Programme 2013-14

See members' comments on all our 2013-14 programme on a separate page We ran out of space on this page, so comments for the first six films are only shown on the separate page.


11 September 2013
Love Is All You Need (Den skaldede frisør) (15)

Publicity still for film Love is All You NeedA lonely Englishman (Pierce Brosnan - he doesn't sing), and Danish hairdresser (Trine Dyrholm) recovering from cancer, meet in Italy at a wedding.  A warm film, with some comic moments, about moving on from heartbreak.

Dir: Susanne Bier, Denmark/UK, 2010, 116 mins. (Part subtitled - Danish, Italian)


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25 September
A Hijacking (Kapringen) (15)

Publicity still for film A HijackingHighly acclaimed, moving and tense thriller.  The cargo ship MV Rosen is hijacked by Somali pirates who take the crew hostage in a psychological game of life and death with the CEO of the shipping company.

Dir: Tobias Lindholm, Denmark, 2012, 101 mins. (Subtitles)


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2 October
Sister (L'enfant d'en haut) (15)

Publicity still for film SisterA poignant film of how adulthood can be forced upon children.  A 12-year-old boy lives with his older sister and supports her by stealing from wealthy guests at a ski resort.  Strong cinematography, well-observed characters.

Dir: Ursula Meier, France/Switzerland, 2012, 97 mins. (Subtitles)


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9 October
In the House (Dans la maison) (15)

Publicity still for film In The HouseBlack-comic psychological drama.  Teacher Germain (Fabrice Luchini) is handed an essay by a 16-year-old boy in which he writes about his fascination with a class-mate's beautiful mother.  Scintillating, intellectual and witty too.

Dir: François Ozon, France, 2012, 105 mins. (Subtitles)

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23 October
Elena (12A)

Publicity still for film ElenaA middle-aged nurse from a poor background has married her wealthy patient Vladimir who openly despises her freeloading son.  A gripping parable about ways in which families can fall apart.

Dir: Andrey Zvyaginstev, Russia, 2011, 106 mins. (Subtitles)

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13 November
The Sapphires (PG)

Publicity still for film The SapphiresAustralia 1968.  True story of four indigenous women whose country-style singing is discovered by an Irish talent scout.  A trip to perform to American troops in Vietnam ensues. Fantastic music; big-hearted, charming.

Dir: Wayne Blair, Australia, 2012, 103 mins.

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8 January 2014
Trance (15)

Publicity still for film TranceAn art auctioneer who has become mixed up with a group of criminals partners with a hypnotherapist in order to recover a lost painting. With James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson

Dir: Danny Boyle, UK, 2013, 101 mins.

Note: This was a programme change as we were unable to book "My German Friend".

Members' rating: 60%; A-13, B-18, C-16, D-12, E-6.  65 votes from 83 members who signed in.
Members' comments: Good fun but what was the point?  Interesting – made one think.  A very good idea but confused by the complicated soundtrack and too much unnecessary violence.  Boyle is still an art master of the film but lost the "plot" on this one; stop caring and you've lost the value.  Too long and too violent.  Too complicated.  By the end I loved how it kept you guessing!  Pretentious rubbish.  A real mind bender.  Fascinating.  Echoes of Memento and Inception but not as clever – some gratuitous scenes but as a film held my attention.  Loud music distracting but suspense build-up excellent.  Thought the subject matter was short-changed by a director keen on style over substance; and attempt to make a basic thriller (very well) and pretend it's very intelligent.  Thought of his Olympic show and did not realise his other side!  Very clever, very slick but a perfect horror.  Where was the humour?  Shame it couldn't hypnotise me into liking it more.  All too clever by half – acting pretty average.  Gripping and tense: a clever film but could have been less violent and noisy; should be an 18.  I don't know whose brain is more fried – Simon's, Franck's or mine! – a brave and different choice.  Far too much gratuitous violence.  Brings together some interesting concepts on the morality of revenge and resolution and when that fine line is blurred; other films of this genre may do a more scientific approach but this human version was stirring.  What a horrible film – clever it may be but definitely not for me!  In 1hour41minutes we had special effects galore, extreme violence, pyrotechnics – need I go on?  Too multi-layered for its own good.  Complicated story and in the end I did not care what happened.  Too noisy, too scary, but a good film.  Too noisy; very difficult to tell "fact or fiction" though it set the pulse racing.  Superb film, brilliantly acted; somewhat noisy (as warned) and bizarre confused ending.  Ann excellent film although very violent and very noisy – but excellent plot and intrigue.  Stylish, clever and noir – more please!  Rather gory but very different.  Considering the original film planned for January 8th was described as "....love story" and "light of heart" to choose a replacement that was a violent pseudo psychology thriller seemed rather odd; it was a thoroughly unpleasant experience – the film had no integrity, relying totally on sensationalism.  Not poor I'm sure but it's not a great radio play (I couldn't manage the pictures and wanted to protect my ears).  For me a total waste of time.  Danny Boyle rules! – provocative and entertaining.  Not as good as it could have been; tries to be too clever, but just becomes confusing – NB would have been better without an introduction.  Brilliant!  Interesting story ruined by gratuitous violence.  Must have been in a trance – could not make out whether it was supposed to be happening now, in a dream or in the past.  Definitely different; clever but a tad choppy, certainly thought provoking; bit too violent but very gripping.  Good start then became tedious – good that's over!  Brilliantly paced, psychologically balanced – a superb film.  Typical Boyle – clever, disjointed and shouty.  Still mystified but fascinated – it messed with my mind!  Too noisy and too clever by half for me.  Please keep the introduction shorter and please don't influence us with your thoughts on the film.  Fantastic – music not loud enough!!  Contrary to expectations at the outset, I managed to sit through Danny Boyle's film.  A flashy, spasmodically enjoyable mess – spent much of the time marvelling at James McAvoy's resemblance to a young David Cameron.  I am still in a trance!!  Wonderful acting and very realistic; too much violence for my taste; the plot let me guess until the end and is cleverly constructed – at times a little confusing!  Puzzled...but I think it was good!  Usual Boyle – excellent film maker but what is it about?

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29 January
Wadjda (PG)

Publicity still for film WadjdaThe first full-length film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, and by a woman, Haifaa Al Mansour.  This story of a rebellious 10-year-old girl living with her mother is beautifully made and heartfelt.  A rare glimpse into daily Saudi life.

Dir: Haifaa Al Mansour, Saudi Arabia, 2012, 98 mins. (Subtitles)

Members’ rating 82.7%: A-31, B-24, C-9, D-1, E-0.  65 votes from 84 members who signed in.
Members’ comments.
Very useful pre-film talk for us to hear about the secrecy and camerawork involved in making the film.  Great girl determination by a few, great to see some of the men respecting Wadjda (boy and shopkeeper).  What a sad, sad life the women have to lead; I wondered if it was autobiographical;  I hope this is the start of a revolution in Saudi; It made me angry that me could dominate so much.  Yes, this was very good indeed – a little slow in parts, but overall well worth watching.  The story and context of the film is amazing – the film itself not that original or breath-taking; basic story-telling; lead actress, though, brilliant.  Amazing insight into a different world and even the clichéd ending didn’t seem clichéd.  Lovely film, thought-provoking but with a real lightness of touch and a very winning lead performance; informative intro by Andy.  How I appreciate the chance to see this sort of film – a privileged glimpse into their enclosed world; for how long will she be able to ride her bike?  Sensitive – a brilliant insight, a very brave director.  And they lived happily ever after – but this was not a fairy tale.  A charming film of two rebellious young people making their way in a very closed society.  Unexpected and very enjoyable.  A wonderful film – a privilege to get an insight into a foreign world.  A charming film made under difficult circumstances – a real eye-opener to life in Saudi Arabia.  A bit slow-moving and predictable.  A beautiful film, wonderful glimpse into a very different world.  A thought-provoking, excellent film – the best of the season by far.  Truly remarkable!  Well filmed – a delightful story and insight into a different culture.  Excellent choice – more like this please.  Lovely film – what courage it took to make it!  Found the subject matter depressing but this didn’t affect my overall enjoyment – I guess this is the world we live in.  A very brave film.  A little slow, but brilliantly constructed and it gave a very good insight into the life of women and the first signs of a bid for more freedom.  Moving and revealing; wonderful portrayal of a young and spirited teenage girl and hope that her society will evolve to give her freedom.  The veil was raised for me in ways I hadn’t expected; enjoyable as well as informative.  Very good for its insight into Saudi life and values; very rough around the edges at times but probably all the better for it.  What a difference to the last film [Trance]!  I congratulate the cast and crew on breaking all the taboos in the book.  Children can be precocious when filmed but these young adults had sincerity and grasp of the true enjoyment in life; surprising but not as surprising as the underlying puzzle – how does a society evolve with women manacled?  the skill of turning that dilemma and that delight.  Captivating from start to finish – a fascinating insight.  More directors should direct from inside a van – beautifully constructed film.  Depressing, thought-provoking, hopeful.  Fascinating portrayal of life in Saudi, especially for women.  Interesting insight into Saudi customs.  Very unusual and impressive film.  Simply told and effective – we are all the same really.  What a place – food but not even one glass of wine; amazing insight into Saudi and very moving at times.  Fun stuff – bit serious.  Lovely acting, a bit long.  I think Haifaa Al Mansour was showing her rebellious views through this film?  Humorous, light-hearted – not miserable and depressing.  Exquisite – great soundtrack.  Window on another world.  Revealing portrayal of Saudi life but acting a bit clunky.  Very simple but quite delightful.  Fab film – glad I don’t live in Saudi.  Lovely film; very interesting picture of life there.  A wonderful insight into what goes on in Saudi Arabia; a brave film.  Heartening to think that a feisty young girl could be the product of such a repressive society for women.  Delightful.  Charming film although slow-moving; well acted and once again the young actors “steal the show”.  A “nice” film but rather slow-moving – although much less violent than the last film; acting was good and a good insight into their religion.  Lovely film; insight in to women’s lives in Saudi Arabia.  Great film.

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12 February
Lore (15)

Publicity still for film LoreAt the end of WWII, Lore and her siblings undertake a harrowing journey exposing them to the reality of their parents' beliefs.  A young Jewish refugee helps them and Lore must trust someone she has been taught to hate.

Dir: Cate Shortland, Germany, 2013, 109 mins. (Subtitles)

Members’ rating 70% A-18, B-16, C-13, D-7, E-1.  55 votes from 71 members who signed in
Members’ comments:
Having lived through these terrible times myself, I found the film very true and authentic; very interesting to see the other side of the war; very good acting!  Nerve-racking; even the baby was a good actor.  Harrowing.  Such a graphic succession of powerful images; not a coherent story but such a disturbing evocation of disintegration.  A very harrowing portrayal of the aftermath of war and break up of ordered family life.  An amazing, harrowing film of life for displaced people in the war’s last chaotic days.  Good story marred by too much arty close-cropped shots and random cuts; slow.  Disturbing.  Story lines disconnected and confused; some individual elements powerful but in total the whole thing was trivialised and generally unconvincing; a great film opportunity wasted.  Powerful depiction of desperate times; less preview of film would be appreciated.  A typical long and tedious German film.  It all went wrong for me when the dog was shot.  Amazing acting and gruelling portrayal of the appalling aftermath of WW2.  A bit self-indulgent compared to the book it comes from.  Not without fault – on seeing her first dead body should she seem so calm? what was the metaphor with the feet?  Far too slow and didn’t believe the journey; a podiatrist’s dream? too many holes in the story.  A beautiful film – but not sure I enjoyed it!  Powerful right from the opening bar and the clash of childhood with disintegration was consistently disturbing; but moist disturbing was the awareness of what is happening in the world today.  Too much out of focus handheld camera work.  Wonderful filming  - storyline realistic and good acting; an overwhelming, depressing sense of the realities of war and crumbling of a society.  Painfully slow; potentially a good storyline - but never gets going.  Very powerful story, but so slow and almost no dialogue.  Survival can be cruel! excellent filming.  Powerful study of adolescence in abnormal circumstances; I liked the contrast between idyllic pastoral scenes and a society in disarray.  PS – so fed up of seeing the trailer for “One Chance” every week!  A reflection on what is happening elsewhere today.  Too sad for me – a film without hope.  The film – and the misery of it – seemed interminable, but such is war and lost innocence?  Unusual and generally gripping film – lost its way a little towards the end.  Beautifully crafted; compelling from start to finish.  Horrible; very good child actors; didn’t like the camera angles – hard to watch.  Bleak!  Enjoyed the cinematography and direction, also the message; but not much happened.  More films with women directors please.  I enjoyed the start and the ending, but it was the hour and a half in the middle that I ‘glazed over’ in.  Interesting, but in a film supposedly ‘true to life’ strange that she had such a vast wardrobe!! camera work fine, but too much dwelling on various body parts.  A beautifully made film in a very difficult but possibly still valid situation.  A very moving story, the confusion was brilliantly done.  Thank goodness we didn’t have to live through what that generation did.  An excellent film – well acted but so harrowing – a rather ‘unfinished’ ending – the whole scenario doesn’t bear thinking about!!  Brilliant acting as usual but what a harrowing tale; as with any war the most affected are the innocents.  A great film – congratulations on finding it.


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26 February Derek Goddard memorial film

Avanti! (12)

Publicity still for film Avanti!Classic feature. A businessman goes to Italy to arrange for the return of his father's body only to discover he died with a mistress of long standing.  Likeable story;stunning scenery.  With Jack Lemmon and Juliet Mills.

Dir: Billy Wilder, USA, 1972, 138 mins.

Members’ rating 82.7% A- 30, B-23, C-7, D-2, E-0.  62 votes from 77 members who signed in
Members’ comments:
Light-hearted and easy to watch.  Very Jacques Tati in style.  Pleasurable to the ear and eye – humour, sadly, a little dated.  Lovely film, ages well and a pleasure to watch it again.  Excellent filming and humorous too!  Delightful film, but could the introductions to the films be shorter than the film itself?  A me piace molto, molto.  Very enjoyable film, a real gem.  Introductory talk far too long.  I don’t find Jack Lemmon very funny.  Like an overlong stage farce.  Definitely a classic but overlong, as was the introductory talk.  Delightful, a wonderful choice.  Let’s have more classics.  Quite brilliant, witty exposé of national characters, beautifully acted.  Clive Revill outstanding.  Again next week, please!  Typical style of film for its age – felt like a cross between a carry on film and a James Bond movie.  Nice to watch!  Some lovely moments and not too dated.  We were all younger then…  A good story very well told.  Well done CFS, a film I would not have seen had it not been for the Society selection.  Very enjoyable with plenty of laughs.  Light hearted and enjoyable.  Very entertaining – beautiful scenery.  FANTASTIC!  Very good - not Jack Lemmon’s best film (that was Missing) but the sort of film that Love is all You Need should have been!  Superb.  Lovely film – enjoyed every minute.  A feel-good film.  Sorry not for me a classic, but I guess of its time.  If weight was such an issue, why cast a thin actress?  Amusing, but so many stereotypes!  A lovely comedy, with some subtle jokes.  One of the most charming, funny and delightful films I have seen in a long time!  Very well chosen, lovely acting and superb views of Italy.  Let’s have more films like this.  Lavish and gently mocking but stiff and dated escapism, but maybe escape to nowhere worthwhile.  Wilder and Jack Lemmon at their best ably supported by Clive Revill and Juliet Mills.  A treat to have a Billy Wilder film!  I prefer his vintage tighter black and white films, but even so this was entertaining with some great lines.  Miss Piggott was hardly 'a Japanese wrestler'!- I enjoyed the film but the constant references to Miss Piggott being overweight (when she was slim) were both baffling and irrelevant.  Not as dated as I feared, I had forgotten how good Jack Lemmon is.  Please keep the introduction short!! or at least start 10 minutes earlier.  Great fun – delightful.  Absolutely charming.  A proper film.  A wholly delightful frothy Italian style film, with a splendid performance by Clive Revill.  Very refreshing!  An excellent film, brilliant acting all the cast – Jack Lemmon his usual excellent entertaining self.  Funny and very watchable.  A little dated, but very enjoyable.  Could the introduction be kept shorter please, and confined to the background if required rather than the film itself – we like to make up our own minds!  Wonderful humour and escapism, excellent acting, scenery revived memories.  Good light entertainment.  Quite delightful and brought back memories of our holiday in Capri last year.  Pure delight – witty and sustained throughout.  A good old fashioned comedy.  Brilliant.  Jack Lemmon never fails to entertain.  Thoroughly enjoyable.  A delightful feel good film – a true Billy Wilder success!  Charming - a great evening of relaxation and laughter - scenery magnificent.  Only in Italy could one find this delightful approach to romance - a thoroughly enjoyable film.

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5 March
No (I) (15)

Publicity still for film NoAd executive René Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal) comes up with a bold plan to defeat Pinochet in Chile's 1988 referendum and so free the country from oppression.  Fascinating film for film lovers and history buffs alike.

Dir: Pablo Larrain, Chile, 2012, 118 mins. (Subtitles)

Members’ rating 75% A- 21, B-12, C-9, D-4, E-2.  48 votes from 62 members who signed in
Members’ comments:
Thank you for the opportunity of having seen this film.  Another great CFS production.  Well done! (NB Andy’s intros are always informative and timely, we are not all cinema experts so his “full length” style is appreciated! Thank you).  Choice of documentary absolutely right – they should send a copy to Putin!  Wonderful acting – gripping and a happy ending.  A very good film - let us hope that the population in this country wake up as well.  Great film.  Gripping stuff – amazing what an advertising mind can help achieve.  Most interesting – one really got involved in the story.  The political rhetoric early on eventually brought the “right” result thanks to the power of advertising!  Another A for “No”!  Riveting, totally convincing and inspirational.  A triumph of the human spirit.  A war presented from a viewpoint I was suspect of but totally won over.  MORE LIKE THIS PLEASE!  YES vote- on this occasion.  An excellent comment on political and social history.  I was not looking forward to this film, in spite of the violence and the background of the terrible things that happened in Pinochet’s rule - the film was terrific.  (Subtitles impossible to keep up with)  I valued this as a unique film. I enjoyed the music but the subtitles were taken off the screen too quickly so I was unable to see the picture.  One of the highlights of the season.  Fascinating glimpse into the world of political advertising. Also a historical reminder.  Modest in scale but engrossing and a welcome change for British media cynics to see inside another country’s campaign process.  Excellent atmosphere – dictatorships do feel like that…  Interesting style, subtitles made it hard to watch.  Thought provoking comment.  Very good acting, a little slow at times.  I felt sorry for the little boy who lived a lonely life and was dragged along by his father into dangerous situations.  All a little disturbing.  Excellent choice.  Clever ending.  Subtitles too fast to follow at the start.  Interesting, thought –provoking.  Excellent film.  Documentary style effectively recreating actual drama of Pinochet’s defeat.  Interesting historical portrayal of the political situation in Chile at that time.  Rather slow first half but more interesting filming later on.  Subtitles too fast at times, so confusing to start with.  Good for thought but not an easy film.  ‘Mad Men’ meets ‘All the President’s Men’ cynical ending suggests that whatever happens admen stay the same?  Interesting but dragging on.  Restless camera too distracting.  Started off slowly – got slightly better – could have finished 30 mins earlier.  The subtitles made the camera movement very disturbing.  I think the story could have been told better.  Not my cup of tea I’m afraid – sorry.  Excellent story and acting.  Thought it was a good 30 mins too long though.  Very slow.  Disappointing.  Low point of the CFS season.  Liked the way in which the credits were rolled!

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19 March
Caesar Must Die (Cesare deve morire) (12A)

Publicity still for film Caesar Must DieNow in their 80s, the Tavianis won the Golden Bear at the 2012 Berlin festival for this film.  A production of Julius Caesar is performed by genuine inmates at a high-security prison.  Compelling drama blended with documentary.

Dir: Taviani Brothers, Italy, 2011, 77 mins. (Subtitles)

Members’ rating 73.6% A- 21, B-15, C-14, D-3, E-2.  55 votes from 62 members who signed in
Members’ comments:
Riveted to my seat!  A gripping film, with the black and white cinematography and close-ups adding to the intensity and a terrific Brutus: do wish the house lights wouldn't come on as soon as the end credits start though - it really dispels the atmosphere.  Very ambitious, not quite my scene.  What an amazing film : thank you for the talk, Andy, I needed it!  Terrific acting, must make prison bearable for a lifer - the talk before helped a lot.  Rather moving - better than the full Monty from Shakespeare?  Impressively realistic - a true joy of a performance.  A very worthy experiment.  The play and the real prison life is brilliantly interwoven and make the film more tragic than the play itself : what brilliant acting of untrained people.  A fresh choice!  Intelligent and I enjoyed it.  Not really my bag baby.  Wonderful faces and for amateurs the direction was very good.  Good to see such a very different film.  Strange they didn't try to escape!  These great actors deserved a better script!  I applaud the principle behind making the film and showing it - it was clearly a success in getting serious criminals enthusiastically involved in an interesting cultural project : in its own right it is a very worthwhile exercise which hopefully opened new opportunities for them: having said that, the message was clear very quickly and the rest of the film was dreary, heavy-handed and frankly boring.  A brilliant choice - through brutish men a tender insight into prison life.  At last - Shaky in a few words!  Good insight into these men and can well understand that after the drama there was.....prison.  Interesting idea : it would have been more powerful if the play had reflected the lives of the convicts.  Sadly, did not hold my attention.  A new and different take on Shakespeare : Mafia honour rules!  Would have liked to see more prison scenes and less Shakespeare.  Impressive, but not to my taste.  Intense atmosphere, superbly captured: a real little gem : will miss Andy's intros on the next 2 films!  I actually felt I could have been watching a production of Julius Caesar from the National Theatre live.  Very poignant.  Excellent acting, very engaging, (The talk before the film is always enlightening - thank you.)  Fantastic acting.  "Escapism" for the prisoners and they need it well but not entertainment for me.  Powerful.  A most unusual and brilliantly constructed film.  Brilliantly acted and entertaining : an excellent portrayal of a familiar play from a different aspect.  I can see why it appealed to Mike Leigh.  Very good introductions - keep it up!  Brilliant!  Powerful - Shakespeare never so convincing.  Inspired! fantastic film - loved every minute.  Though some moments felt false (mainly the non-Shakespeare parts) the rest was riveting and a brilliant interpretation of the play.  Enjoyed the Shakespeare but we did not learn much about the actors : pleased that it avoided the cliché of making the director the star.  Very powerful : excellent acting : think I should read the play!  Couldn't retain my interest, not knowing enough about the Shakespeare version : too depressing and overly dramatic music : well acted though.  Clever, but not my cup of tea: was bored throughout.  As much a treatise on freedom as anything : it revealed a lot about the play that I had never considered ; some great performances.  Bravo!  Brilliant - arty and sincere: great use of colour for the outside world and black and white for prison: I could write an essay - again excellent.  Is redemption possible?  How supremely triumphant - the Tavianis left the Shakespeare to prove the depth of every human character - no unnecessary interference or direction - power of art or power of God? who knows but for one and a half hours it didn't matter.


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2 April
About Elly (Darbareye Elly)
(12A)

Publicity still for film About EllyTense mystery as a group of Iranian friends travel to a seaside home.  One of them brings along her single friend Elly to introduce her to a divorced family friend.  Then Elly mysteriously disappears.


Dir: Asghar Farhadi, Iran, 2009, 112 mins. (Subtitles)

Members’ rating 70.7%: A-10, B-23, C-8, D-5, E-0.  46 votes from 69 members who signed in:
Members’ comments:
A marvellous window on Iranian society as it really is – a gripping and tense film.  Too long and too muddled.  A very sad story very realistically filmed.  A roller coaster of emotions – good intentions certainly went awry!  gripping to the end.  Didn’t gel somehow.  A very well made film of disparate friends driven to ever more lying to cover the sad end of Elly, the daughter’s teacher.  Not very convincing.  Very sad – well acted.  What a society where lies to save face seem to be so much the accepted norm!  [As Sir Walter Scott said in his poem Marmion] “Oh, what a tangled web we weave When first we practise to deceive!”.  Best film of the season; a simple nuanced story told exceedingly well – more by this director please.  No soundtrack music – only the sea: excellent storytelling and acting, raw and honest: unsteady camera-work annoyed me at times but, overall, best film of the season!  Captivating from start to finish: a fascinating insight into Iranian culture.  Not bad.  Predictable – slightly naïve but entertaining.  What a complex and somewhat backward society: gripping film, good twisty plot: glad to be British!  An interesting story and well acted, although very frenetic – not an invitation I would have accepted! but I found it very watchable and a couple of good twists in the story.  Started quite well but got really slow and bogged down before fizzling out altogether.  What a bunch of numpties! - a brilliant insight into human inadequacies, presumptions and prejudices.  Well acted but somewhat frenetic at times: an interesting insight into the cultural differences: good storyline with unexpected ending.  Too much shaky hand-held camera work.  It all began like any other seaside weekend party of family and friends, but the cultural differences between Iranian society and our own emerged painfully and graphically.  Very gripping and thought provoking – good choice.  A fascinating film: tragedy of different mores – would make no sense to an average western audience.  Very good build up but suspense ruined by being told Elly disappears in the intro [this had been in our publicity for the film from the start of the season, sorry!]: fabulous acting throughout.  Chaotic – needed editing.  Fascinating insight into Iranian culture and values.  Interesting to see the different reactions to the tragedy, and to see the obvious separation of the sexes when making decisions etc.  Excellent.  The chaos of the situation was well reflected in the editing.  Well made film – the tension and confusion felt real.  Clever, well made film: the portrayal of the very ordinary group of young people made Elly’s disappearance even more mysterious.  It developed into a fair analysis of the currents between a group of friends under pressure.  Hard to appreciate the film while trying to read all those rapid subtitles: have those children all been to RADA? great acting, a bit slow in parts.

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16 April
Barbara (12)

Publicity still for film BarbaraEast Germany, 1980, and Dr Barbara Wolff has been sent from Berlin to a rural hospital as punishment by the Stasi.  Winner of Best Director award at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival; a haunting film of a woman trying to survive.

Dir: Christian Petzold, Germany, 2012, 103 mins. (Subtitles)

Members’ rating 78.3%: A-17, B-22, C-3, D-3, E-1.  46 votes from 65 members who signed in:
Members’ comments:
Humanity triumphs over evil in a world we can hardly imagine; beautifully directed and acted.  I’m reminded of life 30 years ago in Eastern Europe, depressed by uninspired people; I enjoyed the characters and the way the story developed.  Very interesting, bleak; good unexpected ending.  Demonstrates well the problems of living in East Germany; well plotted and acted.  Really enjoyed this film – found it very gripping, however I got lost in parts – annoying with mobile phone lights going on throughout the film; this was very distracting and rude.  There’s “thoughtful” and there’s “slow to the point of inert” – I know which applies here.  A brilliant, riveting and very interesting film, thank you!  Simply and well told subtle story.  Please can the stage lighting be adjusted – two lights were positioned to cause shadows at the top of the screen.  A bit slow – good ending.  Very well acted and giving a feeling of that terrible time in East Germany when no-one could be trusted – and that only 35 years ago!!  Relentlessly grim, but intelligent use of the lack of music to heighten tension – clever.  An excellent film; dealing with the conflicts of life in the East – Duty or Dreams?  Too slow apart from the last 10 minutes; the closing music was good – by Chic.  First class film - although maybe 15 minutes too long.  In spite of subtitles flying by and scenes that were unseeable, it kept me awake and was good.  Certainly not my sort of film.  A good and revealing look at life behind the Iron Curtain, with the Stasi and their goings-on; I liked this film.  An engrossing film with the light ending; what a terrible existence under the Stasi!  Such a strong and disturbing story but somehow the sentimental bit took off its edge – he so ‘crinkly-eyed’ handsome, she a fine classical pianist and the works! so talented as doctors too…  Kept me guessing right to the end – most enjoyable.  A powerful and well-acted film although rather confusing at times as you were left guessing at background and motives – what a lot of riding in the night!!  A fascinating character this Barbara!  Very well acted but confusing story line; left to work out the plot as the film progressed – unexpected ending!  I’ve no idea!  Very thoughtful – glad Germany is now united!  Gripping – unexpected twist at the end.  This was a most impressive adult film, well constructed, written and acted; an unsentimental and realistic portrayal of the appalling life in East Germany with neighbours and relatives spying on each other and reporting back to the Stasi; people who are too young to remember or be aware would find it difficult to comprehend such an existence; in my view it was a great film - and timely in view of the situation in Ukraine.  Interesting - will be fascinating to read up on more of the background.  There is life even in a police state - daily tasks repetitive but vital no matter what the prison conditions.

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30 April

Annual General Meeting at 7pm

followed at 8pm by:

The Joy of Six (15)

Publicity still for film The Joy of SixThe best of up and coming British directors feature in these six short films ranging from 7 to 21 minutes, all performed by familiar faces.  A varied, delightful selection.
[Note that the link in the title is to the Guardian review pending availability of the IMDb link for this film]

Dir: Romola Garai et al, UK, 2013, 79 mins.

Members' rating: 59.8% - A-5,B-14,C-14,D-7,E-1.  41 votes from 72 members who signed in
Members' comments: Eclectic mix of good, bad and ugly; let down by Scrubber otherwise quite innocent fun.  Apart from the last short, all the rest were boring, depressing and pointless; more cheerful films for next year please.  A lovely pick and mix – good fun. Patchy but on the whole enjoyable – how does Judi Dench get it right every time?  Was the theme loneliness  as published or mental health issues?  Not much entertained by the last one – hope Judi didn’t charge them;  liked the variety – rather worried about the little girl…  A bit hit and miss but entertaining on the whole.  I liked Ellington best.  It is good to have a hidden threat but when it is there throughout four short films with only a half-hearted outcome it betrays a sloppiness; thank goodness for the brilliant timing and morally oblique challenge of the butchers’ café.  I loved A Gun for George - Terry Finch should have his own television series; overall, disappointed and this feels like a wasted slot – stick to the feature films please.  Liked the Reprizaliser best; have been a member for 10 years and have loved this season’s films – thanks so much, best ever season.  A mixed bag.  They were all very much like student films; the last one was best.  Good to see England/Britain’s next film makers.  A great selection of short films.  Didn’t quite understand the Romola Garai movie – loved the rest.  In the main good except Scrubber – story too wishy-washy; good acting, great showcase for upcoming film makers; excellent use of humour but the Judi Dench one could almost have been a BT advert.  I hadn’t anticipated that six short films meant six long credits!  Same again please; thank you very much for a great season and yes – go ahead and book 12 films to start and then surprise us with the remainder.  Intriguing mix but I prefer one long film rather than snapshots.  Apart from the last short I found all the others far too violent, dark and depressing; good acting no doubt but not my idea of an enjoyable evening.  That made a change!  quite a diverse and variable selection, mostly enjoyable especially the Judi Dench film (though the most conventional).  A fitting end to a super season; very interesting to see emerging talent and speculate as to who will figure in the future; Man in Fear powerful, Ellington Kid yes – last one saved by Dench.  All very good – especially the second short.  More like that please; thank you very much for a great season; agree with the AGM – book 12 and choose the remainder later – we don’t know what the others are going to be unless we watch them!  Very mixed.  The last short was fun, the remainder a waste of good actors.  Loved the two shorter, funnier ones, the Judi Dench one was a bit clichéd, but an interesting mix and lots to talk about.  The six shorts all gave the impression of “I’ve just finished film school and this is my trailer.  Would you like to look at working with me?”; didn’t rock my boat!  First five shorts not ones I would have chosen to see but Judi Dench saved the day!  Odd mix of shorts but interesting; the last two shorts saved the evening.  Sound is always too loud; good ideas – found the sex one a bit complicated.  Didn’t work for me.  Enjoyed all (especially Man in Fear) apart from the final one which was a bit slick; shows that having a big name doesn’t always help.  A dire evening saved by the last two films.  1-4 OK, 5 very good, 6 a feel-good film.  Interesting experiment – a bit of a curate’s egg.


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