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Thursday 20 October 2016, 8pm

THE BAD SEED (1956)

When a young boy is found drowned at a school picnic, Christine starts to wonder if there is something wrong with her daughter...

Cult creepy classic about cherubic 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark (Patty McCormack) who seems to be a perfect schoolgirl, but when one of her school mates is killed, her own mother (Nancy Kelly) starts to wonder what kind of child her daughter is. Adapted from the 1954 novel by William March, Bad Seed is a precursor of landmark films such as Psycho and The Omen, in which a child is the fulcrum of terror. Has she inherited evil from her family or has it come from what’s around her? Interest in popular psychology became more prevalent in the 1950s and the film explores contemporary ideas of nature versus nurture and what recourse adults have when dealing with a child like Rhoda. A claustrophobic atmosphere pervades this picture of small town America and the tension is ramped up to reveal the chilling truth that the one you love is a sociopathic monster. Wonderful performances by Patty McCormack and Nancy Kelly as mother and daughter.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy, screenwriter: John Lee Martin, with Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, William Hopper

USA 126 minutes Cert 12

Thursday 17 November 2016, 8pm

8 1/2 (1963)

Considered by many to be the best film about filmmaking, and one of the greatest films ever made, Fellini’s 8 ½ is a visual feast of dreams and fantasies juxtaposed with the life of a successful director whose life is unravelling as he tries to work on his latest film.

8 ½’s protagonist, Guido (Marcello Mastroianni), is a successful film director struggling with his next film, exhausted by his evasions, lies and sensual appetites. Mixing fantasy and reality, Guido flounders between wife (Anouk Aimee) and mistress (Sandra Milo), seeking advice from clerics, doctors, producers and writer as he half-heartedly tries to work on the film.

Visually beguiling, the film brought Fellini two Academy Awards, its title a reference to the number of Fellini’s films.

Frequently listed in the top ten films of all time, 8 ½ is also a hymn to cinematic modernism, a film that altered perspectives on what cinema could do. A tightly-structured assembly of famously original and imaginative scenes which interweave memories, fantasies, dreams with the daily life of Guido, Fellini’s alter-ego, the film exemplifies Fellini’s visual mastery and surreal take on existence.

Director: Federico Fellini, writer: Federico Fellini and Ennio Flaiano, with Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee, Sandra Milo

Italy 138 minutes Cert 15

Thursday 15 December 2016, 8pm

One of the great classic comedies of 1930s Hollywood, Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels takes a Hollywood director on an odyssey of Depression Era America with surprising and sometimes terrifying results.

John L Sullivan (Joel McCrea) tires of making lightweight comedies and decides he wants to make a serious film about the poor. In order to find out what true hardship means. he hits the road as a tramp with a retinue including a butler and valet arranged by the studio as a publicity stunt. Escaping his servants in order to really live as a hobo, he bumps into a young would-be actress (Veronica Lake) and then the trouble starts. Mistakenly identified, reported as dead, locked up on a prison farm, Sullivan’s journey progresses with comedy and tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

With interesting parallels with our previous film, 8 ½ , and the inspiration for the Coen Brothers' ‘Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?’, Sullivan's Travels deliberately employs almost every type of cinematic genre to explore the pretensions and excesses of Hollywood.

Director: Preston Sturges, with Joel McCrea, and Veronica Lake

US 88 minutes PG

COME AND SEE (1985)

Thursday 19 January 2017 8pm

This is the study of the invasion of Byelorussia by the Nazis as experienced from the perspective of a young teenager ready to fight as a partisan for his country, and is considered one of the best films about war in all its incomprehensibility and insanity.

Set in 1943 as Nazi troops are invading the Soviet Republic of Byelorussia, the film follows young Florya (Aleksei Kravchenko) as he picks up a rifle to fight for his country. The film is an extraordinary achievement, confronting horror and suffering with the graceful solemnity of its images. Klimov himself had fled Stalingrad with his mother, and his experience informs the film. Through landscape, light, colour and sound as much as people, Klimov produces indelible images as testimony to the bleakness and inexplicable nature of war.

Director: Elem Klimov, writer: Elem Klimov and Ales Adanovich, with Aleksei Kravchenko, Olga Mironova

Russia 136 minutes Cert 15

Thursday 16 February 2017, 8pm

PIERROT LE FOU (1965)

Godard’s 10th film, and an anarchic take on the road movie in which a couple are on the run from bourgeois life (and gangsters), provides Godard with the entertaining opportunity to reference the conventions of Hollywood filmmaking.

Uninterested in his wife (Raymond Devos), Ferdinand Griffon (Jean-Paul Belmondo) wearies of his stagnant life. But when the couple hire an enigmatic baby-sitter, Marianne Renoir (Anna Karina), Ferdinand falls head over heels in love with her and abandons his family. He soon discovers, however, that his mistress is not who she seems. Pursued by foreign thugs, Ferdinand and Marianne flee Paris, steal a car and embark on a crime spree through the French countryside all the way to the Mediterranean. Abandoning the conventions of narrative cinema, Godard invents his own subversively anarchic tropes with a virtuosity that captivates and entertains.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard with Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina

France 110 minutes Cert 15

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