4 January

The Square still

The Square

Sweden  2018  151 mins  15

Set in Sweden, this Palme d’Or winner is a glorious satirical take on the art world – is this art we’re looking at, or marketing? As Anne, a journalist well in on the joke and determined to see through any phoniness, Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men, The Handmaid’s Tale) is a delight, as is the object of her doubts, museum director Christian (Claes Bang). But there’s more going on here than concerns about the originality or legitimacy of modern art. How about the hypocrisies of art lovers, or indeed of well-heeled liberal society in general? The title work “The Square” (a simple neon square) is, Christian claims, “a sanctuary of trust and caring”. Is it? You decide.  (S)

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18 January

Peterloo still

Peterloo

UK/USA   2018   154 mins  12A

The lessons of the French Revolution and American War of Independence haunted the political and social elites of early 19th-century Britain. As mutterings about the unfairness of taxation without representation became full-throated cries, the scene was set for the brutal suppression of working-class demands in Manchester in 1819, scene of the Peterloo massacre. The establishment’s uncompromising reaction to this pro-democracy demonstration is explored in forensic detail and with terrific commitment by Mike Leigh, in a film that (like Mr Turner) pushes beyond his signature domestic comedies. It’s a scenario that the cast, led by Maxine Peake and Rory Kinnear, bring vividly to life.

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1 February

Summer 1993 still

Summer 1993

Spain  2017  93 mins  12

Summer 1993, the autobiographical debut drama by young Spanish film director Carla Simón, is “beguiling” and “a jewel”, according to The Guardian. A six-year-old girl, Frida, is sent to stay with her aunt after the death of her mother, and the film follows her as she slowly integrates into her new family. She has a younger cousin, Marga, who becomes the butt of Frida’s attempts to rationalise what has brought her into this unlooked-for circumstance, while we also begin to learn the adult back-story. The fact that the story is based on real experience makes it all the more moving. This subtle and rich film also features flawless performances by its two young stars.  (S)

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15 February

Tracking Edith still

Tracking Edith

UK  2017  98 mins  PG

This gripping documentary feature by Peter Stephan Jungk is based on his 2015 book about his own aunt: The Darkrooms of Edith Tudor-Hart. She was an Austrian-born documentary photographer and socialist, domiciled in Britain during and after the Second World War, whose work brilliantly recorded the lives of the urban working classes in Vienna, London and the Rhondda valley. However, she led a double-life, working as a spy for the Soviet Union:  as an architect of the Cambridge Five spy-ring, she introduced Kim Philby to her communist handler, thus betraying the country that took her in. A fascinating and unmissable exploration of motives and beliefs.

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Borderlines logo

Borderlines Film Festival

Festival runs from 1st March to 15th 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.

(The  Book Tickets Here  link for each participating film below will take you to the official Borderlines Box Office page for that event)

1 March

Cold War still

Cold War  (Borderlines) £5.50

Poland/UK/France/India  2018  88 mins  15

Politics and music, the personal and the political, are intimately entwined in this follow-up to Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski’s 2015 Oscar winner, Ida. In post-war Europe, Wiktor and Zula meet when she auditions for his travelling folk troupe. Their love story spreads across the continent, both east and west of the Iron Curtain, over the following 15 years. When he seizes a chance to defect, however, she resists, only for the pair to be reunited later in Paris. In this black and white five-star film (both The Guardian and The Times) Joanna Kulig gives her own five-star turn as Zula (memorably evoking the seductive and ravishing young Jeanne Moreau). (S)

    Book Tickets Here 

Click here for Cold War programme notes

8 March

The Guardians still

The Guardians  (Borderlines) £5.50

France/Switzerland/Monaco/Belgium  2017  135 mins  15

Compassionate and haunting, this intimate take on the rural French home front during the First World War, reminds us that those fighting and dying in the trenches were not the only casualties of the conflict. The seasonal rhythms of the farm, the sowing and reaping as well as the hardships, are minutely observed in this vivid exploration of the psychological shocks that spill over from the fighting into this close-knit “guardian” family community. Director Xavier Beauvois, who gave us the quietly heart-breaking Of Gods and Men, has a rare talent for earthy Hardyesque visuals as well as drawing deeply moving performances from an inspired cast.  (S)

    Book Tickets Here 

Click here for The Guardians programme notes

 

15 March

Wajib still

Wajib  (Borderlines) £5.50

Palestine/France  2017  97 mins  15

In a day-long tour of duty (‘wajib’ means duty) around Nazareth (could there be a more resonant name?) a father and son, Abu and Shadi, hand-deliver invitations to their daughter/sister’s wedding to friends and neighbours. Abu is a retired local schoolteacher and Shadi an architect now based in Italy. The two bicker, gently at first then more pointedly, as old tensions and political differences re-emerge in an environment where Abu fits in easily, while the strictures and obligations of Palestinian-Christian social life rankle with the increasingly irritated Shadi. Set in the run-up to Christmas, this gentle satire is a minutely observed joy. (S)

    Book Tickets Here 

Click here for Wajib programme notes

 

29 March

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Heal the Living

France/Germany  2016  103mins  15

Two families are thrown together by tragedy, this time on opposite sides of a heart-donor crisis. But rarely has medical trauma been treated with such delicacy and insight, and with less manipulative melodrama. French director Katell Quillévéré balances hopes and heart-break with what Variety calls “sublime compassion” as an exuberant young teenage surfer at first revels in his skills and the delights of first love, while a middle-aged former musician slowly comes to terms with her degenerative heart condition. The squeamish should know that there are surgical scenes, but they work to convey the sense of a secular miracle that somehow complements both families’ psychological journeys. (S)

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12 April

BlacKkKlansman still

BlacKkKlansman

USA  2018  135 mins  15

It’s a plot-line you couldn’t invent – black infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan. But (black) director Spike Lee didn’t have to get creative because this story is for real. Back in 1973 an idealistic black cop auditioned (over the phone, of course) for membership of the Colorado Springs chapter of the Klan by abusing “Blacks, Jews, anyone without pure white Ayrian blood.” It’s rich meat, a gift to Lee who rips into the possibilities with acid wit and anger. Our black entryist then uncovers terrorist plots at “America First!” Klan meetings, courtesy of his avatar, a white – Jewish! – fellow cop. And better still, Lee’s final coda updates us to the horrors seen at Charlottesville 2017.

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Winter-Spring 2019

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Bringing film to the Welsh Borders for over 40 years