Fri 29th Sept, 8pm, The Other Side of Hope
The Other Side Of Hope Toivon Tuolla Puolen
Dir: Aki Kaurismaki Finland 2017 98 mins Cert: 12
Starring: Ville Virtanen, Kati Outinen, Tommi Korpela, Sakari Kuosmanen
This film tells two stories that converge after forty minutes. The first of these features Khaled, a Syrian refugee. A stowaway on a coal freighter, he ends up in Helsinki where he applies for asylum without much hope of success. Wikström, the second main character, is a travelling salesman peddling ties and men’s shirts. Turning his back on his trade, he instead decides to put his poker face to good use at a gambling table and subsequently buys himself a restaurant in the remotest corner of Helsinki. When the authorities turn down Khaled’s application, he decides to remain in the country illegally, like so many other people who share his fate. Going underground in the Finnish capital, he lives on the streets and encounters all kinds of racism, but also some cool rock ’n’ rollers and genuine friendship. One day Wikström discovers Khaled sleeping in the dark backyard behind his restaurant. He provides him with a bed and a job. For a while, these two band together with the restaurant’s waitress, the chef and his dog to form a utopian union – one of Aki Kaurismäki’s typical communities bound together by fate which demonstrates that the world could and should be a better place.
-Berlin International Film Festival 2017
Sat 28th Oct, 8pm, The Levelling
Dir: Hope Dickson Leach UK 2017 83 mins Cert: CLUB
Starring: Ellie Kendrick, David troughton, Jack Holden
After her brother’s suicide, a young woman returns to her family farm to confront her brooding and embittered father, in the beautifully controlled and emotionally precise feature debut by Hope Dickson Leach.
This even-handed tale about a young woman who returns home to the family farm marks Hope Dickson Leach as a talent to watch. The Levelling is unadorned and efficient filmmaking, its style careful and respectful, its setting beautifully captured but never overly aestheticized. Its story of a daughter trying to reconcile with her father continues a timeless tradition of delicately told tales of family relationships gone wrong.
Clover (Ellie Kendrick), the film’s clearheaded young protagonist, comes home to Somerset after learning that her younger brother Harry has killed himself. There she is met by her sullen father, Aubrey (David Troughton), a brooding hulk of a man whose past woes have derailed his life. Quiet and dour, unable to express himself, he finds himself trapped in quiet anger. The farm is in disrepair. Recent floods have rendered the main house uninhabitable, and Aubrey lives in a trailer. Harry was meant to take over the farm, but those plans also lie in ruins. It is not long before the simmering emotions between father and daughter break out into undisguised war. Clover instinctively blames Aubrey for the death of her brother and is determined to get to the truth. Aubrey, ex-army, has his own issues to deal with.
Amid these tensions, there is the reality of running a failing dairy farm, which grows even more troubling as local authorities begin to ask questions about the health of the herd.
The Levelling is exceptionally well-directed, relentless in its logic, and maintains a cool approach to a subject that could have been incendiary in another filmmaker’s hands. Nevertheless, Dickson Leach ensures that the underlying emotions are carefully observed, released, and addressed. This is a small jewel of a film.
-Piers Handling, Toronto Film Festival 2017
Sat 25th Nov, 8pm, The Odyssey
The Odyssey L’Odyssée
Dir: Jérôme Salle France 2016 123mins Cert: CLUB
Starring: Lambert Wilson, Pierre Niney, Audrey Tautou
Summer 1946. Jacques-Yves Cousteau is living a seemingly paradisiac life in the Mediterranean together with his family. But Cousteau never finds himself in a state of happiness: the entrepreneurial go-getter lives and breathes maritime adventure. Driven by his unshakable belief in progress, he sets sail in his recently purchased research vessel Calypso on a voyage to discover the oceans of the world.
Ten years later, his now adult son Philippe wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. While Jacques – who is on the verge of becoming a megalomaniac – dreams of underwater dwellings, his son realises the innovation could be a major danger to the environment. Their relationship is put to the test when the two set off on a joint expedition.
L’Odyssée is the long-awaited biopic of a world-renowned scientist and filmmaker. – Zurich Film Festival 2016
Fri 29th Dec, 8pm, By the Time it Gets Dark (Rathanna Hall)
By the Time it Gets Dark Dao khanong
Dir: Anocha Suwichakornpong Thailand, france, Quatar, Netherlands 2017 105 mins Cert: CLUB
Starring: Arak Amornsupasiri, Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, Achtara Suwan
The delicate, heartfelt feature from Thai director Anocha Suwichakornpong fulfills the promise of her arresting debut, Mundane History, with an intricate narrative about lives in flux.
By the Time it Gets Dark encompasses multiple stories of Thailand whose connections are as spiritual as they are incidental. We meet a pair of actors whose paths take them in very different directions. We meet a young waitress serving breakfast at an idyllic country café, only to later find her employed in the busy dining room of a river cruise ship. And we meet a filmmaker interviewing an older woman whose life was transformed by the political activism of her student years and the Thammasat University massacre of 1976. With her tender, unobtrusive filmmaking style, Suwichakornpong allows us to get to know these characters slowly and deeply. At the same time, we see how their beautiful country and its troubled history inform their actions and identities in ways both overt and subtle.
Guided by Suwichakornpong’s associative rigour and her gift for crafting images of unusual beauty, By the Time it Gets Dark treats every moment as special. When the older woman asks why she’s been chosen as an interview subject, the filmmaker character answers that the woman is “living history”; the filmmaker, by contrast, feels herself to be quite ordinary. Yet one of the things that makes Suwichakornpong’s film so engrossing is how it takes seemingly ordinary moments of our lives and renders them as cinematic poetry.
– Giovani Fulvi, Toronto Film Festival 2017
How to get to Rathanna