5 September 2012
A spectacular Argentinian thriller about corrupt people seeking to profit from car accidents. A film which is gripping and visceral, and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.
Dir: Pablo Trapero, Argentina, 2010, 107 mins. (Subtitles)
Members rating: 53.3%, A-1, B-10, C-11, D-6, E-2 ; 30 votes from 65 members who signed in
Members comments: Gripping stuff - good start to the season! Not something I would recommend to cheer you up - however it was gripping and held interest throughout; he was very ugly!! Gritty and gripping but mind-numbingly violent in the long drawn out ending; Film noir definitely but with nothing new to say. Wow, start the season with a bang! - French romance next please. After a slow start, very exciting!! Started slow but finished as a powerful story. Far more violent than I anticipated; compelling film! Gross. Grim but gripping. Excellent ending - a shame it took two hours to build up to it! A lot of action but very violent. Good, as in realistic and plausible; ugly - I hope never to see such a film again. A violent start to the season! - a lesson not to get involved with ambulance chasers and the like. Very violent for the opening film; well produced but unnecessary sex and violence. Bonnie and Clyde meets the Man from the Pru. Frighteningly violent. For a horror film, well done. Good story line and well acted ignoring the violence (little excessive). Very violent film but extremely well acted; a good story with an inevitable ending. Gruesome but very well done - intense. Nothing like a gentle start to the season and that was nothing like a gentle start; guess the Film Society is back - tough, gritty, gripping. A study in ambulance chasing Argentine style; is it that violent? If that is Argentina they can keep it - a violent, horrid film - not my kind of evening's entertainment. Exhausting! - very intense, good story; camera work rather harsh on the eyes. Never get injured in Argentina.
Monsieur Lazhar (12A)
A quietly moving French-Canadian drama. When a schoolteacher commits suicide, an Algerian immigrant is drafted in as replacement. With themes of grief, loss, and integration, a generous and affecting experience.
Dir: Philippe Falardeau, Canada, 2011, 95 mins. (Subtitles)
Members rating: 83.7%: A-22, B-15, C-5, D-1, E-0 ; 43 votes from 66 members who signed in
Members comments: Really engaging film. Excellent, very moving; a challenging subject - death for children.....and adults. A charming film, a real pleasure to watch. Oh b****r - why couldn't he keep his teaching post :-( ? Stunning - simple and subtle; amazing acting especially from the child leads. A delightful film - ended too soon. Moving and quite beautiful depiction of a difficult topic. Very moving, very relevant. Very powerful film, beautiful and emotional. Now that's a film I enjoyed, thank you. Challenging subject, sympathetic treatment and of course children excellent as actors. Fantastic film - hooked you in from the start and kept feeding your curiosity; great story and outstanding acting. A very moving film. The film dealt with difficult subjects sensitively and honestly. Would like to see Evelyne de la Cheleniere's play [on which the film was based]. Very well acted, very sensitive to the problem faced in these situations; to be commended. Riveting, Formidable! - a subject for our times, thank you. A very touching film - well acted by Bachir and children - a sensitive handling of emotions. Busman's holiday! Delightful acting and a strong story; very well put together. A very sweet film. Perhaps really in the mood for escapism - this was perceptive and caring but too close to the everyday. Beautiful and charming film; poignant, enchanting and superbly acted; moving story line. Very well produced - story, text, atmosphere, relationships - having been a teacher in both Canada and UK myself I could empathise about staff room politics; true to life study of cultures, the plot kept one interested right to the end. A lovely film, very poignant, well acted; underlying sadness in several quarters but culminated well - although I was sad at the ending. Moving and sensitive - the perfect antidote to Carancho. Excellent acting - as an ex-teacher, I could empathise with the feelings for the children in his care. What a beautiful human film. Top marks! Well paced, but perhaps a rather predictable plot? Heart-warming and funny. Delightful and gently poignant. A beautiful film; superb acting by the children; very moving. A lovely film which covers all emotions; for a teacher to be unable to comfort children is wrong.
How to Re-establish a Vodka Empire (12A)
Edelstyn decides to track down his Jewish-Russian ancestors who fled their homeland to escape the Bolsheviks, and to relaunch the family vodka factory in the Ukraine. A heady delight of a documentary.
Dir: Daniel Edelstyn, UK, 2012, 76 mins.
Members' rating: 54.5%: A-2, B-14, C-12, D-11, E-0 ; 39 votes from 66 members who signed in
Members' comments: A "Who Do You Think You Are?" for the punk generation. Fun, but what a crazy project. Not really my cup of tea? Thanks for an unusual film. Brave and interesting choice of film; overall it was carried through by the story. Very interesting, amusing, historical; flashbacks sometimes confusing. Didn't like the inconsistency of style. Charming and intriguing storyline with great historical interest. A most unusual film - and an excellent choice. Quaint and quirky - a brave attempt by the director. Heart-warming tale of a young man haphazardly setting out to produce vodka in Ukraine in memory of his grandmother. Enjoyable although I found it a bit disjointed - also the lady narrator was difficult to hear. TV film OK; didn't think it was a good choice for Film Club. Another different genre but more suited to BBC3 than Film Soc I think. A lovely story; where can I buy a bottle of 1917 vodka? Very quirky but very enjoyable; I'd like to see it again. Quirky and imaginative; clever use of primitive animated cardboard models (to overcome budget issues) lent its own charm. A gentle, absorbing, whimsical film; very atmospheric. Poignant; not sure if it was motivated 100% by sentimentality or a clever marketing ploy. An unusual but heart-warming story of a grandson's determination to honour his family; hope he continues to succeed. Enjoyable, quirky, unusual film. Felt overriding indifference - sorry! enjoyed the sight of the plump baby and the dog being taken for a walk in the red wheelbarrow - but that was all! Imaginative, great fun, great story, delightfully different. Different but interesting. A different approach but had its moments. Fascinating story; I liked the way the historical pieces were woven in. Entertaining and fun, but sad in places too. Highly entertaining and original! from one who's enjoyed plenty of vodka drinking in Ukraine! Interesting strange film but enjoyable. A student film shot for a Channel 4 shorts strand, not big enough for cinema showing. Different from our usual fare but a worthwhile variation. Not quite Smirnoff!!
We Have a Pope (Habemus Papam) (PG)
Following the contentious election of a new Pope, the chosen one is horrified, and rejects the role, to the great consternation of the Vatican... This is a beautifully crafted comedy, irreligious, gentle and very funny.
Dir: Nanni Moretti, Italy, 2011, 104 mins. (Subtitles)
Members' rating: 63.5%: A-10, B-15, C-14, D-6, E-3 ; 48 votes from 71 members who signed in
Members' comments: Another very unusual film - amusing moments, but felt an unsatisfactory end. How difficult to make a film about doubt at the top - well it tried. Different! A lesson in courage even for the chosen one; unpredictable. A whole new take on honesty and being true to oneself. Extremely thought provoking - a Pope with a conscience - might it catch on? Funny in parts but unresolved. Where did they find so many old men who could play volleyball? Very enjoyable; constantly surprising; exposes the fragility of religious belief and for a non-believer this is very refreshing; no doubt Catholics won't feel the same! Very clever film, very well shot. Michel Piccoli gave an excellent portrayal of the distressing dilemma of his situation. Good idea but not sure whether the conclusion was a cop out; Piccoli still great. Well acted with a poignant story line, almost believable; could it happen?! Good choice; if only! Brilliant! Different! Wish it ended differently. Nice dresses! Fascinating concept made believable by the likeable actor who played the "Cardinal". A bit weak. Interesting and plausible. It started off well.... A film that promised much but actually delivered very little - disappointing. Nice idea but ran out of steam. Script not good enough; too much volleyball; didn't live up to the reviews. Thoughtful? Thought provoking with touches of humour lightening the pathos - beautiful! Against expectations, I really enjoyed this film. Very atmospheric; Piccoli still brilliant but ran out of plot - good idea that didn't quite come off; beautifully photographed. Painfully slow and static for me; I need less conversation and more action - is it my age? This director maintained his record of disappointing this viewer. Loved it - very refreshing with beautiful photography. Very different - very refreshing; beautifully produced in every respect. Very different; very interesting. A very enjoyable and non-threatening film; easy watching and listening - some lovely humorous moments. Mildly amusing - held my attention but not sure it'll be a blockbuster! Great idea but writer didn't quite know what to do with it; paradox that the most suitable person was one who was too overawed to do the job; only a megalomaniac would take it. Excellently acted - sad. Thought provoking. How very encouraging for elderly actors to have a cast of old men; strange subject but delightful vignette. Brilliant - perhaps I had a bad day and and was just delighted by such perfect escapism; fantastic scenes and a sincere message about family love.
Point Blank (À bout portant) (15)
A desperate man has three hours to meet the demands of his wife's kidnappers. An enjoyably-paced action thriller, this film will leave you breathless from its slam-bang opening, to its bravura close.
Dir: Fred Cavayé, France, 2011, 84 mins. (Subtitles)
Members' rating: 70.8%: A-9, B-11, C-6, D-0, E-4 ; 30 votes from 51 members who signed in
Members' comments: I suppose it was well done in its horrid way. Thrilling, but at times confusing about which police was which. Good choice CFS - fast paced with plenty of twists and turns. A really nice change from the gentle French comedies!! Awful - would the person who nominated this film please leave the film society. Very gripping - best twists and plot I have seen in a long time; 11 out of 10. No danger of falling asleep - I don't think I drew a breath throughout the film; I would have lamented the lack of characterisation - but there wasn't time for any! Much too violent. Exhausting. Still shaking, but a very well made film. Definitely fast and tense - very good, excellent ending. Absolutely brilliant. Great action film - fast moving and a change from our usual films. I'm still reeling breathlessly after watching this film; every time I wanted to query the incredible plot, the film picked me up and swept me along again - just can't understand why that baby wasn't born much sooner! Revolting film - Z. Gripping all through. Bewitched, bothered and bewildered. Remind me to wear my glasses next time anyone grabs a pencil! A good evening's entertainment but not out of the ordinary. James Bond?? - no thanks!! (A*) Excessively noisy and violent; extremely confusing; utterly unpleasant. Exhausting but entertaining. Wham bam - love conquers all - eh? A bit confusing at times but brilliant! Wow, that really kept you on the edge of your seat; full of suspense, chilling and gripping.
[Note: the committee recognise that strong violence is off-putting to some members but within the context of well made films it seems acceptable to the majority. We selected this film partly based on the success of the same director's earlier film Anything for Her which achieved a Member rating of 90% in our 2010/11 season.]
Goodbye First Love (Un amour de jeunesse) (15)
The unromantic pain and euphoria of love are revived in this outstanding film, as things happen in just the way that life happens. Captures when the shortest separation feels like an eternity, and a misunderstanding a calamity.
Dir: Mia Hansen-Løve, France, 2011, 111 mins. (Subtitles)
Members' rating: 53.1%: A-5, B-9, C-17, D-13, E-4 ; 48 votes from 71 members who signed in
Members' comments: Grateful for the subtitles as the music tended to drown out the dialogue. Too slow - didn't like the characters and no-one smiled or laughed. Took far too long to say goodbye - monochromatic. Tedious. Beautiful settings and background, but oh so slow. Portrays the intensity of teenage love but taking a long time to come to the point - visually beautiful scenery. My jeunesse was not much like that...Quel dommage!...perhaps I want to visit the Rhone alps. Sadly I found it rather tedious; selfish girl; I was hoping something interesting would happen; very disjointed; bit of a shame as I liked the concept of a happy ending and the two being happy ever after - too deep for me! Drawn out and boring. Beautiful but dull. Delightful love story! Middle class ennui? - boring, frankly I ceased to care... Too slow for me. A real love story - beautiful. Charming but not credible. Lacking substance, too long, a French Tourist Board advert? Nice scenery, good music, but boring. An enjoyable film, liked the music and scenery. Beautifully sweet - had forgotten how painful and languid first love could be - perhaps too languid. Better than I thought. Good scenery. Nice scenery but drawn out - boring script. Un Amour de Jeunesse (subtitle "There is no love like the first love"). Not the ending I was hoping for after a lovely romantic beginning. Just too slow and ponderous - rather up itself. Liked shots of countryside, town and railway station - relationships were unconvincing - I envied Camille her figure. Held my interest throughout; why do the French concentrate on misery though? Slow start but developed slowly to a pleasant film - well produced, excellent photography. Very enjoyable, particularly after THE OTHERS!! Rather disjointed but nice enough; very good photography. A nice enough film, however I think I will have forgotten about it in a week's time, let alone a year - what happened to the happy ending I expected!!! Tres bien! Beautiful photography, scenery, acting, etc. Tedious, sleep-inducing. The early build up to the relationship was too long, a complaint which applies to the film as a whole. Convincing story beautifully filmed. Sensitive portrayal of growing up. A well made film of a rather lightweight subject.
9 January 2013
The Princess of Montpensier (La princesse de Montpensier) (15)
France 1562: this swashbuckling romance is set against the savage catholic/ protestant wars. Tavernier’s vibrant adaptation of a 16th century novel addresses issues of class, religion and honour with verve and wit.
Dir: Bertrand Tavernier, France, 2010, 139 mins. (Subtitles)
Members' rating: 64.5%: A-8, B-12, C-12, D-6, E-0; 38 votes from 74 members who signed in
Members' comments: Enjoyed trying to manage the French; don't think I'll try the novel; can't imagine why she would turn down the Comte de Chabannes – what a man! also affectionate husband, perfect; What now – Nunnery? Beautifully filmed, though a bit brutal at times; a good story and gripping at that. Well acted, beautiful landscapes. Excellent photography, costumes, sets, scenery, but not a plot to interest me. Quite excellent in every aspect – philosophy, acting, direction – in fact everything. A most enjoyable romp! Good acting and lovely scenery and music. No happy ending for anyone, except maybe (?) Guise, but a fantastic film nonetheless. Beautiful film – old-fashioned melodrama. A beautifully crafted "period" piece of a very brutal time; some stunning panning shots of scenery but overall too long and drawn out. The English were right – the French are all demented! A film from another era; stunning photography – wonderful scenes and scenery. Drawn out and confusing at times. The intrigue kept me engrossed – loved it. Beautifully filmed tosh – Tavernier can do better than this. Excellent start to the New Year; beautifully shot, a great story well acted. Quite excellent! Intriguing insight into life and customs of those times; excellent acting from "Marie". A knowledge of the Catholic/Huguenot wars would have helped but, although slightly long, it was very well made. An old-fashioned bodice-ripper! but overlong. Overlong but fascinating all the same. Excellent and she deserved all she got; PS I could read the subtitles for once (white on black not white on white) thank you. A nice bit of romantic swash and buckle to start the New Year! Bloody, but soapy. Eventually got into the story but could have been shorter. Realistic scenes.
This film has had to be changed from the orginal selection of Man Without a Cell Phone as we could not find a distributor.
Quoting from Rotten Tomatoes "Beautifully shot, brilliantly directed, and superbly written, this is a hugely rewarding emotional Portuguese drama that's unlike anything else you'll see this year. Unmissable!!”
Dir: Miguel Gomes, Portugal, 2012, 110 mins. (Subtitles)
Members' rating 49.2%: A-2, B-7, C-9, D-7, E-5; 30 votes from 44 members who signed in
Members' comments: Part 1 – the characters were slow of thought, speed and deed; Part 2 showed more action, if too long. Quite the moving tale but very long winded – the second part saved the day! If only crocodiles could talk. A touching story, beautifully told and filmed. A very strange but intriguing film. Very unusual but oh so BORING. Was worth a try as a CFS film, but can't really see why it won awards at Berlin and Las Palmas festivals. Beautifully filmed, but could not empathise with the young Aurora. Well, at least I can say I've seen a Portuguese film now. An unusual way of filming. Even the Phil Spector songs could not save me from terminal boredom and exasperation. Not what I expected – depressing; no-one ever smiled. It drifted along at an agonising pace but it finally came together to redeem itself in the end! Really enjoyed the film making style. Tedious and overlong, especially the second part. This film really came together at the end; the start and middle were very slow-going – I would have given it an E if the ending hadn't turned it round to a C. African soundtrack brilliant. True love never dies – a study well executed. Tosh. Too slow for my taste – was the aim to show what ennui is really like? Would have been better without the old lady – just the affair would have done. I was kept in suspense waiting for the strong sex scene – what was shown was mild enough for pre-watershed TV! Such a strange narrative style; colonial wars thrown in inexplicably; I could not identify with her but enjoyed trying – liked the piano music suitable for the B&W early silent style – and the eyeliner; so much Africa – hardly any animals except the enigmatic crocodile. A good story but could have been made more of; I found it intriguing and mesmerising and liked the quirkiness, but confusing at times and just much too slow: was interesting to hear a film in Portuguese.
La Grande Illusion (U)
Classic feature: Anti-war film concerning three French officers held by the Germans in WW1. Relevant as ever in addressing common values and decency as well as the rigidity of classes and the need to club together in a crisis.
Dir: Jean Renoir, France, 1937 (U) 114 mins. (Subtitles)
Members' rating: 78.1% A-16, B-8, C-4, D-2, E-2; 32 votes from 49 members who signed in
Members' comments: An amazing restoration; so prescient; so pleased to have seen it, thank you. A little – a lot – dated? made at a time when in a few years a lot would happen; quite naïve! A real classic. Unsophisticated by today's standards but an excellent film. Umm....Dad's Army! It was like BBC2 on a dreary Saturday afternoon – not CFS quality I'm afraid. Great – you can't beat the old ones!! Very moving; powerful message – wish we could learn it. Even after 75 years still a very good film – but such an abrupt ending! Impressively restored. Was surprised to find it warm and funny as well as affecting; not so cynical a view of war as I expected. A great film and as relevant for 2013 as it was in 1937. Well worth the whole year's subscription. A very good anti-war film, very sad at times. Not The Great Escape. Good to see such a classic film. Good message but took too long to get there. Beautifully filmed and acted – a masterpiece! Wasn't sure at first but I really enjoyed it. Stands up pretty well, but a little slow at times. A wonderful world of civilised manners. Another from the 30's and 40's B&W treasures of the European art house - initially slow and stilted but ultimately more in touch with reality than its successors in the Escape "genre".
The Kid with a Bike (Le gamin au vélo) (12A)
Big-hearted, engrossing story of Cyril, an 11 year old motherless boy, left by his father in a state youth farm. In an act of kindness, a hairdresser fosters him and helps look for his father.
Winner: Grand Jury prize Cannes.
Dir: Dardenne brothers, Belgium, 2012, 88 mins. (Subtitles)
Members' rating: 77% A-15, B-22, C-6, D-3, E-0; 46 votes from 82 members who signed in
Members' comments: A very touching story. A real winner this week CFS – I even heard gasps from the audience. Very thought-provoking film. Naturalistic portrayal of some young boys of this era, excellent film-gripping story. A sad film but a good boy actor, amazing performance by (the boy) Cyril. Riveting film but so sad. I feel exhausted. Tough, gritty, but yet very good. A touching story. Moving story of a spirited lad. A moving and poignant film, well-acted and very touching. A film that probably needs to be seen twice to understand all the plot cross-threads; brilliant in that there was no music except right at the end. A difficult subject but well-filmed. Stunning acting by Cyril. An awful story but brilliantly acted and played by the cast. A charming modern-day Oliver Twist. A believable but sad story – don't think the boy has much chance though. Best film of the season! – beautifully acted and very touching. Very sad and unfortunately all too realistic. Story line not quite convincing, but has an old-fashioned quality - enjoyed Samantha's performance. Belgian kitchen-sink? but great acting from the kid - so natural. Interesting film showing the anger of a boy who just wants his Dad but also displaying how vulnerable such a boy becomes; a surprise ending but in his mind Cyril (the boy) has now got even regarding what life has thrown at him (excellently played by Thomas Doret); Cecile de France was also her usual wonderful self and yes she can foster me too! This was not by any means an easy film to watch but featured an incredible portrayal by the young actor of a damaged and rejected boy (Cyril) and also of his vulnerability – a very powerful and completely unsentimental film.
[Where have all the members' ratings and comments gone – apparently we only had 31 ratings from 100 plus members for La Grande Illusion? Fellow members – if you don't want to comment then please at least leave your ratings score to be counted.]
In a Better World (Hævnen) (15)
Anton, a doctor at a Sudanese refugee camp, is isolated from his family in Denmark. This takes its toll on his son who is being bullied at school. Exploring justice and vengeance; a gripping and beautifully constructed film.
Dir: Susanne Bier, Denmark, 2010, 118 mins. (Subtitles)
Members' rating: 89.6%: A-35, B-15, C-2, D-0, E-1; 53 votes from 63 members who signed in
Members comments: An incredible film. Wow! Intriguing intermingling of a multiplicity of themes, seen on different levels: corrupt power, violence, relationships, love, death and hate; I loved the aerial photography of the birds! Excellent photography – a delightful film to watch. Filmed wonderfully, subtitles illegible against light backgrounds; but another horrifying subject. A very haunting film – beautifully made. Good but painfully slow. Very powerful and cleverly portrayed between the two situations and the two countries. Brilliant portrayal of a family problem so true to life; it was excellent in every respect. A powerful disturbing story with a positive conclusion. Another stunning performance by a child actor – two in a row. Great contrast in locations and moral dilemmas. A powerful and gripping story, brilliantly acted and with stunning photography. Stunning – this is the type of film CFS is here for! Very strong, beautifully made film. Very gripping; depressingly realistic, showing the true evil of human beings but the best of humans too – I feel exhausted!! A powerful film powerfully acted, but after the last two films I hanker for a one dimensional child character – the Von Trapps? Swiss Family Robinson? A very powerful film, excellent. Certainly not my kind of film. What a wonderful but sad film; brilliant acting. Tragic and moving; too many 'dark' films – now let's have a comedy or romance. Really powerful and moving. In a better world.....everything would be so different. A really powerful, gripping film. So many uncomfortable storylines threading through one film! the moral of the story – Christian should have had counselling!! good film though. Even better than the last film – a great mixture of emotions and troubled relationships – at least a happy ending. Absolutely excellent all round. Excellent script, direction and acting – very clever switching between Denmark and Sudan. Absolutely brilliant! can the Danes do no wrong in film and TV production?? Brilliant! Danes certainly know how to do great drama; brutality of Sudan excellently portrayed. Very strong and ironic. Thought provoking but difficult to watch for a man who can't stand heights. Powerful. Interesting study on dependency, family relationships and mortality. A wonderful film on big issues; so well acted, brilliant. Best film of the season – moral dilemmas, personal tragedy, regeneration – affecting at every level; brilliant boy actors. Another superbly acted film; a very complex storyline but brilliant. A very well acted film – so much hurting but also so much love and forgiveness – a positive ending; thank you. "Tag fur" an absolutely brilliant film; will stay with me for a very long time. Best film I have seen from CFS.
The Well Digger's Daughter (La fille du puisatier) (PG)
Set deep in Provence, a lovely moving film of love across the class divide, of rude-minded yokels, dastardly shop keepers and a devoted daughter in love with a randy Air Force pilot.
Dir: Daniel Auteuil, France, 2011, 109 mins. (Subtitles)
Members' rating: 84.6%: A-31, B-22, C-6, D-1, E-0; 60 votes from 66 members who signed in
Members comments: What a lovely film, with a happy ending! Loved it. Another Auteuil masterpiece. A lovely film – the French are so good at the personal touches. Delightful but unfair to shopkeepers. A beautiful story – well acted; some pathos as well as humour – morally correct – a perfect ending – and no violence! A charming film, brilliantly acted with humour, pathos and a beautiful love story; not much violence this evening!! Beautifully shot, and convincing performances by all. Another spell-binding film – heart-warming! Nice film. Romance as only the French can do it! After two very "strong" films, we had a tear-jerker! A delightful film although the storyline was rather too simplistic. A delight. [We value and really appreciate the effort that the CFS committee give to selecting the excellent variety of films – thank you.] A charming French fairy tale! Good vehicle for Daniel Auteuil! Magnifique et la verité. Well well worthwhile! Just the right film for the current climate. Charming film in typical Marcel Pagnol style with endearing characters, super scenery and photography, and a lovely baby to boot! A good old-fashioned yarn well told. Everyone came out smiling! Auteuil – scripted it, starred in it and directed it! – homage? Lovely story, beautiful scenery and a happy ending – "parfait". Lovely!! Laboured to a sentimental conclusion – sorry but I OD'd on the saccharine.... Nice escapist and romantic film; great Provençal landscape. Great to have such a happy ending; beautifully filmed, excellent cast, romance, humour, sadness. Humour and joy – what a lovely film. Charming. Agreeable, heart-warming, if unremarkable; steam trains were a bonus! Enchanting, moving, humorous, superbly acted – a real treat. Perfectly charming and beautifully acted – more please! A very enjoyable film. A gentle, romantic film; wonderful to see Daniel Auteuil again – such a good actor. Wonderful – full of humanity, warmth and humour. The French know how to make excellent films. In a nutshell – a nice little film; you've hit the bull's-eye again CFS – a very high standard recently. What a subtle, sweet story. Wonderful love story. I loved it, the music and the happy ending. Very surprised at the happy ending! Almost as successful as Jean de Floret and filmed as translucently and delicately but ultimately too fairy tale. The climate in Provence is not always so idyllic, nor real life either but there's nothing wrong with a piece of impressionist whimsy which was crafted to oral and visual perfection.
Le Havre (PG)
Kaurismäki turns his affectionate whimsical eye on the impoverished but generous folk of Le Havre, as they try to prevent a young African refugee from deportation. A lovable film, sweet, sad, and uplifting in equal measures.
Dir: Aki Kaurismäki, France/Finland, 2011, 93 mins. (Subtitles)
Members' rating 67.4%: A-16, B-16, C-20, D-7, E-0; 59 votes from 75 members who signed in
Members comments: Ending a bit unbelievable but enjoyably happy. I was disappointed at the ending - the boy seeing England and thinking of his French friends was enough; we knew Marcel would be well looked after if, as seemed certain, his wife died - no hospital visit needed. A strange but enjoyable film; Little Bob was presumably the French version of Keith Richards? Too much Little Bob but apart from that a lovely and surprising film. Great community spirit – lovely endearing film with another happy ending. A charming if improbable film – actually a delight. An odd little quirky tale, spoiled by some wooden acting. The third moving story in a row! restores one's faith in humanity – so well acted and directed. Only the French can do such a story with such panache; imagine it by Hollywood – yuk; yes I enjoy this slow pace – and could even manage the sentimental end – thanks. Easy to pick holes in the film – but why should we – decent people being kind and unselfish, heartening really. A lot can happen in a couple of weeks and an unpredictable ending! A lovely film though subtitles hard to read. Little Bob was good but the dog was better. A close community does matter. Not up to the high standard recently but still enjoyed it. Little Bob looked like a Hobbit. Interesting character portrayals – rather slow moving at times. A lovely film with a great sense of community – good rock band as well. Entertaining and well acted – intriguing story line. Very touching story which should have ended when Idrissa set sail for London. Slightly slow moving film but well acted – assumed the young lad arrived safely back to his family – subtitles were sometimes difficult to read as light coloured text. Good story and moral but acting was hammy. Lovely film – real people, excellent acting and fine direction. An interesting way of portraying a modern morality tale – consciously evoking the simple acting and direct approach of a French film from the Thirties. A delightful story. Tremendous film – well paced and excellent photography. Another happy ending! lovely film, but a shame some subtitles were so hard to read. Strangely compelling; Little Bob was ridiculous; was the end a dream? Another triumph for the Film Society – thank you Derek Goddard. A bit disjointed but most enjoyable and heart-warming. Charming – if a little slow-paced; what was with the vintage cars? Simple story and I love a happy ending. Very enjoyable – loved how everyone pulled together to rescue Idrissa, especially the inspector! Love and compassion cures all. Very enjoyable. Slightly implausible but very enjoyable and beautifully filmed. Seemed to be strong links with wartime France with themes of collaboration, resistance and betrayal/protection of the weak. Strong and charming and, because of Wilms' acting, curiously unemotional. A little slow but delightful. Yet another winner. A strange one this – but not as strange as Little Bob! a quite surreal experience. Interesting and enjoyable but a little spoiled by clumsy fading of soundtrack/music at some transitions. The wife shoe-shined the shoe-shiner's shoes? the concert went on and was she dead or alive?. Totally absorbing! thoroughly enjoyed it. Atmospheric but it took three quarters of the film before the central character really emerged in the round; rather too long for such a small point of observation - rather like a novel which has been stretched out when a short story would have been the successful medium. Mildly diverting but with no true flashes of illumination - rather like a film student's A level exam piece.
A Separation (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin) (PG)
Captures the messiness of a dissolving relationship in present day Iran, with searing intensity – fascinating stuff. "One of the finest pieces of
cinema this millennium”(Time Out).
Won an Oscar for best foreign language film.
Dir: Asghar Farhardi, Iran, 2011, 123 mins. (Subtitles)
Members comments: Harrowing but excellent. A very sad story. Close to perfection – superb story, wonderful acting and direction. Very difficult to read the subtitles at times and watch the film at the same time. Very well written to show how difficult a family can become. Showed how all too easily a family can become dysfunctional. Dare I say that is was another slightly disappointing Oscar winning film - the hype never reflects the reality. Sorry, I couldn't love any of the characters in this one. Slightly overlong start with treatment of dementia rivetting from then on. Enthralling insight into law and culture undermined by religion. How painful and beautiful...How difficult we can make our lives. Two hours of unpleasant people shouting at each other is not entertaining. Reality Iranian style? I thought it was going to be good but developed into a rewarding film – apart from the ending. Very good – different view points of other people however upset me that an eleven year old child was put into so many compromising situations by lots of people constantly lying! Emotional draining but utterly compelling! A nightmarish, disturbing film which I wouldn't choose to see again. I quite enjoyed it but a bit hard going at times! A long film with no ending. As if family issues aren't difficult enough in any culture, how much an accusation + religion-based legal system exacerbates them? Glum but powerful. Great flick but very depressing. Fascinating to see such complex moral issues from a totally different cultural perspective. Not my cup of tea in terms of entertainment and a sad reflection of Iranian culture. Perhaps I'm just an ignoramous! Too wordy and hard to keep up at times. It wore me out – tediously repetitive.Totally absorbing and brilliantly acted. Choose the daddy! Realistic but surprising way of life in Iran. Powerful. Too much anguish. A very touching portrait of a traumatic time. Kafka-esque – everyone guilty everyone a victim – pick the bones out of that – stunning film. Brilliant film – justice does prevail in Iran. Some significantly different aspects of Iranian culture explored, but also the sad universal culture that parents in their self-absorbed arguments end up harming their children. Probably very good if one could keep up with the subtitles. A well-acted film bit it took a long time to say very little and a lack of conclusion. An exhausting film to watch – chaotic justice, relationships with sympathy deserved to al. As always the child suffers most. An interesting film in which I ended up feeling sorry for all parties, each with their own judgement of Solomon to make. Another well-acted film. A difficult storyline and domestic situation without a satisfactory ending. Powerful and thought provoking and an intriguing insight into Iranian culture. Leaving us with the awful choice the daughter must make did not seem, as I heard some people comment, a 'cop-out' to me, there was no right decision - any neat ending would have been unrealistic, unsatisfying.
Annual General Meeting at 7pm (all members welcome)
followed at 8pm by:
In an update of Jane Austen’s Emma, Emelia (Audrey Tautou) can’t help interfering with other people’s lives. An anonymous letter leads to a slew of misunderstandings in this light-hearted comedy.
Dir: Pierre Salvadori, France, 2010, 104 mins. (Subtitles)
Members' rating 68.9%: A-14, B-14, C-9, D-7, E-1; 45 scores from 67 members who signed in
Members comments: A lovely lovely film to end a great season; thank you. Enjoyable but a bit lightweight. Amusing, that's all. A soufflé – but rather overcooked. Brilliant. Enjoyable parts – longwinded. A bit too feeble. A beautiful film – funny and yet very poignant – fantastic acting – superb ending – couldn't have been better! Very entertaining and brilliantly acted; great storyline; a great end to our first season with the Film Society. A light frothy film to end the season of mostly very good films! What fun! a great end to the season, thank you. Enchanting! What fun for all the girls – sorry chaps! excellent end to the season. Very funny, light-hearted; a good ending to an excellent film season. What a great way to end the season that had its "ups and downs". A splendid way to end the year! I will smile right the way through the summer. Lovely film and a fun ending for a good season. I now know why my boys-only grammar school wouldn't let us read Bronte or Austen – soap opera, chick lit, chick flick. French/slight, didn't push any buttons or boundaries? Pleasant but too complex. It's always so sunny in French cinema. Pleasant but too long. A fun final film. Excellent film to finish the CFS season; many a twist and turn! Intrigue/spell-binding. Charming – a great way to end the season. A feel good film, lovely to watch. A great ending to the season. Amusing and sensitive. A good one to finish the season – thank you! I love Audrey Tautou, loved "Paulette" [Stéphanie Lagarde], had a few good laughs but found the film too slow. About an hour too long. My kind of film – another happy ending, a proper story (of sorts!); funny and entertaining.