Directed by: Stephen FrearsStaring: Judi Dench and Steve Coogan
Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee”, the film focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), to find her long lost son. He was conceived out of wedlock, to the disapproval of her Irish-Catholic community and given up for adoption in America. In following church doctrine, she was forced to sign a contract that would not allow for any inquiry into her son’s whereabouts. After starting a family years later in England and for the most part moving on with her life, Philomena meets Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), a BBC reporter with whom she decides to embark on her search.
Directed by: Roger MichellStaring: Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan
There are similarities between this film and Linklater’s “Before Sunset” (see February’s film). Both concern couples exploring the romantic city of Paris. The difference with “Le Weekend” is that this time the pair are not youngsters, but a middle aged, married couple Nick (Broadbent) and Meg (Duncan) from Birmingham. Now that their children have left home, they decide to spend their 30th anniversary in the place of their honeymoon, hoping to rekindle the early romance of their marriage. Needless to say, things do not work out quite as planned and they spend much of the time examining the state of their relationship and the disappointments that they feel they have experienced in their work and life. Despite the difficulties, Hanif Kureshi’s clever script finds humour in their experience and a hidden tenderness between the pair.
Directed by: Emad Burnat, Guy DavidiStaring: the villagers of Bil’in
Over five years, Emad Burnat, a farmer from the Palestinian village of Bil’in, portrays the story of the villagers’ resistance to encroaching Israeli settlements. Shot through the lens of five video cameras which are progressively destroyed in the course of the film, this well-made documentary draws the viewer deep inside a Palestinian family in a highly personal tale. Burnat bought his first camera in 2005 to film the birth of his fourth son, Gibreel. He continued to film as bulldozers uprooted ancient olive trees, a wall was constructed through village fields and Bil’in became famous for its peaceful protest demonstrations. The film won a 2012 Sundance Film Festival award, and was nominated for a 2012 Academy Award.
Directed by: Wes AndersonStaring: Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan
Set in the fading grandeur of a preposterous luxury hotel in an equally preposterous pre-war fictional central European country, Ralph Fiennes plays the hotel’s legendary concierge in Anderson’s funniest film in years. A priceless painting and an inheritance set off a comic caper with dark undertones of personal loss and history. A highly stylized film with theft, murder, love, steam trains and an occupying army, it has an air of carefully controlled craziness. With some strong language and sex references, Fiennes leads the comedic cut and thrust with impeccable timing. It nods, albeit eccentrically, to classic hotels and films set in the heart of a Europe soon to be shattered by the encroaching shadow of fascism.
Directed by: Paul GreengrassStaring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman
The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. The film focuses on the relationship between the Alabama’s commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks), and the Somali pirate captain, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), who takes him hostage. Hanks and Abdi didn’t meet until they were in their first scene together, with the cameras rolling. This direction gives the film a very real feel which certainly draws the audience in and keeps you engrossed from the opening scenes to the credit roll.
Directed by: Richard LinklaterStaring: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy
After showing the two preceding films, Keynsham Film Works are proud to present the third chapter in this American romantic drama. Nine years on, and two decades since their first meeting on a train bound for Vienna, “Before Midnight” sees Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) finally together, on holiday in Greece with their daughters. It is more melancholic than “Before Sunrise” (1995) and “Before Sunset” (2004), focusing on the challenges and pressures of staying in love. But the script is still sharp – and Jesse and Celine remain one of the most watchable on-screen couples of recent years.
Directed by: Yasujiro OzuStaring: Chieko Higashiyama, Chishu Ryu, Setsuko Hara, Toru Abe
A rare chance to see this classic film on the big screen. Recently voted 3rd greatest film of all-time in the Sight and Sound Poll. It is a film of transcendental simplicity and heart breaking humanity. An elderly couple attempt to visit their grown up children in Tokyo, only to find that they are too busy to give them any time. The only person who does respond is their lonely daughter-in-law. Her sad dignity and generosity are compelling. “Tokyo Story” is both specific and universal. One of cinema’s most profound and moving studies of married love, ageing and relationships between parents and children. It is flawless and rewards numerous viewings.
Directed by: Alexander PayneStaring: Bruce Dern, Will Forte and June Squibb
Director Alexander Payne is probably best known for “Sideways”, shown in an earlier season. His latest film is a road movie with a difference. Woody (Bruce Dern), is an elderly grumpy American who infuriates his son David (Will Forte). Woody is often convinced that he has won prizes in competitions but ends up losing money. David decides the only way to convince him the competitions are fake is to drive him to Nebraska, the source of the scams, to try to claim his prize in person. Despite being set in the poor Midwest with initially unsympathetic characters and the increasing evidence of Woody’s progressive dementia, Payne finds sympathy, and sometimes humour, in the developing relationship between the previously estranged generations. The black and white cinematography finds a certain beauty in the economically depressed Mid-West of America.
Directed by: Brian PercivalStaring: Sophie Nelisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson
This tells the story of 9-year-old Liesel Meminger as she grows up in Hitler’s Germany. When her younger brother dies, she is taken by her mother to be fostered in a small town, never to see her parents again. She is illiterate but her new Papa, Hans Hubermann, (Geoffrey Rush, he of “The King’s Speech”), patiently teaches her and instils in her a love of words and a realisation of their power. She finds an unlikely ally in the mayor’s wife, from whom she steals books. The Narrator is “Death”, who is very busy during wartime but the film implies the horrors with a gentle touch – a very moving experience. Bring a hankie.
Directed by: Morgan NevilleStaring: Darlene Love, Merry Clayton & Lisa Fischer
“Backup” singers live in a world just beyond the spotlight, their voices bringing harmony to some of the greatest legends in music history. This Oscar winning documentary reveals the intimate stories of these unknown singers. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, it is a tribute to the unsung voices who bring shape and style to the music, and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent in the shadows. These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras of popular music, but each has a uniquely fascinating and personal story to share. The film uses interviews with veterans and concert footage to tell its story.
Directed by: Damien ChazelleStaring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons and Melissa Benoist
Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is an ambitious young jazz drummer, in pursuit of rising to the top of his elite music conservatory. Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), an instructor known for his terrifying teaching methods, discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into the top jazz ensemble, forever changing the young man’s life. But Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher pushes him to the brink of his ability and his sanity.
Please note this film starts at 8.10 – doors open 7.45