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Spring 2008 season

Tuesday 8th April at 8pm
Brick Lane     UK 2007  |  101 mins  |  15
After being married off to the overbearing Chanu, 17-year-old Bangladeshi Nazneen is forced to leave her native village and raise her family in a run down housing estate in London's Tower Hamlets. A hard worker who misses her home country, her view of the world is changed following the 9/11 World Trade Centre attacks. Monica Ali's Booker Prize-nominated and widely read novel comes to the screen under the guidance of first-time feature director Sarah Gavron, who together with lead actress Tannishtha Chatterjee creates a sensitive and optimistic study of a young woman's coming of age.

Tuesday 15th April at 8pm
No Country for Old Men     USA 2007  |  122 mins  |  15
This has to be a first for us, screening a film that won both the Best Film and Best Director Oscars, but when that film is made by a back-on-form Joel and Ethan Coen all bets are off. When reserved Vietnam veteran Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles on the bloody aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong he decides to keep the cash, but soon finds himself hunted by sympathetic sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) and a highly dangerous and remorseless assassin, an Oscar-winning performance from Spanish actor Javier Bardem. Tense, humorous, beautifully shot and played, this could be the Coens' best film to date.

Tuesday 22nd April at 8pm
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly [Le Scaphandre et le papillon]     France / USA 2007  |  112 mins  |  12A
Jean-Dominique Bauby is a 43-year-old playboy fashion magazine editor at the height of his wealth and happiness when he suffers a stroke that leaves him almost completely paralysed, able to communicate only through the blinking of one eye. Adapted from Bauby's own true-life memoirs by veteran screenwriter Ronald Harwood and directed by painter and Basquiat director Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is an unsentimental but deeply moving film that asks us to see Bauby's radically changed world through his eyes. Featuring a superb, César-winning performance from Mathieu Amalric as Bauby and fine supporting performances from Jean-Pierre Cassel and Max von Sydow.

Tuesday 29th April at 8pm
Silent Light [Stellet licht]     Mexico / France / Netherlands / Germany 2007  |  142 mins  |  15
Johan is a hard working farmer in a Mexican Mennonite community with a loving wife and children. Tensions build when this deeply religious family man begins an affair with the unattached Marianne, a breaking of family vows that provides him with a moral torment and starts the family on the road to tragedy. The fourth film from Japón director Carlos Reygadas is a slowly paced but haunting work whose sometimes minimalist and poetic approach to storytelling rewards the initially required patience and becomes strangely compelling. A visually breathtaking film, thanks to the camerawork of Alexis Zabe, with the arresting opening and closing images attracting particular praise.

Tuesday 6th May at 8pm
Kenny     Australia 2006  |  100 mins  |  15
Australian Kenny Smyth has a philosophical outlook and an upbeat approach to his life and work, which involves installing portaloos for public events for the company Splashdown. Clayton Jacobson's film follows him over a period of several months as he deals with his job, his cantankerous father, his hostile ex-wife and a burgeoning romance with an air hostess he meets on a business trip to Nashville. Although successfully sold as the real deal on its first release, Kenny is actually a comedy mockumentary in the This is Spinal Tap mould and is a joy from start to finish, a surprisingly touching portrait of a man and his work, with a winning performance by Shane Jacobson as Kenny. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 13th April at 8pm
When the Road Bends: Tales of a Gypsy Caravan     USA 2006  |  110 mins  |  PG
Five Romani musical troupes from four countries (Romania, Spain, India and Macedonia) embark on a 'Gypsy Caravan Tour' of North America in 2001. Combining on-stage performances with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, Jasmine Dellal's lively and uplifting documentary challenges common perceptions of Romani culture and music and celebrates its diversity and richness. Co-photographed by legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles and featuring a memorable performance from Macedonian 'Queen of the Gypsies' Esma Redzepova, it's the music that's the star here, and it shines.

Tuesday 20th May at 8pm
I'm Not There     USA / Germany 2007  |  135 mins  |  15
No-one was expecting Todd Haynes, the director of such offbeat works as [Safe], Velvet Goldmine and Far From Heaven to make a straightforward biopic of legendary singer Bob Dylan, but I'm Not There still caught most by surprise. Haynes presents us with six different aspects of the singer's professional life and personality in which he is played by six different actors, including Richard Gere, Christian Bale, the late Heath Ledger and, most startlingly and uncannily, Cate Blanchett. The resulting film is both challenging and rewarding, a complete rewriting of the biopic rules and a fascinating and unique film experience.

Tuesday 27th May at 8pm
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford     USA 2007  |  160 mins  |  15
And for our second break with convention for this season, a western starring Hollywood heart-throb Brad Pitt. But The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is not your usual Brad Pitt film, or your usual western. In the hands of Andrew Dominik, the New Zealand director responsible for Australian gangland biopic Chopper, the final months of the legendary outlaw's life become a brooding study in the dangers of hero-worship and the fragility of celebrity. Beautifully shot by Coen Brothers regular Roger Deakins and with fine support from Casey Affleck as Robert Ford and Sam Shepard as Frank James. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 3rd June at 8pm
Half Moon [Niwemang]     Austria / France / Iran / Iraq 2006  |  101 mins
Following the fall of Saddam Hussein, celebrated Kurdish-Iranian musician Mamo is invited to perform in Iraq for the first time in 37 years. He teams up with old friend Kako, borrows a school bus and heads for the border, picking up his 10 musician sons and a female singer en route; but the group's journey to Iraq is not destined to be an easy one. The latest film from talented Kurdish-Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi of A Time for Drunken Horses and Turtles Can Fly, Half Moon is an engaging and unusual road movie whose exploration of social issues is lightened by its engaging central character and a warm dose of sometimes dark humour.

Tuesday 10th June at 8pm
The Savages     USA 2007  |  113 mins  |  15
Sibling rivalry takes centre stage when long-suffering office temp with playwright ambitions, Wendy Savage, has to work with her self-centred university professor brother Jon to take care of their ageing father Lenny after he develops vascular dementia. A well observed and involving drama that does not shy away from the uncomfortable aspects of Lenny's condition or the difficulties of caring for him, The Savages succeeds due in no small part to a pair of excellent central performances from Laura Linney (as good here as she was in last year's Jindabyne) and the always remarkable Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Tuesday 17th June at 8pm
Opera Jawa     Indonesia / Austria 2006  |  120 mins  |  12A
A film like no other this season, Opera Jawa transforms a traditional Indonesian tragedy into a visually and aurally startling musical that blends dance, costume, song, music and art to hypnotic effect. The story of a marriage tested by desire and jealousy is played out against a range of striking sets and locations via some fabulous cinematography and choreography. The result is a strange, surrealistic but unique and unforgettable audio-visual experience.

Tuesday 24th June at 8pm
4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days [4 luni, 3 saptamâni si 2 zile]     Romania 2007  |  113 mins  |  15
The rise of Romanian cinema continues with this utterly compelling, brilliantly performed record of a few crucial hours in the life of Otilia, who is under pressure from her boyfriend to attend a dinner at his parents, at the very same time she has promised to accompany her university roommate Gabita on an arranged appointment for an illegal abortion. The first part of a planned trilogy on Romania's Communist era, Cristian Mungiu's extraordinary, emotionally powerful drama features a superb performance by rising star Anamaria Marinca (BAFTA winner for the TV drama Sex Traffic) as Otilia. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 1st July at 8pm
Still Life [Sanxia haoren]     China / Hong Kong 2006  |  111 mins  |  PG
In the ancient Chinese town of Fenjgie, which is in the process of being reconstructed as part of China's Three Gorges dam-building project, coal miner Han arrives in search of a wife who left him 16 years earlier, while nurse Shen is searching for her engineer husband, who she now fears has found another woman. Blurring the barrier between drama and documentary, director Jia Zhanke (Platform, Unknown Pleasures) paints a picture of modern China in which communism and capitalism are working in negative disharmony. Featuring a strong performance by Zhao Tao as Shen and some moments of unexpected surrealism, Still Life is a quietly compelling meditation on a country in a state of change. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 8th July at 8pm
The Golden Door [Nuovomondo]     Italy / France 2006  |  118 mins  |  PG
In early 20th Century Sicily, hard-up farmer Salvatore has his eye on America, a land where he believes his fortune can be made. Selling everything he owns, he gathers his extended family together and embarks on a long and argumentative journey to the New World. But once on board ship his life is set to change when he meets mysterious Englishwoman Lucy, who is looking for a potential husband to secure her entry to America. Part historical drama and part allegory, The Golden Door is a handsomely staged and compellingly performed trans-oceanic odyssey that builds to an unsentimental depiction of just what life was like for the early immigrants arriving at Ellis Island.