19/20 Film Schedule
Official Secrets – 13th January
Monday 13th January, ODEON Cinema. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 15, 112 mins. 2019.
Directed by: Gavin Hood
Based on: The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War
by Marcia & Thomas Mitchell
Starring: Keira Knightley, Matt Smith, Ralph Fiennes
Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) – 9th December 2019
Monday 9th December, ODEON Cinema. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 15, 113 mins. In Spanish with English subtitles, 2019.
Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar
Written by: Pedro Almodóvar
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Asier Etxeandia, Penélope Cruz
‘Bittersweet perfection from Pedro Almodóvar’ – Observer
‘Nothing less than delicious’ – Standard
Jeux interdits (Forbidden Games) – 11th November 2019
Monday 11th November, ODEON Cinema. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 12, 86 mins. In French with English subtitles, 1952.
Directed by: René Clément
Based on: Jeux interdits by François Boyer
Starring: Georges Poujouly and Brigitte Fossey
‘As an indictment of war it is unsurpassed. As a work of art it is a notable contribution’ – The Spectator
Reading up about tonight’s film it seems that it’s been forgotten by the arbiters of film history as has its director, René Clément, who had a very successful period early on in his career.
Jeux interdits won the Grand Prix at the Venice Film Festival of 1952, the Best Foreign Language Film Award Oscar in 1953 and was adjudged “The Best Film from Any Source” by Bafta in 1954. Surprisingly it wasn’t initially successful at home, it was lambasted by some, who said it was a “vicious and unfair picture of the peasantry of France”. It wasn’t to be the first time a film of Clément’s was to be judged harshly. He also later found himself a victim of contributors to Cahiers du Cinéma.magazine including François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol, who later became filmmakers themselves, condemning him, amongst others, for le cinéma de papa – making films that were grand and theatrical that placed more emphasis on storytelling than on direction, an accusation that many felt was unfair.
Clément made his first amateur film while still a student after switching from studying architecture and in the mid-to-late 1930s made a number of shorts including Soigne ton gauche starring Jacques Tati before making documentaries during the war. His first mainstream success was in 1946 Bataille du rail (The Battle of the Rails) about railroad workers who were part of the organized resistance during the occupation, he then assisted Cocteau on La belle et la bête and in some places he has been credited as a co-director of the film, stepping in when Cocteau’s ill health came to the fore though officially he was the technical adviser on the film.
He consolidated his reputation with the thriller, Les Maudits (1947), and in 1950 his Au-delà des grilles known here as The Walls of Malapaga won Best Foreign Language Film Award Oscar in 1951. After Jeux Interdits he made Monsieur Ripois or Knave of Hearts in London in which Gérard Philipe, a clerk bored of paperwork, seduces his female boss, a girl from the suburbs and a lady to whom he’s teaching French. The first reaction of the British press was that the film was a libel on British womanhood before more considered opinions were made.
The size and scale of his films increased and began to feature international stars with titles such as Gervaise in 1956, loosely based on Zola’s L’Assommoir and La Diga sul Pacifico (The Sea Wall) based on Marguerite Duras’ novel about colonial life in Indo-China. Plein soleil or Purple Noon, an adaptation of The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith was a diversion into thrillers before returning to the international productions.
Unfortunately he became unstuck with Paris brule-t-il? (Is Paris Burning?) in 1966 in which a huge ensemble cast tell the story of the city’s liberation in the August of 1944. Written by Gore Vidal and Francis Coppola it was judged a failure.
The knock-on effect was that Clément’s last few films were low-budget thrillers which were released to little success and it ultimately meant that he stopped making films at the age of 62 years of age.
Though he’d been written off he might have received one crumb of comfort when François Truffaut wrote a letter of apology to Clément after re-watching his The Day and the Hour, made in 1963, after seeing elements within it that he’d missed first time round.
Tonight however we return to his heyday……
Just under half the audience filled in and returned a Feedback form. All scores were 3 or above with the overwhelming majority being 4 and 5. Those giving the film a 3 score were still on the very positive side with their comments, with the following statement getting to the emotional heart of the film, “An unsettling film mixing the horrors of war and death, interspersed with humour. (…) A very sad story”. Specific note was drawn to the acting of the two child actors, “How do they get small children to act so well?”
Many of these themes were taken up by the rest of the respondents; those that gave it a 4 or 5 score. “Wonderful”, “Superb”, “Brilliant” were single word assessments by several individuals. The two central elements of the film, the acting of the children and the sense of time and place (rural France during June 1940) was also picked up by many respondents with comments such as, “Lovely film. The war seen through children’s eyes. Moving scenes of French country life”, “Excellent depiction of rural French life – children superb…” and “Brilliant child actors, very poignant”.
As well individuals noting these elements there was a theme of recognition of the innocence of the children and how the world they had constructed for themselves was destroyed as outside events inevitably broke in on it. The boy feels his father has betrayed him by handing over the girl to the Red Cross authorities. The girl, now alone and friendless, having lost her ‘brother’ is caught up again in the chaos of the adult world at war. Comments expressing this were such as, “Delightful film. Innocence of children. But such a sad ending”, “Not the ending I would have wanted” and “Enjoyable but a strange ending”. All in all, this was a film that everyone that wrote a comment had an emotional response to.
The Keeper – 14th October 2019
Monday 14th October, ODEON Cinema. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 15, 119 mins. 2018.
Directed by: Marcus H. Rosenmüller
Starring: David Kross, Freya Mavor
‘A great story of love in adversity and is handsomely told’ – Radio Times
‘A charming and often enlightening watch’ – Little White Lies
And now The Keeper.
This film is the story of Bert Trautmann and how he became the long-standing goalkeeper for Manchester City Football Club after the Second World War. In terms of format it’s a standard film bio-pic of somebody with an exceptional sporting talent and depicts their life and sporting career and life in a very straightforward way.
Bert arrived in England in the final weeks of the Second World War as a captured enemy German combatant. He was sent to a Prisoner of War Camp near St Helens in Lancashire. During the war he’d served in a combat role as a paratrooper, first on the Eastern Front and then latterly in the West when his unit was transferred there. He wasn’t a Nazi but he was German – and in some peoples’ eyes at this time – that was pretty much the same thing.
This film shows what happens to Trautmann and how his life took turns for the better as his footballing ability as a goal keeper became noticed and encouraged. It’s through this common involvement with football that he and others were first able to connect together as human beings. Then people got to know him as a person and he them.
What’s also important is the wider background of events which assisted Bert’s assimilation into English society. By very soon after the end of the Second World War the Germans were becoming seen, not as “The Enemy” but as “Yesterday’s Enemy”. The new Enemy was the Soviet Union and the Russians. A prime example of this change in attitude occurred in 1948 when West Berlin was cut off by the Russians and had to be air supplied by the Western Allies. This was the Berlin Airlift.
As the allied transport planes landed in Berlin (about 1 every 3 to 5 minutes) not only did they had to be unloaded, they also had to be serviced. And this servicing was mainly done by German mechanics, most of whom would have served during the war in the German air force, as in the Luftwaffe. The world moves on. Attitudes change.
Although based on a real life, this film is a work of drama, not a documentary and there is some dramatic licence in what is shown. Even so, it is about our humanity and how our humanity can come through – if we make the effort to engage with it and with others – and then if we keep on making that effort.
As to what actually happens in the story…let’s all watch the film and find out.
Thank you for listening so kindly.
Just under half of the audience filled in and returned a Feedback form. This was a film that had clearly been well-received by the audience. Of the responses returned, the lowest score was a single 3 and all of the remaining scores were 4s and 5s with the 5 scores being a full three-quarters of the entire response of all feedback.
Although a respondent had giving the film a 3 score they felt it had been very positive experience as they commentated, “Good portrait of reconciliation & power of sport to heal”. And this comment was picked up throughout the responses in both the 4 and 5 scores.
Indeed, this was a film where all of the comments focussed onto the twin aspects of the high quality of the film itself as a work of cinema and of the emotional importance and significance of the subject it dealt with. One person commented that the pre-film introduction should not have referenced the storyline development.
Regarding the film as an example of technical cinematic merit, the overwhelming agreement was that this was excellent piece in all respects. Commenting on the technical and production values of the film, respondents would then usually continue with addressing the subject of the film in its wider emotional and moral aspects. The following comments exemplify these general sentiments, “…Excellent acting, atmosphere, great balance of humour & more serious moral dilemma moments”; “A truly fantastic film – Exceptional acting from all – heart-breaking attitudes – horrors of war – care of others and understanding – Wonderful music” and “Great choice, we all thought it was well cast and directed”. As well as longer comments such as these many persons described the film simply as “Wonderful”, “Superb”, and in many comments, “Excellent”.
For two of the respondents, the film brought back personal memories. Given this personal link, these are worth quoting in full. “Having grown up in Manchester with the knowledge of Bert Trautmann (albeit we were all Man U supporters!) this film was very moving. An excellent story of love, forgiveness and humanity.” and “Wonderful film. I saw him play & saw the 56 cup final. Remarkable man.” Clearly, tick in the box for everybody and for some in a deeply personal way.
Maiden – 9th September 2019
Monday 9th September, ODEON Cinema. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 12A, 97 mins. 2018.
Directed by: Alex Holmes
Featuring: Tracy Edwards, Jeni Mundy, Mikaela Von Koskull
‘An exhilarating and inspiring watch’ – Little White Lies
‘It’s a knuckle-whitening tale of courage and grit.’ – Time Out
Tracey Edwards recently said that she had never been able to truly appreciate the accomplishment of her crew until they reassembled for a screening of tonight’s film in June 2018 for the first time in 27 years, all the while laughing with disbelief as she watched herself on the big screen, almost unable to recognise her younger self.
“It changed my life, she made me who I am.” She said, “She showed me what’s possible. Oh my God, I can’t imagine my life without Maiden — it’s quite a horrible thought.” Though the experience and the race brought many happy memories there were downsides, the immediate aftermath sent her into a spiral of depression, “We had been together, for some of us, three years. We bonded, way closer than we realised. Everyone I cared about for all that time was suddenly gone. It was a massive wrench at the end. It took two years to get back into sailing.”
Maiden still permeates Edwards’ life even now — her daughter refers to the boat as her ‘first born’ and the two ‘daughters’ met for the first time when Edwards salvaged and restored Maiden two years ago after hearing that it had been rotting in the Seychelles for a number of years.
Maiden surfaced yet again, in another guise, after Edwards spoke at the director of tonight’s film daughter’s end-of-year assembly. An award-winning filmmaker in his own right Alex Holmes’ initial thought was to make a drama until Edwards told him that the entire voyage had been filmed. Piecing it together with some other race footage, the film took two years to edit to completion merging crew interviews into the story encapsulating the experience, adventure and danger.
It was in 2014, just a few weeks before meeting Holmes that Edwards was told that Maiden had been abandoned in the Seychelles. She then launched a crowdfunding appeal to buy her back to rescue and restore her. Once restored Maiden will embark on a world tour lasting three years to raise awareness and funding for girls’ education projects and will surely play another huge part in Tracey Edwards’ life again.
Just over a half of the audience filled in and returned a Feedback form. From the responses returned, it was clear that this documentary had been a definite hit with the audience. Of those returning a feedback form 1 person had given it a 2 score response whilst 3 respondents had given individual scores of 3 and 4. All the remaining submitted responses (that is 92%) had given it a 5 score. One person had hand-written in a 10 score.
Those allocating it a lower score had commented with caveats more than criticisms, “Not a film I would have chosen”, “…Slow then utterly gripping” and “Fascinating but raised more questions than answers”. One comment from this group did focus on the positive depiction of the women crew and their achievement.
For the remainder of the respondents, those giving it a 5 score, a common thread that ran through the comments was centred on the achievement of the Maiden’s crew. A phrase frequently used was, “very inspirational”. This was augmented by other positive comments. All-in-all, the following comment sums up the feeling of many, “Terrific story of commitment, achievement + determination + belief… Really enjoyed it”.
Many in the audience were also emotionally brought in to the actuality of the voyage itself as shown on the screen and also to an appreciation of this documentary as an example of cinematic art at its finest. This came through very strongly with the widespread use of descriptive terms such as, “brilliant”, “excellent”, “wonderful” and “gripping”. The following comments take in and express the substance of these feelings, “First class documentary. Thoroughly enjoyable”, “Much better than expected, did not think the format would be as compelling as it was. Fantastic gripping film in its own right as well as [a] great piece of social history” and “Amazing and moving film… it seemed to leave the whole audience stunned into silence”. Clearly, a viewing experience that most in the audience were glad they had experienced.