Tuesday, April 02, 2019

The End of a Great year..?

And so our 20th Year comes to end. We hope you enjoyed many of the films on show and will be back with us... for our 21st year (!) in September.

What was your favourite film? The highest voted film of the year goes right back to September last season - 'In the Fade' scored 89%, although 'Colette' did score 86% this season. 'Colette' was the second largest audience too - 163 - with the very first film of the year - 'C'est la Vie' - just beating it with 165.

We are planning to run the vote for members to choose some of the program again in July or August so look out for these emails. Meanwhile, don't forget the Alhambra goes on running films for you every week of the year. If you aren't signed up for their weekly emails yet (Why not!?), keep your eye on the Alhambra website, where you can sign up for their emails.

Whatever you are doing, have a great summer! We'll be back in September - probably the 8th. See you then!

Monday, March 25, 2019

If Beale Street Could Talk - Sunday 29th March 5pm

Sadly we have reached the final film of our Twentieth Year; but what a film we have for you! If Beale Street Could Talk is certainly one of the best finales in recent years. Winner of an Oscar and loved by most critics ("This movie works as a timeless romance, a family drama, a legal thriller and a poignant social commentary. A great American novel has been turned into a great American film" - Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times).

Many of you will have seen Barry Jenkins' magical Oscar-winning 'Moonlight', where he followed the life of a young black boy as he grows to be a man and realises he is gay.  Here again, "Jenkins seems to approach filmmaking with a sort of inspired synesthesia: There’s a musicality to Beale that isn't just confined to the soundtrack of jazz and strings and Nina Simone, a rhythm to his camera angles and storytelling and the particular beats each scene hits" - Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment.

The film is taken from James Baldwin's 1974 novel of the same name: "Fingered by a racist cop, young Fonny is imprisoned for a rape he didn’t commit; his pregnant fiancée, Tish, struggles to free him with help from her tight-knit family. Stephan James’s battered Fonny effectively signals real love and deep hurt, but it’s KiKi Layne who shines in a difficult ingenue role, rendering the shy and deferential Tish – another era’s ideal of femininity – delicate yet strong" - Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Return Of The Hero - Sunday 24 March 5pm

After a few weeks of thought-provoking films we thought it was time for a break with a French comedy!

"While co-writer/ director Laurent Tirard and screenwriter Grégoire Vigneron have created something wholly original with Return of the Hero, their inspiration is clear: What if Howard Hawks adapted Jane Austen’s work as a screwball comedy? And they’ve succeeded.

Elisabeth Beauregard  has always been a fierce protector of her family, but she's about to meet her greatest challenge yet: Captain Charles-Gregorie Neuville. Soon after he's engaged to her younger, more naive sister Pauline, he's summoned to the frontlines of battle. Pauline writes letter after letter to her fiancé only to get nothing in return. Elisabeth, looking out for her sister who’s fallen deathly ill due to the lovelorn stress, decides to start writing to Pauline as the Captain. The war ends, but judgmental Elisabeth fervently believes Neuville will be a no-show. She continues her scheme so Pauline’s attentions and heart can be directed elsewhere – to sweet, shy Nicolas. Three years later, the Captain returns and whips Elisabeth, her family and the entire town into a frenzy’ - Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Burning - Sunday 17th March 5pm

Boy meet girl, meets boy; nothing new there then. Or is there: what is going on underneath?

The South Korean film industry has become more and more important over the last few years, from the dramatic, almost horrific ‘Oldboy’ and ‘The Host’  to the beautiful and thought-provoking ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Poetry’. ‘Burning’ is the latest from the director of ‘Poetry’, so this time we are at the beautiful, thought-provoking end of the spectrum.

Jongsu yearns to be a writer, but is looking after his father's farm. When he runs into Haemi - an old school friend he has not seen for years - he falls hook, line and sinker for her wistful love of life. He agrees to take her to the airport and look after her cat while she is off adventuring in Africa, but when she returns, she has with her Ben, a rich man who's job is "playing". As the trio spend time together, Jongsu is more and more unsettled by Ben, but are his fears justified or is he just jealous?
"Lee plays the actors off one another to create a compelling exploration of human nature. South Korea’s official Oscar submission, ‘Burning’ culminates in a finale so astonishing that it will sear itself into viewers' memories for years to come" - Sonia Rao, Washington Post. 
How can you resist that?

Monday, March 04, 2019

The Hate U Give - Sunday 10th March 5pm

After the amazing 20th Keswick Film Festival, we are back to 'standard' club fare; but what fare we have for you!

In an America more divided daily by the rhetoric of President Trump, we in Britain may have forgotten the huge discrimination still faced by people of colour there. The Hate U Give focuses on one such problem - police shootings.

Starr (brilliantly played by Amandla Stenberg) is relatively lucky, her loving parents paying for her to go to Williamson, a wealthy and predominantly white school. She leads a double life;

"Williamson Starr doesn't give anyone a reason to call her ghetto," she says. "And I hate myself for doing it." She keeps her white boyfriend Chris and friends at a distance from her home life, which she manages pretty well until the night when she witnesses her childhood best friend, Khalil, get shot by a white police officer at a traffic stop  
Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press.

Khalil’s death becomes a national story and Starr's decision - should she speak up? Should she testify? - will define her life and those around her: Kahlil was working for a local drug lord, King, who wants her to keep quiet in case the police take him down too. Her classmates seem disconnected, even her boyfriend is slow to learn (he is used here to show that this issue affects as all).

A must-see for us here in the UK; hopefully the festival has inspired you for more great films; see you there!

Monday, February 25, 2019

20th Keswick Film Festival

Film, films, films, guests, Osprey Awards...and more

Here we go again! Our normal one film on Sunday is replaced by 30+ films from Thursday night till Sunday night; our normal one venue is enhanced to four - the Alhambra, Theatre by the Lake (Main House and Studio) and Rheged - AND we have guests, The John Hurt Patron's Legacy Project (including free films) and the Osprey Awards: a Cornucopia of Filmic Fun!

Hopefully you have all got your programmes and your tickets or passes by now; if not, you can always buy on the door. All the details are on the festival website, but don't miss out; a reminder that you need to get a ticket for anything at the Studio even if you have a Festival Pass (though it will be free with a pass) - make sure you get this well in advance as there might be a queue at the Theatre box office.

So come on down and have fun! Bring your friends, try and help anyone looking lost (we are the Friendly festival!) and enjoy yourself; which film is going to be the one we all remember (the 'I didn't expect that to be so good' film)?  Which one will get the highest vote? Why not tweet your thoughts too? The more we get mentioned, the more people will notice...and you might be the one who makes them think it is worth coming along.

See you there!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Colette - Sunday 24th February 5pm

This week our film is Wash Westmoreland’s take on Colette's early life; she meets Willy, author of many (often ghost written) novels, marries him and becomes his most successful ghost-writer, before branching out on her own.
"All the affairs and scandals that a French literary genius could wish for, with the bonus of a modern heroine and a story that acknowledges the diversity that has always been with us." - Empire

Monday, February 11, 2019

Widows - Sunday 17th February 5pm

This weekend, Widows should give us all enough twists and turns and plots within plots to satisfy the best thriller-lovers, whilst also being an indictment of the US political system...all with a feminist slant. Directed by the great Steve McQueen and featuring many big stars, what’s not to like? After '12 Years a Slave', a feminist heist movie comes as a big surprise to the world, but "McQueen largely succeeds at something few directors even try: to set a satisfyingly twisty crime plot in the broader social context of political corruption and systemic racial and gender bias" - Dana Stevens, Slate.

Watch out for a  car scene with the camera facing out: "The external view is both striking and damning, turning a piece of expositional dialogue into something approaching agitprop; this is the world Veronica and her team are operating in, one where the heist has been ongoing for decades, at an institutional level. It's the clearest use of the blunt-force power of visual filmmaking I've seen in a while, in one of the best films of the year" – David Sims, The Atlantic.

"Playing like a badass big sister to the dizzy 'Ocean’s 8', this riveting thriller...fashions a female-driven heist from a heady intersection of violence, intimacy, political hypocrisy, patriarchy and power" - Sarah Stewart, New York Post.

Adapted from the Lynda La Plante TV series, we can't wait to see what it looks like with McQueen's magic touch.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Waru - Sunday 10th February 5pm

An eight year old boy - Waru - has been killed by the person supposedly caring for him. The local Maori community is devastated by the loss. The producers of Waru, Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton charged eight female directors with the remit to produce a ten minute vignette each, to be shot in real time in no more than one day; put together, each vignette is a chapter in the community's reaction.
 "Joined together, the shorts are a powerful chorus of female Maori voices united in finding a way to protect all that is vulnerable" - Gayle MacDonald, Globe and Mail.

Monday, January 28, 2019

1945 - Sunday 3rd February 5pm

Another Member's Choice this week, 1945, a thriller which appears to be a mix between 'Once Upon a Time in the West' and a Hungarian holocaust movie - this time looking at the complicity of the locals rather than the Nazis themselves.

A train pulls into town and two men dressed in black get out,  with two large crates. In the summer heat, they begin their long, slow walk into town...If there was music in the background by Ennio Morricone, you might think this was a American western, but instead the music is by Tibor Szemzö and we are in Hungary in August '1945'. The two men are Orthodox Jews: Where are they heading? Have they come to exact their revenge on the town for its betrayal of Jewish residents during the Nazi occupation? Many in the town soon think so.
"The filmmakers appear to be aiming for something mythic or tragic as the Jewish men walk toward their mystery destination and as their presence results in dramatic events...the stellar movie succeeds as a portrait of cowardice and collective complicity in vile times" - Anita Katz, San Francisco Examiner.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Anchor and Hope - Sunday 27th January 5PM

We're back in the UK for Anchor and Hope this Sunday (although the film is actually Spanish). Two women, Eva and Kat, are living an idyllic bohemian life on a canal boat in London. What happens when Eva decides she wants a baby and Kat disagrees? Maybe nothing, but when Kat’s best friend Roger turns up and agrees to be the father, and then moves in too, it is fair to expect some problems arise! This comedy drama follows the events set in the cramped space of the canal boat where the (now) threesome try to work out what they want while they plan for the fourth to arrive.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Columbus - Sunday 20th January 5pm

We have another film voted for by the members this week - the intriguing Columbus. John Cho plays Jin, in Columbus against his will as his father has been taken ill.  Haley Lu Richardson is Casey, who has been unable to leave town as she feels she has to look after her mother, a recovering addict. These problems, and their differing reactions to them,  bring them together as they wander around town discussing life...and…architecture! "Architecture has never been more romantic than in 'Columbus', single-name director Kogonada's stunningly beautiful film" - Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic. Casey - a would be architect - keeps trying to show Jin the beauty of the buildings; Jin is hard to impress.

Kogonada, influenced by Japanese director Ozu Yasujiro, has previously worked on 'video essays' of other directors, and he uses all the knowledge he has built up to make this beautiful film, where the buildings become the third star. As A. A. Dowd says in the AV Club: "Come for the breath taking architectural scenery, stay for the likable pair staring up at it." John Cho is one of those actors who seems to demand your attention.

Monday, January 07, 2019

The Wild Pear Tree - Sunday 13th January 4:30pm

We have another classic Nuri Bilge Ceylan film for you this week. It will be no surprise to his fans to know it is as long as usual (and therefore an earlier start of 4:30pm), nor that it is as beautiful as ever. If there is a surprise it is that the usual thought-provoking dialogue contains much humour this time around:
‘I never thought I’d laugh this much during a Nuri Bilge Ceylan film...Ceylan delivers what might be his funniest, most politically poignant work yet. It also happens to be achingly personal’ - Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice.  

Remember the film starts at 4.30pm (it's 188 minutes long - back to usual time after this week).

Thursday, January 03, 2019

The Guardians - Sunday 6th January 5:30pm

Happy New Year! We hope you have a fantastic 2019 and that the club films help you enjoy it all the more.

Our first film this season is The Guardians, from France (screening later than usual at 5:30pm).  A French film is nothing new for us, but this time it is one chosen by the members in our 20th Year vote. Directed by Xavier Beauvois, who brought us the magnificent ‘Of Gods and Men’ in 2010, The Guardians tells the story of the women left to run a farm in France when the men have been taken to fight in 1915. Hortense, finding there is too much work for her and her daughter Solange to cope with, takes on local girl Francine to help.