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Autumn 2004 season

Tuesday 14th September at 8pm
The House of Sand and Fog     USA 2003  |  126 mins  |  15
Recovering alcoholic Kathy lives alone in a house with a distant view of the California shoreline. When she falls behind on her taxes and ignores the warnings from the county offices, her house is put up for auction and bought by Iranian immigrant Massoud, an ex-colonel from the Shah's air force who has fallen on harder times. Both parties need this house for differing reasons, and both feel they have rightful ownership of it. An involving, even-handed drama with a light directorial touch, two strong central performances from Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly, and a rarity for a modern American movie: a sympathetic portrait of an Iranian struggling to make ends meet.

Tuesday 21st September at 8pm
Zatoichi     Japan 2003  |  112 mins  |  15
In samurai-era Japan, blind masseur Zatoichi wanders the countryside, stopping only to gamble, help the unfortunate and employ his very considerable skills with a sword on those who attempt to cross him. Director/star Takeshi Kitano's most commercially successful film to date is a moving, humorous, violent and technically dazzling update of one of Japan's most dearly loved film series, featuring a string of fine performances, some impressively choreographed swordplay and a delightful, if most unexpected, musical climax! (Cine Outsider review)

Saturday 26th September at 4pm     SPECIAL SCREENING – Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski
Fitzcarraldo     Peru / West Germany 1982  |  158 mins  |  PG
One of Werner Herzog's most audacious and epic films has Klaus Kinski cast as an entrepreneurial opera lover who is determined to bring grand opera to the Peruvian jungle. He plans to fund this through the transportation of rubber past the impossible Ucayala falls, which he will achieve by dragging a steamship over a mountain. Where any other director would have faked this sequence with models (or nowadays CGI), Herzog did it for real, and the result is sometimes jaw-dropping, an utterly compelling tale of obsession, told with skill and heart.

Tuesday 28th September at 8pm
One for the Road     UK / USA 2003  |  94 mins  |  18
A group of middle-aged men convicted of drink-driving offences meet on an alcohol awareness programme. Property developer Richard, taxi driver Mark, warehouse owner Jimmy and salesman Paul, divide their time between enforced role-playing at their counselling sessions and getting plastered in a nearby pub, where the four men reveal their own failings and disappointments. This debut film from director Chris Cooke, developed from his own 1999 short Shifting Units, is a compellingly handled comedy of pain, a study of male impotence and anger executed with a rare wit and some excellent performances, including old hand Hywell Bennet as Richard.

Tuesday 5th October at 8pm
I'm Not Scared [Io non ho paura]     Italy / Spain / UK 2003  |  108 mins  |  15
10-year-old Michele is enjoying a long summer holiday in the Italian countryside when he discovers a dark secret that has a potential for adventure, but which will ultimately involve him in events that will force him to shake off his childhood innocence forever. Beautifully shot and featuring engaging performances from the young members of the cast, this is a wonderfully realised coming-of-age story from the director of the 1992 Oscar-winner Mediterraneo.

Tuesday 12th October at 8pm
Bad Education [La mala educación]     Spain 2004  |  105 mins  |  15
The latest work from Spanish maestro Pedro Almodóvar (Talk to Her, All About My Mother) is an intimate study of two boys and the abuse they suffered at a Catholic boarding school in 1960s Spain. Or is it? Almodóvar uses an intricately fractured structure to move backwards and forwards in time and disarmingly mix fact with fiction, and memory with fantasy to create a genuinely enigmatic whole. Features another excellent performance from rising Mexican star Gael García Bernal (Amores Perros, And Your Mother Too, The Crime of Padre Amaro).

Tuesday 19th October at 8pm
At Five in the Afternoon [Panj é asr]     Inran / France 2003  |  105 mins  |  U
Following the removal of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, previously severe restrictions on the activities of women are eased, and one young woman dares to dream of one day becoming president of her country, something her conservative father is rigidly opposed to. The third film from the 23-year-old Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf (after The Apple and Blackboards) is the perfect companion piece to Siddiq Barmak's Osama, shown last season, as it takes an unflinching look at life in post-Taliban Afghanistan, where disease, religious extremism and the terrible consequences of unexploded mines suggest that for many ordinary Afghan citizens, life is as harsh as it ever was.

Tuesday 26th October at 8pm
The Return [Vozvrashchenie]     Russia 2003  |  105 mins  |  12A
After 12 years away, a bullish father returns home to take his two young sons Ivan and Andrey on a fishing trip, determined to make men of them. He sets out to achieve his aim through a series of sometimes aggressively handled tests, none of which end well for the boys. A Golden Lion winner at last year's Venice film festival, The Return may be director Andrei Zvyagintsev's debut film, but it is already being described as a probable future classic of Russian cinema, and features excellent performances by Vladimir Garin and Ivan Dobronranov as Andrey and Ivan.

Saturday 31st October at 4pm     SPECIAL SCREENING – Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski
Nosferatu the Vampire     West Germany / France 1979  |  107 mins  |  15
Herzog's remake of F.W. Murnau's silent classic Nosferatu, eine symphonie des grauens (itself an unofficial film version of Bram Stoker's seminal Dracula) really scores on atmosphere and is imbued with a sense of decay and sadness, aided by Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein's moody cinematography, Henning von Gierke's production design and Herzog's dream-like pacing. We will be screening the film in its shorter, original German language print.

Tuesday 2nd November at 8pm
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring [Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom]
South Korea / Germany 2003  |  103 mins  |  15
In a Buddhist temple located in the middle of a remote but beautiful lake, itself surrounded by forests and mountains, an elderly monk attempts to teach his mischievous young pupil respect for the natural world. Divided into five seasonal chapters and spread over a period of several years, the film observes the changes that the young boy goes through in that time and how he copes with a wide range of experiences, including desire, guilt, sorrow and awareness, often triggered by encounters with visitors from the world outside the temple. A deeply involving, visually arresting and spiritual film, beautifully detailed and compellingly performed.

Tuesday 9th November at 8pm
The Basque Ball: Skin Against Stone [La pelota vasca. La piel contra la piedra]     Spain 2003  |  110 mins  |  15
Having made a name for himself as a director of stylish and erotic love stories with films such as Tierra and Sex and Lucia, Julio Medem here makes his first documentary feature, a thoroughly researched, richly detailed study of a key issue for Spain, that of ETA and the Basque movement. Medem's extensive use of interview, archive footage and even movie extracts creates a detailed, fascinating and generally even-handed look at a complex situation that as yet has not come close to being resolved.

Tuesday 16th November at 8pm
Memories of Murder [Salinui chueok]     USA 2003  |  130 mins  |  15
After the body of a woman is found in a field, the mismatched team of rough local cop Hee-bong Koo and thoughtful city investigator Tae-yun Seo are assigned to investigate. The process is repeatedly frustrated by police incompetence, press sensationalising and Koo's aggressive attitude to suspects. With Korean crime dramas increasingly finding an international audience and starting to create their own distinct identity, Joon-Ho Bong's stylish, compelling mix of realistic drama and broad character comedy is being hailed as one of this emerging genre's best yet. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 23rd November at 8pm
A Silence Between Two Thoughts [Sokoote beine do fekr]     Iran 2003  |  95 mins  |  PG
In an impoverished village close to the border between Iran and Afghanistan, an executioner is ordered to spare the life of a young, condemned woman on the grounds that she is a virgin, then to marry and deflower her in order that the execution might then take place. Babak Payami's follow-up to the excellent Secret Ballot is an almost minimalist look at the dark side of religious fanaticism, resulting it its immediate banning by the Iranian authorities, who siezed the negative and briefly imprisoned the director. The version being shown here has been assembled from a combination of smuggled film and video prints.

Saturday 30th November at 4pm     SPECIAL SCREENING – Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski
Aguirre: The Wrath of God     West Germany / Peru / Mexico 1972  |  100 mins  |  PG
Possibly Werner Herzog's greatest achievement, this stunningly realised, hypnotic film follows the expedition of conquistador Gonzalo Pizarro, who in 1560 led a party into the Peruvian forests in search of the fabled El Dorado. Strikingly photographed and featuring one of the most beautiful scores in film history (by Popol Vuh), this is cinema at its most spellbinding, and features Klaus Kinski's most compelling performance for the director, and of his career.

Tuesday 30th November at 8pm
Uzak     Turkey 2003  |  110 mins  |  15
Recovering alcoholic Kathy lives alone in a house with a distant view of the California shoreline. When she falls behind on her taxes and ignores the warnings from the county offices, her house is put up for auction and bought by Iranian immigrant Massoud, an ex-colonel from the Shah's air force who has fallen on harder times. Both parties need this house for differing reasons, and both feel they have rightful ownership of it. An involving, even-handed drama with a light directorial touch, two strong central performances from Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly, and a rarity for a modern American movie: a sympathetic portrait of an Iranian struggling to make ends meet.

Tuesday 7th December at 8pm
The Story of the Weeping Camel     Germany / Mongolia 2003  |  90 mins  |  U
Combining drama with documentary, The Story of the Weeping Camel follows the efforts of a herding family in the Gobi desert as they attempt to hand-rear a new-born camel calf after it is rejected by its mother. Dismissing the idea of calling in a veterinary doctor when the calf does not respond, the family search for a more traditional, yet highly unusual cure. Directors Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falomi use this simple concept to create a poignant study of a way of life that is both harsh in its day-to-day detail and yet stirring in its simple traditionalism, revealing much about a way of life little known in the west.

Tuesday 14th December at 8pm
Fahrenheit 9/11     USA 2004  |  122 mins  |  15
Having enraged the American right with his hugely successful documentary Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore does it again with what has been widely acclaimed as his finest film to date. This time, just in case you haven't heard, his target is the failings of Bush administration following the tragic events of the fateful date of the title. Again using humour as a weapon but with a more focused and tightly constructed approach than in Bowling, Moore combines telling interviews and documentation with archive and news footage to incisively question the very notion of what many Americans have come to regard as freedom.