12 January

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LOST IN PARIS

France  2017  83 mins  12A

Gentle and clever but also very knowing, this visual comedy from writer/directors Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon, echoes the mood of their past successes such as Rumba (2008). It also brings Jacques Tati to mind, but this time the recipe includes French veteran Emmanuelle Riva (remember Haneke’s Oscar-winning Amour?) along with Abel and Gordon themselves. Riva is dotty Aunt Martha who invites Fiona to Paris, but then promptly disappears, after which Fiona manages to fall into the Seine only to be rescued and robbed by the homeless Dom (Abel). Both witty and wry, Lost in Paris delivers a little edgy social satire while also paying homage to the city itself. (S)

 

26 January

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AFTERIMAGE

Poland  2017  98 mins  12

In this moving, valedictory work the great Polish director Andrzej Wajda reprises the theme of Stalinist oppression that consumed him for his entire professional life. He both celebrates and mourns another towering talent, the Polish avant-garde artist Wladyslaw Strzeminski who, in this late ’40s setting, is first denied his teaching job, then his artistic freedom, finally being reduced to penury because he refuses to embrace the ‘socialist realist’ kitsch that is the only officially sanctioned art form. Strzeminski (Boguslaw Linda) was crippled (losing an arm and leg in WW1), a strong metaphor for a creative environment in which his art is destroyed but his spirit remains unbowed. (S)

 

9 February

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THE PARTY

UK  71 mins  15

Filmed in monochrome, this is maverick director Sally Potter (Orlando, Ginger & Rosa) at her acerbic best with Janet, a self-regarding politician (Kristin Scott Thomas) throwing a little soiree to celebrate her Cabinet appointment. Guests include her jealous best friend, (Patricia Clarkson), a pair of bickering lesbians, a coked-up financial shark whose mislaid his wife and Janet’s terminally gloomy husband (Timothy Spall). Shot in real time with magnificent turns from all concerned, events rapidly spiral out of control and the staggeringly unexpected results manifest dark social commentary cunningly woven within the highest heights of farce.

Borderlines logo

Borderlines Film Festival

Festival runs from 23rd February to 11th 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)

23 February

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MY PURE LAND (Borderlines screening 1) £5.50

UK  2017  98 mins  15

British director Sarmad Masud’s taut debut feature is also, deservedly, the UK’s foreign language entry for the 2018 Oscars. It’s a female-led siege thriller; as sparse and striking as a western, but based on a shocking true story. In rural Pakistan, a mother and her daughters must defend their home from their violent uncle; who recruits a local militia of 200 bandits to his cause. But the women - led by eldest daughter Nazo (Suhaee Abro) - fight back. Switching between past and present to reveal the lives that led the women to this place, Masud’s film is eloquent on female strength and resistance in the face of patriarchy. A really special film; beautifully shot, performed and realised. (S)

 

2 March

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THE DEATH OF STALIN (Borderlines 2) £5.50

UK  2017  106 mins  15

Amando Iannucci’s skills as a contemporary satirist (The Thick Of It) now address the demise of Soviet Russia’s last great tyrant. Starring many of Britain’s funniest character actors (Paul Whitehouse, Simon Russell-Beale, Michael Palin etc.), opening scenes depict a potty-mouthed Stalin barely holding together a vast, impoverished empire and a crew of fawning courtiers. Following his fatal heart attack, these warring colleagues back-stab their way along the route of succession. Brimful of splenetic, politically incorrect discourse with subtexts shockingly relevant to current times, Iannucci brilliantly concocts a seamless torrent of laugh-out-loud humour. 

9 March

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HOTEL SALVATION (Borderlines 3) £5.50

India  2016  102 mins  15

Faint whiffs of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel permeate this affecting Indian comedy-drama from debut feature director Shubhashish Bhutiani. Rajiv (Adil Hussain, Life Of Pi) is a stressed-out accountant whose decidedly sprightly 77 year-old dad, Daya, announces his plan to spend his final days in the holy city of Varanasi on the banks of the River Ganges. Unfortunately for Rajiv, dad wants his son to travel with him to a run-down hotel whose proprietor is plainly keen that his guests check out for good, and quickly. Much of the ensuing, gentle humour involves Daya’s acceptance of mortality and Rajiv’s anxiety to get it over with and return to work. (S)

 

23 March

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LOGAN LUCKY

USA  2017  119 mins  12A

Having officially ‘retired’ in 2013, director Steven Soderbergh re-joins the fray with Rebecca Blunt’s script about the ill-fated Logan brothers – Jimmy (Soderbergh regular, Channing Tatum) and Clyde (Adam Driver) – who plan to rob Charlotte Motor Speedway. Referencing his highly successful heist franchise, Soderbergh claimed it’s ‘an inversion of an Oceans movie’ although it certainly has some wonderfully comedic moments not least when the siblings’ inexperience compels them to spring safe-cracking jail-bird Joe Bang (an improbably blonde Daniel Craig). Seth McFarlane, Hilary Swank and Katie Holmes add to the very considerable fun.


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6 April

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FRANTZ

Fra/Ger  2016  113mins  12A

Our second monochrome offering of the season, François Ozon (Potiche) has another complex heroine  Anna (Paula Beer), implying that in the wake of WW1, a big lie causes less pain than a simple truth. She’s the German ex-fiancée of the titular Frantz, killed by French troops whose grave she regularly tends. Unexpectedly joined there by Adrien (Pierre Niney, Yves Saint Laurent) who claims to have known Frantz before the war, an uneasy, initially hostile relationship develops between the two and Frantz’s parents. Based loosely on Ernst Lubitsch’s Broken Lullaby, subtleties and surprising twists deliver much more than a challenging moral fable. (S)


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20 April

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THE FLORIDA PROJECT

USA  2017  111 mins  15

A dip into childhood set in a marginal, survive-on-your-wits adult environment. Six-year-old Moonee and her chaotic mother Halley hustle for a living on the wrong side of the metaphorical tracks, where the right side – just over there – is the fantasy land of Disney World, ‘the Florida project’ that Walt Disney developed in the early ’70s. Together with her pals, Moonee, street-wise beyond her years, delights in their scrapes and cheeky adventures as they brush up against the harsher realities of adult life, including Halley’s drift into sex work. But at least they’re watched over and intermittently helped by their gruff, warm-hearted landlord Bobby (a superb Willem Dafoe).


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Winter-Spring 2018

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