Monday, December 16, 2019

Another season ends, another will begin soon!

And so we come to the end of another season of films in Keswick; it seems to have gone so quickly this year. We hope you have enjoyed at least most of the films you have seen. Our most popular film this season turned out to be Capernaum which scored 90.47%, whilst the one that attracted most of you to come (166)  was Almodóvar's Pain and Glory.

The printed brochure will be available soon (and posted to members) but is already available on the website as a download  (3.95 MB) along with the full programme details.

Meanwhile, we hope you all have a great Christmas and a very happy 2020! See you all soon for a cracking French comedy, La Belle Époque, on 5 January 2020.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Photograph - Sunday 15th December 5pm

For the many of us who came to see The Lunchbox here in 2014, Photograph will be your first Christmas present this year; the latest from director Ritesh Batra treads a similar path. Instead of a misrouted lunchbox, it all starts for our potential lovers here with a photograph.

Rafi scrapes a living taking photos of tourists, one of these tourists is Miloni, a student studying accountancy, but wanting to be an actress. When Rafi learns that his grandmother is refusing to take any medicine until he finds a potential wife, what could he possibly do? Naturally, he sends her the picture he has taken of Miloni. What could possibly go wrong? You guessed it: grandmother wants to meet Miloni. There follows a string of meetings where Rafi and Miloni pretend to be dating...but will it ever become more than pretence? You probably guessed that too...
"This is a film that ends with the two characters walking out of a movie theatre, with one of them saying, 'The stories are all the same in movies these days.' It may be that the stories in movies are all the same. But it can be lovely when a movie like this one finds a different way to tell them" - Nell Minow, Roger

Monday, December 02, 2019

By the Grace of God - Sunday 8th December 5pm

By The Grace of God takes off where 'Spotlight' finished. Not content with investigating historic child abuse scandals in the Catholic church, François Ozon released this drama around the trial of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin before the actual trial was finished. The film follows the story of three semi-fictional victims of sexual abuse by the same priest, Bernard Preynat, after one of them, Alexandre, discovers he is still a serving priest many years later. He takes his case to Cardinal Barbarin who professes concern but does little about it. Once other victims hear about the case and come forward, Barbarin's position becomes harder to sustain

"Ozon spins a palpable web of strength between his characters, so that even the most fragile among them can find the superhuman resolve they need to relive their trauma" - David Ehrlich, Indiewire.

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Bird Catcher - Sunday 1st December 5pm

Set in Norway in 1942, The Bird Catcher follows the life of a young Jewish girl, Esther, after her father has been arrested by the Nazis. Her safe, middle class life falls apart and she is forced to go on the run to survive. She ends up in the middle of nowhere on a farm owned by Johan, a Nazi sympathiser, where she tries to remain unrecognized. Her only real friend is the farmer's son, Aksel, who knows the truth. Aksel suffers from cerebral palsy and has been taught by his father that Jews are not people, but as he gets to know her he begins to identify with her; he too is not accepted for who he is...

Monday, November 18, 2019

Permission - Sunday 24th November 5pm

Imagine if Harry Kane had been forced to miss the world cup because his wife would not let him go. Based on a true story, this is what happened to Afrooz in Iran, when her passport was refused because her husband had not given his permission.

"Permission brims with an anger that goes beyond that of Afrooz. It's less interested in tragedy than in making demands, less in pity than in emphasising how much potential is squandered when women are treated in this way. It's full of hunger for justice" - Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film.

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Chambermaid - Sunday 17th November 5pm

The Chambermaid is a film about one woman's fight to get to the top; in this case literally as well as figuratively as promotion means cleaning the floor above in this Mexican hotel.
"This is brilliantly confident film-making. Avilés does not need to leave the building to examine class tensions and cultural misunderstandings, weaving her critique through the hotel's denizens" - Simran Hans, Guardian

Monday, November 04, 2019

Donbass - Sunday 10th November 5pm

Donbass Poster

We had a double take when we saw the reviews of Donbass: a Ukranian black comedy? Really? Looking closer, that reaction is probably what director Sergey Loznitsa ('In the Fog') wants. His film is trying to show the sheer madness of the war in Ukraine,
"...a place where there are still memories of the second world war, tribal loyalties concerning the Russia that saved Ukraine from Nazi Germany and fascism – but also, on the other side, the Stalinist terror-famine visited on Ukraine before the war" - Peter Bradshaw, Guardian.

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Crossing - Sunday 3rd November 5pm

The Crossing is based on the weird fact that there is a black market of iPhones going from Hong Kong to China, where they were probably made in the first place.

To make a little extra money shy 16-year-old Peipei smuggles for a gang. It begins harmlessly enough, slipping a couple of iPhones wrapped in cling film into her school bag
"Newcomer [writer-director] Bai Xue is more interested in Peipei's character than the smuggling though, concentrating her cameras on the gradual change in Peipei and her relationships as she gets more involved."- Tony Rayns, Sight & Sound.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Woman At War - Sunday 27th October 5pm

Our next members' choice is the Icelandic Woman At War. Our hero is a middle-aged woman, Halla, who is a choir leader by day and has been trying to adopt a child for years, but we meet her walking across a vast moorland with her bow and arrows. Her target is not any animal though: she is after the electric wires held up by pylons. In a world where climate change has become the biggest issue of our time, it is not surprising that films should be made about fighting it, but you will be surprised by the way this Icelandic comedy-drama-thriller handles it.
"Full of heart and soul, Woman. at War is a triumphant and exciting film, and unlike anything you've seen before." - Linda Marric, Heyuguy

n a world where climate change has become the biggest issue of our time, it is not surprising that films should be made about fighting it, but you will be surprised by the way this Icelandic comedy-drama-thriller handles it.

Our hero is a middle-aged woman, Halla, who is a choir leader by day and has been trying to adopt a child for years, but we meet her walking across a vast moorland with her bow and arrows. Her target is not any animal though: she is after the electric wires held up by pylons. 

The tension is high right from the beginning, though maybe the three-piece band playing on the moor is a little unexpected... "It's a striking introduction to one of the most original and exciting characters to emerge from recent European cinema" - Nikki Baughan, Sight and Sound.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Aniara - Sunday 20th October 5pm

We don't often show sci-fi movies but Aniara is more a philosophical look at what humans might do when threatened with disaster and looked too interesting to ignore.
"This striking first feature from Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja is a work of daunting ambition." - Wendy Ide, Screen International

Monday, October 07, 2019

Pain and Glory - Sunday 13th October 5pm

Just about every critic has this down as the best film Almodóvar has done for some time and, as we like his films here in Keswick this should be a treat for us this Sunday at 5pm.

"A deeply personal and very moving film, anchored by the best work of Antonio Banderas' career." - Brian Tallerico,

Monday, September 30, 2019

Last Summer + Director Q&A - Sunday 6th October 5:30pm

Another members' choice this week and we're going to be joined by the director Jon Jones to answer questions after the film. Please note we have a slightly later start time than usual of 5:30pm.

For those of you brought up in the countryside, remember those blissful, seemingly endless summers, playing games when you were young? Or for us townies, holidays away which went all too quickly... well this is the world we go back to with four young lads in remote Wales. Davy and brother Iwan run wild through the woods with their friends Rhys and Robbie, enjoying their little paradise... until a tragedy occurs.
"It captures the children's perspective on life perfectly and uses it to challenge adult assumptions about what's best for them - or for anyone dealing with trauma. The result is a cinematic gem" - Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film

Monday, September 23, 2019

Balloon - Sunday 29th September 5pm

Buckle up and prepare for adventure! The first of this season's films chosen by Members' ballot, this one should keep everyone on the edge of their seats. As the title suggests, the film is about a balloon journey, but this one follows two families trying to go from East Germany to West Germany in 1979... if they get it wrong, they risk imprisonment or even death.
"It is an engrossing mixture of adventure yarn and methodical police procedural that generates moments of pulse-racing tension" - Allan Hunter, The List

Monday, September 16, 2019

AGM + Varda by Agnes - Sunday 22nd September

It's our AGM on Sunday at 4pm before this week's film Varda by Agnès at 5pm. If you are a member please come along to the AGM to find out more about the last year of the Club, there are more details on our website.

Agnès Varda directed 55 films in her 60 years in the industry. She presented this documentary about herself at the Berlin Film Festival this year with film notes that said "I don't want to do press, I don't want to speak about my work. After Berlin, the film will be shown instead of me speaking!" This became very prophetic when she died a month later, aged 90.

"A parting gift from one of the greatest directors who ever lived." - Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Ash Is Purest White - Sunday 15th September 5pm

Ash Is Purest White this Sunday is "part crime epic, part woman-seeks-justice flick, part state of the nation address. It takes the staples of the gangster flick - the mobster's moll, gang rivalries, violent shoot outs - as a jumping off point for both a granular character study of a woman's resolve, and a macro portrait of China at the turn of the century where modernity is quickly outstripping tradition. Either way, it's a riveting picture driven by a fantastic performance by Zhao Tao as a wronged woman whose laser focus makes Kill Bill's The Bride look lackadaisical in comparison" - Ian Freer, Empire.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

AGM Sunday 22nd September 4pm

This year's AGM will be held at the Alhambra Cinema on 22nd September 2019, starting at 4.00pm and finishing in time for Varda by Agnes at 5pm.

The agenda and associated documents can be found in the committee section of the website.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Capernaum - Sunday 8th September 5pm

Summers go so quickly, but at least that means we can start sharing films again! This coming Sunday 8 September you have the chance to get a free drink, sign up for membership and an Autumn Pass (if you want) and have a chat with people you may not have seen since March, before sitting down and enjoying 'Capernaum' which we're told by everyone who has seen it is a superb film.

So we will be at the Alhambra from 4.15pm for those drinks, chats and membership cards and the film will start at 5.00pm as usual.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Autumn Season Starts on 8 September

We hope you have had a great summer (despite the weather), but you may have noticed that the evenings are getting shorter...sadly Autumn is approaching. The good news is that means the Film Club will start up again soon! The films are booked, the brochure is being printed; all we need is YOU!

Our first film will be on Sunday 8 September at 5.00pm - but be there for 4.15 to get your FREE drink and, maybe, sign up as a member: for only £10 you get £1.50 off every club film (and £1.00 off every Festival film you see). As the Americans say, 'you do the math'! You also get a chance to influence the programme; seven of the films this season were voted for in a members' ballot.
So what is coming up? We have already announced this to last year's members and now full details of all the films can be found on the Club Website. You can also view the brochure which will be available shortly, we'll post it to all members (another reason to join) otherwise you can pick it up at the Alhambra or Booths from the beginning of September.

We hope you like the programme.

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.