Saturday 7 September

Wild Rose image

Wild Rose

UK  2019   101 mins   15

As the Wall Street Journal puts it, Jessie Buckley is ‘an earful, an eyeful and a heartful’ as would-be country singing star wild Rose-Lynn Harlan from Glasgow. There’s no ‘would-be’ about her voice though, that’s for sure, or her full-on two-fingered attitude to life, or her utterly credible talent as she takes on the US country capital of Nashville. But is it all a hope too far in a town stuffed with wannabes? Buckley (last seen in 2018’s Beast, and earlier in the BBC’s War and Peace) blazes across the screen as Rose-Lynn tries to ignore both her children and her ex-con ankle tag, much to the affectionate outrage of her mother Marion (a touching Julie Walters). Don’t miss it!

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20 September

Leave No Trace still

Leave No Trace

USA/UK  2018  109 mins  PG

Coming of age with a difference: a father and daughter survive on their know-how in the verdant forests of Oregon’s Pacific north west while trying to keep one step ahead of the authorities. Will (Ben Foster) is an ex-military vet suffering from PTSD, while his teenage daughter Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) stays touchingly loyal to his isolationist way of life. When, eventually, they are caught and forced to live within four walls, they’re subjected to often absurd tests by protective and well-meaning officialdom. The adolescent Tom then tentatively embraces a more typical social life as her father shrinks psychologically in this deeply affecting and poignant five-star film.

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4 October

The Heiresses still

The Heiresses

Paraguay  2018  98 mins  12A

The comfortable 30-year lesbian relationship of two rich Paraguayan socialites is sundered when one of them is jailed for fraud. And the fallout is as unexpected as it is moving. The outgoing Chiquita (Margarita Irun) thrives in prison, making new friends and quickly grasping how the system works, while the gentle, shy Chela (Ana Brun) suffers the humiliation of having to sell off many of her household effects, while also running a downmarket taxi service for her other rich friends. But, to her amazement, she also finds herself enjoying a fulfilling new relationship with a much younger woman in a film that explores both the pain and joy of fresh horizons. (S) 

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18 October

Free Solo still

Free Solo

USA  2018  100 mins  12A

 

If you’ve ever wondered how differently you’d react to watching an unprotected 3000ft vertical rock climb – without ropes or safety net – as opposed to, say, Tom Cruise or Sylvester Stallone pulling off the same stunt when you know every safety device is right there just out of shot, then welcome to a documentary that shows just how terrifying the real thing actually is. In 2017, amazing free climber Alex Honnold took on the El Capitan rock face in Yosemite where a single slip would have been terminal. Preparations were exhaustive, and trial attempts with ropes – which did save him when he slipped – preceded this toe-curling, unique, death-or-glory assault. Mesmerising!

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1 November

Border still

Border

Swe/Den  2019  110 mins  15

The border crossings in this tender yet disconcerting film aren’t limited to passport entry points. There are also cultural, sexual and other transgressive crossings that arise when Swedish border guard Tina (Eva Melander) encounters Vore (Eero Milonoff). In a movie full of surprises, it’s her hyper-sharp sense of smell (for fear as well as contraband) that makes her an invaluable border asset, but which Vore’s challenging insolence at first confounds. They’re of a similar, almost Neanderthal, physical type, so there’s much to explore as Tina’s dormant emotional life is revived. Above all they share a sense of ‘otherness’, a quality Vore revels in but which shames the emerging Tina.  (S)

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15 November

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Happy As Lazzaro

It/Fra/Swi  2019  128 mins  12A

A magical tale that puts a naive farm boy at the centre of a row between an exploitative owner of a tobacco farm in southern Italy, and her son who can no longer tolerate her inhuman treatment of the workers. The son, Tancredi (Luca Chikovani), with help from the saintly Lozzaro (Adriano Tardiolo), stages his own kidnapping in order to expose the workers’ appalling conditions when the authorities step in. Set, at first, in the early decades of the 20th century, the film pulls off a time-shifting and life-affirming master stroke that leaves the innocent Lozzaro still youthful, but those around him decades older in this powerful critique of peasant  worker abuse. (S)

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29 November

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Woman At War

Iceland  2019  101 mins  12A

A story for our times as an anonymous Icelandic eco-warrior wages a one-woman war against the local aluminium industry and massive Chinese investment. Known locally as the Mountain Woman, the secretive Hella (an inspirational Halldóra Geirhardsdóttir) runs the gamut of abuse as fake media reports put her on the wrong side of public opinion. Hella’s child adoption application is also put at risk, while her yoga-teaching twin sister Asa – seeking only inner peace – must share Hella’s turmoil while remaining blissfully unaware that she is the notorious Mountain Woman. Despite the subject matter, Woman at War also keeps things light – a witty film with a delightful black comic touch. (S)

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13 December

Sorry We Missed You still

Sorry We Missed You

UK  2019  100 mins  TBC

‘This brilliant film will focus minds’ says The Guardian. Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty’s latest exploration of Britain’s working poor takes on the pressures of zero-hours contracts as one family finds itself caught in a downward spiral of falling income and rising debt. Ricky (Kris Hitchen) persuades his wife Abbie (Debbie Honeywood) to sell the car she uses as a contract nurse and in-home carer to finance the van he needs to pull in an even higher ‘freelance’ courier income. Needless to say the firm he works for holds all the power, and his manager Maloney (Ross Brewster) is merciless. If anything, Sorry We Missed You is even more a film for today than Loach’s last, I, Daniel Blake.

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Autumn-Winter 2019

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