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Winter 2006 season

Tuesday 10th January at 8pm
Howl's Moving Castle     Japan 2004  |  119 mins  |  U
Master animator Hayao Miyazaki follows up his hugely successful Spirited Away with another beguiling and magical fantasy, this time based on British writer Diana Wynne Jones’s 1986 book of the same name. The tale of young Sophie, who is transformed into an ancient crone by Howl, a wizard who resides and travels in the moving castle of the title, is used by Miyazaki to explore the experience of being both young and old, and not always with the expected conclusions. As ever, the design and animation are exsquisite, with Miyazaki's famed attention to small detail in evidence throughout. We will be screening the film in its original Japanese language version, with English subtitles.

Tuesday 17th January at 8pm
Le Grand Voyage     France / Morocco 2004  |  108 mins  |  PG
17-year-old, irreligious Reda, a Frenchman of Moroccan descent, reluctantly agrees to drive his sternly Muslim father 3000 miles from France to Mecca so that the older man can make the hajj before he dies. Inititially poles apart, the two men begin to learn from and understand each other, despite their many differences. the first feature from Moroccan-born TV director Ismaël Ferroukhi is a compelling, well acted and refreshingly unsentimental road movie and coming-of-age drama, sometimes breathtakingly shot and particularly remarkable for its climactic scenes, which were actually shot in Mecca at the height of the hajj.

Tuesday 24th January at 8pm
Night Watch [Nochnoy dozor]     Russia 2004  |  114 mins  |  15
In modern day Moscow, living alongside normal humans are the 'Others', those with supernatural powers who are devided into the forces of dark and light, the fomer ruling the night as vampires, while a small band of the latter, known as the Night Watch. attempt to control their activities. Russian cinema may not be known primarily for its stlistic, big budget fantasy films, but Night Watch is set to change all that. The first part of a proposed trilogy based on the cult novels by Sergei Lukyanenko, the film is a stylistic genre treat, a huge success in its native country and a work that demands to be seen on the cinema screen.

Tuesday 31st January at 8pm
The Constant Gardener     UK 2005  |  129 mins  |  15
  When an activist is murdered in a remote area of Northern Kenya, her widower Justin bypasses the official enquiry to launch his own investigation into his wife's death, and uncovers more than he ever bargained for. Based on the novel by John Le Carré and directed by City of God's Fernando Meirelles, The Constant Gardener unfolds as a gripping melding of political thriller and social and personal drama, and features two superb central performances from Ralph Feinnes and Rachel Weisz.

Tuesday 7th February at 8pm
Last Days     USA 2005  |  97 mins  |  15
  Introspective, drug addicted rock star Blake, who is buckling under the pressures of fame and the demands of his industry, disappears from professional life and hides out in his crumbling mansion, where he begins a slow drift into melancholic deline. A fictionalised reading of the finals days of Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain, the latest film from Gus Van Sant develops the single-take, observational technique he first used to such effect in Elephant to produce a film that is both stylistically and thematically similar, and every bit as challenging and hypnotic as a movie experience.

Tuesday 14th February at 8pm
The Mighty Celt     Ireland 2005  |  82 mins  |  15
  In present day Belfast, 14-year-old Donal spends many of his after-school hours working at a kennel run by cruel dog-owner Good Joe, and takes on the task of training one dog, which he names The Mighty Celt, to be a race winner. Joe's mother, meanwhile, is revisited by her ex-lover. a former Provo who has been allowed to return to Northern Ireland under the terms of the peace agreement. Billed as “the first post-conflict film to come out of Northern Ireland,” The Mighty Celt is a thoroughly engaging drama in the mould of Ken Loach's Kes, impressively handled by debut feature director Pearse Elliott and featuring fine performances from young Tyrone McKenna, Robert Carlyle and The X Files' Gillian Anderson.

Tuesday 21st February at 8pm
A History of Violence     USA 2005  |  96 mins  |  18
  When his small-town restaurant becomes the target of two vicious criminals, respected family man Tom Stall is forced to take violent action to foil the attemted robbery. Hailed as a hero by local people, the incident kicks off an unexpected chain of events that open unwelcome doors to Tom's own past. based on the graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke and directed by David Cronenberg, the horror maestro of The Fly and eXistenZ who has more recently moved into complex psychological territory with the likes of Crash and Spider, A History of Violence is a deeply thoughful but disturbing examination of the power of violence to shape and destroy lives. Brilliantly directed and with uniformly excellent performances, this is a tense and sometimes very violent film, but one with a searing sense of purpose and reason to its method.

Tuesday 28th February at 8pm
The Beat That My Heart Skipped [De battre mon coeur s’est arrêté]     France 2005  |  108 mins  |  15
  Tom, a young thug who makes his living by violently intimidating tenants or deterring potential squatters from properties bought for development, secretly dreams of escaping this world and becoming a classic pianist, reviving the talent he had once displayed as a teenager. It is rare that a remake can be held up as a match for the original, but such is the case here with Jacques Audiard's superb reworking of James Toback's 1978 indie favourite Fingers, a stylish, provocative and compelling work that boasts a superb central performance from Romain Duris, already being hailed as one of the key actors of his generation.

Tuesday 7th March at 8pm
Primer     USA 2004  |  77 mins  |  12A
  In their spare time, four young scientists employed by a major research company work in their garage to develop new technologies, but in the process accidentally create a machine that allows them to send objects back through time. Made for a budget of just $7,000 by one-time engineer Shane Curruth (who also starred, edited and composed the score), Primer takes this central concept and, like Darren Aronovsky's Pi, runs down a number of unexpected alleys with it, in the process creating a deliciously head-spinning, low-tech science fiction film that is destined to have cult status stamped all over it.

Tuesday 14th January at 8pm
Bombón el Perro     Argentina / Spain 2004  |  97 mins  |  15
  In modern day Argentina, Juan is a 52-year-old unemployed mechanic who scrapes a living selling home-made knives. One day he is given a top breed dog named Bombón, and embarks on a circuit of dog shows with the ambition of making bigger money in the stud market, but Bombón is not the ladies' dog Juan was hoping for. With hints of Christopher Guest's mockumentary Best in Show, Bombón el Perro is a gently comedic delight, a tale of friendship and the nature of machismo and featuring the best comic timing you'll see from an animal all year.

Tuesday 21st March at 8pm
Murderball     USA 2005  |  85 mins  |  15
  A title that suggests a violent futuristic thriller is actually a nickname for the real sport of full contact wheelchair rugby, a brutal, take-no-prisoners game that is the subject for this superb documentary, which focusses US team and their fiercely committed participants as the prepare for the 2004 paralympics. This is no sentimental study of triumph over adversity, but a powerful and fascinating insight into a world in which the participants are driven as much by anger, old grudges and bitter rivalry as by traditional notions of sportsmanship.

Tuesday 28th March at 8pm
Tickets     Italy / UK / Iran 2005  |  109 mins  |  15
  Three of Europe's leading independent film-makers collaborate on a three-story film revolving around a single train journey from Austria to Rome. Italian director Ermanno Olmi has an ageing biochemist daydreaming about a neautiful woman who has helped him, Iranian maestro Abbas Kiarostami introduces us to an overbearing middles aged woman who treats everyone she encounters with disrespect, while our own Ken Loach follows three young Celtic fans on their way to a Champions League match. All three stories make for engaging viewing, but it is Loach's finale, scripted by regular collaborator Paul Laverty and starring Sweet Sixteen's Martin Compston, that steals the film.

Tuesday 4th April at 8pm
The Sun [Solntse]     Russia / France / Italy / Switzerland 2005  |  115 mins  |  15
  The third part of a planned teralogy by Alexander Sokurov (Mother and Son, Russian Ark), following his films on Hitler (Mololoch, 1999) and Lenin (Telets, 2001) focusses on Japanese Emperor Hirohito at the end of the war, as he contemplates Japan's defeat and his surrender to general Douglas MacArthur. As with Oliver Hirschbiegel's Downfall, Sokurov de-iconises his central character and attempts to get at the human being behind the image, a man devastated by the destruction inflicted on his country and now isolated and vulnerable in the face of the occupying forces, communicated powerfully by Issey Ogata’s compelling central performance.

Tuesday 11th April at 8pm
Familia Rodante     Argentina / Brazil / France / Germany / Spain / UK  |  103 mins  |  15
  Master animator hayao Miyazaki follows up his hugely successful Spirited Away with another beguiling and magical fantasy, this time based on British writer Diana Wynne Jones’s 1986 book of the same name. The tale of young Sophie, who is transformed into an ancient crone by Howl, a wizard who resides and travels in the moving castle of the title, is used by Miyazaki to explore the experience of being both young and old, and not always with the expected conclusions. As ever, the design and animation are exsquisite, with Miyazaki's famed attention to small detail in evidence throughout. We will be screening the film in its original Japanese language version, with English subtitles.