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Winter 2000 season

Tuesday 11th January at 8pm
All About My Mother [Todo sobre mi madre]     Spain / France 1999  |  101 mins  |  15
Strong-willed hospital worker Manuela loses her 18-year-old son in an accident and is forced to re-evaluate her life. Realising how much her late son longed to discover the father he never knew, Manuela embarks on a search for the man she has not seen for 20 years, on the way encountering a pregnant nun, a famous actress revered and an old friend who is now a drag queen. The latest work from leading Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Live Flesh) returns to the style of his earlier films in this inside-out reworking of plot elements from Bette Davis’s All About Eve. Hailed by many as one of Almódar’s finest achievements, this is a magnificently performed, genuinely emotional experience, laced with offbeat character detail and the director’s usual absurdist humour.

Tuesday 18th January at 8pm
Made in Hong Kong [Xianggang Zhizao]     Hong Kong 1997  |  108 mins  |  15
Teenage street punk Moon lives with his mother and works for a loan shark as a debt collector. When he befriends a girl in need of a kidney transplant, he searches for ways to pay for the operation, eventually agreeing to a somewhat desperate solution that could change his life forever. Dubbed “the first post-1997 independent film from the now historical colony,” Fruit Chan-Kuo’s look at the underside of his city through the eyes of a directionless dropout is one of the freshest films to emerge from Hong Kong since the early days of Wong Kar-Wai. Shot on a tiny, borrowed budget by a crew of five using a non-professional cast, the film turns on their head expectations formed by the recent Hong Kong Young and Dangerous films, helped by an edgy, hand-held camera style and a string of committed and believable performances.

Tuesday 25th January at 8pm
Rushmore     USA 1998  |  93 mins  |  15
Geeky fifteen-year-old Max Fischer is one of the worst students at Rushmore Academy and lives under constant threat of expulsion. Despite this, school is his life and he is involved in a huge range of extra-curricula activities, one of which leads to a friendship with unhappy industrialist Herman Blume, a relationship that complicates when they both fall for widowed first-grade teacher Rosemary Cross. No brief plot summary could give a clear indication of just how wonderfully quirky and offbeat a film Rushmore is, a genuine comic original whose central humanity is never diluted by sentimentality. Directing only his second film (the independent Bottle Rocket remains unreleased in Britain), Wes Anderson is already being hailed as a major talent, and in a superb cast Bill Murray (playing Herman Blume) gives his best performance in years, reaffirming his position as one of America’s foremost comedy performers.

Tuesday 1st February at 8pm
The War Zone     UK / Italy 1998  |  99 mins  |  18
When a London family relocate to rural Devon, their alienated 15-year-old son Tom begins to suspect that his sister Josie’s relationship with their father has gone way beyond the normal one of father and daughter. The subject of incest is such a sensitive one that film-makers rarely to tackle it head-on, but having chosen to do so, first-time director Tim Roth’s approach is uncompromising and at times shattering. Learning – as did fellow actor-turned-director Gary Oldman with his own Nil By Mouth – from mentor Alan Clarke, Roth directs with power, compassion and sincerity and is maginificently served by his cast, who include Tilda Swinton and Ray Winston as the parents and Freddie Conliffe and Lara Belmont as their children. As the subject suggests, the film deals with issues and contains scenes that some might find upsetting.

Tuesday 8th February at 8pm
Late August, Early September [Fin août, début septembre]     France 1999  |  111 mins  |  15
The latest film from Irma Vep director Olivier Assayas examines the lives of a group of Paris-based friends during the transition from late youth to early maturity, centring on writers Gabrielle and the seriously ill Adrien. Despite an almost complete reliance on dialogue and character, Assayas moves the film at a brisk pace, dispensing with traditional plot mechanics but still managing to create a complex and arresting reality in which his characters exist and interact. Episodically structured, the film also benefits from a string natural and engaging performances and Assayas’s assured and confident development of his characters.

Tuesday 15th February at 8pm
Buena Vista Social Club     Germany 1998  |  105 mins  |  U
In 1996 guitarist Ry Cooder brought together a group of legendary Cuban musicians known as 'The Buena Vista Social Club’ to record an album of their music, which was released the following year and proved a Grammy Award winner. Also known for his film work, Cooder was scoring The End of Violence for Wim Wenders (with whom he also worked on Paris, Texas), and fired the director’s enthusiasm for the music, resulting in this magical, joyous documentary that mixes studio recordings, concert footage and interviews to splendid effect. The result is a fascinating, inspiring and consistently entertaining testament to the spirit, longevity an sheer talent of its participants, and the music that is their life.

Tuesday 22nd February at 8pm
Ratcatcher     UK / France 1999  |  93 mins  |  15
Set in 1970s Glasgow, this first film from director Lynne Ramsay examines the world through the eyes of 12-year-old James, following a tragic accident in which he was involved. James copes with his sense of isolation within his own family by refusing to express himself emotionally, but inside he holds a simple and tranquil dream for himself and his family. This story of simple hope in a harsh and desperate world captures with gritty honesty the more cruel and lonely aspects of being young and features some very convincing performances from its unknown and largely non-professional cast. A most impressive debut film, it does deal with sensitive issues in a frame and unflinching way.

Tuesday 29th February at 8pm
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas     USA 1998  |  118 mins  |  18
Given the job of covering a bike meeting in Las Vegas, a lunatic sports writer and his Samoan lawyer rent an convertible, fill it with drugs and alcohol and embark on a journey of substance-assisted madness into the heart of the American Dream. A long time coming and not without its production problems, this adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s legendary semi-autobiographical novel finally found its perfect director in Terry Gilliam (Brazil, 12 Monkeys), whose extraordinary visual style and love of the bizarre enabled him to produce a work that is both faithful to its source material but still able to stand on its own merits. Boasting two bang-on performances from Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Torro, the film is a wonderfully manic rollercoaster ride into the mind of is crazed creator.

Tuesday 7th March at 8pm
Run Lola Run [Lola rennt]     Germany 1997  |  80 mins  |  15
Lola receives a phone call from her boyfriend Mani, who tells her he has less than half-an-hour to find 100,000 Deutsche Marks or he will be killed – she is left with just twenty minutes to raise the money, somehow, somewhere. This tissue-thin plot is used by young director Tom Tykwer as a frame on which to build a dazzling, furiously kinetic eighty-minute chase that employs just about every visual trick in the book and then some. Playing at times like a hyper-active, techno-fed music video, the film lives though its phenomenal surface detail, and by playing out the same scenario three times it is also able to examine how the smallest of encounters can ultimately have the most drastic of consequences.

Tuesday 14th March at 8pm
A Kind of Hush     UK 1998  |  95 mins  |  15
Stu, a teenage gang-leader from London’s Kings Cross area, is the only one of his group leading something of a normal life, working in a hotel kitchen, where he is friends with the managers and the chef with who he works. The gang are united by a dark and common history of violence and child abuse that surfaces in their desire to exact a violent revenge on the tormentors of their past. Based on Richard Johnson’s autobiographical novel Getting Even, A Kind of Hush avoids the potential pitfalls of its subject matter and portrays the lives of its central characters vividly and sympathetically, former stage director Brian Stirner (in his feature debut) extracting impressive performances from his cast on young unknowns, as well as an impressive turn by comedian turned actor Roy Hudd.

Tuesday 21st March at 8pm
Felicia's Journey     UK / Canada 19999  |  116 mins  |  12
Felicia, a young girl from County Cork, travels to England in search of her boyfriend and on the way is befriended by lonely, middle-aged catering manager Joe Hilditch, a kindly but obsessive perfectionist with a dark secret. Based on the novel by William Trevor, this latest work from Canadian indie king Atom Egoyan (Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter) is a moody, increasingly sinister work in which the below-surface detail can be as important, and fascinating, as the main story. On one level a study of the banality of evil, Felicia’s Journey boasts a superb cast – especially Elaine Cassidy as Felicia and Bob Hoskins as Hilditch – and continues Egoyan’s fascination with subjects such as voyeurism, denial and people who are not what they first appear.

Tuesday 28th March at 8pm
After Life [Wandâfuru raifu]     Japan 1998  |  118 mins  |  PG
As people arrive in the afterlife they are given one week to select a favourite memory, which will be recreated and filmed to be the single recollection with which they will spend eternity. Some, though, have trouble choosing a single moment, maybe because of the perceived unremarkability of their lives, or because all of their strongest memories are bad ones. Maborosi director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s remarkable fantasy drama not only tells an unusual and fascinating tale, it also reaches out to its audience to challenge us to re-examine how we have spent our own lives. Free of special effects and celestial choirs, the film presents the afterlife in fascinating but matter-of-fact style, really shining in its detail, its humanity and its wonderful collection of characters, many of whom are not actors but ordinary Japanese citizens given the chance to respond to the question, “What was the most treasured moment of your life?”

Tuesday 4th April at 8pm
West Beirut [West Beyrouth (À l'abri les enfants)]     France / Lebanon / Belgium / Norway 1998  |  110 mins  |  15
Beirut, April 1975. As what will become the Lebanese civil war breaks out, troublesome high school students Tarek and Omar see the hostilities less as mortal danger than an opportunity for further mischief and adventure. Vivid and energetic, this semi-autobiographical debut feature from director Ziad Doueiri at times plays like an unsentimental Lebanese take on John Boorman’s Hope and Glory. Shot in documentary style with a well judged comedic edge, West Beirut is a remarkably confident first film – wry, touching and poignant and boasting some terrific performances from its young cast.

Tuesday 11th April at 8pm
Alice et Martin     France / Span / USA 1998  |  124 mins  |  15
Encouraged by his mother to visit the father he has never met, ten-year-old Martin ends up living with him and his three half-brothers. Ten years later his father dies and Martin flees to Paris to seek out his half-brother Benjamin, whose flat-mate Alice he begins a relationship with. But Martin carries with him anxieties about his past that he is reluctant to discuss, and one day an announcement from Alice proves the trigger to release them. Co-scripted by Irma Vep director Olivier Assayas and impressively played by Mathieu Amalric and Juliette Binoche, this thirteenth feature from Les Voleurs director André Téniché is a masterful examination of male development and growth in which repressed emotions lead to crisis and eventual maturity. Told with compassion and insight, the film succeeds through its confident direction and the rich detail of its characterisations.

Tuesday 18th April at 8pm
Tango     Argentina / Spain / France / Germany 1998  |  115 mins  |  12
In Buenos Aires, director Mario Suárez, seeking distraction after his girlfriend leaves him, immerses himself in his next production – a musical film about the tango. Suárez juggles the demands of his backers with his own artistic integrity and complicates matters further by falling for the dancer girlfriend of one of the production’s more dangerous investors. This latest work from Spanish director Carlos Saura continues his fascination with the hypnotic beauty of dance first explored in 1981 in the superb Blood Wedding, imaginatively blurring fact and fiction as the storyline gradually becomes secondary to the sensual power of the tango itself. The result is an extraordinary sensory delight that celebrates life and art in equal measures.