A I N F E A T U R E S
• Friday 6 February for 2 weeks
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (12A)
(US 2008) dir. David Fincher 166m. Digital.
Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Taraji P. Henson, Julia Ormond, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas.
This critically acclaimed and award-laden adaptation of an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story finds the director of FIGHT CLUB and ZODIAC at his most original, dynamic and thought-provoking. This beautiful and moving journey through the 20th century is the tale of a man born old and growing younger. Brad Pitt is Benjamin Button whose ongoing love story with Daisy (Cate Blanchett) is constantly thwarted by his curious condition. It's a captivating and moving performance that both embodies a sense of innocence and wonder and a formidable passion for this world and beyond. Truly a masterpiece.
• Friday 20 February for 1 week
CHE: PART TWO (15)
(Spain/France/US 2008) dir. Steven Soderbergh 131m. Digital.
Benicio Del Toro, Demian Bichir, Santiago Caberra, Elvira Minguez, Jorge Perugorria, Edgar Ramirez.
Benicio Del Toro masterfully reprises his role as revolutionary Guevara in this, the darker half of Soderbergh's superb biopic. Following the Cuban Revolution, Che disappears at the height of his fame and power, re-emerging in Bolivia as he attempts to bring his ideas of freedom to the rest of Latin America. But unable to drum up the levels of support that led to success in Cuba the attempt fails, bringing forth Che's downfall. This is a much more painful tale of determination and sacrifice, bringing Che's story and life to a close but offering an understanding of his legacy, and why he became, and remains, a symbol of idealism to millions around the world.
• Friday 27 February for 2 weeks
THE CLASS (15)
(France 2008) dir. Laurent Cantet 130m. Subtitles. Digital.
Francois Begaudeau, Nassim Amrabt, Laura Baquela, Cherif Bounaidja Rachedi, Juliette Demaille, Dalla Doucoure.
The powerful and often surprising Palme d'Or-winning hit of the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. Set in one of Paris's poorest and most multicultural neighbourhoods, the film follows a year in one high school classroom. The characters are played by real students and teachers – including writer François Bégaudeau, on whose original novel the film is based. Not a documentary, but also a long way from the typical classroom drama. Uplifting clichés and dramatic transformations are avoided and something much more poignant and elusive is revealed.
• Friday 6 March for 1 week
THREE MONKEYS (15)
(Turkey/France/Italy 2008) dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan 109m. Subtitles. Digital.
Yavuz Bingöl, Hatice Aslan, Ercan Kesal, Ahmet Rifat Sungar.
The thriller that won Nuri Bilge Ceylan the best director prize at Cannes last year is a tale of the proverbial three monkeys: one who refuses to hear, one who refuses to see, and one who refuses to speak. It's an examination of deceit and avarice, a quietly devastating contemporary tale of how three essentially good people - a husband and wife and their son - are drawn into a web of lies when the husband is asked to take a hit-and-run rap for for his politician employer. Ceylan infuses this noirish psychological drama with a painterly hue and images that resonate in the mind long after the film has ended.
• Friday 13 March for 1 week
GRAN TORINO (15)
(US/ 2008) dir. Clint Eastwood 117m. Digital.
Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Christopher Carley. Brian Haley, Geraldine Hughes.
For his declared final screen appearance, Clint Eastwood is Walt Kowalski, a cantankerous and bigoted Korean war veteran. Now a retired autoworker, he spends much of his time railing against the world in general and his new neighbours, the Hmong family, in particular. Their worlds collide when the youngest Hmong is caught attempting to steal Kowalski's prized 1972 Gran Torino. As an apology, his sister offers Thao's service for any odd jobs their neighbour might need doing. Digging deep into the root of American racism, Eastwood triumphs as both director and actor and confirms his unwavering status as a cinematic icon after a career spanning over half a century.
•Friday 20 March for 2 weeks
IL DIVO (15)
(Italy/France 2008) dir. Paolo Sorrentino 118m. Subtitles. Digital.
Toni Servillo, Anna Bonaiuto, Giulio Bosetti, Flavio Bucci, Carlo Buccirosso, Giorgio Colangeli.
The extraordinary life and times of Giulio Andreotti, seven times Prime Minister of Italy, a politician who held power virtually unopposed for over 40 years. He has been variously called Beelzebub, The Black Pope, The Fox, The Hunchback and The Prince of Darkness. Award-winning film maker Paolo Sorrentino's enjoyably original and witty political movie tries to anatomise the character and explain the longevity of the man who has emerged unscathed from no less than 26 separate court cases on charges that have included corruption and Mafia involvement. There's a delicious performance from Toni Servillo as Andreotti which brilliantly captures the mix of the grotesque and the subtly powerful. The film also brings into the public eye two key women in Andreotti's life, his wife and his long-running secretary. Shot in Italy's lavish palaces of power and featuring an atmospherically eclectic soundtrack, IL DIVO is indeed a worthy companion piece to GOMORRAH. Together they mark the return of exciting and original Italian film making.
• Friday 27 March for 1 week
The Young Victoria (PG)
(UK/US 2009) dir. Jean-Marc Vallée 105m. Digital.
Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent.
A revisionist slice of British history from Julian Fellowes, Oscar winning writer of GOSFORD PARK. It portrays Victoria during the early years of her reign as a charming, dynamic and passionate woman, far removed from the traditional frumpy image of 60 years later. There's even a touch of controversy involving Victoria's mother and her attempt to block her daughter's path to the throne. Also revealed is the real reason why Victoria married Albert. Emily Blunt shines as the young royal charged with leading the country through one of its greatest periods of industrial, political, and military change. An outstanding supporting cast that includes Jim Broadbent, Miranda Richardson, Mark Strong, Paul Bettany and Rupert Friend, brings to life a turbulent age of romance and intrigue.
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