The Film Society has finished for the time being. We are hoping to look at ways of bringing it back with much more of your support in the future! Thanks, Diolch!
APRIL - SEPTEMBER
APRIL - SEPTEMBER
2013 SEASON LINE-UP
Buffalo Bill and the Indians
Paul Newman, Joel Grey, Kevin McCarthy, Harvey Keitel, Allan F. Nicholls.
Buffalo Bill plans to put on his own Wild West Circus, and Chief Sitting Bull has agreed to appear in it. However, Sitting Bull has his own hidden agenda, involving the President and General Custer. With ensemble playing of the highest order from his stellar cast, director Robert Altman skewers the pretensions of Buffalo Bill and the absurd Wild West mythology he peddles.
The Waltz of the Toreadors
Newly retired General FitzHugh is an ageing Lothario whose roving eye, complaining wife and charmless daughters do not constitute that comfortable bosom which family life was expected to offer a man at the end of his days. Despite a long and distinguished military career, and numerous conquests of a more private nature, the General feels that happiness is somewhat lacking in his domestic life. Then the surprise reappearance of the only woman who never succumbed to his wiles, the achingly lovely Ghislaine, turns his life upside-down. This wittily ironic comedy is adapted from his own stage play by the great Jean Anouilh, who also scripted ‘Becket’. As a vehicle for Peter Sellers, it provided the first real demonstration that he was a major acting talent, rather than simply the lovable buffoon of the ‘Pink Panther’ series.
Bob Fosse directed this Oscar-laden musical drama - based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway show. It features career-defining performances from Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey. The film won Oscars in many departments, including direction, as well as being nominated in a couple of others. Minnelli is Sally Bowles, an American showgirl at the Kit Kat Klub in decadent Weimar Berlin. She befriends Brian Roberts (Michael York), a struggling British writer who’s come in search of material for his next book, and they agree to share a flat. As the pair begin to fall in love, the good times roll at the Klub. Meanwhile, outside in the real world, Hitler’s rise to power continues, and Nazi thugs are determined to break up the party …
Rome, Open City
This film by Roberto Rossellini was a revelation: a harrowing drama about the Nazi occupation of Rome and the brave few who resisted, the film is a shockingly authentic, rough-edged experience, conceived and directed amidst the ruins of the Second World War, and shot as partisans, Allied forces and the Nazi rearguard were still bitterly engaged in the bloody endgame for Italy. This goes beyond documentary, to the heart of a nation’s agony.
The Holy Mountain
Dr. Arnold Fanck (1889-1974) can be viewed as a significant pioneer of independent filmmaking and his film, The Holy Mountain (1926), as a landmark entry in the Bergfilme genre. The production, however, was riddled with problems. Unseasonably warm weather in the German Alps melted the expensive ice palace set constructed on a frozen lake; snow turned to slush; various injuries afflicted Riefenstahl, Schneider, and cinematographer Hans "Snowflea" Schneeberger; filming was delayed, and UFA threatened to abandon the project. According to Riefenstahl, the film's archetypical romantic triangle was echoed in reality amongst the director and cast: Fanck himself was romantically obsessed with Leni, but she wasn't interested. Anyway, she and Trenker were in love. The jealous Fanck continually tried to sabotage Leni’s affair by suggesting to Trenker that she and Schneeberger were secretly carrying on together. Consequently, when the winds shifted and cold weather returned, it took great professional self-discipline for everyone to sleep in the same small base cabin, and also to pull together as a team out on the sheer face of the mountain, without some tragedy ensuing. Despite all this, Leni Riefenstahl learned a great deal about film-making from her time on the production. When Fanck was summoned by the UFA studio to assess the troubled progress of the shoot, Riefenstahl was even sufficiently confident in his absence to film the flower-filled springtime scenes at Interlaken; then she was allowed to film the flare-lit night-time rescue on the mountain, which Fanck had despaired of completing himself. The visual power of the film is undeniable, with impressive shots of dramatic mountain landscapes. Fanck was a realist film-maker insofar as he detested using stunt doubles, and his documentary interest in nature photography led him to insist on always shooting on location. Nevertheless, his cinematographic style is aesthetic and highly wrought, with an intensely romantic German sensibility informing the often expressionist technique. His use of slow-motion montage clearly anticipates Riefenstahl's elevation of diving champions into those weightless gods and goddesses, who seem to glide effortlessly through space in her film of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It is probably Leni Riefenstahl, and not Arnold Fanck, whom we watch with greatest interest today. For us the irresistible draw of this film is to see the nursery slopes of a young actress and budding film-maker of genius, who later sprang to international fame not only with her brilliant Olympia, but also with that notorious, soaring paean to dangerous Hitlerian fantasies, Triumph of the Will. Here we see her in more innocent times.
All Quiet On the Western Front
Classic pacifist masterpiece showing the relentless destruction, one by one, of a band of idealistic young soldiers in the German trenches during the ‘Great War’ of 1914-1918.
Make Way for Tomorrow
While not a box-office success, this drama, directed by Leo McCarey, has won the admiration of film critics and movie buffs for its sensitive and perceptive engagement with the problems of the elderly. When McCarey won the Oscar for Best Director that same year for The Awful Truth, he remarked that the Academy had given him the award for the wrong movie, as he considered Make Way for Tomorrow to be his best. Barkley and Lucy Cooper (Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi) are a couple in their late 60s who have fallen on hard times and learn that the bank is taking their house as they can no longer repay the loan. The couple turn to their five children for help, but they are either unable or unwilling to do much for them; neither of their married children have the space or the means to house them both. Living apart from each other with their often impatient children and their new families proves stressful for everyone involved, and so Lucy eventually decides to put herself in a home for aged women. She and Barkley realize that this will probably mean a permanent separation for the two of them, but they try to enjoy one last outing together before they part forever… Orson Welles said that this great, sad movie “… would make a stone cry”. It is one of Hollywood’s finest achievements.
King of Hearts
Alan Bates, Geneviève Bujold
This Vietnam-era cult classic is a satirical look at the madness of war. Re-released for a modern audience, this engaging comedy, while it isn't de Broca's best movie, was so popular with American audiences in the late '60s that it is still one of the era's most fondly remembered cinema events. Its wild satire still conveys the resentful contempt of youth for a society spinning out of control under the dead hand of an older generation.
Went the Day Well?
British patriotism at its most thoughtful, this is a wartime propaganda morale-booster that, actually, doesn't shirk from showing the ultimate cost of the conflict. Real drama is generated as a small but ruthless German advance force take over a sleepy English village (a plot later more sensationally reworked in The Eagle Has Landed). Director Alberto Cavalcanti handles events with neo-documentary efficiency and William Walton's score cannot fail to stir.