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Autumn 2010 season

Tuesday 21st September at 8pm
White Material [Un prophète]     France / Cameroon 2009  |  106 mins  |  15
The white colonial Vials family run a coffee plantation in an unspecified African country that is descending into civil war. As the workers flee and government troops draw near, family matriarch Maria refuses to leave and remains stubbornly determined to bring in this year’s crop. The latest film from Claire Denis, she of Beau Travail and 35 Shots of Rum, returns to the Africa of her childhood and her debut feature Chocolat to create a political drama driven by character and brooding tension, and boasting to two fine performances from Isabelle Huppert as Maria and Christophe Lambert as her ex-husband André.

Tuesday 28th September at 8pm
American: The Bill Hicks Story     USA 2009  |  102 mins  |  15
Bill Hicks was the essence of the artist as an angry young man. A fiercely talented and uncompromising stand-up comedian, he was a Lenny Bruce for the 1990s who attacked his chosen targets – including consumerism, politics, popular culture, religion and media banality – with passion and sometimes furious vigour. American: The Bill Hicks Story traces Hicks’ life and career from his childhood through to his death from pancreatic cancer at the tragically young age of 32. Employing a winning blend of concert footage, animated stills, home movies and commentary by friends and family, the film is a fitting tribute to one of the 20th century’s most singular comic talents. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 5th October at 8pm
Samson and Delilah     Australia 2009  |  101 mins  |  15
Aboriginal teenagers Samson (Rowan McNamara) and Delilah (Marissa Gibson) live in an isolated and impoverished rural desert community near Alice Springs. The directionless Samson sniffs petrol for recreation and has a quiet thing for Delilah, who lives with her artistically talented but frail grandmother. Brought suddenly together by an unexpected act of violence, the two flee the community and head for escape in the big city. The breakthrough film for Aboriginal director Warwick Thornton has been widely hailed as the most poignant, truthful and unsentimental romantic drama of the year, and one of the finest films ever made about the indigenous Australian people.

Tuesday 12th October at 8pm
No One Knows About Persian Cats [Kasi az gorbehaye irani khabar nadareh]     Iran 2009  |  106 mins  |  12A
Iranian indie rock musicians Ashkan and Negar land the chance to play at a concert in London, but in a country where performing and even listening to rock music is banned, how are they to obtain the required passports and visas and recruit new band members? Enter energetic, fast-talking black market dealer Nader, who introduces them to a forger and like minded musicians, all of whom are forced to play in secret in sound-proofed lofts and cellars. The latest film from Turtles Can Fly and Half Moon director Bahman Ghobadi is an eye-opening blend of fact and fiction, recreating the true story of its two lead players and providing an exhilarating trip through Tehran’s thriving and thrillingly diverse underground music scene. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 19th October at 8pm
London River     UK / France / Algeria 2009  |  87 mins  |  15
Hard working protestant Guernsey farmer Elisabeth is devoted to her daughter Jane, who lives in London and after the July 7th bus and tube bombings stops answering her phone. Concerned for her safety, Elisabeth travels to London, where she is contacted by French-speaking African Muslim Ousmane, who has come to the UK in search of his missing son, who appears to have been romantically involved with Jane. French director Rachid Bouchareb uses a still painful true incident to explore the emotional turmoil of those directly affected by it, and the racial and religious prejudice that arose in its aftermath. A subtly powerful and moving film, it benefits greatly from two excellent central performances from Brenda Blethyn and Sotigui Kouyate.

Tuesday 26th October at 8pm
When You're Strange: A Film About The Doors     USA 2009  |  90 mins  |  15
Few rock groups have achieved the enduring cult status of The Doors and their iconic lead singer Jim Morrison, who died of heart failure at the age of just 27 and became the most distinctive poster boy of his generation. Directed by Living in Oblivion’s Tom DiCillo and narrated by Johnny Depp, When You’re Strange tells the band's evolution, from their formation in 1965, to their rise to fame and Morrison’s eventual death. Constructed from hundreds of hours of rarely seen footage of concert, rehearsal, recording session and back stage footage, plus Morrison’s own home movies, the film vividly captures unique appeal of the band and its charismatic and ultimately self-destructive lead singer.

Tuesday 2nd November at 8pm
The Time That Remains [La mujer sin cabeza]     Argentina / France / Italy / Spain 2008  |  87 mins  |  12A
The state of Israel and its relationship with the Palestinian people is the focus of this third film in a loose trilogy from filmmaker Elia Suleiman, following on from his 1996 Chronicle of a Disappearance and the 2002 Divine Intervention. In The Time That Remains, Suleiman draws from his father’s diaries and his mother’s letters to family members who were forced to leave the country, which are combined with the director’s own intimate memories. The film seeks to portray the daily life of those Palestinians who remained and lived as a minority in their own homeland, lacing the drama with deadpan comedy to highlight the absurdity of existence in occupied territory.

Tuesday 9th November at 8pm
La Danse – Le Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris     France / USA 2009  |  159 mins  |  PG
One of the founding fathers of American Direct Cinema, documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman has over the past 43 years built a reputation for compelling and unflinching studies of American institutions (Titicut Follies, Hospital, Basic Training, Meat, and many others). In 2009, at the ripe young age of 79, he turned his attention to the Paris Opera Ballet, capturing them in rehearsal for a total of seven productions in the critical weeks before the opening of their new season. A purely observational work told without narration or interview, La Danse is an enthralling study of the creative process at work, painting an intimate portrait of one of the world’s great dance companies.

Tuesday 16th November at 8pm
Ajami     Germany / Israel 2009  |  120 mins  |  15
In an area of Jaffa where people of differing faiths co-exist, three stories unfold and slowly interweave: Israeli Arab Omar fights to protect his family from murderous extortionists; illegal Palestinian worker Malek struggles to earn money to pay for his mother’s operation; and Israeli cop Dando searches for his missing brother, who may have been killed by the Palestinians. A compelling, multi-stranded and Oscar nominated debut feature from Israeli directors Scandar Copti and Yaron Shaniu, Ajami has been favourably compared to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Amores Perros, and won a number of Israeli Film Academy awards, including Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director.

Tuesday 23rd November at 8pm
24 City [Er shi si cheng ji]     China / Hong Kong / Japan 2008  |  112 mins  |  U
Following on from his 2006 film Still Life, acclaimed filmmaker Jia Zhang Ke's 24 City chronicles the dramatic fall of a State-owned factory and its conversion into a luxury high-rise apartment complex. The film weaves the stories of three generations of factory workers into a revealing history of modern China and a meditation on its physical and psychological transformation. The line between documentary and fiction is blurred as interviews with workers and ex-workers are intercut with acted stories and real-life vignettes of those affected by the closure of the factory. The result is a provocative and moving exploration of how the current political, social and economic changes in China are impacting on those at the bottom of the new social ladder.

Tuesday 30th November at 8pm
Vincere     Italy / France 2009  |  128 mins  |  15
The rise to power of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini is chronicled in this award-winning film from veteran Italian director Marco Bellocchio, which paints a revealing portrait of Mussolini’s first wife, Ida Dalser. Vividly recreating this tumultuous period of 20th Century Italian history, Bellocchio charts in compelling fashion Mussolini’s early years as an activist, his founding of Italian fascism, and his later mistreatment of Ida and their son. Bristling with sometimes striking imagery and boasting at its centre two fine performances from Giovanna Mezzogiorno as Ida and Filippo Timi as Mussolini, Vincere made a big impact on its screening at Cannes last year and was nominated for the Palme D’Or.

Tuesday 7th December at 8pm
Dogtooth [Kynodontas]     Greece 2009  |  94 mins  |  18
Determined to shelter their children from the outside world, a mother and father have created a self-styled utopia within the walls of a secluded compound, where their three children are educated and entertained within a strict and suppressive system of control and misinformation. When the father invites a trusted outsider into the compound to service his now adult son’s growing sexual urges, the delicate domestic balance is disrupted and the protective bubble in which they live begins to implode. Strikingly photographed by Thimios Bakatatakis, this one-of-a-kind work from Greek filmmaker Giorgos Lanthimos is bold, provocative, disturbing, surreal, explicit and even blackly comic, and quite unlike any other film you’re likely to see this year.

Tuesday 14th December at 8pm
Exit Through the Gift Shop     UK / USA 2008  |  87 mins  |  15
In this stylishly constructed film-within-a-film, eccentric French shopkeeper-turned-filmmaker Thierry Guetta becomes fascinated by street art and determined to track down and document Bansky, one of its most famous yet anonymous exponents. When the two meet up, however, the results prove disastrous, and so Banksy takes over the direction of the film and Thierry sets about creating his own series of highly derivative artworks under the street name of Mr. Brainwash. Or does he? The jury’s still out on whether this is documentary material or a cleverly engineered cinematic prank, but it's still a fascinating portrait of the modern street art movement, told with energy and humour by one of its most creative insiders.