Sunday, December 17, 2017

End of Season

Another season has ended; Christmas is here again. We hope you have enjoyed the films this season; we visited twelve different countries and included five 'F-rated' films (films with 'significant female involvement').  There was an average of over 111 people at the shows, with an average score of almost 80% so It looks like you did enjoy it, or at least most of them. The lowest attendance was 61 (at Rheged for the classic 'The Graduate' - I guess we will stick to new films in future...), the highest was 170 for 'A Man Called Ove', whilst the score ranged from 44% for 'The Ghoul' to 91% for 'Land of Mine'. I think my favourite was probably 'Franz' - what was your favourite? Let us know over on Facebook or Twitter.

We will be back on 7th January with 'Marjorie Prime' - a futuristic comedy drama about memory.  And we hope you are looking forward to the 19th Keswick Film Festival on 22- 25 February - it wont be long now!

Until next year, then, we wish you all a  Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!


Monday, December 11, 2017

After The Storm - Sunday 17th December 5pm

This Sunday at 5.00 we finish our season with our only Japanese film - After the Storm - where we meet Shinoda: down on his luck, trying to make ends meet as a private detective, not accepting the end of his marriage. His attempts to make up with his family are given a boost by the storm, which keeps all of them together over night at his mother's house. Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, "After the Storm is a family drama, a 21st-century variation on the classic Japanese style of which this film-maker is now the international standard-bearer... There is such intelligence and delicacy in Koreeda's film-making, such wit and understated humanity."– Peter Bradshaw, Guardian.

If you remember I Wish, or Still Walking, you will know what he means; this should be a gentle film, where food and family meals take on high importance....just right to put you in the mood for the Club Christmas meal which follows straight afterwards, and the Christmas break which we hope you enjoy until we are back on 7 January.

Monday, December 04, 2017

The Midwife - Sunday 10th December 5pm

This Sunday at 5.00 we have a French treat -  The Midwife -  starring Catherine Frot (a French star since the 1970s who specialises in comedy roles) and Catherine Deneuve, who has been around French cinema even longer, playing almost any roles, but starting with ‘aloof, mysterious beauties’ - Wikipedia. The Midwife brings the two together in almost the opposite roles; Frot as a well-organised, contented midwife and Deneuve as the ex-mistress of her father, now a fun-loving lush.

All reviewers agree that the two actors are great, making the meeting between the two characters very memorable: "What brings the two women together after 30 years? ...With Martin Provost's film deepening pleasingly as it goes on, and both women (Frot and Deneuve) giving excellent performances, you'll enjoy trying to work it all out" – Matthew Bond, Mail on Sunday. (I don't think I have quoted him before, but I thought he said it all and that you might like to try to work out what 'deepening pleasingly' means at the same time!).

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Ghoul - Sunday 3rd December 5pm

We have a mental twister for you this Sunday at 5.00 when we are back in the UK for - The Ghoul. Before you start thinking of zombies and ghosts, this ghoul is just someone who can't resist looking at crime scenes. Our hero, Chris is a policeman looking for a particular ghoul to help him solve a crime... OR is he a depressive who goes to a therapist for help?

"In other words, writer-director Gareth Tunley offers us not one but two diegetic routes through his feature debut, one paved in genre, the other in a more banal realism. While from early on it is clear – and meant to be clear – which is the master narrative and which the slave, the decision to present and interweave both through Chris's addled perspective ensures that fantasy continues to contaminate the most grounded of sequences, and vice versa" – Anton Bitel, Sight & Sound.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Other Side Of Hope - Sunday 26th November 5:00 PM

Four weeks ago we saw In Syria, experiencing the war from inside. In The Other Side Of Hope we have the story of Khaled, a Syrian refugee trying to make sense of Finland. It's a humorous look at two cultures ("Don’t smile in the street" another refugee advises, and the glum faces seem to bear that out.) It's also the story of numerous outsiders and misfits, not least Waldemar Wikström who gives him a job in a rather odd restaurant. Aki Kaurismäki gained the Golden Bear for best director at the Berlin Film Festival. It perhaps tells us something about all our attitudes to refugees.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Hotel Salvation - Sunday 19th November 5pm

On our filmic trip round the world, we are stopping off in India this Sunday at 5.00 for Hotel Salvation. Specifically, we go to Varanasi; for those of you have been watching Sue Perkins trip down the Ganges on TV, you will know that Varanasi is THE place to go for Hindus to die and to be cremated on the side of their sacred Ganges river, so much so that hotels have sprung up for these people to spend their last days. Well, this is the desire of 77 year old Daya, who decides he is about to die. The film is a comedy drama about Daya and his son Rajiv who travel there and book in to ‘Hotel Salvation’ to wait...there journey of joint discovery should give us moments of joy and laughs as well as plenty of reasons to think.

Monday, November 06, 2017

God's Own Country - Sunday 12th November 5pm

God's Own Country has been impressing critics and audiences alike since it was voted the best film at Edinburgh Film Festival earlier this year. As someone who came to Cumbria from Yorkshire it comes as a relief after looking at films based around war to find something more familiar.  But the world of hill farms, not dissimilar to our own fell farms, is a hard one and none more so than here where the young man John feels himself imprisoned into running the farm after his father’s stroke even though he would rather be off to university with his friends. He is falling into depression when hope arrives in the form of a Romanian farm worker, Gheorge who possibly knows more about farming than John but certainly creates the love interest in the film. And with beautiful views of Yorkshire, what more could you want?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Memories of the 60s: The Graduate + Discussion At Rheged - Sunday 5th November 5pm

We are off to Rheged this week for a 'two pronged' evening; we start with a new 50th Anniversary 4K digital version of the classic The Graduate at 5.00pm, followed by a discussion on 60s films. For those who may never have seen it (does such a person exist..?!), or who may have forgotten, 'The Graduate' is played by Dustin Hoffman in the part that made him famous. He takes on both Mrs Robinson (Ann Bancroft) and her daughter (Katherine Ross) and they are all backed by the  music of Simon and Garfunkel.

The added discussion on 60's film will be led by two professors from University College who have spent three years gathering memories of 1960s films. They will tell us what they have found out and add your thoughts to their findings.

So, all round, it should be an evening of great memories for us to remember!

Monday, October 23, 2017

In Syria - Sunday 29th October 5pm

Our October films have been dominated, with one exception, with war and occupation but all of them are very different. This is present day Damascus and told from the point of view of an ordinary family caught up in the never-ending conflict. In Syria (Insyriated) is almost entirely shot inside the last occupied apartment in a clock on a single day where a mother Oum Yazan (Hiam Abbass) tries to hold together her family and neighbours. Nearly all the actors, children included, are Syrian refugees showing us something of what life might be like now in Syria.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Age of Shadows - Sunday 22nd October 5pm

South Korea are our hosts this Sunday at 5.00 for The Age of Shadows, which promises to be "a giddily compelling South Korean movie about war, spies and resistance history"  - so says Nigel Andrews in the Financial Times – while Geoffrey Macnab in the Independent thinks it "is pulsating storytelling, suspenseful and often very stylish too". Set within the Korean resistance, fighting for independence from Japan, there are infiltrators and double agents on both sides and leaks all round. 'Trust no-one' seems to be the adage. Expect an action packed thriller!

Monday, October 09, 2017

Frantz - Sunday 15th October 5pm

This week we're showing Frantz, the latest film from François Ozon. It is 1919, only a few weeks after the war has ended and the inhabitants of Quedlinburg - a small town in Germany - are trying to come to terms with losing the war and losing their loved ones. Anna cannot get over her fiancé, Frantz: she is even still living with his parents. She visits Frantz's grave every day. One day she sees a stranger placing flowers on the grave. He turns out to be Adrien...a Frenchman. What is he doing there? How did he know Frantz?

Monday, October 02, 2017

Aquarius - Sunday 8th October 5pm

We are off to Brazil this Sunday at 5.00 for Aquarius, in the company of Sonya Braga who plays Clara, a retired music critic, more interested in enjoying life than taking the money offered to her by developers who want her to move out of her apartment. The film is more about time; about ageing; about enjoying the place you live your life, than it is about the fight with the developers, taking in corruption in the state along the way ('allegedly' the film and Sonya Braga missed out on Oscar nominations due to the makers protests at Cannes about the former Brazilian president). As Ann Hornaday from the Washington Post puts it,  "Aquarius makes a compelling case for looking up from our ubiquitous distractions to take in the world around us - the one that we live in and, whether we're aware of it or not, lives in us". For us living in such a beautiful place as we do, this should be an easy lesson, but an enjoyable one too.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Land Of Mine - Sunday 1st October 5pm

If we all saw Dunkirk over the summer, here is a different take on World War II based on true events. Towards the end of the war Germany laid thousands of mines on the occupied Danish beaches. When peace came the Allied forces made a group of surrendered German boy soldiers remove them with their own bare hands. The initial understandable hostility of the Danish soldiers and people gradually changes as they get to know these boys. Directed by Martin Zandvliet, Land of Mine (Under Sandet) had its premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Certain Women - Sunday 24th September 5pm

Certain Women is certainly a leading film for women in the cinema; written and directed by a woman (Kelly Reichardt) and starring four women (Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern and Lily Gladstone), it ticks all the boxes for an ‘F-Rated’ movie. Set in the heartland of Montana, the film focuses on the small events in the lives of these four women; there is little or no connection between them - it is the parallels between them that Kelly Reichardt is showing us. As Catherine Wheatley says in Sight & Sound, she does this with the help of some ‘breathtaking cinematography’ and some great acting – "They know to keep their counsel, these women: know the importance of restraint, silence, of knowing when to speak and when to act and when to stay still. So, too, does Reichardt". The result is "Powerful, focused, nervy, lean. Certain Women is a work of art produced by a director in full control of her material. It leaves you reeling". Prepare to be 'reeled'!

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Olive Tree - Sunday 17th September 5pm

The Olive Tree (El olivo) is a gentle and often humorous Spanish and German film about the olive heritage of southern Spain. I was talking to someone after seeing it who had just been in Spain and said that a two hour high speed train journey south from Madrid went past little else but olive trees and the occasional farmhouse for mile after mile. But this is a very special tree, 2000 years old and reluctantly sold by our hero Alma's grandfather in Valencia when he was desperate for cash to a German energy giant. A decade later he is suffering from dementia and Alma (Anna Castillo) thinks getting the tree back might help him. The story of how it is eventually returned to its home touches on corporate greed, what the French might call terroir and the power of social media. In Dusseldorf the tree looks a bit like we now see animals in a circus. How can anyone not like this film about the values that matter?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

New Programme

Our Autumn programme starts on Sunday 10th September with A Man Called Ove, the third most watched swedish cinema-film in Sweden of all time. Other highlights include God's Own Country, which you'll no doubt hear a lot more about when it goes on general release next week. New films from acclaimed directors François Ozon and Kelly Reichardt, a celebration of 60s cinema with a 50th anniversary screening of The Graduate and a chance to find out how After The Storm ends. 15 great films from all around the world to take us through to the end of the year, take a look at the trailers below...

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Summer Break

Just in case any of you have forgotten – the Film Club has now finished until September! Don't forget to keep your eye on the Alhambra programme; there are films, live theatre, opera or ballet there every night.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Relaxed Screening: My Fair Lady - Wednesday 17th May 1:30pm

In celebration of Dementia Awareness Week, Keswick Film Club presents the classical musical, My Fair Lady on Wednesday 17th May at 1.30pm. All are welcome to enjoy this easy-going screening at the Alhambra Cinema.
Free Entry

Sunday, April 02, 2017

End Of Season

We hope you all managed to find a lot of films to enjoy over the year as a whole; for what it is worth, my 2 favourites were very different films – Burn Burn Burn and The Handmaiden. For those of you who are stats-minded, The highest rated film was A War, back in September, scoring 91.33%; the highest attended was Hunt for the Wilderpeople in January, with 196 of us turning up (and giving it 89.97% overall). The audiences over the whole year averaged just short of 100, with an average score of nearly 76%.

While the club is away, don't forget to keep your eye on the Alhambra programme; there are films, live theatre, opera or ballet there every night.

All that remains for me to say now is "have a great summer". We will be back later in the year with to let you know what alternative films from around the world you can see next season.


Monday, March 20, 2017

The White King - Sunday 26th March 5pm

For those of you who enjoyed meeting Greta Scacchi at the Festival, she appears again in The White King this weekend, alongside a clutch of other stars including Jonathan Pryce and Agyness Deyn. The real star, though is 15 year old Lorenzo Allchurch, fresh from the London stage in his first movie. He plays Djata, a young boy who goes looking for his 'disappeared' father in an Orwellian future state just called The Homeland, where any form of dissent is not allowed...

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Handmaiden - Sunday 19th March 5pm

In this season of varied genres, styles and countries, it is the turn of South Korea to bring you a twisting, turning melodramatic and, yes, erotic thriller: The Handmaiden is "a great big chocolate box of a movie in which a rich and satisfying narrative is enlivened by some piquant erotica and the sharp tang of politics" – Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail.

Filmed in three acts, each bringing the view from a different character, we see Sookee (the Handmaiden) helping Count Fujiwara to entice Hideko to marry him...but maybe none of this is really what is really going on. Meanwhile Sookee and Hideko are falling in love. Set in Japanese occupied Korea in the 1930s, where Koreans are pretending to be Japanese... "Perhaps not since 'Pulp Fiction' have I seen such a cleverly convoluted story woven together from different perspectives. Act two and three pile on more layers of detail, adding more richness to the story. What seems like a simple tale of greed and betrayal becomes something more in act two and three and there is an ample supply of satisfying comeuppance as well" – Robert Roten, Laramie Movie Scope. Oh...and did I mention the eroticism..?

Monday, March 06, 2017

The Black Hen - Sunday 12th March 5pm

We come to another film in our 'accidental theme' of child stars this week – The Black Hen – which features two young boys searching for their lost chicken in Nepal. The real drama is the backdrop of the growing civil war in their region; the two lads set out to find the bird, oblivious to the danger this will bring to them. "A gentle, humane and beautifully photographed movie from Nepalese director Min Bahadur Bham, whose short film ‘The Flute’ and then this debut feature were hits at the Venice film festival", says Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian, but the civil war brings moments of violence to this  'bucolic calm'.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Train Driver's Diary - Sunday 5th March 5pm

This Sunday our film is Train Driver's Diary, a story of a train driver bringing up his adoptive son whilst dealing with suicides and accidental deaths on his trains: believe it or not, this is more a comedy than anything.

As the Raindance Festival reviewer puts it, "The film has a very difficult balance to maintain between being able to discuss suicide, accidental killing, and trauma in a sincere, but funny manner, and simply making light of these issues. It never fails to fall on the right side of this divide...Miloš Radović triumphs with this must-see sensitive, funny and heartwarming portrayal of the psychology of innocent murderers."

Monday, February 20, 2017

Under the Shadow - Sunday 26th February 5pm

After our fantastic festival , we return to 'business as usual' with Under the Shadow... or is it usual? As Rotten Tomatoes says, it "deftly blends seemingly disparate genres to deliver an effective chiller with timely themes and thought-provoking social subtext". What we are offering you is, then, a believable horror movie!

Set in Tehran, we follow Shideh as she deals with the problems of bringing up her child alone in the Iran-Iraq war, facing bombs, hunger and thirst plus male and religious intolerance. Under these pressures, is she imagining the noises in the night and the misplaced articles...or has something sinister arrived in her apartment block..? So, do expect some classic horror tricks, but well wrapped up in a story of our time - "The jump scares are solid, and earned. The suspense is genuine. And Under the Shadow never loses sight of the basic human reality of mother and child, trapped at home, encircled by a variety of evils, both real and imagined" – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice.

So, when did you last watch a horror movie? Come along and enjoy yourself!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

18th Keswick Film Festival

This year's festival runs from Thursday to Sunday. There are over 30 films during the weekend from Bafta winner La La Land to Casablanca (though unless you can be in two places at once 15 is the most you'll see).  As usual there are two films benefiting from the giant Rheged screen.

We have a good range of guests ranging including Greta Scacchi, three film critics and the boat Amazon.

Film club members can get a free programme by showing your membership card or festival pass at the Alhambra or Theatre by the Lake. You can also download the programme or purchase it for £1.

If you've not yet got your tickets, passes are £45 (£50 non members) and individual tickets £5 (£6 non members) so if you are seeing nine or more films it makes sense to get a pass which also gives entrance to the party on Thursday night at the Golden Lion. Passes and tickets are on sale at the theatre and online at and individual tickets at the cinema.

Remember because the theatre studio is small passholders will need to collect complimentary tickets from the theatre box office.

If you live outside Keswick there is a car park pass for Lakeside car park for £5 for Friday to Sunday on sale from Thursday evening at both venues.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Sieranevada - Sunday 12th February 5pm

It is hard to say much about our Romanian film this weekend:  Sieranevada deliberately leaves most of the plot for you to work out as you watch it. All I will say, then, is that it is set in an apartment where a group of friends and relations are gathered. Their conversations are going to make you think about many of the world’s recent big issues - from Charlie Hebdo to communism – but also from food to infidelity. This is a film that you are going to have to think about, both during it and afterwards. In looking for an appropriately obscure review, I came across this one:-

"A film that tries to combine audiovisual and space-time manipulation with a background that pretends to be realistic by means of a technique that impresses but which, above all, seeks naturalness and efficiency" – Ok, this is from a Spanish critic -  Ignacio Navarro, El antepenúltimo mohicano  – but I just thought it says everything you need to know in advance..!

Maybe I should tell you one last thing; it was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Light Years + Q&A - Sunday 5th February 5pm

Esther Campbell's first feature film is the story of a dysfunctional family with a father who is sometimes present, a mother who is mentally ill and absent, and their three children who all appear to show signs of their mother's illness. The youngest may be the most stable as she goes in search of her mother.

We are lucky enough to have Esther with us as well. She will introduce Light Years and answer any questions you have afterwards.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Fencer - Sunday 29th January 5pm

We are off to Eastern Europe this Sunday for The Fencer - a Finish film set in Estonia in the 1950s. On the run from the Soviet secret service in Leningrad, Endel takes a job as a PE teacher in far-flung Estonia. All is well for a while until the kids in his class are inspired enough by his teaching to want to take part in a competition in Leningrad... Both a suspense movie and ‘An affecting portrait of a decent man who risks his life to uphold a bond of trust with his students’ – Marilyn Ferdinand, Chicago Reader - this is based on a true story and the film was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Foreign Language film.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Our First Programme and 1000th Film

It was back in 1999 when we first welcomed people to "Cumbria's newest film society" and now we've reached our 1000th film screening. To celebrate this amazing feat, we've decided to show the first film again. We dug into our archives to find the very first programme and here it is:

So on Sunday 22nd we'll be showing Minnie Driver in The Governess. Were you there in 1999? Have you been coming along ever since? We'd love to hear from you and here's to another 1000 films.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Chocolat - Sunday 15th January 5pm

We have the welcome return of the hugely charismatic Omar Sy (remember Untouchable?) this Sunday at 5.00pm in Chocolat. The true story of a black immigrant into France in the late 19th century who became famous as a clown alongside an Englishman – George Footit (played here by James Thierée, the very recognisable grandson of Charlie Chaplin). Unfortunately, his fame was based on the stereotypical black fool, which drove him off the rails.
"A box office success, the film operates on many levels: as a family-friendly conversation-starter about racism in France, as an exploration of the history of taste and cultural appropriation, as a vehicle for Mr. Sy to flex his comic muscles and as a story about the hazards of success." – Rachel Donadio, New York Times