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Winter 2008 season

Tuesday 8th January at 8pm
Sicko     USA 2007  |  123 mins  |  12A
Having reinvigorated the political documentary with his Oscar-winning Bowling for Columbine in 2002 and launched a Palme D'Or winning all-out assault on George W. Bush's presidency in 2004's Fahrenheit 9/11, writer director and campaigner Michael Moore now turns his guns on the American health care system and the sometimes unscrupulous behaviour of the insurance companies its patients rely on. Employing his trademark blend of humour and dogged persistence, Moore paints a moving, deeply troubling picture of a system that is failing many of those it is designed to care for, prompting many to champion Sicko as his best film yet.

Tuesday 15th January at 8pm
Day Watch [Dnevnoy dozor]     Russia 2006  |  132 mins  |  15
Timur Bekmambetov's 2006 Night Watch was not only one of the most interesting vampire movies to hit the screens in some time, it also proved that the Russian film industry is now geared to take on Hollywood at its own game. This sequel, the second part of a promised trilogy, develops on the first film's ideas and characters to compelling effect. The result is a more complex, fully developed and visually spectacular follow-up, as the battle between the forces of vampire dark and light hots up and Bekmambetov shows us just why Hollywood studios have been so keen to sign him up to helm their own projects.

Tuesday 22nd January at 8pm
Eastern Promises     UK / Canada / USA 2007  |  100 mins  |  18
When a young Russian girl dies giving birth in a London hospital, midwife Anna goes in search of the girl's living relatives, and finds herself caught up in the dark dealings of a group of violent Russian gangsters known as the Vory Z Zakone brotherhood. This latest film from Canadian former body-horror specialist David Cronenberg returns him to the location of his 2002 Spider but has more in common with his previous film A History of Violence in its frank portrayal of the brutality of the London underworld. Featuring typically strong performances from Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel, Armin Mueller-Stahl and, as the gang's ice-cold hit man Nikolai, Viggo Mortensen.

Tuesday 29th January at 8pm
Once     Ireland 2006  |  85 mins  |  15
A singer/songwriter who works in a shop by day and busks on the streets of Dublin at night meets a young Czech immigrant with a passion for music, and as they work together on a demo disc that will hopefully land them a recording contract, their relationship moves beyond that of simple friendship. A straightforward sounding story becomes a springboard for a delightful offbeat musical in which the infectious songs, all written by lead players Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, are not just enjoyable decoration but integral to the plot and characters. A hit with audiences worldwide, it was the winner of the Audience Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Tuesday 5th February at 8pm
Control     UK / USA / Australia / Japan 2007  |  121 mins  |  15
The most requested film from this season has already built itself a reputation as one of the finest musical biopics of all time. The story of Ian Curtis, the fated lead singer with Manchester's Joy Division, has been vividly captured by former rock photographer Anton Corbijn (whose images of Joy Division are among the most famous) and Martin Ruhe's gorgeous black-and-white cinematography. The casting is close to perfect, with Sam Riley uncannily capturing the Curtis's unique look and on-stage presence, matched all the way by Samantha Morton as his long suffering wife Deborah. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 12th February at 8pm
12:08 East of Bucharest [A fost sau n-a fost?]     Romania 2006  |  89 mins  |  15
Sixteen years after the revolution that saw Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu flee the country, schoolteacher Manescu and the elderly Piscosi, two residents of the small Romanian town of Vaslui, appear on a TV talk show to discuss how the revolution played out in their community, a debate that starkly divides opinion amongst the townspeople. The Camera D'or winner for best first film at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, 12:08 East of Bucharest is a gently comic satirical delight and a wryly amusing re-examination of probably the key event in modern Romanian history. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 19th February at 8pm
Yella     Germany 2007  |  89 mins  |  12A
East German migrant Yella flees her abusive husband to start a new life in Hanova, where she finds work through venture capitalist Philipp. She adapts well to her new world, but becomes increasingly uneasy when she discovers that there is a darker side to Philipp's dealings and when her own troubled past shows signs of catching up with her. The latest film from German director Christian Petzold is a creepily atmospheric blend of boardroom drama and psychological thriller, whose complex substructure and multiple meanings are likely to prompt discussion long after the film has concluded. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 26th February at 8pm
The Witnesses [Les témoins]     France 2007  |  115 mins  |  15
In 1984 Paris, the lives of four friends are dramatically affected when one of them contracts a previously unknown but potentially fatal and untreatable virus. The latest film from Alice et Martin director André Téchiné looks back at the emergence of the AIDS virus in France and the impact it had on the thinking and lifestyles of the young of the time, whatever their sexual orientation. Briskly paced and strikingly photographed, The Witnesses is a compelling and moving affirmation of life that leaves more internationally famous attempts to explore the subject such as Philadelphia in the shade.

Tuesday 4th March at 8pm
Blame it on Fidel [La Faute à Fidel!]     Italy / France 2006  |  99 mins
It's 1970s Paris and nine-year-old Anna is perfectly content with her bourgeois life, so is anything but happy when her lawyer father and journalist mother decide to make amends for their previous lack of political activism and sell up to throw their support behind Salvador Allende's campaign in Chile. Adapted from Domitilla Calamai's novel and drawing on her own experiences growing up with top political filmmaker Costa-Gavras as her father, daughter Julie fashions a winningly perceptive view of 1970s political radicalism from a disgruntled child's viewpoint, aided by a superb performance from gifted young newcomer Nina Kervel-Bey.

Tuesday 11th March at 8pm
The Singer [Quand j'étais chanteur]     France 2006  |  112 mins  |  12A
Ageing dance-hall singer Alain's life of unadventurous contentment one day takes an unexpected turn when he meets the beautiful and far younger Marion, with whom he strikes up an unexpected and uneasy relationship. Directed by the relatively unknown Xavier Giannoli, The Singer was the surprise hit at the 2006 Cannes festival, a tender and involving love story that repeatedly sidesteps the expected relationship movie clichés and boasts at its centre superb performances from Gérard Depardieu as Alain – his best in years – and Cécile De France as Marion. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 18th March at 8pm
Lunacy [Sílení]     Czech Republic / Slovakia 2005  |  123 mins  |  12A
After witnessing a sacrilegious orgy at the castle of the local Marquis, young drifter Jean is taken to a sanatorium, from which he plans to escape from with the help of young nurse Charlotte. The latest feature by master Czech surrealist Jan Svankmajer (Little Otik) is true to its title, an inspired, challenging and nightmarish surrealistic parable on freedom and control inspired equally by the works of Edgar Allen Poe and the Marquis De Sade. The screening will be introduced by Keith Griffiths, regular producer for both Jan Svankmajer and The Brothers Quay and exacutive producer of next week's film, Syndromes and a Century.

Tuesday 25th Marchat 8pm
Syndromes and a Century [Sang sattawat]     Thailand/France/Austria 2006  |  105 mins  |  12A
If you prefer filmmakers to take an unconventional approach to romance then Syndromes and a Century, the new film from Apichatpong Weerasethakul, director of the beguiling Tropical Malady, could well be for you. Taking as its starting point the faltering relationship of a young female doctor based at a rural hospital, the film tells the same story twice from different perspectives, in the process exploring concepts of reincarnation and Buddhism. The result is a surreal, unusual but gently hypnotic alternative to conventional narrative storytelling. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 1st April at 8pm
Sparkle     UK 2007  |  100 mins  |  15
Twenty-something Sam arrives in London looking to make his fortune, followed by his overbearing mother Jill, who has come to the big city to pursue her dream of becoming a singer. Jill attracts the attention of friendly landlord Vince, while Sam launches into a relationship with his older boss Sheila, but things soon complicate when he meets young, attractive Kate. The latest film from Lawless Heart directors Neil Hunter and Tom Hunsinger follows a more conventional romantic comedy path than its illustrious predecessor and has more than a hint of The Graduate, but delights nonetheless in sharp script and the performances of a winning cast, that includes Shaun Evans, Lesley Manville, Bob Hoskins, Stockard Channing and Amanda Ryan.