13 January

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I, Daniel Blake

UK  2016  100 mins  15

‘A Cathy Come Home for the 21st century’. Ken Loach needs no introduction and over the years we have shown most of his recent films in Presteigne. I, Daniel Blake  was the winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year - making Loach one of only a handful of film-makers to have won the award twice - and is a damning indictment of Britain’s welfare system. When he finds himself in need of state aid, an ill carpenter meets a desperate single mother who needs the same thing. Together, the duo discover that negotiating the red tape is a disheartening and demeaning challenge within a system increasingly using private firms to implement government targets.

27 January

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Our Little Sister

Japan  2015  128 mins  PG

Three Japanese sisters (the Chekhovian echo is not inappropriate) discover at their father’s funeral that they now have a 13-year-old half-sister Suzu (Suzu Hirose) in their lives. In this delicate exploration of familial relationships the girls rescue Suzu from life with a domineering stepmother as the film, directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda (I Wish), probes the family’s recalibrated priorities. The three 20-somethings, with their sharply contrasting temperaments, have long been estranged from both parents but now live together relatively contentedly, so it’s the delightful complication of Suzu that gives this film its impetus, rescuing her sisters from their becalmed lives. (S)

10 February

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Spain  2016  99 mins  15

Julieta (Emma Suarez/Adriana Ugarte) discovers that her long-lost daughter, Antia (Blanca Pares/Priscilla Delgado), who disappeared a dozen years ago, is not only still alive but has children of her own. As intrigue is piled upon emotional heartbreak in this sumptuous return to form, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar plays his audience well, leaving us to wonder whether we’re immersed in a Hitchcockian mystery or romantic melodrama. Perhaps both. Julieta’s plans to rebuild her life in Portugal are discarded in the wake of life’s new realities which plunge her back into the past, rekindling the devastation of her loss, and explaining, finally, why Antia abandoned her in the first place. (S) 

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Borderlines Film Festival

Festival runs from 24th February to 12th March

Each year the Borderlines Film Festival, the largest rural film festival in the UK, centred on Hereford's Courtyard Arts Centre but also spread across numerous venues in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Powys, brings us a vast selection of new and old films. Presteigne Film Society has participated as a venue for many years and Presteigne Screen will feature three movies under the Borderlines umbrella (a bigger commitment to this excellent festival). See also the comprehensive website at www.borderlinesfilmfestival.co.uk. (Click the logo at left)

24 February

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Little Men (our first Borderlines screening)

USA/Greece  2016  85 mins  PG     £5

Like his much-garlanded Love Is Strange, Ira Sachs’ latest is an understated gem, with money and social division at its core. Two adolescents, Tony (Michael Barbieri) and Jake (Theo Taplitz), meet at a Brooklyn funeral, but their ensuing friendship is soon tested when Jake’s parents Brian and Kathy (Greg Kinnear, Stuck In Love, and Jennifer Ehle, Robocop – both never better) become embroiled in a dispute over the shop rented from them by Tony’s single mum (Paulina Garcia, breakout star of Gloria). The naturalistic performances from these two young actors as they react to each other and the adults responsible for them are extraordinarily moving.

Saturday 25 February

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The Headless Woman (our second Borderlines screening)

Arg/Fra/Ita 2008 87 mins 12A     £5

A psychological drama from acclaimed Argentine writer/director Lucrecia Martel. Driving down a deserted road while struggling with her mobile phone, Veronica (María Onetto, Wild Tales), a beautiful middle-aged dentist hits something with her car. After admitting to her husband (César Bordón, another Wild Tales alumnus) that she thinks she may have killed someone, all traces of Veronica’s activities over the previous few days begin to disappear. A dark exploration of an unfaithful wife whose subconscious battle with guilt begins to unravel both her life and her grip on reality. (S)


10 March

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Things To Come (our third Borderlines screening)

Fra/Ger  2016  104 mins  12     £5

Nathalie (Isabelle Huppert) is a cheerful Parisian academic married to the similarly intellectual Heinz (André Marcon, Marguerite) who suddenly leaves her for a younger woman. Although philosophically able to bear life’s burdens – she’s already coping with a suicidal mother (Édith Scob, Holy Motors) – Nathalie is fearful of divorce and consequent loneliness but finds solace with an anarchic ex-student (Roman Kolinka). Writer/director Mia Hansen-Løve (Father  Of My Children) weaves an understated but compelling observational drama which mines the considerable talents of two justly venerated French actresses, Huppert and Scob, to mesmerising effect. (S)

24 March

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American Honey

UK/USA  2016  163 mins  15

An outsider’s take on that American classic, the road movie, American Honey is a loosely plotted and anarchic teen saga from British writer/director Andrea Arnold (Red Road, Fish Tank, Wuthering Heights). On a whim, Star (Sasha Lane) abandons her life as a carer to join a chaotic troupe pushing magazine sales door-to-door. Led by Krystal (Riley Keough) and charismatic Jake (Shia LaBeouf), they lie and party their way around the blue-collar US mid-west as Star is alternately seduced and repelled by their heedless amorality. Arnold calls herself an ‘instinctive film-maker’ and her vivid take on this particular slice of Americana is as compelling as it is original.

7 April

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Greece  2015  95 mins  18

Six men aboard a luxury yacht vie for superiority in a series of increasingly bizarre challenges ranging from against-the-clock assembly of Ikea shelving to the almost inevitable comparison of male attributes, all orchestrated with a quiet relish by the boat’s owner, an imperious 60-something known as the ‘The Doctor’. At one end of the social spectrum is alpha male Yannis, at the other his bumbling, insecure brother, Dimitris, and much of the film’s tinder-dry humour comes from their awkward relationship. As producer of  both Dogtooth and The Lobster, female director/co-writer Athina Rachel Tsangari’s movie perhaps unsurprisingly oozes delicious drollery. (S)

21 April

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Queen of Katwe

USA  2015  124 mins  PG

Touching reality-based tale of an illiterate 9-year-old Ugandan kid, Phiona (a captivating Madina Nalwanga), who rises from the slums of shantytown Kampala to triumph as a world-class chess player. A real heart-warmer from Disney that also stars David Oyelowo as a football coach and the girl’s discoverer and mentor. Katwe, though, is far from being the cuddly soft soap that the Disney tag may suggest, as the cruelties and wretchedness of Phiona’s background are exposed and explored. The director Mira Nair (Salaam Bombay and Monsoon Wedding) and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt (12 Years a Slave) have the track records to ensure Katwe has plenty of edge. 

Winter-Spring 2017


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Bringing film to the Welsh Borders for 40 years