadeo (Isbert), is near retirement from his morbid profession, but he’s having a difficult time finding a replacement.
When Carmen and Jose get married, Amade persuades a reluctant Jose to take over his old job. The newly instated executioner vows to never kill, but his pledge is put to the test with an already-scheduled execution.
This masterpiece of black humour, beloved in Spain, but too little seen elsewhere, threads a scathing critique of ‘Franco-era’ values through a macabre farce.
21st April (Third Friday)
28th April (Fourth Friday)
English (UK) | 1942 | 134 mins | Drama/War | Dir: William Wyler
Cast: Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon
The chronicles of an upper-middle-class family, the Minivers (Garson and Pidgeon), who live in a village outside London. The Minivers have a typical English family’s typical issues (such as their eldest son, Vin (Richard Ney), wanting to marry Carol (Teresa Wright), the granddaughter of Lady Beldon) but Britain’s entry into World War II soon gives them bigger things to worry about. Vin joins the RAF, mother Kay (Garson) ‘mans’ the home front, and father Clem (Pidgeon) takes the family sailboat out one night at the end of May 1940 to a place called Dunkirk.
The film was a powerful weapon in the wartime propaganda, as well as an outstanding artistic achievement, being nominated for 12 Academy Awards and winning six, including Best Picture, Best Director (Wyler), Best Actress (Garson), Best Supporting Actress (Wright), and Best Cinematography (Joseph Ruttenberg).
It was the first film centred on World War Il to win Best Picture.
19th May (Third Friday)
Polish | 2013 | 82 mins | Drama | Dir: Pawet Pawlikowski
Cast: Agata Kulesza, Agata Trebuchowska and Dawid Ogrodnik
Set in Poland in 1962, it follows a young woman (Kulesza) on the verge of taking vows as a Catholic nun. Orphaned as an infant during the German occupation of World War II, she must meet her aunt (Trzebuchowska), a former Communist state prosecutor and only surviving relative, who tells her that her parents were Jewish. The two women embark on a road trip into the Polish countryside to learn the fate of their relatives.
Ida won the 2015 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, becoming the first Polish film to do so. It had earlier been selected as Best Film of 2014 by the European Film Academy and as Best Film Not in the English Language of 2014 by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). In 2016, the film was named as the 55th best film of the 21st century, from a poll of 177 film critics from around the world.
16th June (Third Friday)
USA | 1996 | 107 mins | Drama/Romance | Dir: Campbell Scott & Stanley Tucci
Cast: Stanley Tucci, Minnie Driver, lan Holm, Isabella Rossellini, Allison Janey and Tony Shalhoub
Two Italian brothers, a chef (Shalhoub) and a manager Tucci), of their failing restaurant,
‘Paradise’ must do whatever it takes to impress a famous American-Italian singer to save their business.
‘Big Night’ was nominated for the “Grand Jury Prize” at the Sundance Film Festival and the
“Grand Special Prize” at the Deauville Film Festival.
Scott and Tucci won the New York Film Critics Circle Award and the Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best New Director. Tucci and Joseph Tropiano won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay.
21st July (Third Friday)
DON JUAN DEMARCO
USA | 1994 | 97 min | Comedy/Drama/Romance | Dir: Jeremy Leven
Cast: Johnny Depp, Marlon Brando and Faye Dunaway
Depp stars as John Arnold DeMarco, a man who believes himself to be Don Juan, the greatest lover in the world. Clad in a cape and domino mask, DeMarco undergoes psychiatric treatment with Brando’s character, Dr. Jack Mickler, to cure him of his apparent delusion. But the psychiatric sessions have an unexpected effect on the psychiatric staff, some of whom find themselves inspired by DeMarco’s delusion; the most profoundly affected is Dr. Mickler himself, who rekindles the romance in his complacent marriage.
Depp received the London Film Critics Circle Award for “Actor of the Year” along with his performance in Ed Wood while the film’s theme song, “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?”, co-written and performed by Bryan Adams, was nominated for the Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
18th August (Third Friday)
WHAT’S IN A NAME
[LE PRENOM] (original title)
French | 2012 | 109 mins | Comedy | Dir: Alexandre de La Patellière & Matthieu Delaporte
Cast: Patrick Bruel, Valérie Benguigi and Charles Berling
Vincent (Bruel), suave real estate agent, and his very pregnant wife and classical trombonist, Claude (Tonquede) are invited for dinner by his sister, Elisabeth (Benguigui), and his brother-in-law Sorbonne professor, Pierre (Berling). The setting is an upper-middle-class apartment in Paris. When the expecting parents reveal they intend to name their son
“Adolphe”, everyone else at the dinner is speechless. The situation eventually gets out of hand, when no one can come to an understanding, and everyone starts unearthing old rivalries and unspoken issues surfacing unpleasant matters from the past of the group.
Classic French cleverness is very present in the script. The characters present a wonderful view into the lives of Parisians and their commitment to great wine, food and conversation.
The idea of titles and the strange taboos society has on names is the deeper argument for all the audience to ponder once the film has finished.
15th September (Third Friday)
QUEEN OF KATWE
USA | 2016 | 124 mins | Drama/Sport | Dir: Mira Nair
Cast: Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o
Living in Katwe, a slum in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona (Nalwanga), her mother Nakku Harriet (Nyong’o), and her younger family members.
Phiona and her younger brother help their mother sell maize in the market. She also helps care for her baby brother. Her world changes the day she meets Robert Katende (Oyelowo) at a missionary program.
Katende coaches soccer and teaches children to play chess at a local center. Curious, Phiona visits the center, learns the game, and becomes fascinated with it. She becomes a top player in the group under Katende’s guidance.
20th October (Third Friday)
Australia | 2003 | 100 mins | Comedy/Caper | Dir: Jonathan Teplitzky
Cast: Sam Worthington, David Wenham and Timothy Spall
Set on Australia’s Gold Coast. The protagonists are ex-criminals trying to keep out of trouble.
Barry (Worthington) is released after 8 years prison and has good intentions. He looks for work but this is very difficult with a criminal record.
Both his kid brother and friend won’t stay out of crime.
But like his mate Johnny ‘Spit’ Spiteri (Wenham) and reformed gangster turned restaurateur
‘Dabba’ (Spall), Barry finds out the hard way that there are old scores and a few new ones that will make getting square a lot harder than he thought.
Gettin’ Square won nominations at several Australian ceremonies including the AFI Awards, Inside Film Awards, Australian Comedy Awards, and Critics Circle Awards. Wenham’s performance as Spitieri saw him win the Best Actor category in every major Australian film award through 2003.
17th November (Third Friday)
Soviet/Japan | 1975 | 144 mins | Drama/Adventure | Dir: Akira Kurosawa
Cast: Maksim Munzuk, Yury Solomin and Mikhail Bychkov
Based on the 1923 memoir “Dersu Uzala” (named after the native trapper) by Russian explorer Vladimir Arsenyev, about his exploration of the Sikhote-Alin region of the Russian Far East over the course of multiple expeditions in the early 20th century. Shot almost entirely outdoors in the Russian Far East wilderness, the film explores the theme of a native of the forests who is fully integrated into his environment, leading a style of life that will inevitably be destroyed by the advance of civilization. It is also about the growth of respect and deep friendship between two men of profoundly different backgrounds, and about the difficulty of coping with the loss of capability that comes with old age.
The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the Golden Prize and the Prix FIPRESCI at the 9th Moscow International Film Festival.
“Dersu Uzala” is epic in form yet intimate in scope.