Sat 23rd September
Habemus Papam (We have a Pope)
Nonni Moretti Italian/French 2011 Michel Piccoli, Nanni Moretti
Who wants to be a Pope? Absolutely nobody, according to this amusing, warm-hearted film in which the Vatican Cardinals horrify an 86-year-old colleague by electing him Pope. Traumatised, the new Pope flees the Vatican and finds brief anonymity in the streets of Rome before he is hunted down by Vatican officials. Whilst the film is gently satirical, it’s also a nuanced study of a man grappling with a profound sense of inadequacy. A great opportunity to brush up on your knowledge of Vatican politics.
Sat 7th October
Saim Sadiq Pakistan 2022 Ali Junejo, Rasti Farooq, Alina Khan, Sarwat Gilani, Salmaan Peerzada, Sohail Sameer, Sania Saeed
This Cannes prize winner was one of the most widely acclaimed films of 2022. It’s set in Lahore in a cramped apartment near an amusement park named ‘Joyland’. Presiding over his large family is Abba, an elderly widower who is relieved to hear that his wayward son, Haider, has finally found a job – supposedly as a theatre manager. What he doesn’t know is that the son is actually a backing dancer in an erotic dance club and that he’s fallen in love with Biba, the trans-gender star of the show.
Sat 28th October
Manuela Martelli Chile 2022 Aline Kuppenheim, Alejandro Goic, Hugo Medina, Nicolas Sepulveda, Antonia Zegers, Marcial Tagle, Amalia Kassai
A particularly thrilling example of the genre known as ‘Chilean anti-fascist-noir’ created by a group of film directors who were trying to evoke the terror of the Pinochet era and the way the dictatorship was a pervasive presence infiltrating all corners of society.
Sat 11th November
I am Not a Witch
Rungano Nyoni UK, France, Germany, Zambia 2017 Henry B.J. Phiri, Gloria Huwiler, Maggia Mulubwa, Nellie Munamonga
In a remote Zambian village, a nine-year-old orphan girl is accused of being a witch and is given a choice. Either she can be turned into a goat and eaten or become a slave in a travelling ‘witch camp’. She opts for the latter. Part fairy tale, part vivid surrealist pageant, the film sways between comedy and tragedy – achieved in part by contrasting modern Zambia with the superstitions of the past.
Sat 25th November
A Touch of Class
Melvin Frank UK 1973 Glenda Jackson, George Segal. Hildegarde Neil, Paul Sorvino, K. Callan
George Segal and Glenda Jackson star in this sophisticated 1970s rom-com. A chance encounter in a London park results in an affair between a happily divorced English mother of two and a happily married American father of two. The couple fly off to Marbella together anticipating a rollicking week of sex. But personality differences subvert libidinal desires and eroticism gives way to farce.
Sat 9th December
Birds of Passage
Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra Colombia 2018 Carmiña Martínez, Natalia Reyes, José Acosta
Brimming with powerful images and ideas, this extraordinary film is a poetic re-imagining of the rise of Colombia’s marijuana trade over a timespan of twenty years. The story focuses entirely on the world of the producers and suppliers in a patchwork of dream-like sequences.
Sat 13th January
The Painter and the Thief
Benjamin Ree Norway 2020 Barbora Kysilkova, Karl-Bertil Nordland
This wonderfully immersive, prize-winning documentary tells the story of a thief who stole two paintings from an Oslo art gallery. The artist, Barbara Kysilkova, asked the thief why he stole them. “Because they were beautiful,” he replied. On his release from prison, Kysilkova painted a portrait of the thief, a close friendship developed and the result is an emotionally electric documentary, as absorbing as any fiction.
Sat 27th January
Debra Granik USA 2010 Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Kevin Braznahan
Another major prize winner and another ‘film noir’. This time it’s ‘hillbilly-gangster-realist-noir’ and hailed by some as a ‘back-woods classic’. In a run-down shack deep in the Ozark Mountains, 17-year-old Dolly struggles to cope with her two younger siblings, her mentally absent mother and her physically absent father. Dolly’s dogged quest to find him is constantly frustrated by the guilty refusals of her tight-lipped relatives to help her. Though the story is bleak, the mood is lifted by beautiful mountain music and by Dolly’s unflinching moral determination.
Sat 10th February
The Banshees of Inisherin
Martin McDonagh Ireland 2022 Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan
Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, the lovable hitmen in “In Bruges” are together again in a film which is unarguably the funniest of our season. Troubles erupt on a tiny Irish island when Colm (Gleeson) decides to end his lifelong friendship with dim and puppy-like Padraig (Farrell) in order to improve his fiddle-playing and drink pints with someone else.
Half Term 12th 16th February
Sat 2nd March
Gastón Duprat, Mariano Cohn Spain 2021 Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, Oscar Martinez
A delightfully wicked satire of narcissism in the movie business. A kookie director, hilariously played by Penelope Cruz, devises ludicrous strategies to encourage her two lead actors to deliver ‘truthful’ performances. The tension between the three produces some great moments of comedy displaying the pretentiousness of those whose profession is pretence itself. Unmissable.
Sat 16th March
Talking About Trees
Suhaib Gasmelbari Sudan 2019 Ibrahim Shadad, Manar Al Hilo, Suleiman Mohamed Ibrahim, Altayeb Mahdi
In 1989, a military coup triggered the collapse of the film industry in Sudan and most of the country’s cinemas closed. This moving and witty documentary follows the efforts of four elderly Sudanese men – all film-makers in their previous lives – to re-open a neglected cinema near Khartoum.
Easter is Sun 31st March 2024
Sat 6th April
Asghar Farhadi French/Italian/Iranian 2013 Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa
From the director of the acclaimed ‘A Separation’ comes another intensely dramatic family drama. A meticulously crafted screenplay produces a complex web of revelations about the past lives of the characters, and a whirlwind of emotions is provoked.
Sat 20th April
Charles Walters USA 1956 Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra
You’re sensational! Who wants to be a millionaire? Mind if I make love to you? Now you has Jazz! Yes, our crime, drugs, and misery-free final film stars Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Louis Armstrong and his Band! Well, did you evah?