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Autumn Season 1995

Tuesday 10th October at 8pm
The Hudsucker Proxy     US 1994  |  114 mins  |  PG
The latest film from the uniquely talented Coen Brothers (Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink) is an unexpected and delightful urban parable that reworks a variety of Hollywood themes from the 40s and 50s, drawing its main inspiration from the works of Frank Capra. Co-written with long time friend and occasional collaborator Sam Raimi (he of Evil Dead and Darkman), this visually striking, entertaining and uniquely toned film features fine performances from Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Paul Newman, and marks the continued development of one of the most exciting and imaginative film-making teams working in America today.

Tuesday 17th October at 8pm
An Actor's Revenge [Yukinojô henge]     Japan 1963  |  113 mins  |  PG
Kon Ichikawa’s adapatation of Otokichi Mikami’s newspaper serialisation (previously filmed in 1935 by Teinosuke Kinugasa) follows the tradition of many Kurosawa films of the period by being taken far more seriously in the West than in its native Japan, and recent re-release and reappraisal has only served to strengthen its status. Kazuo Hasegawa plays a female impersonator in the Kabuki Theatre who hunts out the three men who ruined his parents and drove them to suicide twenty years earlier and plans a long-awaited revenge. Celebrated for its use of colour and scope framing, its dynamic central performance and Ichikawa’s knowing, almost playful approach to his material.

Tuesday 24th October at 8pm
Eat Drink Man Woman [Yin shi nan nu]     Taiwan 1994  |  124 mins  |  PG
Following the international success of The Wedding Banquet (Xi yan), Ang Lee’s latest work continues his exploration of themes explored in that film, notably that the traditional values and expectations of the family and society do not always provide the hoped-for answers. Living by the credo, “Eat, drink, man, woman, food, sex – the basics of life,” Mr. Chu, Taipei’s greatest living chef, attempts to cope with his three fully grown and rebellious daughters, a struggle that is examined with warmth, humour, irony and more than a few surprises. The film also screened at the Empire Cinema, Sandwich on Wednesday 25th October at 8pm.

Tuesday 31st October at 8pm
Cronos     Mexico 1992  |  92 mins  |  18
Our Halloween night film is this stylish and sophisticated Mexican vampire story that takes a new slant on many age-old themes and genre conventions and has attracted both praise wherever it has been shown. An antiques dealer discovers a mysterious artefact containing a 16th-Century object known as The Cronos Device, which attaches itself to him and changes his life in dramatic and unexpected ways. This first feature by 29-year-old writer-director Guillermo del Toro has been compared in many ways to the work of David Cronenberg, and was the winner of the Critics Week competition at Cannes, also collecting nine Ariels, Mexico’s Academy Awards, including Best Film and Best Director. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 7th November at 8pm
City of Women [La città delle donne]     Italy 1981  |  139 mins  |  18
One of Italy’s most famous and unique talents, Federico Fellini’s catalogue of work boasts some of cinema’s most notable achievements, including 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita and La Strada. City of Women is one of his least seen but in many ways most typical films, exploring as it does his fascination with women and the relationship between the sexes. Once again cast as the director’s alter-ego, Marcello Mastroianni plays a Don Juan trapped in a nightmare world inhabited solely by women, where his concepts of the opposite sex are all turned completely on their head. The result is lavish, funny, surprising and unique, a film which could only have been made, and perhaps would only have been attempted, by this film-maker.

Tuesday 14th November at 8pm
Bandit Queen     India/UK 1994  |  120 mins  |  18
Based on her own dictated prison diaries, this true story of Phoolan Devi, a child bride who was raped by her husband, cast out by her village, kidnapped and abused by outlaws and went on to become one of India’s most notorious outlaws, was a controversial work even before its release and remains banned in its native India to this day. It is not hard to see why – this is a difficult story, graphically and powerfully told, never shying away from showing us the more unpleasant and brutal aspects of Devi’s sometimes tortured life. Patrons should be aware that the film contains scenes that some may find upsetting.

Tuesday 21st November at 8pm
Alexander Nevsky     USSR 1938  |  107 mins
Eisenstein remains one of the giants of cinema and an instrumental figure in the development of film as a legitimate and popular art form. His influence is almost immeasurable, with works such as The Battleship Potempkin, Strike and October now part of film legend. Alexander Nevsky is one of his finest achievements, the story of Cherkassov and the Russian army repelling a German invasion during the 13th century chillingly reflecting real-life events of the time. A magnificently realised work, with breathtaking battle sequences and a wonderful Prokofiev music score. The film also screened at the Empire Cinema in Sandwich on Wednesday 22nd November at 8pm.

Tuesday 28th November at 8pm
Ladybird, Ladybird     UK 1994  |  102 mins  |  18
Loach’s most recent work follows on from the director’s success with Riff-Raff and Raining Stones, but in both style and content marks a return to the hard-hitting dramas of his early career such as Cathy Come Home and Family Life. It tells the story, inspired by a real event, that of Maggie, a woman with four children by four different fathers who finally finds hope of a stable, happy relationship but has it threatened by her own past and attempts by the Social Services to take her children into custody. A powerful and uncompromising work very typical of its director, the film was a notable prize-winner at the 44th Berlin International Film Festival.

Tuesday 5th December at 8pm
Viridiana     Spain 1961  |  90 mins
Having been away from his native land for over twenty-five years, Luis Buñuel was invited by the Franco government to produce a film in Spain in an effort to welcome home that country's greatest film-maker. Buñuel accepted the offer and was allowed to choose any subject he desired as long as the censors approved it. The result was what many critics consider to be his greatest film, but was ironically never shown in Spanish theatres, having been banned by the government immediately after its opening at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme D'Or. A solidly performed and powerfully directed psychological study, concerning novice nun Silvia Pinal and her loss of innocence when forced by her Mother Superior to visit her nasty uncle, played by Buñuel regular Fernando Rey.

Tuesday 12th December at 8pm
Day for Night [La nuit américaine]     France 1973  |  120 mins
Truffaut’s study of the trials of a young director (played by himself) as he attempts to complete his latest film, ‘Meet Pamela’, despite mounting problems is a virtual celebration of cinema and the film-making process and one of the best films yet produced about the workings of the industry. Remarkable for its multi-threaded story development, its attention to detail and for not over-glamourising its subject, the film is also fine entertainment, being funny, touching and working at its best through its always convincing central characters. Day for Night was the 1973 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film.