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Spring 1996 season

Tuesday 16th April at 8pm
The City of Lost Children [La cité des enfants perdus]     France 1995  |  112 mins  |  15
Following up a wild one-off like Delicatessen is no mean feat, but armed with a larger budget and some considerably larger sets, directors Jeunot and Caro have succeeded in delightful fashion. The story of a decent but slow-witted strongmanʼs search for his missing brother, helped by a young, orphaned thief has a fairytale quality to it. By retaining the look that made Delicatessen so memorable and filling the film with bizarre characters, detail and imagery, the directors have created a rich, imaginative and eye-catching work that has more in common with Terry Gilliam at his peak than what would usually be regarded as traditional French cinema.

Tuesday 23rd April at 8pm
Heavenly Creatures     New Zealand 1994  |  98 mins  |  18
Having explored the glorious extremes of cult horror in Bad Taste and Braindead, director Peter Jackson surprised just about everyone with this sensitive, wildly imaginative and visually dazzling examination of the complex relationship that develops bewteen two schoolgirls - one withdrawn, one wildly extrovert - whose obsessive friendship leads them on a path to murder. Based on true events that occurred in 1950s New Zealand, this is a remarkable work all round, by turns touching, humourous, breathtaking and shocking, and on intelligence and energy alone leaves most better known mainstream films at the starting gate. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 30th April at 8pm
Clerks     USA 1994  |  88 mins  |  18
Made in black and white for a mere $27,000 between shifts at his former workplace, 23-year-old shop assistant-turned-director Kevin Smithʼs first feature is an uproariously funny and intelligent piece, one of the best of the recent spate of hip, low budget, dialogue-driven movies to emerge from the U.S. The story of convenience store worker Dante Hicks, whose plans for Saturday are ruined when he is forced to work an extra shift, is used to introduce us to the chaos of Danteʼs world, his girlfriend troubles, his eccentric customers and Randall, his irate colleague from the adjascent video-store. Slickly made, itʼs the dialogue and performances that prove the most memorable, with frequently hilarious discussions on just about everything, from friendship and sex to who actually built the Death Star in Return of the Jedi.

Tuesday 7th May at 8pm
Land and Freedom     UK / Spain / Germany 1995  |  109 mins  |  15
British realist director Ken Loachʼs most accessible and ambitious film to date also happens to be one of his best yet, telling the story, through flashback, of an ordinary, idealistic, working-class Liverpudlian who leaves Britain to fight with the Republicans against Francoʼs fascists during the Spanish Civil War. Here he initially finds comradeship and hope, but this eventually gives way to disillusion as tragedy and betrayal bring the struggle to its knees. A powerful and exhilarating film that has moments of great sorrow but remains determindly uplifting, not least through its rivetting direction and performances, plus another first-class script from regular Loach collaborator Jim Allen.

Tuesday 14th May at 8pm
La Haine     France 1995  |  97 mins  |  15
Shot in vivid black-and-white La Haine (French for ʻhateʼ) tells of a crucial day in the lives of three ethnically diverse teenagers on a low-income Paris housing estate, examining at the same time the vicious circle of loathing and distruct between the estateʼs inhabitants and the police. This angry and powerful film made a huge impact when released in France, prompting debate on its subject matter at the highest levels, with Alain Juppe, the French prime minister, commisioning a special screening for his cabinet. Performances, script, direction and camerawork all contribute to a disturbing but rivetting whole, and it was a deserved Best Director winner at Cannes last year.

Tuesday 21st May at 8pm
Funny Bones     UK / USA 1994  |  128 mins  |  15
Peter Chelsomʼs follow-up to the exhuberant Hear My Song is an equally enjoyable work, mixing humour and tragedy in its tale of George Fawkes, an American comedy legend (played by a nicely understated Jerry Lewis) who returns to his birthplace in Blackpool in the hope of soaking up some new comic ability after his son dies in humiliating fashion on his opening night in Vegas. Here he encounters a bizarre variety of comic acts, including the very physical and anarchic Jack, played by comedian Lee Evans, with whom George finds he has more in common than he first could have suspected. A genuinely funny and quietly moving drama, nicely plotted and pleasingly free of cliché.

Tuesday 28th May at 8pm
Beauty and the Beast [La belle et la bête]     France 1946  |  93 mins  |  PG
Disneyʼs version of Madame Leprince de Beaumontʼs fairytale may now be the most famous, but Cocteauʼs still astonishing 1946 version, being shown here in a new print struck from the recently restored negative, remains the best. The story of a beautiful woman who agrees to share a castle with The Beast to save her fatherʼs life and learns that beauty can also exist beneath the surface, is brought vividly to the screen through extraordinary set design, costumes and photography, and the poetic, sometimes surrealistic handling of its director. A still-extraordinary work that benefits from its restoration and big screen presentation. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 4th June at 8pm
Burnt by the Sun [Utomlennye solntsem]     Russia / France 1994  |  134 mins  |  15
Last yearʼs Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film is a rare beast, an enjoyable and warm-hearted family drama that is also a fascinating and sometimes unnerving political satire. Set in 1936, it tells the story of Serguei Kotov (played by director Mikhalkov), a respected revolutionary hero who has chosen to settle down with his family but has his peace shattered when he is visited by one of Stalinʼs secret police and elements of his past catch up with him. A beautifully handled and fascinating film that choses not to judge its characters or lapse into political preaching, and benefits greeatly from it.

Tuesday 11th June at 8pm
Il Postino     Italy 1994  |  108 mins  |  U
Our spring season closes with this charming, Oscar-nominated Italian romantic comedy about the friendship that develops between exiled poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda (played by Philipe Noiret) and Mario Ruoppola, the son of a local fisherman hired by the postmaster specifically to deliver Nerudaʼs large shipments of fan mail. The two men find themselves learning from each other, with Neruda helping Ruoppola to improve both his standing in the community and his chances of success in his romance with a local barmaid. Splendidly directed by Englishman Michael Radford, Il Postino is a delight, a feel-good movie that successfully avoids over-sentimentality, working most of all through the natural and thoroughly engaging performances of its talented cast.