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Spring 2016 season

Tuesday 5 April at 8pm
The Assassin [Nie yin niang]     Taiwan / China / Hong Kong / France 2015  |  105 mins  |  12A
Back in the turbulent days of China's Tang Dynasty, young Nie Yinniang is abducted from her home province and trained to be a skilled assassin. Years later, she returns with orders to kill local governor Lord Tian Ji'an, who is also her cousin, but finds the task is not as simple as her schooling has led her to expect. In The Assassin, master Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien (Café Lumière, Three Times) creates a thoughtful, humanistic and visually stunning work that blends wuxia action into an involving emotional drama to arresting effect.

Tuesday 12 April at 8pm
Janis: Little Girl Blue    USA 2015  |  103 mins  |  15
In the wake of Asif Kapadia's Oscar-winning documentary portrait of Amy Winehouse (screened by us last September) comes director Amy J. Berg's equally enthralling study of another great female voice who died tragically young, hugely talented 60s star Janis Joplin. Made with the full cooperation of the singer's estate and her younger siblings, Janis: Little Girl Blue provides a fascinating insight into the private life of this iconic artist through a wealth of archive material, interviews and Joplin's own letters, entrancingly voiced by singer/songwriter Cat Power.

Tuesday 19 April at 8pm
Tangerines [Mandariinid]    Estonia / Georgia 2013  |  87 mins  |  15
In 1992 in the midst of the Abkhazian civil war, tangerine farmer Margus and his friend Ivo have yet to flee the fighting, delaying their departure until Margus's lucrative crop can be harvested. When a nearby skirmish leaves a single soldier from each side of the conflict seriously wounded, Margus and Ivo take them in and have to act as mediators between the still hostile combatants. Director Zaza Urushadze's intelligent, gripping and deeply humanist anti-war drama is the first Estonian film to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

Tuesday 26 April at 8pm
Black Souls [Anime nere]     Italy / France 2014  |  90 mins  |  15
In a region of Italy controlled by the mafia-like 'Ndrangheta, three brothers with differing outlooks on life – drug trafficker Luigi, corrupt businessman Rocco and older farmer Luciano – return to their ancestral home, where a family feud threatens to escalate into all-out war. Director Francesco Munzi's slow-burn study of a criminal clan in the process of gradual self-destruction has been praised for its focus on character and authenticity over scene-stealing action. It also won 9 major prizes at Italy's David di Donatello Awards in 2015, including Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director.

Tuesday 3 May at 8pm
The Dance of Reality [La danza de la realidad]      France / Chile 2013  |  133 mins  |  18
For his first feature film in 23 years, cult Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain) turns his camera on himself to create a mystical and poetic re-imagination of his own childhood, and relationship with his opera-singing mother and his strict and staunchly communist father. A semi-autobiographical recollection of boyhood filtered through adult surrealist sensibilities, The Dance of Reality is a richly imaginative delight, a coming-of-age tale enlivened by the director's playful approach and the magical realism of its execution.

Tuesday 10 May at 8pm
Lee Scratch Perry's Vision of Paradise     Germany / UK / Switzerland / Jamaica / Ethiopia 2015  |  100 mins
Lee 'Scratch' Perry is a legendary figure in the development and international popularity of reggae music. An innovative producer who worked with the likes of Bob Marley, The Congos and Junior Murvin, he was a pioneer in the development of dub music and later worked with artists as diverse as Paul McCartney and The Clash. Rather than create a straight documentary on Perry's career, director Volker Schaner delivers a kaleidoscopic portrait of his life and world view, one that both captures and reflects Perry's own lively eccentricity and multi-faceted talent.

Tuesday 17 May at 8pm
Rams [Hrútar]    Iceland / Denmark / Norway / Poland 2015  |  93 mins  |  15
Gummi and Kiddi are neighbouring sheep farmers in a remote Icelandic valley district. They are also brothers, yet an unspecified event in their past means they've not exchanged a single word with each other in 40 years. But when an outbreak of scrapie sees a mass cull of sheep in the district ordered, both men look to take drastic measures to protect their beloved flocks. Icelandic documentary filmmaker Grímur Hákonarson's second dramatic feature starts as a wryly amusing portrait of sibling rivalry but develops into a moving social realist drama, one whose underlying themes are universal in nature.

Tuesday 24 May at 8pm
The Lesson [Urok]     Bulgaria / Greece 2014  |  106 mins  |  15
In a small Bulgarian town, young teacher Nadezhda is determined to expose the thief in her class, but when her husband's financial irresponsibility lands her in debt to a local loan shark, she is forced to contemplate what measures she might take to prevent her own financial ruin. The first dramatic feature from writer-directors Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov is a tense, compelling and impressively fat-free drama in the Dardenne brothers mould, bolstered by an excellent central performance from Margita Gosheva as Nadezhda.

Tuesday 31 May at 8pm
Bastards     Morocco 2014  |  80 mins  |  12A
Despite not being of legal age, Moroccan Rabha El Haimer was shipped off by her family when she was just 14 to be married to her cousin. Raped, abused and falsely accused of adultery, she fled her marriage and kicked against family and cultural tradition in order to fight to have her young child legitimised in the eyes of a prejudicial state. Award-winning TV documentary producer Deborah Perkin's tense and emotionally affecting film follows Rabha's bold and sometimes punishing legal struggle, and in the process shines a light on the appalling inequalities that still blight this still strongly patriarchal society.

Tuesday 7 June at 8pm
The Crow's Egg [Kaakkaa Muttai]]    India 2014  |  91 mins  |  PG
Two pre-teen brothers who live in the slums of the Tamil Nadu capital city of Chennai discover that a pizza shop is soon to be built on the vacant lot on which they regularly play, and set their sights on raising the money they will need to try this magical new food. Told exclusively from the boys' viewpoint, The Crow's Egg walks a delicate line between social commentary and character-driven delight and never falters, thanks in no small part to the delicate touch of director/cinematographer M. Manikandan and two winning central performances from young newcomers J. Vignesh and Ramesh Thilaganathan.

Tuesday 14 June at 8pm
Trumbo     USA 2015  |  124 mins  |  15
Dalton Trumbo may have been one of the most talented and successful screenwriters in Hollywood, but his socialist beliefs still made him a target of the House Un-American Activities Committee during the post- WW2 McCarthy witch hunts, which resulted in him being blacklisted. Trumbo explores this dark period of modern American history through Trumbo's own story, from rising star to secret screenwriter via his work on such films as Spartacus and Roman Holiday. Directed by Jay Roach, the film features Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston in the title role, and a strong suppporting cast that includes Helen Mirren, John Goodman and Diane Lane.