Category

Season 11 Films

LUNCH BOX – Thursday 25 September, 8pm

By | archive, Season 11 Films

Mumbai’s Dabbawallahs are a community of 5000 dabba (lunch box) deliverymen.  Harvard University analysed their delivery system and concluded that just one in a million lunch boxes is ever delivered to the wrong address. This film is the story of that one lunch box.

Director:  Ritesh Batra.  India, 2013. Language: Hindi, English. 104 minutes.  Cert: PG
Middle class housewife Ila is trying once again to add some spice to her marriage, this time through her cooking. She desperately hopes that this new recipe will finally arouse some kind of reaction from her neglectful husband. She prepares a special lunchbox to be delivered to him at work, but, unbeknownst to her, it is mistakenly delivered to another office worker, Saajan, a lonely man on the verge of retirement. Curious about the lack of reaction from her husband, Ila puts a little note in the following day’s lunchbox, in the hopes of getting to the bottom of the mystery.

This begins a series of lunchbox notes between Saajan and Ila, and the mere comfort of communicating with a stranger anonymously soon evolves into an unexpected friendship. Gradually, their notes become little confessions about their loneliness, memories, regrets, fears, and even small joys. They each discover a new sense of self and find an anchor to hold on to in the big city of Mumbai that so often crushes hopes and dreams. Still strangers physically, Ila and Saajan become lost in a virtual relationship that could jeopardize both their realities.

‘The Lunchbox is perfectly handled and beautifully acted; a quiet storm of banked emotions.’ – The Guardian

Click here for official website.

Starring: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddique, Denzil Smith, Bharati Achrekar, NakulVaid, Yashvi Puneet Nagar, Lillete Dubey

Vancouver International Film Festival 2013:  Some romances are written in the stars. Others, it would seem, can be chalked up to a misread street map. When a lunchbox painstakingly prepared by Ila (NimratKaur) for her emotionally distant husband is mistakenly delivered to Saajan (the wonderful Irrfan Khan, Life of Pi), the under-appreciated Mumbai housewife and lonely accountant strike up an intimate correspondence. Continuing to use Mumbai’s legion of lunch couriers as their go-betweens, they share increasingly involved letters detailing their inner thoughts and life stories. The tinges of disappointment and regret that punctuate these missives reflect the enticing soulfulness of RiteshBatra’s debut. In turn, there’s exhilaration to be had watching these characters realize that their futures are unwritten. But will they put down their pens and overcome the obstacles keeping them from one another?

 

 

THE GOLDEN DREAM (La Jaula de Oro) – Thursday 2 October, 8pm

By | archive, Season 11 Films

From Ken Loach’s protege, Diego Quemada-Diez, comes this astounding and gripping debut feature, that is a piercing and poetic road movie that follows the fortunes of four Guatemalan teenagers on a dangerous journey across the Mexican border into America. Using improvisational techniques and non-professional actors, The Golden Dream has astounded and won critical praise world over, garnering numerous awards including a specially created prize for ‘Best Ensemble Cast’ at the  Cannes Film Festival.

“A beautiful film, full of human warmth, compassion and truth. The struggle of the innocent is caught with precision. And it is clear that the real enemy is beyond their reach or comprehension, but nonetheless very present in the film. Terrific!” – Ken Loach

Director: Diego Quemada-Diez.  Mexico, Spain, 2013.  Language: Spanish. 102 minutes  Cert: CLUB

Starring: Brandon Lopez, Rodolfo Dominguez, Karen Martinez, Carlos Chajon

Spanish Film Festival 2013:   In order to escape from the squalid barrio in which they live, young Guatemalan teens Juan, Sara and Samuel make the decision to attempt the 1,200 mile-long arduous border crossing into “The Golden Cage”, i.e. USA, via Mexico in search of a better life.   In order to blend in with the group and protect herself from the harm a woman can suffer on the journey, Sara initially disguises herself as a boy named Oswaldo.

Not long after their departure, the group encounter Chauk, an Tzotzil Indian who speaks virtually no Spanish.  Despite Juan’s fervent and passionate opposition, Sara insists they allow Chauk to join the gang. A harsh road follows as the four children show inspiring bravery in the face of relentless danger and obstacles, both natural and man-made. All the while, they risk arrest, deportation and death. From the first frame to the last hopeless moment, this is a heart-wrenching story of hope, friendship, survival, love and desperation, and a profound homage to the treacherous journey thousands of immigrants undertake each year.

SALVO – Thursday 9 October, 8pm

By | archive, Season 11 Films

A hitman for the Sicilian Mafia, Salvo is solitary, cold and ruthless. When he sneaks into a house to eliminate a man, he discovers Rita, a young blind girl who powerlessly stands by while her brother is assassinated.  Salvo tries to close those disturbing eyes, staring at him yet unseeing.  Something impossible happens, and Salvo decides to spare her life.  From then on, these two beings, both haunted by the world they belong to, are linked together forever.  – Cannes Film Festival 2013, Critics Week

Director: Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza.  Italy, France, 2013.  Language: Sicilian, Italian.  108 minutes.  Cert: CLUB

A fascinating, stylised drama…white-knuckle action coupled with eerie, atmospheric pacing makes this film about the Sicilian mafia an intriguing watch. – The Guardian

Utterly absorbing…Salvo defies our expectations of the gangster genre. – Screen Daily

Captivating…a fascinating Italian film noir, immacuately made. – Cineuropa

Starring: Saleh Bakri, Sara Serraiocco, Luigi Lo Cascio, Mario Pupella

 

 

ILO ILO – Thursday 16 October, 8pm

By | archive, Season 11 Films

Set during the 1990s financial meltdown in Singapore, Ilo Ilo chronicles what seems like a year in the lives of a family of three and their newly employed Filipino maid, examining in particular the bond she develops with their already unruly son and the further strain her presence as a stranger puts on the family’s already strained ties. 

Director: Anthony Chen.  Singapore, 2013.  Language: Mandarin.  99 minutes.  Cert: 12A.

Ilo Ilo is filled with sweetness, humour and humanity: so assured and accomplished that it’s hard to believe this is a first feature. What an impressive debut from 30-year-old Singaporean writer-director Anthony Chen, who graduated four years ago from Britain’s National Film and Television School. In its gentleness, its shrewd psychological insight and unforced accumulation of detail, his film is something to be compared with the work of Taiwanese director Edward Yang. – The Guardian ****

Starring: Angeli Bayani, Yeo Yann Yann, Chen Tianwen, Koh Jia Ler

 

 

 

IN BLOOM (Grzeli Nateli Dgeebi) – Thursday 23 October, 8pm

By | archive, Season 11 Films

Tbilisi, Georgia, 1992: The Soviet era is over and Georgia must fend for itself.  Civil war is raging in the province of Abkhazia. For Natia and Eka, the barely 14-year-old protagonists of In Bloom, childhood is coming to an end. Eka is growing up without her father, rebelling against her concerned mother and her older sister. And Natia’s  alcoholic father terrorises the entire family. 

The two friends cannot find peace outside of the family either – not in school, not on the street, and not in the bread lines. Chaos, insecurity, and fear of the future hold sway over everyday life. An admirer gives Natia a pistol with one single bullet.  A little later, she’s abducted by another admirer.

A new generation of filmmakers has emerged in Georgia and is starting out by remembering its own history. – Berlin Film Festival 2013

Director:  Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Gross.  Georgia, 2013.  Language: Georgian. 102 minutes.  Cert:  CLUB

Georgia’s reputation as the latest cinematic hotspot for emerging talent is enhanced further by “In Bloom,” an absorbing, intelligently assembled coming-of-ager that revolves around two pubescent gal-pals growing up in 1992, just after independence was restored. – Variety

Starring: Lika Babluani, Mariam Bokeria, Zurab Gogaladze, Data Zakareishvili, Giorgi Aladashvili, Gia Shonia, Ana Nijaradze

Click here for website.

 

 

20 FEET FROM STARDOM – Thursday 6 November, 8pm

By | archive, Season 11 Films

Academy Award Winner – Best Documentary Feature 

Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names.  Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others.  Along with rare archival footage and a peerless soundtrack, 20 Feet From Stardom boasts intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few. However, these world-famous figures take a backseat to the diverse array of backup singers whose lives and stories take center stage in the film. – Vancouver International Film Festival 2013

Director:  Morgan Neville.   USA,  2013.  Language:  English.  90 minutes.  Cert: 12A.

The highest-grossing US documentary of 2013 arrives here with rave notices and an Academy Award attached. For one night only, Morgan Neville’s charming, feel-good picture shines the spotlight on the lesser-seen back-up vocalists recounted by the title.  Some, like Gloria Jones, are startlingly glamorous. Others, like Merry Clayton, should have been contenders. Almost all, tellingly, are ministers’ daughters who honed their dazzling ranges in gospel choirs. – Irish Times

Joyous and inspiring – Daily Telegraph

 Click here for website.

 

THE ROCKET – Thursday 13 November, 8pm

By | archive, Season 11 Films

Laos:  Good-natured Ahlo has no idea of the tragic circumstances which surrounded his birth.  His childhood seems to be ill-fated: when his family has to leave their village to make way for a dam, a terrible accident follows. Together with his father and grandmother, he is sent to a camp where he incurs the wrath of the other camp-dwellers.  They soon make up their mind that Ahlo is cursed and brings bad luck. His only friend is Kia, who lives with her uncle Purple and knows all too well what it’s like to be an outcast. The group’s search for a new home leads them through the Laotian outback. Here, they come across a rocket festival that holds an entire village on tenderhooks. At last, Ahlo sees a chance to prove he is lucky rather than cursed and he takes part in the dangerous competition. The Rocket combines this boy’s moving story with a fascinating insight into living conditions in a country shaped by poverty and superstition. – Berlin International Film Festival 2013   

Director: Kim Morduant.  Laos, Australia, 2013.  Language: Lao.  96 minutes.  Cert: CLUB

A likable film whose gentleness contrasts with subject.  This Laos-set drama about a firework competition – and unexploded wartime ordnance – is sweet natured, if low-key. – The Guardian

Click here for website.

Starring:  Sitthiphon Disamoe, Loungnam Kaosainam, Thep Phongam, Bunsri Yindi, Sumrit Warin, Alice Kohavong

 

 

 

 

THE PAST (Le passé) – Thursday 20 November, 8pm

By | archive, Season 11 Films

Following a four year separation, Ahmad returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his estranged French wife Marie’s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure so she can marry her new boyfriend Samir.  During his tense brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie’s relationship with her teenage daughter Lucie. Ahmad’s efforts to improve this relationship soon unveil a secret from their past.      

Director:  Asghar Farhadi.  Iran, 2013. Language: French.  130 minutes.  Cert: 12A

The continuing force and intelligence of Farhadi’s film-making is compelling…what a grippingly made picture. – The Guardian

Starring: Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa, Pauline Burlet, Elyes Aguis, Jeanne Jestin

Click here for website.

 

Following the taut Oscar-winning divorce drama, A Separation, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi returns with another stunning study of modern family life, this time set on the outskirts of Paris where Ahmad arrives from Tehran to finalise the end of his tempestuous marriage to estranged wife Marie. The Past, however, is not simply a variation a theme; it is a gripping, emotional detective story, as curious Ahmad investigates the events of the previous four years, his interest piqued by Marie’s sulky teenage daughter Lucie, whose strange contempt for her mother’s new boyfriend Samir sets the story in motion.  Farhadi’s cast is note-perfect, especially Bérénice Bejo  (star of The Artist as Peppy Miller), playing beautifully against type as a flaky suburban mother of three.  But the real star is the script, a masterwork of restraint that drip-feeds one explosive revelation after another. – BFI London Film Festival 2013

OMAR – Thursday 27 November, 8pm

By | archive, Season 11 Films

Omar is accustomed to dodging surveillance bullets to cross the separation wall to visit his secret love, Nadia. But occupied Palestine knows neither simple love nor clear-cut war.  On the other side of the wall, the sensitive young baker Omar becomes a freedom fighter who must face painful choices about life and manhood. When Omar is captured after a deadly act of resistance, he falls into a cat-and-mouse game with the military police.  Suspicion and betrayal jeopardise his long-time trust with accomplices and childhood friends, Amjad and Tarek, Nadia’s militant brother. Omar’s feelings quickly become as torn apart as the Palestinian landscape. But it’s soon evident that everything he does is for his love of Nadia. – Cannes Film Festival 2014

Director:  Hany Abu-Assad.  Palestine, 2013.  Language: Arabic.  96 minutes.  Cert:15

The unpredictable climax to this cat-and-mouse political thriller is pure genius. – Filmmaker Magazine

Starring: Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Eyad Hourani, Samer Bisharat

Click here for website.

 

TRACKS – Thursday 4 December, 8pm

By | archive, Season 11 Films

This film tells the incredible true story of Robyn Davidson (Mia Wasikowska – Alice in Wonderland, Stoker), a young woman who in 1977 undertook a perilous solo trek across 1,700 miles of stunning Australian outback.

Abandoning city life, Robyn arrives in Alice Springs and declares her ambition to cross the desert to the Indian Ocean to the amusement of the locals.

However after months of camping out and working on a camel farm people begin to take her seriously. A chance meeting with National Geographic photographer Rick Smoland (played by Girls’ Adam Driver)provides her with the necessary financing for her expedition under the condition that he be allowed to photograph parts of her journey for the magazine.

With only her dog and four unpredictable camels for company, she embarks on an inspiring and life changing journey of self-discovery.

Director:  John Curran.  Australia, 2013.  Language: English.  110 minutes.  Cert: TBC

Visually majestic, superb – Hollywood Reporter

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver, Rainer Bock, Rolley Mintuma, John Flaus, Robert Coleby

Click here for website.

Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, Stoker) commands the screen in John Curran’s mesmerizing character study, based on the astonishing true story of Robyn Davidson. With her faithful dog and four unruly camels in tow, Robyn departed Central Australia on foot, determined to traverse the Outback and reach the Indian Ocean. Her only obstacles were 2,700 kms of desert and her own personal demons.

Curran and Wasikowska capture Robyn’s two-year preparatory phase in Alice Springs, when she learned how to maintain camels and reluctantly accepted necessary funding from National Geographic. The catch? She had to allow photographer Rick Smolan (played by Girls’Adam Driver) to snap pictures at predetermined stops along the way.

The arduous physical journey and the arguably more dangerous mental one are conveyed through Curran’s use of the stunning landscapes as a prominent character in the former and Waikowska’s complete dedication in the latter. This is one journey you will not forget. – Vancouver International film Festival 2014