23/24 Film Schedule
Next Goal Wins – 11th December
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
Broker (브로커) – 13th November
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
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