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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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Val is a live-in domestic servant in São Paulo, whose life is thrown into disarray when her grown daughter Jessica arrives from their hometown to study for her college entrance exams. The understood boundaries that rule Val’s life with her employer Bárbara don’t apply to this vibrant, smart young woman, whose questions bring everything into clearer focus.

“The Second Mother," said Director Anna Muylaert, "is a very feminine story. It’s about relationships and power and education. When people ask me ‘Do women direct differently than men?’, I believe in a feminine way of looking and a masculine way. Almodovar is very feminine, Woody Allen has a feminine look. Bigelow she has a masculine look. It doesn’t matter who’s directing, man or woman, but how you look”.

Director: Anna Muylaert
Brazil 112 minutes Cert 15

We say: A funny, but nevertheless accurate study of class in modern-day Brazil. Given a big thumbs up by three of The Bigger Picture team - particularly Katy, who hasn't let us forget for a moment that we voted for its inclusion in our programme a year ago.

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Thursday 20 April 2017, 8pm

THE EARRINGS OF
MADAME X (1953)

In late 19th century France, the Countess Louise, wife of a wealthy general, sells the earrings her husband gave her on their wedding day to pay off debts, and she claims to have lost them. Her husband quickly learns of the deceit, which is the beginning of many tragic misunderstandings, all involving the earrings, the general, the countess and her new lover, the Italian Baron Donati.

Director: Max Ophuls
France 100 minutes Cert U

We say: It would be easy to dismiss this film for its mannered cinematography, those long lingering shots of costumes and jewellery - but what costumes and what jewellery! It's contrived, it's a classic and it's a film with a lot of heart. Just up our street.

Thursday 18 May 2017

CRIMES AND MISDEMEANOURS (1989)

An achingly funny take on film noir – reimagined as only Woody Allen can. Ophthalmologist Judah Rosenthal has had an affair with Dolores for several years, and now she threatens to ruin his life if he doesn't marry her. When his brother Jack suggests having Dolores murdered, Judah is faced with a moral dilemma: destruction of his life, or murder. Meanwhile, documentary filmmaker Clifford Stern is trying to make a film of a philosophy professor, but instead he's commissioned to make a portrait of successful TV producer and brother-in-law Lester, who to Clifford represents everything that he despises.

Director: Woody Allen
USA 104 minutes Cert PG

We say: We wanted to leaven our offer a little, so what better than a Woody Allen film? Less well known than Annie Hall and Manhattan, but in our opinion every bit
as good.

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Thursday 15 June 2017, 8pm

ABOUT ELLY (2009)

The mysterious disappearance of a kindergarten teacher during a picnic in the north of Iran is followed by a series of misadventures for her fellow travellers. Sepideh invites Elly to the seaside with some middle class families in order to introduce her to their divorced friend Ahmad. The next morning the two women go shopping in the town, leaving the children playing in the sea under Elly’s supervision. Sepideh's daughter calls to some men playing volleyball to rescue one of the children from the water, and finds that Elly has disappeared. After the rescue they seek out Elly, questioning whether she has drowned or returned to Tehran.

Director: Asghar Farhadi
Iran 119 minutes Cert 12A

We say: We have wanted to screen a film by the excellent Iranian director, Asghar Farhadi, for a while but struggled to make a choice between them. In our opinion About Elly is a sensitive, beautiful and memorable film and certainly one of Farhadi's best.

Thursday 20 July 2017, 8pm

CHINATOWN (1974)

The story of a struggling private investigator getting a case that has more twists and turns than a mountain road is still one of the most crafted storylines ever concocted. Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, John Hillerman all deliver superb performances. Robert Towne's script, John A. Alonzo's camerawork, and Polanski's direction all make this a classic.

Director: Roman Polanski
USA 130 minutes Cert 15

We say: One of the greatest films of all time and one that critics argue looks better now than it did in 1974. Chinatown is a classic on all fronts: the acting, cinematography and atmosphere are all highly acclaimed and the script is held up by screenwriters the world over as one of the best ever constructed.

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Thursday 17 August 2017, 8pm

A LITTLE CHAOS (2014)

Our tribute to the late Alan Rickman. Two talented landscape artists fall in love while building a garden in King Louis XIV's palace at Versailles in the year 1682. Passion is in their nature. Sabine De Barra (Kate Winslet), a strong-willed and talented landscape designer, fulfils her dreams in the gardens of France. Sabine is in the running for an assignment at the court of King Louis XIV (Alan Rickman). When he meets her, the King's renowned landscape artist André Le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts) is disturbed by Sabine's distinctive eye and forward-thinking nature, but he eventually chooses Sabine to build one of the main gardens at the Sun King's new Palace of Versailles.

Director: Alan Rickman
UK 112 minutes Cert PG

We say : A film that disappeared from our screens a little too quickly when first released and has been selected by Bella as our tribute to the late and much loved Alan Rickman (watch for his captivating close-ups where he communicates volumes while barely moving a muscle).

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Thursday 21 September 2017, 8pm

LUST, CAUTION (2007)

During the years before and during World War II, a young woman, Wang Jiazhi, gets swept up in a dangerous game of emotional intrigue with a powerful political figure, Mr. Yee. Frustrated in his attempts to assassinate Yee, Old Wu recruits Kuang, Mai Tai Tai, and their troupe of drama students from Hong Kong University in an attempt to do away with Yee. Mai Tai Tai is chosen to befriend Yee, which she does by posing as the wife of Mai, befriending Yee's wife and her female friends, and then eventually befriending Yee himself, in order to try and entrap Yee.

Director: Ang Lee
China 157 minutes Cert PG

We say: With its intimate performances, powerful emotional currents and deep, rich colour palette, it captures a moment in Chinese history and is arguably one of Ang Lee’s most sophisticated films.

Thursday 19 October 2017, 8pm

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LES DEMOISELLES DE ROCHEFORT (1967)

Delphine and Solange are two sisters living in Rochefort. In this musical, Delphine is a dancing teacher and Solange composes and teaches the piano. Maxence is a poet and a painter. He is doing his military service. Simon, who owns a music shop, left Paris one month ago to come back to the place where he fell in love 10 years ago. They are looking for love, looking for each other, without being aware that their ideal partner is very close. They sing and dance in the streets, a euphoria intended by the director.

Director: Jacques Demy
France 125 minutes Cert U

We say: Cited as one of the inspirations for La La Land with its primary coloured costumes and dancing in the streets, this musical is unapologetically feelgood. A summer confection as light and brightly coloured as tissue paper with Catherine Deneuve and Gene Kelly and music by Michel Legrand. What’s not to love?

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Thursday 16 November 2017, 8pm

IL POSTO (1961)

Domenico and Antonietta are two suburban Italians searching for "a job for life" from a big city corporation. After a bizarre screening process made up of written exams, physical agility exercises, and interview questions such as "Do you drink to forget your troubles?”, they get menial jobs. The film ends as Domenico ponders his fate from behind his tiny desk at the back of the small windowless room, listening to the sound of the mimeograph machine as it runs off carbon copies next to the manager's desk.

"A long-standing favourite with those who have been lucky enough to see it. Its innocent young hero from the Milan suburbs gets a job as a junior clerk in a big company in the city, and Olmi’s wonderfully observant and sensitive record of his experiences – and his shy romance with a sweet co-worker – charts the pointlessness and boredom of the world of modern corporate work with a fine, sympathetic balance of the grotesquely sad and the ruefully comic. It’s a brilliant, lovable piece of work. " Philip Horne, Telegraph

Director: Ermanno Olmi
Italy 93 minutes Cert U

We say: Nominated by Paul, our film expert, who feels that this film by the great Italian social realist Ermanno Olmi deserves to be better known.

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Thursday 14 December 2017, 8pm

BANDWAGON (1953)

Tony Hunter, a famous singer/dancer movie star, is feeling washed up and old hat (old top hat, tie and tails to be exact). The reporters are out for Ava Gardner, not him. But his old friends Lily and Les Martin have an idea for a funny little Broadway show and he agrees to do it. However, things begin to get out of hand, when bigshot "artistic" director/producer/star Jeffrey Cordova joins the production, proclaims it's a modernistic Faust and insists on hiring a prima ballerina, Gabrielle Gerard, to star opposite Tony, and it's hate at first sight. And her jealous choreographer isn't helping to ease the tension. But romance, a "let's put on a show" epiphany, and a triumphant opening are waiting in the wings. After all, this is a musical comedy!

Director: Vincente Minnelli

USA 112 minutes Cert U

We say: Ever since we launched we have screened an upbeat, fast-talking, wise-cracking American classic for Christmas. This year we have opted for a classic '50's musical which should have you toe-tapping all the way down Lordship Lane. The perfect way to bring both the year and our season to a close.

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