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?