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Thursday 21 April 2016, 8pm

DO THE RIGHT THING (1989)

Spike Lee’s breakthrough film and all too relevant today, Do The Right Thing is a powerful look at a multi-cultural community around Brooklyn in which a seemingly trivial dispute escalates into a full-blown race riot.

Described as a comedy drama, Do the Right Thing is a milestone in black cinema making. With Lee himself as Mookie, the delivery boy whose dismissal from his job by a bigoted boss Sal (Danny Aiello) sparks a night of rioting, it attracted massive controversy when first released,on the basis it might incite copycat behaviour. Packed with insight, the film examines a cross-section of US society in all its foibles and frailties and is no one-sided polemic. It is not simply about a race riot, but shows the concatenation of events during a sizzlingly-hot 24 hours starting with the death of a young black man, Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn), at the hands of the police and leading to the destruction of Sal’s pizzeria. Deemed culturally significant by the Library of Congress it is one of only six films selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry in its first year eligibility, yet it was famously snubbed by the US Academy at the time of its release. In November 2015 Spike Lee was awarded an honorary Oscar to rectify this.

Director/writer: Spike Lee, with Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Lee, Richard Edson, Bill Nunn, Giancarlo Esposito, John Tururro, Samuel L Jackson

USA 119 minutes Cert 18A

Thursday 19 May 2016, 8pm

HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR (1959)

A French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese architect (Eliji Okada) have an intense affair in post-war Hiroshima. Unable to escape their own personal histories, the affair is both brief and painful as the film interweaves their stories with the memory of momentous and harrowing recent events.

Alain Resnais’s first film, Hiroshima Mon Amour, is one of the most influential films ever made and certainly one of the greatest in the canon of La Nouvelle Vague, a stream of groundbreaking films that came out of France in the late 1950s and early 1960s and transformed cinema. The film discards classical narrative and storytelling by using flashbacks of devastating acts of war that contrast with the deeply intimate love story. The film heralded a new cinematic language which even today challenges the boundaries of cinema.

A masterpiece of great beauty and gravity, its impact lies in the juxtaposition of imagery with the rhythmic and poetic dialogue written by Marguerite Duras and a striking score by Georges Delerue and Giovanni Fusco. Intertwining the impact of personal sorrow and public remembrance, this film offers one of the most haunting evocations of personal suffering, loss and grief and a profound meditation on the horror of war.

Director: Alain Resnais, writer: Marguerite Duras, with Emmanuelle Riva and Eiji Okada

France 90 minutes Cert 12

Thursday 16 June 2016, 8pm

TROUBLE IN PARADISE (1932)

One of Lubitsch’s best comedy romances and as close to perfection as a film can be: suave, cynical, sophisticated and polished.

A pinnacle of romantic comedy and imbued with all Ernst Lubitsch’s charm and wit, Gaston (Herbert Marshall) and Lily (Miriam Hopkins) are a pair of Parisian thieves masquerading as aristocrats who fall in love and set out to rob perfume company executive Mariette (Kay Francis). Gaston becomes her confidential secretary and Lily her typist, but what happens when Gaston falls for Mariette and he is forced to choose between two beautiful women?

Director: Ernst Lubitsch, writer: Samson Raphaelson and Grover Jones, with Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall

US 81 minutes Cert U

Thursday 21 July 2016, 8pm

FEAR EATS THE SOUL (1974)

A lonely working class widow Emy (Birgitte Mira) meets a much younger Arab immigrant working as a mechanic Ali (El Hedi Ben Salem), who she falls in love with. The poignancy of the love affair is contrasted with the bitterness of family, colleagues and society’s reaction to a love that breaks racial boundaries.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a hugely Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a hugely influential and prolific director/writer/actor who kick-started a renaissance in filmmaking in West Germany with his distinctive, controversial and ground-breaking work which sought to document and expose the hypocrisies and complacency of the post-war West German society. This film, modelled loosely on Douglas Sirk’s 1955 melodrama All That Heaven Allows (about a middle class widow who falls in love with a much younger gardener), explores the deep-rooted prejudices about race, sex, politics and class in 1970s Germany, which are no less relevant today.

Fassbinder is at his best in this film achieving a balance between emotional involvement and critical distance and exemplifies a tenderness not usually seen in his films.

Director/writer: Rainer Werner Fassbinder with Birgitte Mira and El Hedi Ben Salem, Barbara Valentin

Germany 94 minutes Cert 15

Thursday 18 August 2016, 8pm

An exquisite romantic comedy in which six individuals find love during an endless summer night.

One of cinema’s greatest erotic comedies, Smiles of a Summer Night ushered Bergman onto the international scene. A film about infidelity and desire set in the early 1900s, it centres around Fredrik Engerman (Gunnar Bjornstrand) a middle-aged lawyer whose 19 year old wife Anne (Ulla Jacobsson) refuses to consummate their marriage. He decides to confide in a former mistress, Desirée (Eva Dahlbeck). Meanwhile Frederik’s son from his first marriage is in love with his stepmother. Over the course of an endless northern summer night, the feelings of the protagonists boil over into seduction, flirtation, deception and adultery. With an air of French farce the film is not entirely without elements of darkness so typical of Bergman, but these are transcended by the smiles of the title.

Director/Writer: Ingmar Bergman with Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Bibi Andersson

Sweden 108 minutes Cert PG

Thursday 15 September 2016, 8pm

TIMBUKTU (2014)

A delicate balance between hope and despair, Timbuktu is Abderrahmane Sissako’s insightful drama about a family negotiating survival in the desert and the city shattered by an invasion of religious bigotry and violence.

Set in the legendary city of Timbuktu, the traditions and ways of life of its inhabitants and older tribal society are being overturned by an invasion of fanatical soldiers from outside the country. Director Sissako creates an interrelated series of characters and tableaux to show scenes of life in the traumatised nation. At the centre is the tragic story of a herdsman’s family, Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed) his wife Satima (Toulou Kiki) and their daughter. When Kidane angrily confronts a fisherman who has killed his cow, a chain of events with tragic consequences unfolds. A complex depiction of an age old society being transformed by contemporary technology and extreme religious views.

Sissako is one of the most interesting and ambitious writer directors; born in Mauritania, he grew up in Mali. This film is a fearless and poetic response to oppression and cruelty.

Director: Abderrahmane Sissako, writer: Abderrahmane Sissako and Kessen Tall, with Ibrahim Ahmed, Toulou Kiki, Abel Jafri, Hichem Yacoubi

France/Mauritius 97 minutes Cert 12A

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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