Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Christmas

We finished our Autumn season yesterday with the blockbuster Sicario . Like the rest of the season, it too was blighted by the bad weather but 85 brave souls made it to the Alhambra to watch it. The feelings were mixed, but mainly favourable scoring 74%.

So we now take our Christmas Break until 10th January, when we are back with a French comedy drama La Famille Belier . Members will get their Spring brochures in the post soon and anyone else can pick up the new brochure at the Alhambra or TIC. It is also available to download and you can view the full programme or watch the following selection of trailers for more...

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sicario - Sunday 20th December 4:15pm

We finish our season with a bang - big budget, big stars, big action. Sicario follows an unlikely trio over the border between the USA and Mexico into the war on drugs. Emily Blunt plays Kate Macy, an FBI agent out of her depth in a team cobbled together to take on the top drug suppliers.

She is partnered with Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), a sandal-wearing mystery man who claims to work for the Defense Department, and Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), the 'Sicario' of the title...the 'hitman'. What follows is the usual interagency mess-up following mixed agendas... and morals.

Sicario was ranked the 5th best film of the year by Empire magazine: "Thanks to Roger Deakins' typically virtuoso photography, the arid border landscape, a geographical and moral chasm into which all of them plunge, becomes something monstrous and unearthly, a Golgotha in widescreen."

Please note the earlier start time of 4:15pm to allow us to finish in time for Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Home From Home: Chronicle of a Vision - Sunday 13th December 3pm

The show must go on and this Sunday we're starting earlier than normal with a four hour film which is "never dull for a moment; indeed, there is a box set addictiveness to the whole thing" according to Peter Bradshaw.

Home From Home: Chronicle of a Vision sees director Edgar Reitz revisiting his fictional village of Schabbach, first invented for his epic 1980s TV series Heimat (Homeland). This time we're going back in time to the 19th century. Here we meet Jakob - "a dreamer, a Romantic, a reader, always getting yelled at by his blacksmith dad for idling. He has conceived a passionate desire to leave the grind and oppression and emigrate to the promised land of Brazil - a 'homeland' that is an alternative both to Germany and the church’s feebly promised heaven" - Peter Bradshaw, Guardian.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Phoenix - Sunday 6th December 5pm

This Sunday, we are off to post-second world war Germany for Phoenix, in what promises to be a very memorable film. The plot is complex and 'a masterstroke', the acting 'mesmerizing' and it all adds up to a noir-like thriller.

Nelly has come out of the concentration camp needing a complete facial rebuild because of her injuries. The result leaves her looking similar, but different; different enough to fool her husband Johnny – "When Nelly crosses paths with Johannes (don't call him Johnny any more), he notices the resemblance, but has completely convinced himself that his wife must be dead. "She's dead. I know she's dead." It’s a trick of denial...However, his wife has an unclaimed fortune, and Johannes convinces Nelly to pretend to be who she actually is to claim it" – all quotes from Brian Tallerico,

The plot twists and turns, leading Nelly, and us, round and round as she tries to claim her fortune and her character back. I won’t give away the ending, but Tallerico finishes by saying "I will never forget the end of Phoenix. Ever. Here’s hoping this incredible film gets to an audience so it can sear itself into your memory as well".

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Lobster - Sunday 29th November

This Sunday's film, The Lobster, includes Ben Whishaw and Léa Seydoux in the supporting cast, however comparisons with SPECTRE start and end there. The Lobster almost defies description.
"It is set in a world where single people are gathered up and hauled off to a remote hotel and have 45 days to find a partner or risk losing their humanity. Literally — they’ll get turned into an animal via processes mysterious, and flamingos and camels occasionally wander through the backdrops of scenes." - Buzzfeed
The Independent reviewer said:
"The Lobster is a European arthouse film par excellence – precisely the kind of project you can't imagine ever being made in Hollywood. It has a Greek director (albeit one now based in the UK) and Irish, American and Dutch producers. Its actors are from all over the place. Its budget has been clawed together from innumerable different sources. This is an example of what used to be dismissed as a 'Europudding' but it is also as rich and strange a film as you will see in a very long time – an absurdist tragi-comedy, performed in a very deadpan fashion."
Surprisingly, it was a publication called Nerd Report that got to the essence of the film – "The central issue is the inevitable paradox where you can't meet someone when you're lonely, which is when you most want to meet someone."

Monday, November 23, 2015

Tuesday Classics: Rebel Without A Clause - 24th November 5:30 PM

Our third and last classic for this season is this Tuesday night at 5.30 – Rebel Without a Cause - starring James Dean’s whose career was cut so sadly short by a car crash just before this film was released.

We probably don't need to tell you the plot – James Dean plays Jim Stark whose teenage antics cause chaos in the town he has just moved to – or even remind you it also stars Natalie Wood. Directed by the great Nicholas Ray, 'Rebel' became the anthem for the new Teenager world and still gets great reviews even today: "Dean's finest film, hardly surprisingly in that Ray was one of the great '50s directors" – Geoff Andrew, Time Out – or "A mighty, ageless jolt of teen petulance. Dean is supreme" – David Parkinson, Empire.

Dean has become almost deified, which is remarkable when we look back and realise he only made 3 movies. Was he really that good? Well now is your chance to find out!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Theeb - Sunday 22nd November 5pm

As the rain lashes against Cumbrian windows, it serves as a stark contrast to the location for our film on Sunday. Although listed as a film from the United Arab Emirates, Theeb is directed by a Jordanian, NajiAbu Nowar, and set in the deserts of that country during the first world war.

It has received universally good reviews, this from Film Journal International:
"The deserts of Jordan have rarely looked as beautiful or as dangerous as they do in Theeb, the assured feature debut by NajiAbu Nowar. A survival adventure with surprising depth, a coming-of-age story that hits painful emotions, and not incidentally a smart critique of Middle East politics, the movie has been winning praise and awards on the festival circuit, and was named Jordan's Oscar entry for Best Foreign-Language Film. But don't let its art-house aura deter you. Theeb is splendid entertainment, as exciting as it is thoughtful." 
The art house tag was also picked up by The Playlist:
 “Theeb is an arthouse gem that celebrates world cinema through a Middle Eastern perspective, and as an unfamiliar approach to familiar themes, should be lauded and sought out by those in the mood for some serious, and seriously good, cinema.”
However for damp locals feeling the after effects of storm Abigail, the comments from may be the most appealing: "these are not the sensuously undulating, lunar dunes of David Lean’s masterpiece; rather, the desert in Theeb feels intimate, rough, real. You can run your hands through the sand and feel the flies on your face."

Monday, November 09, 2015

The Salt Of The Earth - Sunday 15th November at Rheged with optional meal

"He travelled to the 4 corners of the world as a social photographer and a witness to the human condition" – so does Wim Wenders describe Sebastiao Salgado in The Salt of the Earth, our film this week; We, in turn, travel to Rheged to take advantage of the huge screen there to see it.

The film is a documentary of Sebastiao Salgado’s life, giving Wenders the palette to show not just the amazing photographs Salgado took but allowing Wenders to produce a beautiful film as he follows Salgado around the world; a kind of ‘Baraka’ with words. The result was nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary and gets good reviews from nearly all the critics. Seeing this at Rheged should give us a magical night (and don’t forget you can stay for a meal afterwards if you want – just email to order your food!)

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Rheged Film & Meal - Sunday 15th Novembr

The club is having its film show at Rheged this year on Sunday 15th November, with a chance to see the award winning documentary from director Wim Wenders - The Salt of the Earth - with our OPTIONAL 'mid season' meal in their restaurant afterwards.

The reviews of the film all make it look fantastic, so we hope it will be as popular as last year, especially as Rheged are holding the price for the meal at £10 for one last year! If you are interested in having the meal, please email for details.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Mia Madre - Sunday 8th November 5pm

KFC returns to Italy on Sunday with Mia Madre, directed by and starring Nanni Moretti.

It is a film about making a film, interspersed with the complex family issues faced by the Director, Margherita, played superbly by Margherita  Buy. Foremost amongst those issues is the terminal illness of her mother, mirroring the experience of Nanni Moretti himself, while making his earlier film, We have a Pope.

Moretti’s personal experiences as both son and director bring a genuine depth to Mia Madre. Little White Lies opines that Moretti  has a "self-imposed remit as a filmmaker who locates humour and levity in life's dimmest corners" and this is best brought out in scenes between Margherita and Barry Huggins, played by John Tuturro, a spectacularly self-deprecating turn as fading American-Italian screen star,  brought in to give some gravitas to her film.

An eight minute standing ovation at Cannes gives an idea of the quality of this film. Mark Kermode agrees:
"The beautifully observed and delicately balanced result is a sublimely modulated blend of laughter and tears, a film that cuts to the very heart of profound personal loss without ever losing sight of the fact that life, in all its chaotic comedy, carries on regardless."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Glassland - Sunday 1st November 5pm

From Mali last week, we move across continents to Ireland for Sunday's film, Glassland. The film already has a pedigree, it was a winner at the Galway Film Fleadh and Sundance, with a plot set among the socially excluded in contemporary Tallaght. According to the Irish Times, it's not altogether a happy story, however the Guardian describes it as being "like the emotional equivalent of a massage with a sandpaper loofah, the film leaves you feeling raw and tender’

It is in the performance of the 3 lead characters that makes Glassland such a compelling movie. Toni Collette plays Jean, an alcoholic mother – "nailing the accent, she brings shapes and shadows to a challenging role that, for a change, is worthy of her talent" - The Guardian

Jack Reynor, as John, is her long suffering son – "through coiled tension, hooded frustration and, eventually, voluble remonstrating, he gets across a terrible truth about addiction: those around the user suffer the most and with the least justification" and Will Poulter, (as John's mate, Shane) brings a welcome element of comic relief, "bringing a stunned vacancy to the character that proves hilariously endearing".

Beautifully shot, Little White Lies concludes that it is a "proper film, robustly made and beautifully acted"

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tuesday Classics: On The Waterfront - 27th October 5:30pm

We continue our Classic Tuesdays season this week with On the Waterfront. This multi-Oscar winning film propelled Marlon Brando and method acting to to the top of the tree, changing acting forever. The story is about corrupt union leaders, integrity and love, containing some famous scenes and lines from cinema history.  The film stars Rod Steiger, Lee J Cobb, Karl Malden and Eva Marie Saint alongside Marlon Brando. Certainly a classic, hopefully you will agree it is worth seeing again (or for the first time?)  I have never seen it on the big screen and, as with The Third Man, we have a brand new '4K' digital version so the picture will be as clear as a bell.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Timbuktu - Sunday 25th October 5pm

Ann Martin, our very own Festival Director, thought Timbuktu, our film this Sunday, was the best film she had seen in years; now we can see what inspired her. The film is both beautiful and packs a punch, following the life of one family in a small village as the Jihadists take over the running of Mali: in a country internationally famous for its music, the people are told they cannot sing; a people who are already Muslims try to understand why new rules are suddenly being applied.

At the same time, Director Abderrahmane Sissako shows that the Fundamentalists are not just crazed killers are they are sometimes portrayed by our media, giving us scope for thought too. I haven't seen this film, but, from the reviews I begin to understand why Ann liked it so much; I can't wait to see it for myself!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Wild Tales - Sunday 18th October 5pm

Last week we had two films for you in one day; this week we visit South America for six stories in one film – Wild Tales.  "Argentina's nominee for the foreign-film Oscar is a farce about revenge that is feral, ferocious and gut-bustingly funny. You'll laugh till it hurts", says Peter Travers in Rolling Stone.

The six stories are linked by the theme of revenge and people losing their self-control around seemingly small issues like getting a parking ticket. It has had universally good reviews, scoring 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, and winning awards around the world. Will it win your vote?

Monday, October 05, 2015

UK Directors Day - Sunday 11th October from 3pm

This week we have not just one film for you but two...and you only have to pay for one! We continue with our 'new UK Directors' weekends, but this time both directors have struck gold and got big stars to act for them, giving us a mini-festival for the day – why not come along... and enjoy two very different films.

We start at 3.00pm with Slow West, starring Michael Fassbender: it was Fassbender who encouraged director John Maclean to make a film after working on a short with him. Slow West is a British made western, which keeps the genre feeling new...and, as Peter Bradshaw says in the Guardian "It's only slow in the way a rattlesnake or a predatory killer is slow. This terrific film is actually tense, twisty and brilliant".

The second film is 45 Years at 5.00pm, which stars Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling. A couple who are about to celebrate 45 years of marriage receive news from the past that threatens to upset not just the celebration but their whole life. This has received great reviews and seems to have given both actors a chance to excel again – "Rampling has never received an Oscar nomination, but she deserves one for this performance. Courtenay, who has two Oscar nods under his belt, rates another one for helping Rampling reach this peak" - and this from an American (!), Lou Lumenick in New York Post.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Black Coal, Thin Ice - Sunday 4th October 5pm

After many years of high profile Scandi-Noir films, this Sunday we have what is perhaps the vanguard of a new genre – Chinese Noir.

The review for Black Coal Thin, Ice in Variety starts with quite an accolade: "The spirits of Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain course through Black Coal, Thin Ice, a bleak but powerful, carefully controlled detective thriller in which — as with all the best noirs — there are no real heroes or villains, only various states of compromise. A most curious hybrid of genre movie and art film, drenched in neon and wintry industrial bleakness, this is the third feature by the gifted mainland Chinese director Diao Yinan."

The film has all the key ingredients – a femme fatale and a no-nonsense detective which again struck a chord in Variety: (In the 1940s Hollywood version, Lana Turner or Ida Lupino would have made a good fit, while it’s easy to imagine Bogart or Mitchum in the detective role.)

Similarly, the reviewer from CineVue was impressed: Jingsong Dong's cinematography is sublime. The film looks so beautiful. And neither is it a case of visual grandstanding for the sake of cinema's sake. There is subtlety at play that is quietly impressive. Whether it's a seasonal transition via a road tunnel - from clammy summer to the dead of winter - or faces bathed in coloured electric light as they travel on a Ferris wheel in the dark. Mixing daytime exteriors and pastel tones with night-time garish neon, brings out not only neat pictorial contrasts, but also the rich poetic symbolism that envelopes the characters in their search for a second chance and an escape from the past.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Tuesday Classics: The Third Man - Tuesday 29th 5.30pm

The drama continues on Tuesday night at 5.30 with the first of our new ‘Tuesday Classics’ – The Third Man. Definitely a contender for the best film ever made, we thought it would be a great start to see if you want to see old films as well as new! I’m not sure if I even need to tell you the plot, but we follow Holly Martins around post-war Vienna trying to find out if his friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles) is really dead. A great film noir - full of fantastic photography, great acting and a theme tune to die for AND it has been restored in a new crisp digital version – what better start could we have? If you are into seeing some great classic films again – and possibly on the big screen for the first time – come along and give yourself a treat.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Mommy - Sunday 27th September 5pm

Our next film, Mommy, is the latest from 25 year old Xavier Dolan and, by all accounts, his best yet. Compared to early Pedro Almodovar films, it tells the story of a single mom trying hard to deal with her 15 year old, ADHD son. Her struggles are eased by her neighbour, but the question remains ‘can she hold it all together?’ The film has won a Jury prize at Cannes for Dolan and praise for all the actors so it should be a great dramatic Sunday for the club.

Coming Soon: Our monthly Tuesday Classics start on the September 29th with The Third Man

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

AGM - Sunday 20th September 4pm

As notified in Talking Pictures at the start of the season, we are holding our AGM at 4.00pm on 20th September in the Alhambra Cinema. The Agenda is as follows:

  1. Present
  2. Apologies
  3. Minutes of the 2014 AGM (members should have already received a copy of these minutes)
  4. Trustees' Annual Report comprising
  5. Chair's Report
  6. Treasurer's Report
  7. Appointment of Trustees
  8. Election of committee and officers
  9. AOB

At the AGM, one-third of the Trustees of the Club are required to retire from office.  Vaughan Ames and Tom Rennie are retiring this year but are both willing to continue. As there have not been any other nominations, the existing Trustees will be re-elected.

Members wanting to help on the KFC Committee are invited to say so at or before the AGM. Please consider standing if you wish to help.

The AGM will be followed by White God at 5pm.

Please come to the meeting - we need your ideas and suggestions

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

White God - Sunday 20th September 5pm

This week’s film is a world  - and a few mammal species - away from last Sunday’s Opener. White God almost defies description – simplistically it could be categorised as an allegory on modern day society and the way in which we treat those different to ourselves.

For all that it is a complex and extremely clever piece of film-making.

According to Josh Larsen (Larsen on Film) "One of the movie's startling characteristics is the way it refuses to anthropomorphize its canine characters. Hagen (the dog at the centre of the story) has personality, but no more than any dog does. His behaviour is never out of character for his species. The same goes for everyone in the animal cast. This lends the movie’s showcase scenes – of up to 250 dogs racing in a pack down the abandoned streets of Budapest – a sense of fearsome wonder.”

The canine actors playing Hagen – two dogs called Body and Luke – put in a performance that is nothing less than extraordinary.

It's going to be a fascinating afternoon's viewing – and potentially a tough one for dog lovers. The reviewer from Arizona Republic seems to sum it up best:

Lassie it ain’t! What it all means is open to interpretation. Read it as a parable or as a horror movie. Read it as the story of love between a girl and her dog. Read it however you want. No matter what your take, you won't be disappointed.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Welcome Back - A Royal Night Out

Welcome back everyone! As the summer comes to an end, our Autumn Season is with us again, and with it the club's 17th Year. We start the season on Sunday 13th September at 4.15 with a fun night out, starting with your chance for a FREE DRINK and a chat, while you sign up for this year’s membership (STILL just £7 to get you £1 off all films you attend during the whole year!) and maybe a season ticket for all 16 Sunday films in this season for just £38.Then the fun continues with the film at 5.00...

A Royal Night Out is possibly lighter than we normally go for, but oh what fun! What must have been one of the happiest nights of the 20th century, when the Germans had surrendered and victory was declared in Europe, was celebrated everywhere in the UK, especially in London with a party to end all parties. Princess Elizabeth convinces the King to let her and her sister Margaret go out and join in but, of course, the two girls 'lose' their escorts and then each other (this is fantasy don't forget!). The night of fun that follows, especially for Princess Margaret, is set to keep us amused too: forget all your troubles, don't worry about reality - lie back and enjoy yourself laughing with (at?) the queen...she won't mind, honest!

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Autumn Programme

We start our sixteenth film club year on Sunday 13th September with our usual start of season drink. But we're breaking with tradition by starting with an English film - A Royal Night Out - which David has seen and thought was fantastic fun.

Doors open at 4:15pm with the film starting at 5pm. Why not come and tell other members what you have been doing since we last met up?

The rest of the programme has a bit of everything, from drama and film noir to documentary and classics; we even have a western thrown in. You can view trailers for most of the films below:

Thursday, April 02, 2015

End Of Season Wrap Up

We have come to the end of our year again; we hope you enjoyed it. We will be back in September, so don't go away. We are hoping to start a series of 'classic' films as well next season - watch this space for details. Meantime, let us have any recommendations for films you come across!

To wrap up the year here are a few facts you may be interested in:-

1. The highest vote of the year went to Next Goal Wins - a film about football! For those who decided against seeing it, a lot of anti-footballers there loved it! Kon Tiki came second and Beyond the Edge, our Rheged film came third.  What was your favourite?

2. We have had a much higher attendance this year, with a total audience of 3099 (2782 last year); over the year we have averaged 110, compared to 99 last year.  This season we averaged 105 (95 last year). I am not sure what caused this, so if you have any ideas, please let me know - we'd love to do it again next year!

3. The biggest attendances were for Charlie's Country (168), Beyond the Edge (164) and Ida (157)

Let's hope we get some more great films next year to equal these figures! Thanks to all of you who helped make this year so good - see you in September!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Whiplash - Sunday 29th March 5pm

Our last film of the year, on Sunday 29th March at 5.00 in the Alhambra Cinema, could not be a better choice to go out in style; Whiplash looked destined to be a cult music film when we chose it for the programme, but has now become a world-wide phenomenon, with 73 awards including 3 Oscars. The big awards go especially to J.K Simmons, who finally gets recognised as a great actor.

The story of a young drummer (Miles Teller) who wants to be ‘THE best in the world’ who is taken in hand by a teacher (J.K Simmons) whose methods are more like a drill sergeant; mediocrity is not an option. If you have time, browse the critical reviews on Rotten Tomatoes; not only scoring 95%, they are mainly total eulogies! Even Mark Kermode, who rarely seems to rave about any film, cannot resist it – ‘For all its overripe contrivance, you'll leave the cinema with a spring in your step and a thump in your chest, eager to bang the drum for what deserves to be one of the year's real word-of-mouth hits’. Well, he was right about the hit; let’s hope Keswick loves it too; your last chance to see a club movie till September; don’t miss it!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Human Capital - Sunday 22nd March 5:00 PM

The club makes a welcome return to screening an Italian film this weekend. The last film from that country that we screened was The Great Beauty, however Human Capital is a drama more akin to Loose Cannons and The Consequences of Love (which, if you can believe it, was screened almost 10 years ago).

Adapted from a novel by Steven Amidon, the action is moved from the cool of Connecticut to the perhaps more chic surroundings of Milan. The LA Times summed up the film as: "The haves and the wanna-haves mingle, anxious and wary, in Paolo Virzi's sharply observed Human Capital. Social commentary, introspective drama and gripping whodunit, Italy's submission to the Academy Awards concerns two families from disparate worlds, people whose paths cross only because their teen children are dating. Human Capital finds its thriller pulse in the secret emotional lives of the kids — played by superb newcomers Matilde Gioli and Guglielmo Pinelli. Amid setbacks, reversals and a police investigation, the adults circle a number of truths without quite facing them."

Monday, March 09, 2015

A Girl At My Door - Sunday 15th March 5pm

We travel to the other side of the world again this weekend – to South Korea - for A Girl at My Door.  To quote Jennie Kermode in Eye for Film: ‘A troubled child. A small town full of secrets. A young cop clashing with the system. It's a familiar set-up, but A Girl At My Door still manages to deliver something different. In a film full of close-ups, Doona Bae (best known to Western viewers for ‘Cloud Atlas’ and ‘Sympathy For Mr Vengeance’) delivers a sensitive, nuanced performance which challenges audience preconceptions and takes the film into dangerous territory’.

The dangerous territory is child abuse and the possibility of the relationship between the cop and the child sliding too far – both rarely dealt with in Korean society even now. But the film is much more about relationships and the tensions they bring about – both lead actors get good reviews for their portrayals of the two women as they step around the moral maze in the small town.

Although this is the first feature film from director July Jung, the producer is Lee Chang Dong (who directed the beautiful ‘Poetry’, seen here in 2012), so we can expect an emotional ride.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Electricity - Sunday 8th March 5pm

After the excitement of the film festival, we try to continue it with a showing of Electricity. A British drama starring Agyness Deyn (better known as a model till now, but getting great reviews for this film), who plays Lily; Lily is a tough girl who happens to be an epileptic, leading a carefree existence in a seaside town by knowing her problems and controlling her medication. The film takes her to London where she finds it hard to deal with the characters she meets...and her now uncontrolled epilepsy. As David James says in his review for the London Film Festival ‘I could go on, but if you are not convinced by now I don’t know what else to say. ‘Electricity’ is a seriously great film, made by people with a burning desire to prove their talent. It’s a tremendous achievement on all fronts and a credit to the British Film Industry’.

Monday, February 23, 2015

16th Keswick Film Festival

Is this the event of the year in Keswick? From Thursday night to Sunday night we have the Keswick Film Festival. Now in its 16th year, there are around 30 films to look forward to, the Osprey Awards for local short films, TWO parties, guests and that wonderful atmosphere that film lovers generate together, especially in Keswick; what more can you ask for?!

Many of you will have the brochure, or it is available in the Alhambra, Tourist Information, Booths and the Theatre by the Lake so do get your copy and check out the amazing array of films on show. You can also check it out on our festival website. You can buy tickets for any film you want to see at £4 (members) or £5 if you haven’t joined yet. The pass is still great value - £35 for members or £45 for non-members gets you in to all films and the pass-holders party (on Friday this year).

The whole thing kicks off in the Alhambra at 6.30 on Thursday 26th February with a party for everyone – free drink and nibbles supplied! This is followed by the opening film from New Zealand – ‘The Dark Horse’. It is hard to pick out highlights, but let me try a couple: ‘Radiator’ on Friday afternoon has several locals involved and our guest star Gemma Jones will be answering questions after it. Saturday morning has our FREE FILM spot – ‘Into the Woods’ – and dont forget there are two films at Rheged again. We even have a late night horror movie on Saturday – ‘The Babadook’. Check the brochure or the festival website for details.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Manuscripts Don't Burn - Sunday 22nd February 5pm

With the shockwaves of the Charlie Hebdo killings still fresh, our film this week takes on the subject of censorship. Not by disaffected individuals but through the mechanism of the state and perhaps the more chilling for it. Manuscripts Don’t Burn was filmed clandestinely in Iran and one of the many critics (96% on Rotten Tomatoes) who applauded it was Godfrey Cheshire of

“Watching Mohammad Rasoulof’s riveting "Manuscripts Don’t Burn," easily the most daring and politically provocative film yet to emerge from Iran, I was reminded of something I heard when visiting that country to study its cinema in the late ‘90s. When I asked an Iranian cinephile the difference between Iran’s artistically vital but little known cinema of the 1970s and its successor, which captured the world’s attention following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, he smiled and said, "In the post-revolutionary cinema, there is no bad guy." Films before the Revolution often conveyed a pervasive sense of bitterness and discontent, a mood ultimately traceable to one paramount bad guy: the Shah.

With "Manuscripts Don’t Burn," though, the bad guy returns to Iranian cinema with a vengeance. Based on real historical events, Rasoulof’s drama focuses on two operatives assigned to terrorize, torture and murder dissident writers and intellectuals. These guys go about their dirty business but they are simply repression’s foot soldiers. Far more chilling is their superior, a young guy who works in an office, wears fashionable clothes, and seems to have no qualms about advancing his career by killing former friends.”

Monday, February 09, 2015

Concerning Violence - Sunday15th February 5pm

This Sunday we have the season's documentary - Concerning Violence. We are going through a time worldwide where documentaries are more and more popular. This does make it hard to choose though. This time we took the advice of the BFI's Sight and Sound magazine where this was chosen as one of the best 10 documentaries of the year.

Director Göran Olsson has edited old Swedish news footage to bring us this film about the liberation struggles in Africa, specifically the use of violence on both sides – the solutions and the problems it brings about. The title comes from a chapter in Franz Fanon’s book ‘The Wretched of the Earth’, which is the glue which binds this film together.  This is not going to be an easy ride, but it promises to make a thought-provoking session in the Alhambra and, no doubt, the discussions that will follow! The film is only 78 minutes long, so there will be plenty of time for these debates...

Monday, February 02, 2015

I Origins - Sunday 8th February 5pm

Our films thus far this season have all attracted huge acclaim from critics around the world and those views have been endorsed by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the KFC audience. It’s fair to say that this week’s film I Origins has had a more equivocal set of reviews but nonetheless looks to be a fascinating offering.

Website 3AW says: In Mike Cahill's intriguing, surprising, idea-driven drama the disciplines of science grind up against the concept of God as two young genetic scientists, Ian and Karen (Michael Pitt and the ever-impressive Brit Marling), work towards inventing an eye.

The pair are determined to imbue a sightless worm with a rudimentary sense of vision, an enterprise that prompts Ian's attractive and deep-thinking girlfriend Sofi (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) to challenge the ethics of what they are doing.

It's the wily blending of opposing concepts - science vs faith; chance vs destiny; mortality vs spirituality - that gives considerable intellectual muscle to an unusual mix of mystery and love story.

FilmInk from Australia liked it too: The film is dramatic and the overall execution is complemented by vibrant cinematography and careful story writing. Set against a familiar urban backdrop, Cahill takes the audience on an intriguing visual journey through a world of blurring perception and serendipitous encounters.

The film lasts 106 minutes and audiences are warned that they need to go the full distance – the denouement comes at the very end of the closing credits.

So just put that impulse to rush to the exit and vote on hold for a moment!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Winter Sleep - Sunday 1st February 4pm

And so we come to the film that could be either your most or least favourite of the year; Winter Sleep.  The winner of the ‘Palme d’Or’ at Cannes 2014, it is one I have been looking forward to since we booked it.

The story is small – a remote hotel in a tiny village in the middle of the Turkish mountains is cut off by the winter, fuelling the existing disagreements between the locals – but the rest is huge. The issues are all-encompassing, the scenery and the photography are amazing (the village is in the mushroom-like rocks of Cappadocia), the plot is engrossing and the acting superb. Be warned though; the length is BIG too; we start at 4.00pm and we won't be out till around 7.20.

The critics talked it up too. ‘Intimate, spectacular and masterful ...’ – Andrew O’Hehir, ‘An intimate epic, Winter Sleep is right up there with the Turkish director's best’ – James Mottram, Total Film. ‘Winter Sleep demands patience, but if you last the course, you will soon understand why it so enraptured the Cannes jury’ – Geoffrey McNab, Independent.

So, a great way to spend a cold winter afternoon; I can’t wait to see it...or to discuss it afterwards!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kon Tiki - Sunday 25th January 5pm

For those of us of a certain age, Thor Heyerdahl and the Kon Tiki expedition have a place in the memory as an epic adventure, almost as daunting and dangerous as the moon landings. There was the documentary and those Penguin Books with the orange and white covers and now the film that captures perfectly that spirit of adventure.

This from Digital Spy:
Kon-Tiki is a film that inspires awe and wonder with almost every wave, and despite the characterisation and dialogue taking a back seat, the compelling central performance from Pål Sverre Hagen is one that should lead to wider exposure.
Fittingly, there's a refreshing lack of modernity to the movie itself, which unfolds in a tone and pace more accustomed to 30 or 40 years ago and thus eschews the contemporary trends of quick cuts and 'clever' dialogue. It lends itself to a wide-eyed innocence that fits the subject matter.

And Contact Music agrees:
While this ambitious Norwegian historical adventure sometimes dips into melodrama, it's a riveting, fascinating true story about passion and tenacity. It's also directed with a terrific sense of the open sea by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, who have made a recreation of real events that changed the way we understand global migration.
Please note we will be showing the English version of the film.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Charlie's Country - Sunday 18th January 5pm

After two European blockbusters, we go to the other side of the world for this week’s film: ‘Charlie’s Country’ marks the problems of Aborigines in today’s Australia, where ‘The Intervention’ (laws brought in nominally to try to prevent child abuse but which, in action, clamped down still further on Aborigine life) finally drives Charlie back into the bush to live ‘the old way’.

Charlie is played by long-time actor David Gulpilil, who came to our notice 43 years ago in ‘Walkabout’. His portrayal of this old Aborigine won him a Best Actor award and a 7 minute standing ovation at Cannes. Always an intriguing face, the posters have already made me want to see this film, and the reviewers (mainly Australian it has to be said!) agree:-

"The haunting face of David Gulpilil is the overwhelming image that remains after watching Rolf de Heer's film about a man conflicted by living on the edge of two worlds. In many ways, it's an extraordinary film..." – Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile

"I just thought it was excellent. It really rang true for me and I think Gulpilil's performance is just amazing".  – Judith Lucy, At the Movies (Australia).

Monday, January 05, 2015

Leviathan, Sunday 11th January 5pm

Our next film Leviathan comes from master film director Andrey Zvyagintsev, who manages here to combine the grand - Kolya takes on the mob, the state and the church in his fight - with the comic - as things begin to unravel, the victims hit the vodka in a big way - all in a small, everyday story of corrupt politicians.

Winner of the Best Film at the London Film Festival and featuring in many best of the year lists (3 in Sight and Sound and 5 in The Guardian), it's definitely one to see.