PAST PRODUCTIONS 2017/18
and to see reviews from 'Rotten Tomatoes'
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler
Kenneth Lonergan's beautifully textured, richly enveloping drama about how a death in the family forces a small-town New Englander to confront a past tragedy anew. Scratching out a living as a handyman in Boston, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is suddenly called back to his home town on the Massachusetts coast because of the death of his brother (Kyle Chandler). This loss returns him to the scene of an even greater grief, threatening to tip him over the edge for good.
“Masterfully told and beautifully acted, Manchester by the Sea is a shattering yet graceful elegy of loss and grief.” (Phil De Semlyen - Empire)
Director: Chan-wook Park
Cast: Min-hee Kim, Jung-woo Ha, Jin-woong Jo
This brilliant adaptation of Sarah Waters’ novel “Fingersmith” is a beautifully filmed erotic drama of passion and betrayal set in 1930’s Japan and Korea.
It is the story of a beautiful young Japanese lady living on an isolated estate with her eccentric guardian. A young Korean woman is hired to serve her as her handmaiden but she is in fact a part of a confidence trick to defraud her of her large inheritance. The twist at the end is both surprising and satisfying.
“A complex and wonderfully decadent erotic melodrama” (Geoffrey McNab – The Independent)
Director: Aki Kaurismäki
Cast: Ville Virtanen, Sherwan Haji, Kati Outinen
This cuttingly poignant comedy, begins with a young Syrian asylum seeker emerging from a coal pile in Helsinki’s industrial port. Khaled (Sherwan Haji) has wound up here by accident, after escaping violent persecution by jumping aboard a freighter in Eastern Europe. Khaled, wanting to do things by the book, hands himself in as an illegal migrant, he checks in to a Reception Centre and is grilled about his journey to Finland from the rubble of Aleppo. Kaurismäki manages to bring a smile back to our faces, let alone the torrents of laughter, later on, that his film manages to unleash.
“Aki Kaurismaki’s tale ... mines the deadpan humour he’s famous for while refusing to flinch from heartbreak and hardship.” (The Guardian)
Director: Roy Andersson
Cast: Holger Andersson, Nils Westblom, Viktor Gyllenberg
The pigeon in question is dead. It is in the first scene of this remarkable film sitting stuffed on a branch in a glass case
The film revolves loosely around two desolate figures trying to sell joke shop novelties, without much success.
It is entirely unique but could be described as an absurdist black comedy. It consists of a series of dreamlike episodes each depicting aspects of the human condition, often sad and sometimes hilariously funny.
“Anderson’s films take the pigeon’s eye view. It is heaven” (Robbie Collin - Telegraph)
Director: Lone Scherfig
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy
1940s London. Writer Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) gets a job at the Ministry of Information. Cole’s sharp mind and writing talents catch the eye of head writer Tom (Sam Claflin) and earn her a chance to shine when she is asked to work on a feature film about two sisters who piloted their drunken father’s boat from Southend to Dunkirk to bring wounded British Tommies home. As an up and coming woman in the ‘40s she faces a battle against sexism, bureaucracy and hammy British actor Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy). Catrin discovers her story has been massively over- exaggerated and she is faced with the dilemma to write the truth or legend.
“Anchored by a superb Gemma Arterton, ‘Their Finest is a funny, winning, beautifully acted ode to working women and cinema.” (Ian Freer - Empire)
Director: Ciro Guerra
Cast: Nilbio Torres, Jan Bijvoet, Antonio Bolivar
Although inspired by real-life journals this haunting and beautifully shot film transports us into the realm of the mystical and surreal.
In the early 1900’s a young shaman in the Columbian Amazon helps a sick German explorer and his local guide search for a rare healing plant. Decades later another European botanist returns on a similar quest and finds the place and the people much changed. He meets the original shaman who claims he has forgotten all his traditional knowledge, but eventually agrees to help him.
“A gripping and absorbing piece of work” (Peter Bradshaw - Guardian)
Director: William Oldroyd
Cast: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Christopher Fairbank
Northumberland, 1865. Resenting her arranged marriage to older colliery heir Alexander (Paul Hilton), 17-year-old Katherine (Florence Pugh) embarks upon an affair with stable groom Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis) and resorts to murder when their romance is discovered. Although she has been sold into marriage to meet a family debt, Katherine is never a distressed damsel in a Gothic fairy tale. She may be rejected on her wedding night, but she also spurns the sympathy of her near-mute black maid, Anna (Naomi Ackie), and begins flaunting her affair with the uncouth groom. Moreover, when reprimanded for her reckless adultery, Katherine turns to murder, revealing the full extent of her scorned fury.
“A brilliantly chilling subversion of a classic” (The Guardian)
Director: Nicolas Philibert
Cast: Georges Lopez, Alizé, Axel Thouvenin
This charming fly- on -the -wall documentary is a sensitive and moving portrait of a school teacher and his young students.
It chronicles an academic year in the lives of 12 pupils, aged 4 to 10, who are taught every subject from maths to gym by one dedicated teacher, Georges Lopez, in a village school in deepest rural France.
As the seasons pass Lopez must keep his students disciplined while preparing the older children for the exams that will determine their educational future.
“A wonderful work” (Mark Kermode - Guardian)
Director: Roger Michell
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger
This slow-burning drama is based on a book by Daphne DuMaurier and tells the story of a young Englishman who plots revenge against his mysterious cousin believing that she murdered his guardian. But, his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.
“a saucily subversive dark romance mixing old fashioned costumed intrigue with lustily modern psychological twists and post Freudian thrills.” (Peter Bradshaw - Guardian)
Director: Theodore Melfi
Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe
This film tells the incredible story of three brilliant African-American women working in NASA in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. They served as the brains behind one of the greatest technical operations in history: the launch of the astronaut, John Glenn, into orbit in 1962. This was a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence and turned around the space race with the USSR.
The unsung trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire a generation.
“A fascinating, hugely watchable and heart- warming film” (Matthew Boyd – Mail on Sunday)
Director: Klaus Härö
Cast: Märt Avandi, Ursula Ratasepp, Hendrik Toompere Sr.
A young Russian man (Endel) arrives in Estonia in the early 1950’s having left Leningrad to escape the secret police. He finds work as a teacher and sets up a sports club for his students where he starts teaching them fencing – his great passion.
He faces a dilemma when the children desperately want to attend a fencing competition in Leningrad. Does he risk his own safety, or does he let them down?
The film is partially based on the real-life story of Estonian fencer Endel Nelis (1925-1993)
“A handsomely made historical drama” (Irish Times)