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Autumn 2001 season

Tuesday 11th September at 8pm
Bread and Roses     UK / Germany / Spain / France / Italy 2000  |  110 mins  |  15
British cinema’s most consistent and impressive voice of conscience, Ken Loach, crosses the Atlantic to highlight the plight of a little-discussed US underclass, non-union immigrant office cleaners, a group of whom, helped and encouraged by committed activist Sam, risk everything in a guerrilla-style fight for standard Union benefits. Despite the change of location, this is Loach doing what he does best, making political point through fine drama and even comic asides, aided by strong performances from the whole cast, including real-life members of the 1990 Justice for Janitors campaign on which the story is based.

Tuesday 18th September at 8pm
Last Resort     UK 2000  |  77 mins  |  15
A young Russian woman flies to England with her son to be with her London-based fiancee, but when he fails to collect her at the airport she applies for asylum and is shipped to a dour immigrant holding area in the seaside town of Stonehaven, where she is to be held while her application is considered. This much requested, involving and widely acclaimed look at the asylum seeker experience from the point of view of those going through it was a BAFTA award winner but has already proved controversial in Thanet because of first-time feature director Pawlikowski’s decision to have Margate stand in for the mythical Stonehaven. Here’s your chance to judge the final work for yourself.

Tuesday 22nd September at 8pm
Nowhere to Hide [njeong sajeong bol geot eobtda]     Republic of Korea 1999  |  101 mins  |  15
In a modern-day South Korean city, a man is stabbed to death in broad daylight; the resulting police investigation reveals a big-time drug connection, and unconventional Detective Woo begins a relentless hunt for his drug-lord killer. In some respects a Korean reworking of The French Connection, Nowhere to Hide nevertheless carves its own, very distinctive identity, in part through its setting, which itself is unusual to Western audiences, but mainly through the sometimes breathless visual dynamics of its hugely talented director Lee Myeong-Se, who throws every cinematic trick in the book at us, but uses them to accelerate the action, develop character and build atmosphere. The result is one of the most exciting police thrillers in years.

Tuesday 25th September at 8pm
A Long Nightʼs Journey Into Day     USA 2000  |  94 mins
As part of the continuing peace process in the new South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Committee regularly investigates the crimes of apartheid, and this extraordinary, Oscar-nominated documentary from filmmakers Frances Reid and Deborah Hoffman follows four cases brought before the committee over a two year period. Their approach is intimate and affecting, but allows all voices to be heard, giving every side of each story equal hearing, effectively mixing testimonies with archival news footage and interviews with those involved in the cases. Moving, upsetting and powerful, the film is also hopeful for the future of a country able to face its own darker past.

Tuesday 2nd October at 8pm
A One and a Two [Yi Yi]     Taiwan / Japan 2000  |  173 mins  |  15
In contemporary Taipei, a middle-aged executive in a faltering computer firm finds himself in the grip of a mid-life crisis. Around him, other members of his family are trying to come to terms with their own life changes and disappointments. Winner of the Best Film prize at Cannes last year, Edward Yang’s beautifully constructed, multi-threaded family drama allows several individual stories to simultaneously unfold, each as compelling as the other and all woven together by one of modern world cinema’s most assured storytellers. Using its three-hour running time to maximum effect, the film is an emotional ride that is also rich in hope.

Tuesday 9th October at 8pm
Songs from the Second Floor [Sånger från andra våningen]     Sweden / France / Denmark / Norway / Germany 2000  |  99 mins  |  15
Just before the dawn of the new millenniim in an unnamed European city, office worker Lasse is fired from a firm he has worked at for 30 loyal years; meanwhile store-owner Kalle burns down his business for the insurance money. Slowly, across their anonymous city, society begins to fall apart. Sharing the Jury Prize this year at Cannes with Samira Malmalbaf’s Blackboards, Swedish director Roy Andersson’s film is not plotted in the conventional film sense, but a dark, fragmented assault on materialism and greed, a stylishly executed, compelling and vividly visual nightmare of the modern age. (Cine Outsider review)

Saturday 13th October at 8pm
Ed Gein     USA 2000  |  89 mins  |  15
In Wisconsin in 1957, farm-owner Ed Gein, still haunted by the memory and spirit of his dead mother, robs graves and murders women to fashion clothing and furniture from the bodies. The inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs, the real-life Gein remains one of America’s most notorious serial killers, and Chuck Parello’s sober but still darkly sinister film attempts to get behind the man who for years perpetrated appalling crimes whilst remaining part of a quiet and unsuspecting rural community, aided by solid writing and a nicely understated central performance from Steve Railsback.

Tuesday 16th October at 8pm
Amores perros     Mexico 2000  |  154 mins  |  18
In Mexico City, dogs and a car crash connect three otherwise disparate lives: Octavio is trying to help his sister-in-law with winnings from dogfights; repeated attempts a rescue her trapped pooch begin to strain Spanish model Valeria’s relationship with her lover Daniel; and killer-for-hire El Chivo rescues a dog when the hit he was about to make is foiled, only to find that he is not the only killer in his household. Amores perros has been described as the Mexican Pulp Fiction, and certainly owes much to Tarantino in both structure and use of violence, but director Iñárritu also stamps his own very distinctive style on this powerful, compelling and impeccably structured work.

Tuesday 23rd October at 8pm
La Saison des hommes     France / Tunisia 1999  |  122 mins  |  12
In present-day Tunis, Carpet-weaver Aicha returns to the house of her husband’s family on the island of Djerba in search of a cure for her autistic son Aziz. When she arrives, memories of the earlier days of her marriage overtake her, and of how her society’s traditional values have shaped their lives. Moufida Tlatli, whose first film, The Silences of the Palace, was received with such widespread acclaim, once again turns her gaze on the values of a society that favour men over women and presents us with a beautifully filmed, touching and involving tale that is also a plea for understanding and, hopefully, positive change.

Tuesday 30th October at 8pm
Brother     Japan / UK / USA / France 2000  |  113 mins  |  18
When the death of his boss forces him to flee to America, Yakuza Yamamoto seeks out his adopted brother Ken, who is now with a small-time drugs gang in Los Angeles. Yamamoto takes over the outfit and shapes them into a formidable force, but their success and notoriety soon arouse the interest of the Mafia. Having proved he could make a touching, violence-free film with Kikujiro, Japanese maestro Takeshi Kitano returns to familiar territory with his first US-based film, bringing Japanese Yakuza sensibilities to bear on the American gangster drama in a work that bristles with violence but still boasts Takeshi’s trademark minimalist style and humour, as well as his sheer skill as a filmic storyteller and deadpan cool as a performer.

Saturday 3rd November at 8pm
Ginger Snaps     Canada 2000  |  104 mins  |  18
In the Canadian suburb of Bailey Downs, Ginger and Brigitte, two teenage girls who refuse to fit into mainstream life, find out just what is responsible for the brutal killing of local household pets. Just when it seemed that the werewolf movie was dead meat, along comes this smartly devised and executed Canadian take on the genre that proves there is much life yet in a seemingly familiar formula. Combining a sharp script with committed performances and a refusal to adopt the recently over-popular post-modernist jokey approach, director Fawcett plays his horror straight and uses the framework to explore the confusions, divided loyalties and search for identity that affect teenagers going through a time of drastic change.

Tuesday 6th November at 8pm
Dark Days     USA 2000  |  82 mins  |  15
Beneath the bustling streets of New York City lives a hidden, ignored population of homeless underground dwellers who make camp in the pitch black train tunnels beneath Manhattan. The challenge for director Marc Singer was how to gain the trust of these people enough to allow him to make a film about them. His solution was simple but dedicated – he moved in with them for two years. The resulting documentary is without question one of the most remarkable films of the year, an extraordinary, utterly compelling insight into an unseen world and its extraordinary, resilient population. With the unexpected third act, the film also finds dramatic structure, and a genuine sense of hope for the dwellers’ future.

Tuesday 13th November at 8pm
Best in Show     USA 2000  |  90 mins  |  12
Having really made his mark with the Rob Reiner mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, which he co-wrote and starred in, Christopher Guest here takes the director’s chair as well for this satirical stab at the relationship between dogs and their owners. Using the Spinal Tap fake-documentary style, Best in Show is a wonderfully observed, often hilarious look behind the scenes at a Philedelphia dog show, the use of lesser-known acting faces and the largely improvised nature of the scenes adding to the documentary feel, which only serves to make the antics of the participants all the more funny and at times even surreal.

Tuesday 20th November at 8pm
The King is Alive     Denmark / USA / Sweden / Norway / Finland 2000  |  110 mins  |  15
A group of tourists are stranded in an African desert when their bus runs out of fuel – as they fail to resolve their predicament, relationships strain, truths are exposed and all order and control seems to be breaking down, but possible unification comes from an unexpected source. After Festen, The Idiots and Mifune, Kristian Levring, the last of the original Dogme 95 brotherhood, delivers his contribution to this hugely influential movement in the shape of this partially improvised, powerfully acted (the cast includes Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Davison and Miles Anderson) study of the fragility of humanity, making especially effective use of the Dogme camera and editing style.

Saturday 24th November at 8pm
Code Unknown [Code inconnu]     France / Germany / Romania 2000  |  117 mins  |  15
In Paris, a seemingly insignificant moment of thoughtlessness sparks a series of events that change the lives of several unconnected people forever. The latest work from Michael Haneke, the director of the controversial Benny’s Video and Funny Games, sees him shift his gaze from the effects of media violence to how even the smallest events can have catastrophic effects. Boasting a similar multi-stranded structure to Magnolia, Amores perros and Songs From the Second Floor, Code Unknown still has a strong identity of its own, a compellingly told, splendidly acted and richly complex work that deservedly carried away the Ecumenical Jury Prize at Cannes. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 27th November at 8pm
Together [Tillsammans]     Sweden / Denmark / Italy 2000  |  106 mins  |  15
In 1975 Stockholm, abused housewife Elisabeth takes her two children and joins her brother Göran at the ‘Together’ commune. Here they make new friends and become part of the liberal community, where they all try to make sense of their uprooted lives in their own ways. Former poet Moodysson follows his terrific debut film Show Me Love with this thoroughly engaging comedy-drama, playing with familiar stereotypes in unexpected and often delightful ways and with a keen eye for observational detail, especially for those familiar with the setting and the period.

Tuesday 4th December at 8pm
Me, You, Them [Eu Tu Eles]     Brazil / USA / Portugal 2000  |  106 mins  |  15
Having been jilted at the altar when heavily pregnant three years earlier, cheerful, hard-working Darlene returns to her mother’s home, still unmarried, with the first of four children she will bear by four different fathers, three of whom she soon finds herself in simultaneous cohabitation with. Inspired by a real-life situation, director Waddington and screenwriter Elanor Soarez use the situation to create a delightful character drama with a quietly effective underlying feminist message. Beautifully photographed and deftly handled, and featuring a superb central performance from Regina Caseas the earthy, strong-willed Darlene.

Tuesday 11th December at 8pm
Gohatto     Japan 1999  |  100 mins  |  15
In 1865 Kyoto, the arrival of a good-looking young recruit at a Samurai academy sparks sexual jealousies amongst the other trainees and even the teachers, emotions that could prove destructive for the whole school. In the Realm of the Senses and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence director Nagisa Oshima’s first feature in 14 years is an understated and exquisitely shot study of sexual tensions, as a well as a re-examination of traditional views of the Samurai warrior code. Strikingly shot and with some impressively staged swordplay, this is a poetic and atmospheric work, and features a string of fine performances, including an effectively low key turn from Brother director and star, Takeshi Kitano.