The Film Society welcomes members and non-members to enjoy the spellbinding company of history’s greatest filmmakers. By selecting notable films we hope to extend the general knowledge and experience of film for all cinema lovers.

Sep 2012 - Feb 2013 Season

12th Sep:  (NOTE: Starts 6pm)
Mysteries of Lisbon
(Raoul Ruiz, Portugal/France, 2010, 272 mins + interval)
'Mysteries of Lisbon plunges us into a veritable whirlwind of adventures and escapades, coincidences and revelations, sentiments and violent passions, vengeance, love affairs, all wrapped in a rhapsodic voyage that takes us from Portugal to France, Italy, and as far as Brazil. In this Lisbon of intrigue and hidden identities, we encounter a series of characters all somewhat linked to the destiny of Pedro da Silva, orphan in a boarding school. Father Dinis, a descendent of the aristocratic libertines, later becomes a hero who defends justice, a countess maddened by her jealousy and set on her vengeance, a prosperous businessman who had mysteriously made his fortune as a bloodthirsty pirate; these and many more all cross in a story set in the 19th century and all searching for the true identity of our main character.'

19th Sep:
Laura (PG)
(Otto Preminger, USA, 1944, 88 mins)
'Detective Mark McPherson investigates the killing of Laura, found dead on her apartment floor before the movie starts. McPherson builds a mental picture of the dead girl from the suspects whom he interviews. He is helped by the striking painting of the late lamented Laura hanging on her apartment wall. But who would have wanted to kill a girl with whom every man she met seemed to fall in love? To make matters worse, McPherson finds himself falling under her spell too. Then one night, halfway through his investigations, something seriously bizarre happens to make him re-think the whole case.'

(1) new BFI restoration trailer -

(2) original trailer -

24th Oct:
The 400 Blows (PG)
(François Truffaut, France, 1959, 99 mins)
'François Truffaut’s first feature, The 400 Blows (Les quatre cents coups), is also his most personal. Told through the eyes of Truffaut’s life-long cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), The 400 Blows sensitively re-creates the trials of Truffaut’s own difficult childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, petty crime, and a friendship that would last a lifetime. The film marks Truffaut’s passage from leading critic of the French New Wave to his emergence as one of Europe’s most brilliant auteurs.'

(1) The superb original French trailer -

(2) The new BFI trailer for the restored version -

[The original trailer is sans pareil]

14th Nov:
Le Rayon Vert (The Green Ray) (PG)
(Eric Rohmer, France, 1986, 98 mins)
'A spellbinding study of loneliness and the mysterious influence of fate on our lives. Rohmer’s masterpiece stars Marie Rivière in a captivating performance as the highly sensitive Delphine, a Parisian secretary looking for a meaningful connection in a callous and indifferent world. Winner of the Golden Lion at the 1986 Venice Film Festival, this is a seemingly featherweight tale, yet is perhaps the most memorable of the director's Comedies and Proverbs.'

Original French trailer (without subtitles): -

28th Nov:
Topsy-Turvy (12)
(Mike Leigh, UK, 1999, 160 mins)
'The world of Gilbert and Sullivan comes to vivid life in this extraordinary dramatization of the staging of their legendary 1885 comic opera The Mikado from Mike Leigh. Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner brilliantly inhabit the roles of the world-famous Victorian librettist and composer, respectively, who, along with their troupe of temperamental actors, must battle personal and professional demons while mounting this major production. A lushly produced epic about the harsh realities of creative expression, featuring bravura performances and Oscar-winning costume design and makeup, Topsy-Turvy is an unexpected period delight from one of contemporary cinema’s great artists.'

12th Dec:
Taxi Driver (18)
(Martin Scorsese, USA, 1976, 113 mins)
'Taxi Driver first hit US cinema screens thirty-five years ago. Even today, watching angry, delusional taxi driver Travis Bickle as he moves about the city ‘like a rat through the sewers’ (so screenwriter Paul Schrader) remains one of cinema’s most disturbing experiences. As Wolfram Schütte, writing in the ‘Frankfurter Rundschau’ newspaper on 3.11.1976, puts it: “A very strange … alarming and fascinating film; syncretic, iridescent, a furtive reptile, constantly changing its colours like a chameleon, soaring towards the mystical; a synthetic amalgam of the most contradictory influences, tendencies and metaphysical aspirations: comic, nervous and hysterical.” The final version of the restored film was approved by Martin Scorsese in January 2011.'


(1) The re-release 'preview' -

(2) Original trailer -

19th Dec:
The Red Shoes (U)
(Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, UK, 1948, 133 mins)
'A glorious Technicolor epic that influenced generations of filmmakers, artists, and aspiring ballerinas, The Red Shoes intricately weaves backstage life with the thrill of performance. A young ballerina (Moira Shearer) is torn between two forces: the composer who loves her (Marius Goring), and the impresario determined to fashion her into a great dancer (Anton Walbrook)'

9th Jan:
They Made me a Fugitive (PG)
(Alberto Cavalcanti, UK, 1947, 99 mins)
'A terrific, economical thriller about a war hero (Trevor Howard), down on his luck, who briefly falls in with a pack of East End gangsters, is framed and sent to prison, and escapes to take his revenge. Full of visual invention, it has Cavalcanti's greatest villain: "Narcy", or Narcissus, a preening, dandyish cockney sadist whose name, not so coincidentally, is a near-homophone for Churchill's pronunciation of "Nazi".'

There's no trailer available; but this clip (from TCM) is intriguing, and sets the scene without any spoilers:

23rd Jan:
L’Atalante (PG)
(Jean Vigo, France, 1934, 89 mins)
'In Jean Vigo’s hands, an unassuming tale of newlyweds becomes an achingly romantic reverie of desire and hope. Jean (Jean Dasté), a barge captain, marries Juliette (Dita Parlo), an innocent country girl, and the two climb aboard Jean’s boat, the L’Atalante—otherwise populated by an earthy first mate (Michel Simon) and a multitude of mangy cats—and embark on their new life together. Both a surprisingly erotic idyll and a clear-eyed meditation on love, L’Atalante, Vigo’s only feature-length work, is a film like no other.'

Modern clip -  unfortunately preceded by intrusive ad. - but lovely image and gives an excellent flavour of the film -

13th Feb:
The Apartment (PG)
(Billy Wilder, USA, 1960, 125 mins.)
'Winner of five 1960 Academy Awards including Best Picture, The Apartment is legendary writer/director Billy Wilder at his scathing, satirical best, and one of “the finest comedies Hollywood has turned out” (Newsweek). C.C. “Bud” Baxter (Jack Lemmon) knows the way to success in business…it’s through the door of his apartment! By providing a perfect hideaway for philandering bosses, he reaps a series of undeserved promotions. But when Bud lends the key to big boss J.D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), he not only advances his career, but his own love life as well. For Sheldrake’s mistress is the lovely Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), the elevator girl of Bud’s dreams. Convinced that he is the only man for Fran, Bud must make the most important executive decision of his career: lose the girl…or his job.'

(1) The original trailer seems to deliberately miss the point (Interesting, No?)

(2) But this clip sets things up well, without spoiling -


Vasco de Sousa said...

Mysteries of Lisbon was interesting, if long. Thank you for bringing this film to Aberystwyth.

I didn't realize there would be so many subtitles (for some reason, I thought it would be in English). It was an interesting take on a turbulent period in Europe's history.

I look forward to seeing more films from the society. It looks like an interesting line up of cinematic classics.

Philip said...

In reply to Vasco (in any case our only correspondent on this blogspot, so far; folk seem terribly shy of contributing!):

Your brief notice of 'Mysteries of Lisbon' is much appreciated by those who recently brought it onto the FilmSoc screen at Aberystwyth's Arts Centre; even for a not-for-profit outfit, programming this discursive epic was a risk. In the event the respectable number of 22 of our faithful film-fans gave it a go - and I think your comment accurately reflects the pleasant surprise we all got from seeing what is, for British audiences, a distinctly, though - as we now can appreciate - most emphatically undeservedly obscure Portuguese film.

Your name seems to suggest that you may have some link to that country, or to it's offshoots elsewhere on the globe, but the Film Society does not assume - any more than I do - that this necessarily implies any familiarity with the language; in light of your comment en passant that it was a surprise to you to realise that the film was subtitled, I do hope this did not impair the experience; considering the minimal publicity the film received in the English-speaking world, it is a wonder to me that a version with any English subtitles existed to enable us to appreciate this masterpiece of a recently-deceased film-maker of international repute - let alone such excellent subtitles, which I think strove to communicate as much of the flavour of the original as translation could permit. All hail to our mighty chief, Gareth Bailey, cinema manager extraordinaire, for having responded to member's wishes, and sourced this gem for our new season!

Originated as a tv serialization (or 'mini-series' in current parlance) Ruiz's marvellously elegant and inventive direction did not seem to have been disrupted in his own two-part adaptation for the cinema, although it was obvious that some minor story-lines had not survived the transition from the small screen. Those I spoke to after our screening were at one with me in wanting another viewing immediately it ended - had Arts Centre staff overtime permitted!

As you so aptly observe in your recent - very interesting - review (for your PTARA Website) of 'Laura', it is not a movie 'for those with short attention spans'! This is especially true of 'Mysteries ...' Our film society does try to venture into areas where no-one else will go, for the simple reason that so much excellent cinema would otherwise never be brought before a local audience. Our previous offering of a film of comparable length was Bergman's cinema edition of his magical semi-autobiographical made-for-tv film 'Fanny and Alexander'. With sufficient support, we'll certainly seek out more films such as this, which require an audience willing to be immersed for several hours in any film whose length, far from being an artistic handicap, has, in fact, freed the creative team from excessively commercial restraints upon their abilities: Handled as brilliantly and responsibly as it is with Ruiz as director cinematic time can be exploited to the full as a Proustian resource. (Not, of course, that a long running-time is our chief, or only criterion in compiling a programme of films - our tastes are as various as our members, and each Season ranges far and wide through the riches of film available today!)