23/24 Film Schedule
Past Lives – 11th March
Monday 11th March ODEON Andover. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 12, 106 mins. In Korean and English. 2023.
Written and directed by: Celine Song
Starring: Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, John Magaro
Chevalier – 12th February 2024
Monday 12th February ODEON Andover. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 12, 107 mins. 2022.
Directed by: Stephen Williams
Starring: Kelvin Harrison Jr., Samara Weaving, Lucy Boynton
‘A strong performance from Kelvin Harrison Jr’ – Empire
‘A loose, playful, defiant biopic’ – **** inews
The television producer and screenwriter Stefani Robinson first encountered Joseph Bologne’s story whilst still in high school and it had an immediate impact. ‘I don’t even know what book it was,’ she said, ‘but I do know that my mom had given it to me, and it mentioned him [in] maybe a paragraph or two. It wasn’t an exhaustive account of [his] life, more a highlight reel.’
The six-time Emmy nominee often tried to spread the word but, ‘Throughout my life, no matter what bubble or what group that I was in, no one knew who [he] was.’
The film’s director, Stephen Williams, with credits for a number of high-profile tv shows including The Walking Dead, Watchmen and Westworld was embarrassed to admit that, ‘I had never heard of Chevalier until I got sent Stefani’s amazing script.’
Williams felt that he had a particular connection to Bologne which prompted him to take on the project: ‘Bologne was from an island in the Caribbean, Guadeloupe, and he made his way to Europe. I was born on another Caribbean Island, Jamaica, and made my way to England, at roughly the same age as Joseph. There were many similarities between my own personal experience and Joseph’s trajectory through his life. All of those things combined made it just an irresistible cocktail for me.’
The story needed fleshing out and it was Robinson who put many of the pieces together, but it was often other peoples’ perspectives of Bologne through letters and journals that mentioned him, that helped craft the picture of him that we’ll see tonight. A review of one of his operas even made up a part of the research but there’s nothing from his own hand.
‘I think that, unfortunately, Joseph Bologne’s life, the life of the Chevalier, was erased,’ said Williams, “There’s no polite way to say that. Napoleon came into power post-revolution in France and ordered the suppression of Joseph’s life, [and] his music. As a result, very, very little has been written about Joseph, very little of Chevalier’s music remains.” Apparently only about a third of his music is available to us, a tragedy when John Adams, the 2nd US president, described him as the most accomplished man in all of Europe.
‘It was a lot of work to fill in those blanks,” said Robinson, “to really get inside his brain and how he must have been feeling, how he must have been reacting to the things that were happening to him.’
Williams used a more contemporary musical reference point to aid his approach to the film: Bob Marley. ‘Marley is obviously part of my cultural tapestry, [and] of my place of origin. His impact has expanded beyond the confines of reggae music; He is a musical revolutionary, and he’s both a revolutionary in terms of [the] socio-political arena, but also just internally, [in regard to] spiritual evolution, spiritual revolution, growth, and change.’
Robinson says that ‘This story doesn’t end with Joseph. There are so many people who have been marginalized or erased because of race, sexuality, gender, religion, nationality and [Bologne is] one of many human beings who have contributed incredible things to this world that we just [don’t] know about yet. I can’t wait for all of those other people to be excavated and celebrated.’
Just under a third of the audience filled out and returned a Feedback form. The lowest score given was 2 and the great majority of respondents gave higher scores with the top 5 scores comprising almost half of the total response.
Of the 2 scores, it was clear that the respondents had not enjoyed the film. Comments were, “It didn’t move me” and “Rather boring and predictable. Lovely costumes though.”
Those giving it a 3 definitely liked the film but also found it somewhat rose-tinted in character and depiction. Comments to this end were, “A great story. Glad they told it but too romantic a view of history” and “Costumes lovely. Joseph’s story uplifting. Casting pretty awful – the love interest part.”
The 4 score respondents considered more about the internal dynamic of the story: a person of colour attempting to succeed in that society. Comments were, “Powerful film. Shocking racism. Beautiful music. Staging and setting magnificent” and again “Powerful film. Difficult to watch. Wonderful to have this hidden history given an audience”.
Those giving it a top score of 5 were equally happy that this story had been opened to the world and their comments echoed this view, “Super film. Acting, costume, music. A subject not well known and should be” and “What an important story to be told. Very powerful music to complement the good acting.”
This was a Film Club presentation that people that had watched it had had a definite emotional reaction to and response towards.
Scrapper – 8th January 2024
Monday 8th January ODEON Andover. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 12A, 84 mins. 2023.
Written and directed by: Charlotte Regan
Starring: Harris Dickinson, Lola Campbell, Alin Uzun
‘A towering achievement for a first film’ – Empire
‘Taken as a whole, the result is dazzling’ – Standard
The director of tonight’s film, Charlotte Regan, came from the music video scene having shot more than 200 videos for grime rap singers, an activity she describes positively as “constant chaos”. She began making the videos around the age of 15, mainly as she was friends with the performers, “I loved being around the grime scene,” she said in an interview, “The culture and atmosphere. You watch an incredible songwriter listen to an instrumental and smash a whole track out in ten minutes. It’s like witnessing magic. I know that’s super-dramatic, but that’s what it felt like when I was very young, because I hadn’t been around the arts.”
She never had an ambition to be a filmmaker as such, “I was quite boring. I just played football and did nothing creative”. Her earliest cinema-going memories were being snuck into The Lord of the Rings by her nan because it was possible to sneak in through the exit and not pay. “My nan was terrible, not paying for meals, not paying for cinema, because we didn’t have money, not just because she was doing it for a joy.”
In between the music videos Regan directed numerous shorts – one of the more acclaimed ones, Drug Runner, followed a 15-year-old cocaine dealer and Scrapper was, at one point, about a 16-year-old boy and his grandmother “escaping local drug dealers” and involved shootout scenes.
Most relevant to the further development of Scrapper, however, was No Ball Games, a documentary for the Guardian newspaper about how working-class children in the UK spent their summer holidays. “It was about the games they create in their imagination. That documentary totally transformed the script. It felt like research.”
Regan’s own world also started to change — during the early days of COVID she lost both her dad and her beloved nan. Those events made Regan “think about grief, and I started looking into how kids cope with grief, just because I found I was consuming all these adult books about grief and I was like, oh, it’s just too logical, I don’t want to go through the eight stages. But then when I found stuff about kids’ psychology, that interested me more.”
Comparisons have come up in reviews to Ken Loach and whilst Regan watched and loved Loach’s films growing up, she says, “We wanted this to feel super-joyful, and that the characters weren’t defined by the hardship of their class.”
And that appears to have paid off, at screenings Regan has noticed young, working-class cinemagoers connecting with the film and approaching her afterwards. “If we could connect this to working-class audiences, and they could see the joy in their upbringing – that’s what [I] would define as a success.”
Just over half the audience filled out and returned a Feedback form. The lowest score given was 3 and the great majority of respondents gave a 4 score with a strong minority giving it a top 5 ranking.
Those giving it a 3 were in favour of the film but on the basis of being positive rather than enthusiastic. Comments were, “Lovely central performance. OK film” and “I can’t say I enjoyed watching this but could appreciate it was a good amateur film. The story redeemed itself by the end”.
Those giving it a 4 score were much more in favour of the film. There were comments such as, “So unusual. So creative. Moving. Fascinating”, “Unusual film. Actors were good and it was disturbing and amusing at the same time”. Note was specifically made of the excellent acting by the lead girl actor with comments such as, “Wonderful acting by the little girl” and “That girl will go far! Great portrayal. Deeper than you think…”.
Respondents giving it a top 5 score were as forthright in their praise. There were descriptive comments such as, “Brilliant” and “Excellent”. The excellence of the acting was again specifically pointed to, as in, “natural effortless acting” with overall assessments of the film as, “Very endearing” and “Heart warming story”.
This was a Film Club presentation that people that had watched felt they had got something good from having done so.
Next Goal Wins – 11th December 2023
Monday 11th December ODEON Andover. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 15, 97 mins. 2014.
Directed by: Mike Brett and Steve Jamison
Featuring: Thomas Rongen, Jaiyah Saelua, Nicky Salapu
‘Wildly engaging’ – Variety
‘Charming and uplifting’ – Empire
Just over a third of the audience filled out and returned a Feedback Form. No-one gave it a ranking below 3 and the overwhelming majority of the responses were 4 and 5 scores with 5 scores being greater than the 3 and 4 scores combined.
The several individuals giving it a 3 score quite liked the documentary with one respondent commenting, “I don’t follow soccer but I got excited watching the teams compete”. This view was repeated by others who gave the film a higher score.
Those giving it a 4 score greatly enjoyed it and especially noted the positive nature of the documentary. Comments were such as, “…different and such a feel-good factor”, “Bit more uplifting than some of your films!” and “I wasn’t sure about the choice of a documentary and about football as well, but it was a very good choice”.
Those giving it a top 5 score were rock-solid in their enthusiasm. One person had the reservation that it, “could have ended 15 mins sooner” but continued with, “very uplifting”. There were a number of comments such as, “Brilliant” and “Excellent” with others commenting in the same vein and pointing out that they also were not football fans. One person’s comment summed the general feeling about the documentary as, “A real winner! Joyous!”.
All-in-all this was a film club presentation that people felt glad they had watched it and felt better for having done so.
Broker (브로커) – 13th November 2023
Monday 13th November ODEON Andover. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 12A, 129 mins. In Korean with English subtitles. 2022.
Written and directed by: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Starring: Song Kang-ho, Gang Dong-won, Bae Doona
‘Broker is nothing if not a film of surprises’ – FT
‘It’s a crowd-pleaser and a gentle joy’ – Time Out
The Japanese director of tonight’s film, Hirokazu Kore-eda, originally a documentarian and television director, describes Broker as a companion piece to Shoplifters, which the club showed in 2019. Feted as the master of the family drama for his humane and patient, observational approach, he developed the plot for both films at the same time, viewing the two as siblings. Both share a common theme in which he follows the lives of social outcasts who come together to form an unconventional family.
“I’m interested in this innate human desire to form a familial unit,” he said recently, “I experienced that myself when I lost my parents. We all seem to have the desire to form a unit with somebody close. I’ve experienced this in my work as well, where a father figure of mine, a producer, passed away and then I needed to form a new unit close to me.”
The starting point for tonight’s story is the baby box scheme. Kore-eda discovered the existence of these whilst researching Like Father, Like Son (which won the Cannes Jury Prize in 2013) and centres on two children switched at birth. He read about a scheme, which is essentially an anonymous adoption system, operated by a hospital in Japan, although they are in fact more common in South Korea. The first official scheme in Japan was set up in 2007 and the public reaction, mainly critical, made headlines and consequently became a topic that interested him.
He’d also previously depicted a relationship between children and mothers in Nobody Knows (2004), mainly from the perspective of a young boy so the discovery of the baby box scheme allowed him to further investigate the relationship, this time from the other point of view.
It was his desire to work with Song Kang-ho, the star of Parasite that led to the film being made in Korea, “For at least a decade, we’d meet at festivals and remind each other we wanted to work together. So all that time, I’ve been seeking a subject that would allow us to.” Kore-eda said recently.
Of course, there were cultural and linguistic differences that had to be overcome and Bae Doona, who starred in Kore-eda’s Airdoll helped with that. “Before we started filming, we went through the whole script together, and we went through everything in comparing the Japanese to the Korean translation. She wanted to make sure that nothing had been lost in the translation. She spotted that there were some [ellipses] in Japanese that weren’t there in Korean, and she asked me what it was that I was trying to express with these [themes].”
Other than that, his approach was the same as on his recent films: I shoot, edit that night, then I do some rewrites for the next day. My process is that I write, edit, and film all in parallel.
He had about two-thirds of the story written before shooting started with the last third of the film to be decided while the film was being made, “I wrote a letter to everybody saying that what[ever] happens to these people in the van once they arrive in Seoul, I’ll figure out as we go along.” That, he believes, is the most enjoyable way to come up with the ending.
And fun, whatever the material, is what motivates him most. “I loved films ever since I was a teenager. It was one of the only hobbies that I had.” He said in an interview, “I wasn’t thinking that I would make it into my profession. If I were to complain in my situation, I would be [seen as] one ungrateful… whatever. And that’s not something I want to be.”
Just over a third of the audience filled out and returned a Feedback Form. With a few respondents giving it a 3 score the rest of those providing Feedback were comprised of those giving it higher scores in equal divisions of 4 and 5.
Those giving it a 3 were engaged with the film but had reservations. There were comments as, “Disturbing film, too long and drawn out, a bit boring at times” and, “Started really well but sagged in the middle (…) Became too sentimentally silly (…) But a good try!”
The 4 scorers felt more positive about it especially about a view into the window of Korean culture. However, there were concerns that the story itself was unclear in how it developed on the screen. Comments were, “Well made glimpse into another ‘civilisation’ despite a difficult plot to follow”, “Fascinating glimpse into a different culture. Up in the air at the end – was disappointing.” and “A beautiful film both amusing and sad. Would like to see more by this director.”
Those giving it a top 5 score were as positive as these respondents had clearly engaged in a positive emotional way with what was on screen. There were many descriptive comments of the film as a whole as, “Wonderful” and “Excellent”. Comments were, “very emotional and multi-layered”, “very moving” and “A complex story, subtly and sparingly told. Beautiful acting.”
This was a film that everybody whom had provided feedback had felt was far above run-of-the-mill and whom, for many had felt a positive emotional engagement with.
Tár – 9th October 2023
Monday 9th October ODEON Andover. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 15, 158 mins. 2022.
Written and directed by: Todd Field
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Noémie Merlant, Nina Hoss
‘Blanchett dazzles as monstrous maestro’ – The Guardian
‘Powerful drama cuts to the bone’ – NME
Just under a third of the audience filled out and returned a Feedback Form. Most of the respondents gave it a mid-range score of 3 or 4, with a slight movement towards the higher 4 score. One person gave it a 5.
None of the respondents found it an especially easy film to watch or follow. Comments from both score groups reflected this feeling. As well and as running through the comments made was also an absolute appreciation of leading actress Cate Blanchett’s central performance in her role as Lydia Tár. This mix of engaging with the film and of being aware of the contribution Cate Blanchett brought to the screen went hand-in-hand in many of the comments written and submitted.
There were comments such as, “A tricky film to watch, heavy going, exhausting to actually know what was going on. Nevertheless Cate Blanchett was incredible” and from a second respondent, “Complex and would need to see it again. Enjoyed it though I sensed not everyone did. Great acting and very atmospheric.” and finally from a third person, “It was like reading a book that has been recommended but which you find v[ery] hard to get into – the acting was superb…not a film I would hurry to see again”.
Clearly a film that challenged the audience and many of whom many took up that challenge.
Women Talking – CANCELLED
Monday 11th September ODEON Andover. Start time: 8:00 p.m.
Cert. 15, 101 mins. 2022.
Directed by: Sarah Polley
Based on Women Talking by Miriam Toews
Starring: Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley
‘Rage and reason in the face of ungodly acts’ – The Independent
‘Powerful drama cuts to the bone’ – NME