21/22 Film Schedule
After Love – 13th December
Monday 13th December, ODEON Cinema. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 12, 90 mins. 2020.
Directed by: Aleem Khan
Starring: Joanna Scanlan, Nathalie Richard, Nasser Memarzia
Another Round (Druk) – 8th November
Monday 8th November, ODEON Cinema. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 12A, 117 mins. In Danish with English subtitles, 2020.
Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg
Written by: Thomas Vinterberg
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang and Lars Ranthe
‘A heady, vibrant, funny film about Danish drinking culture’ – Independent
‘The performance of a lifetime from Mads Mikkelsen’ ***** – Guardian
Thomas Vinterberg was born in Frederiksberg, Denmark and in 1993 graduated from the National Film School of Denmark after making the short film, Last Round, which won the jury and producers’ awards at festivals in Germany and Israel. After making his first tv drama and yet another award-winning short film he made his feature film debut with The Biggest Heroes, a Danish Road movie about two bank robbers on the run with a daughter in tow. It was essentially a mainstream film with a bit of an edge to it but it in no way hinted as to what was to come next.
In 1995 he, along with Lars von Trier formed Dogme 95, a filmmaking movement which worked under the “Dogme 95 Manifesto” and the “Vows of Chastity” rules. The principal was to create films based purely on story, acting, and themes, minimizing the use special effects or technology. Its mandate was to “take back power for the directors as artists”, as opposed to having the studios in charge of projects.
They announced the Dogme movement in March 13 of that year, in Paris, at Le cinéma vers son deuxième siècle conference. The cinema world had gathered to celebrate the first century of motion pictures and contemplate the uncertain future of commercial cinema. Called upon to speak about the future of film, Lars von Trier showered a bemused audience with red pamphlets announcing “Dogme 95”.
In response to criticism, von Trier and Vinterberg have both stated that they just wanted to establish a new extreme: “In a business of extremely high budgets, we figured we should balance the dynamic as much as possible.”
The first Dogme release was Vinterberg’s 1998 film Festen (The Celebration) which was critically acclaimed and won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival that year. Lars von Trier’s Dogme film, the controversial Idioterne (The Idiots), also premiered at Cannes that year but was less successful. Both films were shot digitally as part of their low-budget aesthetic, and they were some of the first filmmakers to use this medium. After 31 films made by a range of international directors the movement officially broke up in 2005.
He’s since moved back to what we could call mainstream moving between Danish and English language films receiving a number of plaudits along the way. The best-known film he’s done since the Dogme days was the 2015 version of Far from the Madding Crowd but his most acclaimed film was The Hunt, a Danish film starring Mads Mikkelsen.
Tonight’s film was based on a play Vinterberg had written while working at Burgtheater, Vienna and further inspiration came from his own daughter, Ida, who had told him stories of the drinking culture within the young Danish population. Ida had pressed him to adapt the play into a film, and she was slated to play the daughter of Martin with the story being, “A celebration of alcohol based on the thesis that world history would have been different without alcohol” according to Vinterberg. But four days into filming, Ida was killed in a car accident. Following the tragedy, the script was reworked to become more life affirming. “It should not just be about drinking. It was about being awakened to life.”
Between a third and a half of the audience filled in and returned a Feedback form. Of the Forms filled in and returned, the majority of respondents gave it a 4 score or a top 5 score. One person gave it a 2 score. This person’s comment was, “Not my cup of tea”. A few people gave it a 2-to-3 or 3 score. They were aware of its quality but not won over by it, “Interesting, beautifully acted, but not my kind of film”.
Those giving it a 4 score were more taken by it. There were comments such as, “A very unusual film – a little slow but full of humanness and pathos”, “serious reflection on midlife crisis – very well acted” and the positive but somewhat enigmatic, “Danish Culture – Very interesting!”
Those giving it a top score of 5 were enthusiastic in their comments. From “Brilliant” and “Excellent”, these opened out to the more fulsome, “Well balanced as to the joys and harms of alcohol. Wonderful cinematography. Brilliant” and “Loved it. So poignant – so many highs and lows. Thrilled to have seen it. Thank you”.
All in all, this was a film that people were glad to have seen if only to have been able to decide for themselves whether they liked it or not and why.
The Father – 11th October
Monday 11th October ODEON Cinema. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 12A, 97 mins. 2020.
Written and directed by: Florian Zeller
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Olivia Williams
‘Anthony Hopkins is mesmerising ‘ – inews
‘Hopkins superb in unbearably heartbreaking film’ – Guardian
And now The Father.
This is a serious-minded film and this is going to be a very short introduction as this is a film to watch rather than talk about.
Character-driven, it is fronted by a solid British acting cast of Anthony Hopkins (as the Father of the title) and Olivia Coleman (as his daughter).
It is adapted from his play by Florian Zeller and set in present day suburban London. With lead actor Anthony Hopkins in the role of the father, it is an attempt to convey the experience of dementia from the point of view, from the inside, of someone living it (Anthony Hopkins) and not, as is often the case, of observing its effects from the outside.
It may not be an easy watch but I believe it is one worth staying with.
Thank you for listening so kindly.
Let’s all watch the film.
Over half of the audience filled in and returned a Feedback form. The response was highly positive. Of the Forms filled in and returned, the majority of respondents gave it a 4 score (one third) or a top 5 score (two thirds). One person gave it a 2 score. This person’s comment was, “Excellent acting” but with the caveat that it was, “Rather too clever by half & rather depressing”.
As with the 2 scorer, regarding the acting, many respondents from both the 4 and 5 cohorts commented on the excellence of the acting. These comments included not just Anthony Hopkins in the title role but all of the cast in their creation of an ensemble piece of the highest dramatic quality. Adjectives and phrases used were as follows, “excellent”, “superbly acted”, “superb acting”, “Beautifully acted” and “Amazing acting”.
The storyline of the film, the depiction of the experience of dementia from the internal mental point of view of someone (Anthony Hopkins – the Father) suffering from it, was fully taken on board by respondents. Comments were made such as, “frightening”, “upsetting”, “very thought provoking” and “a good picture of dementia and hallucinations”. For some in the audience the film clearly touched them individually, with comments put down that watching the film had been, “painful, as too close to home” and “Very well portrayed. Scary and reminded me of personal experience”.
For all the reasons above this film presentation got a massive thumbs-up from those watching it. As one respondent commented, “Great choice!”
Nomadland – 13th September 2021
Monday 13th September ODEON Cinema. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 12A, 108 mins. 2020.
Directed by: Chloé Zhao
Starring: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn
Based on: Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century
by Jessica Bruder
‘This quiet marvel of a film deserves your attention. ‘ – Little White Lies
‘There is real greatness in Chloé Zhao’s film-making’ – Guardian
Chloé Zhao or Zhao Ting was born March 1982 in Beijing. Her father, Zhao Yuji, was an executive at one of China’s country’s largest state-owned steel companies and amassed significant personal wealth before moving into property development and equity investment. Reputedly a billionaire (a claim Zhao denies), he was tied to several offshore companies during the Panama Papers leaks which courted controversy some years back, whilst her mother was a hospital worker who was once in a People’s Liberation Army performance troupe.
In an interview with Vogue, Zhao described herself as “a rebellious teen, lazy at school” who drew manga-influenced comics and wrote fan fiction. From an early age, Zhao was drawn to influences from Western pop culture, and has a unique perspective on celebrity as after her parents separated her father married comic actress Song Dandan, whom Zhao had grown up watching on television.
She jumped at a chance, aged 15, to go boarding school in Brighton over here (which she likened to Hogwarts), next attending Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, where she majored in politics and minored in film studies, graduating in 2005, before attending Tisch School of the Arts at New York University on a of Film and Television Graduate Film Program. Four years of studying Political Science was enough to turn her off the subject and she found herself drawn more to people than to policy, something she could explore further through film. Professor Michael Casale remembers her as “confident in what she was doing — even before she knew what she was doing”. There she found not only a collaborator but her partner — Joshua James Richards, originally from Penzance, who has worked as cinematographer on all three of Zhao’s films. “Most people I was spending time with were sitting around talking about their projects. Chloé was doing them. And so I jumped on that train,” said Richards.
In preparation for her first feature – 2015’s Songs My Brothers Taught Me – Zhao spent 17 months with the Lakota Sioux tribe in South Dakota, writing the film from scratch, incorporating material from events in the area and the actors’ lives. She used many non-professional actors in the tale of a teenager who’s considering leaving the reservation and following his girlfriend to L.A. While staying on the reservation, initially moving there in the first place because she liked the landscape, she met Brady Jandreau, a young rodeo star who taught her how to ride. Jandreau, facing an uncertain future after a crippling head injury, would later become the subject of her 2017 film, The Rider.
“Wherever I’ve gone in life, I’ve always felt like an outsider,” she said. “So I’m naturally drawn towards other people who live on the periphery, or don’t live mainstream lifestyles,” hence her original interest in Jessica Bruder’s book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century. Stating, “My life has been so transient and fast-moving,” she found common ground with the characters in the book, and their accounts of living transient lives on the road, so much so Zhao got to know many of the people from the book and cast some of them to play versions of themselves in the film we’ll see tonight.
Justin Chang, chief film critic at the LA Times, wrote, “She knows what it’s like to be adrift in America, adrift in the world, and that obviously serves Nomadland, which is an outsider’s perspective on an outsider’s subculture.”
She has however just made the leap from the outside slap bang into the centre, this November Eternals, a Marvel Superhero film directed by Zhao is to be released. Building a rich, convincing world on film is her “favourite thing”, “That’s exciting to me,” she’ said. “It’s not that different than me going to the world of rodeo cowboys.”
I’ll see you at the front of the queue for that one.
Just under a half of the audience filled in and returned a Feedback Form. The response was positive and in most cases, overwhelmingly positive. Of the forms filled in and returned, there had been no 1 or 2 scores. Three persons had given it a 3 score and 6 persons a 4 score. The remaining two-thirds of respondents (18 persons) had given it a 5, with comments to match.
Those scoring 3 appreciated the film’s worth but felt it was flawed in part. Comments were made such as, “disappointing – a travelog” but lead actress, “Frances [McDormand] excellent”, “Good photography – no real story” and “Lovely photography … over-sentimentalised [but] glad I saw it though.”
Those scoring 4 were more focused on lead actress Frances McDormand’s performance. She was, “excellent, very interesting film”, “thought provoking – the other side of The American Dream” and “beautiful but fairly bleak”. One respondent felt the film dragged at times to the point of being tedious.
The two-thirds of respondents that provided a top 5 score were as one in their positive response to the film. These ranged from overall terms such as, “Brilliant!”, “Powerful + excellent photography + score” to comments where clearly those watching had been emotionally struck by their viewing. Comments where emotions had been touched were such as, “sad/evocative”, “thought provoking, well acted. Deep” and “Cathartic – really enjoyed it – moving!”
In short, everybody providing feedback was on the positive side of the ledger regarding this film. A number of persons also expressed that they were glad the Andover Film Club had been able to re-start. Comments to this end were such as, “Great to be back”, “Nice to be back” and “Thank You! A wonderful start to the season”. All in all, a positive first film night after the past year and a half.