Free film screenings!Free film screenings!

Force Majeure (2014)

Free film screenings!Free film screenings!

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

Free film screenings!Free film screenings!

Panic in the Needle Park (1971)

Free film screenings!Free film screenings!

Come and See (1985)

Free film screenings!Free film screenings!

The VVitch: A New-England Folktale (2015)

Free film screenings!Free film screenings!

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

SAM Cinémathèque Screenings

SAM Cinémathèque is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run programme for screening films on a weekly basis. The screenings are free and independently run by students.

We provide a chance for film and culture enthusiasts to come together and watch films for review/criticism. There is an emphasis on arthouse and indie films, yet also films that were overlooked or underrated at the time of their release. We cover a variety of genres, national cinemas, movements and eras. The program is structured to include well-known arthouse features and cult films, but also lesser-known independent films and films that are relatively unknown or overlooked despite the fact that they were made by established, critically-acclaimed directors.

In addition, we are open to the idea of holding special screening events on certain occasions; e.g., screening several films of a director who has recently attracted critical acclaim, or holding a special programme as a tribute to a director who has recently passed away in order to show his/her legacy and significance for the film history, or a structured programme of screening films that are often associated with a movement.

Students are strongly encouraged to volunteer to introduce lesser-known or widely-forgotten films they believe to be worth the introduction and screening. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you be interested to contribute.


Join the SAM Cinémathèque group on Facebook
Like the SAM Cinémathèque page on Facebook

Contact:
Keyvan Tavanaye Manafi
keyvan.tavanayemanafi@student.unsw.edu.au

2017 Program

All screenings are in Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington


Thursday 31 August, 6pm
The War Zone (1999)
A film by Tim Roth

Thursday, 7 September, 6pm
20th Century Women (2016)
A film by Mike Mill

Thursday 14 September, 6pm
Star 80 (1983)
A film by Bob Fosse

Thursday 21 September, 6pm
Young & Beautiful (2013)
A film by François Ozon

Thursday 28 September, 6pm
Bronson (2008)
A film by Nicolas Winding Refn

Thursday, 5 October, 6pm
Possession (1981)
A film by Andrzej Żuławski

Thursday 12 October
Days of Being Wild (1990)
A film by Wong Kar-Wai

Thursday 19 October
You, the Living + World of Glory (2007)
A film by Roy Andersson

Thursday 26 October
Naked (1993)
A film by Mike Leigh

Tuesday 31 October
The Tenant (1976)
A film by Roman Polanski

Thursday 2 November
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (1989)
A film by Peter Greenaway

Thursday 9 November
Brief Crossing (2001)
A film by Catherine Breillat

Thursday 16 November
Show Me Love (Fucking Åmål) (1998)
A film by Lukas Moodysson

Thursday 23 November
The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
A film by Victor Erice

Thursday 30 November
Do You Remember Dolly Bell (1981)
A film by Emir Kusturica

Thursday, 7 December
My Life as a Dog (1985)
A film by Lasse Hallström

Thursday 14 December
Naked Lunch (1991)
A film by David Cronenberg


Read more about these films below.

You, the Living: 19 October 2017

YouTheLiving

You, the Living (2007)
A film by Roy Andersson

When: Thursday 19 October, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Roy Andersson’s YOU, THE LIVING is a quirky black comedy consisting of fifty short sketches, following the lives of ordinary people in the Swedish city of Lethe. Each vignette is deadpan with tragicomedy undertone, mostly filmed in overtly static shots, exploring the "grandeur of existence."

Emblematic of Andersson’s overtly stylized approach to the film medium, YOU, THE LIVING employs mostly non-actors, choosing them primarily based on their physical appearance. The film heavily relies on alienating devices and techniques. The make-ups are grim and exaggerated, and in many cases the characters advertently break the “fourth wall” by talking directly to the camera.

Andersson took the title from Goethe's “Roman Elegies”. The title card in the beginning of the film sets the premise: "Therefore rejoice, you, the living, in your lovely warm bed, until Lethe's cold wave wets your fleeing foot."

Premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, YOU, THE LIVING is the second film in a trilogy, preceded by SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR (2000) and followed by A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014).

Watch the trailer

World of Glory (1991)

This session also features Andersson’s critically-acclaimed short film WORLD OF GLORY (Swedish title: “Härlig är jorden,” meaning "Lovely is the Earth") – a film that demonstrates the early stages of the evolvement of his experimental style, laying out the foundations for his fully-fledged style realized in the aforementioned trilogy.

Naked: 26 October 2017

Naked

Naked (1993)
A film by Mike Leigh

When: Thursday 26 October, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Regarded by many as Mike Leigh’s best cinematic achievement, NAKED tells the story of Johnny Fletcher (David Thewlis) – an unemployed British guy who leaves Manchester and starts a nocturnal odyssey in London, verbally as well as physically venting his frustration and cynical anger onto the women he knows but also those he randomly meets. An apocalyptic conspiracy theorist and a witted intellectual, yet also a drifter and abuser, Johnny is an anti-hero with a deeply nihilistic worldview. Wandering around with no aim but to extinguish his rage, he eventually stands out as a figure whose hysteric behavior and existential angst expose and lay bare the overarching dissatisfaction and emptiness that rest beneath an apparently liberated society.

In a Cannes-winning performance, Thewlis, to borrow Leigh's words, "just erupted in this part and it’s indelible, the mark he made." Delivering a tour-de-force performance, Thewlis owes his outstanding performance first and foremost to Leigh's exceptional method: starting from a 20-page screenplay in which characters and events are only briefly sketched out, and then the whole film being developed through lengthy improvisations during numerous rehearsal sessions. What Thewlis adds to the method, his “eruption,” is what makes the film utterly challenging and unforgettable.

Controversial, uncompromising, unapologetic, yet also uncannily honest, NAKED is a revealing example of confrontational filmmaking. A black-comedy with biting social commentary that could be too much to stomach for many.

The fifth event in the screening series titled “Performative Excess,” following the screenings of Série noire, BUFFALO ’66, A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE, and BRONSON.

Watch the trailer

The Tenant: 31 October 2017

TheTenantUPDATED

The Tenant (1976)
A film by Roman Polanski

When: Tuesday 31 October, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Set in Paris, the peculiarly shy and isolated Eastern European Trelkovsky (Roman Polanski, the director casting himself in the leading role) rents an apartment in an old and spooky residential building just to learn that the previous tenant, a young woman, tried to commit suicide by jumping out the apartment’s window. Facing suspicion and hostility from the creepy inhabitants of the apartment for reasons unknowable to him, Trelkovsky descends into madness as he becomes obsessed with what has happened to the previous tenant and increasingly begins to identify with her, seeing himself as being led to the same destiny not only by the others surrounding him but also by the apartment itself.

A psychological horror also starring Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas, and Shelley Winters in the supporting roles, THE TENANT is a disturbing but also humorous experiment in horror cinema that deals with Polanski’s favorite themes including frustration, oppression, paranoia and loss of identity. A cult favorite despite having been panned upon its initial theatrical release, Polanski’s film is most successful and effective in its efforts to alienate its viewer through a rigorous creation of an atmosphere of dread and claustrophobia, just as the protagonist is exposed to the suffocation of the alienating forces around him.

Following REPULSION (1965) and ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968), THE TENANT is the third and final film in Polanski’s Apartment Trilogy (even though the story was to be brought on screen by Jack Clayton from a script by Edward Albee).

Watch the trailer

The Cook the Thief his Wife and her Lover: 2 November 2017

TheCookTheThiefHisWife

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
A film by Peter Greenaway

When: Thursday 2 November, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

In this British-French black comedy crime drama Michael Gambon stars as Albert Spica – an aggressive gang leader who has recently bought the classy French Le Hollandais Restaurant. Along with his wife Georgina (Helen Mirren) and other associates, he dines and entertains himself in the restaurant on a nightly basis. Yet, what he is unaware of is the fact that Georgina, frustrated and fed up with him, starts an affair and frequently makes love to her lover in the cozy spots of the restaurant with the help of the staff working there.

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover is perhaps Peter Greenaway’s most widely known film. And like almost every other cinematic work by him, the film has caused controversy since its release. Inspired by the Jacobean play “'Tis Pity She's a Whore,” the film is bizarre, complex, highly stylized, formalist, unapologetically disturbing and to some certain extent self-indulgent. And perhaps the disgust and the fascination the film has induced in audiences and critics over the years explain its decades-long cult status.

Some critics have interpreted the film as an attack on the Margaret Thatcher led conservative government – the thief has been claimed to represent her politics, the lover to portray the British left, the wife as Britain itself, and the cook as the civil servants. Indeed, the film gives way to such interpretations. It is less a classical attempt at story-telling than an exhibition of characters, each presenting peculiar attributes and traits in an exaggerated fashion. Yet, its rich texture and hypnotic visualization – emblematic of Greenaway’s career – remain stubbornly irreducible to any exhaustive reading.

Watch the trailer

Brief Crossing: 9 November 2017

Brief Crossing

Brief Crossing (2001)
A film by Catherine Breillat

When: Thursday 9 November, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Catherine Breillat’s BRIEF CROSSING recounts the brief encounter between Thomas (Gilles Guillain), a teenage French boy, and Alice (Sarah Pratt), a much older and mature British woman who has recently separated from her husband, as they meet one another on a ferry while crossing from La Havre to Portsmouth.

Breillat’s BRIEF CROSSING is among her best known and critically acclaimed films. Yet, the film attracted less controversy precisely because the way it sets up the sex scenes are less explicit than what Breillat has depicted in her other major works. Deliberately slow-paced and uneventful, BRIEF CROSSING reveals its characters through prolonged conversations. However, the film is most captivating mainly thanks to its reliance on reducing the dramatization to largely static episode of conversations: the way conversations are set up, Breillat’s brilliant direction, and the actor’s intimate portrayal of the characters, turn the slow rhythm into a meditative build-up of passion and desire. Contributing to the rich cinematic tradition of coming-of-age dramas, BRIEF CROSSING is about a male protagonist who comes of age and sexually awakens in a brief yet intense experience of promise, joy, but also of agony and loss of innocence.

Show Me Love (Fucking Åmål): 16th November 2017

ShowMeLove

Show Me Love (Fucking Åmål) (1998)
A film by Lukas Moodysson

When: Thursday 16 November, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Lukas Moodysson’s feature-length directorial debut, SHOW ME LOVE is a coming-of-age drama telling the story of two girls – Elin (Alexandra Dahlström), a popular but not too happy girl who finds her life dull and empty; and Agnes (Rebecka Liljeberg), a friendless, bullied and isolated girl who lacks the courage to express her emotions including her feelings for Elin.

Set in a small Swedish town, which Agnes sees as “the most boring place on Earth,” SHOW ME LOVE is a bittersweet romantic tale, depicting how its protagonists come of age as they witness the transformation of their sexual identity. The film is sad, emotionally honest and at times brutal. Yet, it is also charming and life-affirming as its protagonists find hope and promise within a world plagued by boredom, dissatisfaction, bullying, and aggressive judgment.

Premiered at the Cannes Film Festival under its original title (Fucking Åmål), the film was later renamed after the American distributors convinced Moodysson that marketing the film in English-speaking countries could be difficult if the title is not changed to a more conventional one. Moodysson eventually decided to use the title song of the film – Robyn’s “Show Me Love” – for the international release.

Interestingly, the film was entirely shot in Trollhättan, with a few scenes that were shot in Åmål later taken out of the final cut of the film.

The Spirit of the Beehive: 23 November 2017

TheSpiritoftheBeehive

The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
A film by Victor Eric

When: Thursday 23 November, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Set in a remote village in 1940, just after the Spanish Civil War ended and Franco’s reign began, Victor Erice’s THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE is a drama focusing on the inner life of a six-year-old girl who is traumatized by yet also fascinated with the monster Frankenstein after watching the 1931 film version of the story. The film follows Ana as she drifts into a world of fantasy after she “misunderstands” a specific scene of the film amid the emotional disintegration of her family.

Erice’s directorial debut, THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE is often considered as an implicit message about Francoist regime – after all, it was still costly to be openly critical despite the drastic weakening of the regime at the time the film was produced. Yet, the film also has a timeless sensibility to it – a form of haunting beauty and enigma that helps the film to stand out on its own terms despite the historical context it alludes to and its irrefutable metaphorical thrust.

Regarded as one of the best Spanish films of all time.

Watch the trailer

Do You Remember Dolly Bell: 30 November 2017

dolly-bell

Do You Remember Dolly Bell? (1981)
A film by Emir Kusturica

When: Thursday 30 November, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

In his directorial debut, Emir Kusturica tells the story of a teenage boy nicknamed Dino who spends his school days in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, in the early 1960s. Under the almost suffocating shadow of his good-hearted yet tough but fading father, Dino comes of age as he meets local thugs and petty criminals. The most decisive turning point in his life comes up when he is hired by the local gang to provide a hiding place for a prostitute named Dolly Bell. He falls for her; a fall that turns his coming-of-age into an agonizingly painful odyssey of desire and loss.

Bittersweet, dark, still no less life-affirming, DO YOU REMEMBER DOLLY BELL? is arguably beyond a mere prototype of Kusturica’s later cinematic achievements. The film embodies a raw yet more compassionate and attentive look at life in Yugoslavia during a time when the loosening of the government’s hold on individual rights led to a confused generation of youth who were unsure of the freedom they were granted.

Winner of the Golden Lion award for Best First Film at the Venice Film Festival.

My life as a dog: 7 Decenber 2017

my-life-as-a-dog

My Life as a Dog (1985)
A film by Lasse Hallström

When: Thursday 7 December, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Set in the late 1950s in Sweden, MY LIFE AS A DOG recounts the story of Ingemar – a 12-year-old boy with a peculiarly philosophical worldview who lives a seemingly normal life with his nasty older brother and terminally ill mother. Ingemar loves dogs and he is particularly saddened by what is happening to Laika – a Russian dog who has been sent into space and is in critical condition when the food there begins to run out. As his mother’s health increasingly deteriorates, Ingemar feels more compassionate and further sympathizes with Laika’s unfortunate condition. Yet, tired of Ingemar’s not so friendly relation with his brother, the mother gets fed up eventually and sends Ingemar to live with relatives. There a new chapter in his life begins as he meets new people.

MY LIFE AS A DOG is an exceptional coming-of-age drama that takes its protagonist’s painful experiences seriously yet never falls prey for a tear-jerker, crowd-pleaser conventional mode of dramatization. What Lasse Hallström brings forth with the film lays the premise for his later, more widely-known cinematic achievements, particularly his American dramas. Yet, at the same time, what MY LIFE AS A DOG adds to the tradition of coming-age-dramas and the sensibility it introduces into the subgenre are arguably more sophisticated than the more mainstream, conformist and canonical cinematics of his later works.

Based on the second novel of Reidar Jönsson’s semi-autobiographical trilogy, MY LIFE AS A DOG was nominated for two Academy Awards (the Best Director and the Best Adapted Screenplay) and won the Golden Globe for the Best Foreign Language Film (1988). The iconic author Kurt Vonnegut considered the film as one of his favorites of all time.

Watch the trailer

Naked Lunch: 14 December 2017

NakedLunch

Naked Lunch (1991)
A film by David Cronenberg

When: Thursday 14 December, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Peter Weller stars as Bill Lee – an exterminator who develops addiction to a bug powder substance. He accidentally murders his wife (Judy Davis) before becoming the target of a secret government plot orchestrated by giant beetles in a mysterious, labyrinth-like town somewhere in North Africa.

NAKED LUNCH is David Cronenberg’s daring attempt to film the thoroughly “unfilmable” 1959 novel of the same title by William S. Burroughs. The result is bizarre and fascinating as Cronenberg offers an astonishingly creative fusion of materials from the novel with Burroughs’ own biographical facts. A challenging mind-trip into unforeseen places, NAKED LUNCH is creepy, visceral, humorous, and at times difficult to stomach. Yet, since its release it has been a pleasant, amusing and rewarding watch for many film enthusiasts and cinephile – hence its remarkable cult status. The tagline “David Cronenberg and William S. Burroughs invite you to lunch” seems to do justice to a film that carries both Cronenberg’s and Burroughs’ weird sensibility within its every cell.

Watch the trailer

Days of Being Wild: 12 October 2017

DaysOFbeingWild

Days of Being Wild (1990)
A film by Wong Kar-Wai

When: Thursday 12 October, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Set in 1960, DAYS OF BEING WILD recounts the story of Yuddy – a young, handsome guy whose world is shaken up to its very core once the ex-prostitute who has raised him reveals that she is not her real mother. Indeed, Yuddy is playing his own games with women. Assuming his reputation as a playboy and heartbreaker, he seems to be enjoying the sufferings of two women – the emotionally damaged and depressed Li-zhen, and the vivacious cabaret performer Mimi – by letting them to compete for him.

A part of Wong Kar-Wai’s retrospective look at life in Hong Kong in the 1960s, DAYS OF BEING WILD is a gloomy drama characterized by its claustrophobic and hypnotic visuals and music. Almost entirely neglected upon its initial release, the film is now revered as one of the best Hong Kong films of all time.

The film is often considered as the first part of an informal trilogy, followed a decade later by IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (2000) and 2046 (2004).

Starring some of the most well-known actors and actresses working in Hong Kong film industry at its time, including Leslie Cheung, Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Carina Lau, Jacky Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-wai.

Watch the trailer

Possession: 5 October 2017

Possession

Possession (1981)
A film by Andrzej Żuławski

When: Thursday 5 October, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Andrzej Żuławski’s POSSESSION is arguably one of the strangest and most powerful films of all time. Set in Berlin, the film begins with Mark (Sam Neill) – a spy who returns home after a while from an espionage mission only to find out that his wife Anna (Isabelle Adjani) wants a divorce. What comes to his mind initially is that his wife has been unfaithful. What he discovers, however, is most shocking and utterly sinister.

No plot can ever do justice to the experience POSSESSION offers its audience. From his directorial debut, The Third Part of the Night (1971), shortly followed by The Devil (1972), Żuławski established himself as one of the most original talents in film history with a genuinely distinctive dynamic style. Unsurprisingly, POSSESSION is his most widely known film as it demonstrates the work of an artist at the peak of his career enjoying the thrust of his fully-fledged cinematic style. Utterly disturbing and bizarre, the film is a challenging portrayal of the disintegration of a marriage; yet, the film’s metaphorical aspect can never exhaustively contain its horror effect. A genuine masterpiece yet definitely not for all tastes.

Watch the trailer.

Bronson: 28 September 2017

Bronson

Bronson 2008
A film by Nicolas Winding Refn

When: Thursday 28 September, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

BRONSON is a fictionalized biographical drama based on the actual life story of the infamous Michael Gordon Peterson (stunningly portrayed by Tom Hardy). Later known as Charles Bronson, he was first sentenced to seven years in jail after a failed attempt to make a name for himself by robbing a post office. Yet, he ended up spending several decades behind the bars, most of it in solitary confinement, due to his oddly violent behavior that made him notorious as Britain’s most dangerous prisoner.

A low-budget, highly stylized film by Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, BRONSON is often criticized for its alleged lack of attention to content as the cost of his privileging of stylistic experiments – often referred to as style-over-substance prioritization. Yet, the film is also celebrated as a revealing example of Winding Refn’s career-long attempt to blur the boundary between Arthouse and exploitation filmmaking – an endeavor reaching a new stage in his recent films including DRIVE (2011), ONLY GOD FORGIVES (2013), and THE NEON DEMON (2016).

Rather than striving to exhaustively explain the motivations and impulses fueling Charlie’s behaviors, and instead of turning his inclination to violence into a theme to explore and investigate, Winding Refn is most interested in the physicality and theatricality of Charlie’s violent outbursts (backed up by Hardy’s exceptional devotion to drawing his character through his bodily engagements). At the same time, the film also takes interest in Charlie’s vulnerabilities often hidden underneath the appearances he takes on. The emphasis on his failed involvement with a girl before returning to the prison, his proposal and the fact that he stole an engagement ring to impress the girl, are mostly fictional yet are introduced into Charlie’s story to add layers that a simply explanatory approach would have overlooked.

Interestingly, Winding Refn was never allowed the chance to meet the real Charles Bronson in prison as he was not British. Hardy met him on a couple of occasions though, persuading him that he was the best choice to play his role despite Charlie’s initial displeasure.

The fourth event in the screening series titled “Performative Excess,” following the screenings of SÉRIE NOIRE, BUFFALO ’66, and A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE.

Watch the trailer.

Young & Beautiful: Thursday 21 September

YoungANDBeautiful

Young & Beautiful (2013)
A film by Francois Ozon

When: Thursday 21 September, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

A French coming-of-age drama, François Ozon’s YOUNG & BEAUTIFUL follows the uneasy sexual awakening of Isabelle (Marine Vacth) – a seventeen-year-old girl whose first sexual experience turns her whole existence into a mystery to her own self. She takes up a secret life as a call girl. Yet, she is interested neither in sex nor in money. She is cold and distant, even when it concerns her own youth and beauty. And her quest for self-knowledge seems to be a doomed attempt from the outset.

What makes Ozon’s film a very strange experience, and an exceptional coming-of-age drama, is his unsentimental yet highly attentive and honest approach to Isabelle. Ozon avoids exhaustive psychological explanations. He does not allow the audience to see Isabelle’s turmoil as a symptom of her social alienation, as something in need of address. Vacth’s coldness in fleshing out Isabelle’s mysterious inner struggle – often compared with Catherine Deneuve’s portrayal of the title character in Luis Buñuel’s BELLE DE JOUR (1967) – is matched up with Ozon’s masterful camerawork – observant yet distant and non-judgmental. The result is a unique cinematic experience that makes the audience appreciate the troubled sexual awakening of a sad and enigmatic girl. The peculiar ending of the film certainly frustrates the expectations associated of an audience who is too accustomed to the conventions governing mainstream coming-of-age dramas – an uncompromising and unapologetic ending that presents Isabelle’s coming-of-age as agonizing and indeterminate, as that which eventually turns out to be an impossibility

Watch the trailer.

Star 80: 14 September 2017

Star 80

Star 80 (1983)
A film by Bob Fosse

When: Thursday 14 Sept, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Dorothy (Mariel Hemingway), a high school beauty, is seduced by brash and charming small time-hustler Paul (Eric Roberts) who sees in her the potential for stardom. He becomes her manager and then her husband, guiding her to fame. Yet, the more successful she gets, the more obsessed and jealous he becomes. And the film chronicles her rise to fame yet also her tragically abrupt fall.

A fictional account of the real life story of Playboy model Dorothy Stratten who was murdered by her husband Paul Snider in 1980, Bob Fosse’s STAR 80 is a disturbing, devastating, and agonizingly sad look at celebrity culture and life style. Well-crafted and exceptionally well-acted, Fosse’s final film is a showcase of his uncompromising and challenging filmic style; it is a realization of his style at its most aggressive fashion.

Watch the trailer.

20th Century Women: 7 September 2017

20thCenturyWomen

20th Century Women (2016)
A film by Mike Mill

When: Thursday 7 Sept, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Set during the summer of 1979, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN recounts the story of Dorothea (Annette Bening) – a chain-smoking boardinghouse landlord and a determined single mother in her 50s who struggles to find the best possible way to parent her confused 15-year-old son Jamie. Indeed, time has changed and Dorothea finds it too tough to get to know what is going on in her son’s head. Hopelessly anxious, she seeks help from her tenants Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a punk photographer who has beat cancer recently, a cool and charming handyman (Billy Crudup), and Jamie’s astute yet no less confused best friend Julie (Elle Fanning). Yet, the role models she nominates for the task just further complicate her son’s coming-of-age and sexual awakening.

Mike Mill’s semi-autobiographical film, partly based on his own teenage days in Southern California, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN is a thoroughly enjoyable, engrossing coming-of-age drama representing the hardship a single mother undergoes as she tries to protect her teenage son in a time characterized by rebellion and uncertainty. Despite a deliberate refusal of mainstream dramatization that could facilitate the audience’s involvement in the story world, the film fleshes out its characters in exceptionally moving ways thanks to an attentive directing, powerhouse and deeply-felt performances, and a creative use of color to present the cultural changes of its time.

Premiered at the New York Film Festival (October 2016) and distributed by A24.

Watch the trailer.

The War Zone: 31 August 2017

TheWarZone

The War Zone (1999)
A film by Tim Roth

When: Thursday 31 August, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

THE WAR ZONE follows the members of a family who have just left London for a rural area in Devon. Tom, the fifteen-year-old son, is bored, frustrated and lonely, particularly after the move; while Jessie, his eighteen-year-old sister, is seemingly less upset about the change of scenery. Indeed, joy is brought to the family when the mother gives birth to the third child. Yet, once Tom finds out about a dark family secret, the whole household begins to turn into a war zone.

Unapologetically disturbing and heartbreaking, and definitely not for all tastes, Tim Roth’s directorial debut is a daring attempt to touch a very difficult subject matter – domestic sexual abuse. Based on a screenplay by Alexander Stuart, who adapted his novel of the same name for the screen, THE WAR ZONE is a rigorously composed drama that captures the gradual but irreversibly destructive emergence of horror and agony within an apparently normal family. Yet, THE WAR ZONE achieves so mostly through a detached but no less attentive observation of characters while avoiding reductive psychological explanations. Roth’s film is an effective drama precisely because it tirelessly refuses to be a morality tale charged with sentimentalism – what an alternative take on the subject would have fallen prey to.

Watch the trailer.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia : 5 May 2017

Cinematique

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcie (1974)

A film by Sam Peckinpah

When: Thursday 4 May, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA is a cult crime feature recounting the violent tale of Bennie (Warren Oates) – a retired United States Army officer and present bartender who goes on a doomed road trip along with his prostitute girlfriend Elita (Isela Vega) in a quest for a 1-million-dollar bounty set on the head of a dead gigolo known as Alfredo Garcia, who is presumed to be the father of the unborn child of a powerful man’s teenage daughter.

Sam Peckinpah’s most autobriographical film, and perhaps his finest cinematic achievement despite the negative reaction upon its initial release. Dismissed by many critics as a “disaster”, a “catastrophe”, a “total failure in every respect” and “one of the worst films ever made”, BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA is the only film Peckinpah claimed to have made with full freedom, beyond the limitations imposed by the studios that always appeared to compromise his creative processes and goals. The massive cult following the film enjoyed and developed over the decades could be said to prove his point.

Watch the trailer

The VVitch: A New-England Folktale : 27 April 2017

Cinematique

The VVitch: A New-England Folktale (2015)

A film by Robert Eggers

When: Thursday 27 April, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Directed by Robert Eggers in his directorial debut, and set in 1630s New England, THE VVITCH: A NEW-ENGLAND FOLKTALE is an American independent horror period drama telling the story of a Puritan family who are threatened to get banished from their settlement due to their defiantly different interpretation of the New Testament. William, the father, decides that it is time the family leave the church and its plantation. With the apparent support of his deeply devout religious family, William builds a farm in a remote area on the edge of a secluded forest. Yet, despite the birth of their fifth child, the new setting seems to be doomed from the outset. The newborn, Samuel, is kidnapped and sacrificed by what they presume to be a witch living in the forest. Katherine, the mother, seems to be losing faith but also losing her grip on reality as she finds her prayers useless and her faith meaningless. The twins begin to act strangely, claiming that their goat, whom they refer to as Black Phillip, is capable of speaking and prophecy. Caleb, the oldest son, disappears and returns possessed while Thomasin, the oldest child, is accused of witchcraft by her own family. Meanwhile, William decides he is to blame for the way the family is torn apart, for the plight they suffer, the reason being his pride that forced them to move to the new surrounding and live in solitude in the first place.

The story might not seem too original, yet Eggers’ obsession with authenticity, backed up by his extensive research as a major part of the long pre-production, gives the viewer the feeling as if he/she is discovering something for the first time. Genuinely unnerving, the film builds on disquieting suspense rather than jump scares. And it is too effective and intense at times that it gets too much to watch due to its masterful creation of an atmosphere of utter dread.

Watch the trailer

Come and See : 20 April 2017

Cinematique

Come and See (1985)

A film by Elem Klimov

When: Thursday 20 April, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Elem Klimov’s monumental cinematic achievement is a coming-of-age war drama telling the story of a Belarusian fourteen-year-old boy Florya (Aleksey Kravchenko in a strangely naturalistic performance) who is forced to eyewitness the unspeakable atrocities committed by the Nazis during WWII. He volunteers to fight the ruthless German forces as a member of an unequipped, untrained resistance group to realize his dream of becoming a hero, a patriotic partisan who sacrifices to save not only his village but also his homeland from falling to the hands of the invaders.

One of the most disturbing, devastating films of all time, COME AND SEE is a graphic portrayal of the dark times of its nation, even though it has been criticized for being "unreal", "biased", as a manifestation of "narrowly righteous fantasies of revenge". It nevertheless contains some of the most powerfully harrowing, nightmarish images ever captured on film.

The title of the film is derived from Chapter 6 of "The Apocalypse of John" which is an invitation to bear witness to the destruction caused by the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible.

Curiously, Klimov had to wait for almost a decade to get the approval from State Committee for Cinematography – known as Goskino – to make the film.

Watch the trailer

Panic in the Needle Park : 13 April 2017

Cinematique

Panic in the Needle Park (1971)

A film by Jerry Schatzberg

When: Thursday 13 April, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Jerry Schatzberg's PANIC IN THE NEEDLE PARK is a romantic drama set in Sherman Square, New York, nicknamed as Needle Park; yet it is much more than a love story. Helen (Kitty Winn), a restless, vulnerable young girl who is suffering from a recent inept abortion, meets Bobby, an addict (Al Pacino, in his second screen appearance), and finds him charming. She falls for him, but also becomes an addict, getting hooked on heroin. Indeed, they are in love. However, they are also in love with the heroin they use; with the needle and the ritual, to be more precise.

Adapted from the 1966 novel of the same title by James Mills, PANIC IN THE NEEDLE PARK is a drama yet also a horror film; the documentary details of the lives of drug addicts is painfully too much; it is graphic and utterly shocking. Deliberately undramatic and unsentimental, the film is nevertheless an observant, honest portrayal of a life characterized by panic – a basic, natural reaction when the heroin supply is limited and the addicts find no other choice but to turn on one another or otherwise turn to prostitution or self-destruction.

Watch the trailer

Martha Marcy May Marlene : 4 April 2017

Cinematique

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

A film by Sean Durkin

When: Tuesday 4 April, 6:30pm
Where: Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) escapes an abusive hippie-like cult set in a farmhouse in a rural area in New York, run by a charismatic leader named Patrick (John Hawkes) who chose the name Marcy May for her upon their first meeting. After her escape, Martha seeks help from her estranged older sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) whom she has not seen for years. Yet, despite Martha’s efforts to get reassimilated into normal life, and despite Lucy’s genuinely compassionate hospitality, Martha seems to be too damaged and traumatized, too plagued by painful memories, not least by the increasing, paralysing paranoia that the cult members are still pursuing her. Fragmented memories resurface and the fear of being stalked and punished reign as Martha begins to lose her already tenuous grip on reality and starts to disintegrate.

In his directorial debut, Sean Durkin makes a psychological thriller that effectively, indeed paradoxically, withholds exhaustive psychological explanations. The film implies that Martha has had a tough coming-of-age, that she had already been lost and damaged prior to her decision to join the cult, and that she has undergone traumatic experiences there. Yet, the film gains its momentum and persuasiveness mostly from Olsen’s enigmatic portrayal of Martha and Durkin’s masterful creation of an atmosphere of dread that is often such unnerving and disquieting that it becomes unbearable to watch. The film is too puzzling to be considered as a youth-in-trouble story, and it is too grim and disorienting to simply fall under the category of coming-of-age drama as it is more a story of how Martha never could come of age, how her adulthood is already an impossibility.

Watch the trailer

Force Majeure : 30 March 2017

Cinematique

Force Majeure (2014)

A film by Ruben Östlund

When: Thursday 30 March, 6pm
Where: Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington 

Directed by Ruben Östlund, FORCE MAJEURE follows a seemingly flawless Swedish family on a week-long vacation in the French Alps. Everything about Tomas and Ebba and their preteen children Vera and Harry seems perfect as the family spends the days skiing and enjoying restaurants and the scenery. Yet, on the second day while having lunch at a mountainside restaurant, an apparently controlled avalanche grows into a threatening one, and the way Tomas reacts to the shocking incident ignites a marital crisis. The family begins to disintegrate as Tomas starts to find it impossible to reclaim his position, Ebba starts questioning her own belief in family life and faithfulness, and the children begin to feel most insecure as the safe haven they had taken for granted seems to have been an already broken one.

An intelligent, thought-provoking, sad yet also wickedly funny drama, Östlund's FORCE MAJEURE is a well observed study of how tenuous the seemingly established assumptions and stereotypes regarding gender and family roles are. The film starts as a powerful, rigorously composed drama. Yet, as the film enters its final stages, the succession of events becomes more playful, less logical, deliberately contrived, and peculiarly absurdist. With an interestingly self-reflexive ending that is set up to derail the drama the film has tirelessly constructed particularly in the first half.

Watch the trailer

Mulholland Drive : 13 December 2016

mull driveMulholland Drive (2001)
directed by David Lynch

When: Tuesday 13 December, 7pm - 9:30pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Following a car crash on Mulholland Dr., a woman (Laura Harring) is left amnesiac. She is even unable to remember her own name and adopts the name "Rita" after seeing a poster of Rita Hayworth for the film Gilda. Injured, confused, and in shock, she wanders the streets of Los Angeles till she eventually takes shelter in a random apartment. There she is found by Betty (Naomi Watts) – an aspiring actress, a wide-eyed innocent girl who has just arrived to audition for movies and pursue her hopeful dream of stardom. Yet, having witnessed how shattered and traumatized Rita is, Betty decides to help her to rediscover her identity – a quest that seems to unleash what lies beneath the Hollywood glamour

A neo-noir thriller, David Lynch's MULHOLLAND DRIVE starts as a suspenseful mystery film yet goes on to shock and frustrate the viewer: the film turns out to be not a puzzle in which the pieces fit together, but a bizarre, nightmarish take on Hollywood and its troubling blend of promise, obscurity, and wickedness. A self-reflexive commentary on cinema and particularly the Hollywood dream factory – a place where the dream itself seems to haunt the dreamers. With darkly comic and grotesque scenes, and a handful of engrossing, genuinely thrilling surreal set pieces

Lynch's career demonstrates his own unique experimental approach to film as an artistic medium. And MULHOLLAND DRIVE seems to be his finest, maturest achievement to date, even though it may lack the raw, less refined, yet creepier qualities of his early works – ERASERHEAD, BLUE VELVET, and TWIN PEAKS

Also starring Justin Theroux, Ann Miller, Robert Forster, Angelo Badalamenti, Dan Hedaya, and Melissa George.

Watch the trailer. 

Cries and Whispers : 6 December 2016

Cries and WhispersCries and Whispers (1972)
directed by Ingmar Bergman

When: Tuesday 6 December, 6pm - 8pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

The 4th event in the series titled "Costume Drama Revisited" will be a screening of Ingmar Bergman's CRIES AND WHISPERS. Set in turn-of-the-century Sweden on a manor estate in a rural area, the film centres around the reunion of three sisters whose lives are attached to one another by a troubled, painful past. Agnes is dying of cancer – a slow, agonizing death. Torn between the fear of death and the hope that death will eventually rule and she will be set free, Agnes is visited by her sisters who await the inevitable outcome on her deathbed. Yet, the sisters, Maria and Karin, find it too demanding to comfort the dying. Their distance and mutual disgust deter them from fulfilling the sisterly responsibilities the way they are expected to, amid the resurfacing of long-repressed feelings, the anxious eruptions and expressions of grudge and contempt. Meanwhile, it is the deeply religious maid Anna, with an equally wounded soul, who generously offers Agnes intimate solace.

Watch the trailer. 

Grindhouse - Death Proof : 29 November 2016

GrindhouseGrindhouse – Death Proof (2007)
directed by Quentin Tarantino

When: Tuesday 29 November, 6pm - 8pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

“Stuntman” Mike (Kurt Russell) is a scarred professional body double who uses his “death proof” car to stage deadly accidents with the young women he stalks. Yet, things begin to go wrong for him once he targets a group of tough, uncompromising female friends who do not easily fall prey to his wicked trap.

Quentin Tarantino’s playful homage to the late 60s and early 70s exploitation cinema, DEATH PROOF also pastiches the grindhouse phenomenon – the idea of drive-in theatres with double-feature sessions in which theatre owners had the freedom to re-edit the films. The film curiously looks amateurish and sloppy particularly with regard to editing. Yet, it’s Tarantino’s self-indulgent appropriation and recycling of sloppiness – his purposeful, deliberate attempt at creating a B-movie. Another illustration of Tarantino’s masterful fusion of genres and his tireless subversion of the high-vs.-low-culture binarism.

Co-starring Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd, Rose McGowan, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Tracie Thoms and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The real-life stuntwoman Zoë Bell (who was Uma Thurman's double in KILL BILL) stars as herself.

Watch the trailer. 

Picnic at Hanging Rock : 22 November 2016

Picnic at Hanging RockPicnic at Hanging Rock (1975) 
directed by Peter Weir

When: Tuesday 22 November, 6pm - 8pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Based on a novel of the same title, PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK is a fictitious account of the disappearance of three schoolgirls and a teacher on Valentine's Day during a picnic at Hanging Rock, Adelaide, in 1900. They vanish while leaving no trace behind and their absence begins to unnerve and haunt the others.

Peter Weir takes the inexplicable mystery of the novel and, through lyricism and impressionistic images, turns the story into a disquieting, melancholic expression of sexual repression, hysteria and loss.

The 3rd event in “Costume Drama Revisited” screening series.

Watch the trailer. 

Wuthering Heights : 9 November 2016

Wuthering HeightsWuthering Heights (2011)
directed by Andrea Arnold

When: Wednesday 9 November, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Following the screening of Jane Campion’s BRIGHT STAR (2009), the second event in the series titled “Costume Drama Revisited” will be a screening of Andrea Arnold’s WUTHERING HEIGHTS (2011).

A poor boy from an unknown background, Heathcliff is saved from destitute when Earnshaw, a benevolent, kind-hearted farmer, accepts to foster him against the wish of other members of his family. Meanwhile, Heathcliff develops an intensely passionate romantic bond with Cathy, the foster’s daughter, invoking further hatred and fury in the people who have despised him from the outset. And things take the turn for worst once Earnshaw passes away and Heathcliff is forced to face the naked truth of his existence as an outsider and stranger.

The radicality of Arnold’s approach mostly resides in her decision to extend her already fully-fledged social realist style (FISH TANK) to a literary adaptation of a classic novel of the same title by Emily Brontë, downplaying the romantic undertones and delivering an utmost unsentimental realization of the novel that brings forth and accentuates the bleak and gloomy aspects of the life of Heathcliff who, curiously enough, is an Afro-Caribbean former slave in Arnold’s take on the novel, and his doomed, obsessed involvement with Cathy. Rather than serving the script, Arnold’s camera is more involved with a heightened scanning of things and bodies, summoning a radical physical presence unprecedented in costume/period dramas, undermining the habituated expectations associated with the subgenre.

Watch the trailer. 

Barbara : 15 November 2016

BarbaraBarbara (2012)
directed by Christian Petzold

When: Tuesday 15 November, 6pm - 8pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

East Germany, 1980. Barbara (portrayed by Nina Hoss) is a physician who, after making an official request to leave East Germany, is banished and transferred from East Berlin to a hospital in a small town. Of course, the life in the rural area brings her no solace as she has to deal with Stasi’s – the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) – omnipresent monitoring and surveillance, and is constantly subjected to humiliating strip and cavity searching. Yet, her already anxious life is exposed to further troubles as she gets involved with two people: André Reiser (Ronald Zehrfeld), a kind-hearted surgeon who runs the department Barbara is working at; André shows affection for Barbara yet she suspects him to be a Stasi agent; and Stella (Jasna Fritzi Bauer), a rebellious yet vulnerable young girl who has run away from labour camps but is captured and brought to the hospital as she is suffering from meningitis. Barbara’s life gets tougher as she faces André’s romantic overtures and also witnesses how Stella is developing a strong attachment to her amid Barbara's own quest to escape the country to join her lover who has recently escaped.

Christian Petzold’s rigorously composed drama is a thoughtful, deliberately slow-paced, unsentimental yet involving film that frustrates the generic requirements of political thrillers and instead draws suspense in the most unconventional, austere ways. Petzold is considered as one of the leading figures of what is often referred to as the Berlin School – a new cinema characterized by its reworking of realism and political filmmaking. He won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival for BARBARA.

Watch the trailer.

The Babadook : 31 October 2016

The BabadookThe Babadook (2014)
directed by Jennifer Kent 

When: Monday 31 October, 6pm - 8pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

In her directorial debut, Jennifer Kent tells the story of Amelia (stunningly played by Essie Davis) – a single mother who is deeply plagued by the death of her husband yet is also forced to deal with her son's fear of a sinister monster which he believes to have come out of a children's book.

An Australian-Canadian psychological horror-thriller film based on Kent's 2005 short film titled Monster, THE BABADOOK abstains from gore and cheap jump scares and instead focuses on creative uses of editing, space and sound to slowly yet effectively evoke an overwhelmingly uneasy atmosphere of dread, suspense, and melancholia.

Praised at the Sundance Film Festival, and described by William Friedkin (the creator of THE EXORCIST) as the scariest film of all time, THE BABADOOK gained cult following soon after its release mainly thanks to its innovative approach to the genre against the backdrop of the repetitive and formulaic features of mainstream horror cinema.

Watch the trailer. 

Bright Star : 26 October 2016

Bright StarBright Star (2009)
directed by Jane Campion  

When: Wednesday 26 October, 6pm-8pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Jane Campion produced, co-wrote, and directed this British-French-Australian biographical drama about Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) and her three-year romantic relationship with poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw). Campion's ambitious mission to translate the romantic obsessions of Keats' poems into visual terms – which at the same time is her daring, self-conscious testimony to the unbridgeable gap between words and images – is accompanied by deliberately slow-paced storytelling and often restrained performances, resulting in a masterful reworking of the established generic expectations associated with costume dramas. Also starring Paul Schneider as Charles Armitage Brown, Keats' best friend, housemate, and associate in writing.

Watch the trailer.

Angel's Egg : 19 October 2016

ScreeningAngel's Egg (1985)
directed by Mamoru Oshii  

When: Wednesday 19 October, 7pm-9pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

The collaboration between director Mamoru Oshii and illustrator and character designer Yoshitaka Amano is a rich, challenging visual experience accompanied by Yoshihiro Kanno's haunting, sublime score. Described as "animated art rather than a story", with almost no spoken dialogue, and set in a world that is both medieval and post-apocalyptic, ANGEL'S EGG depicts the life of a dispirited young girl living in a deserted town inhabited by restless shadows. She carries a large egg under her dress to protect it against evil; yet, what she fears often seems unidentifiable as the world of the transient, ephemeral shadows she lives in is too otherworldly and beyond comprehension.

Regarded as "one of the highlights of 'artistic' anime" despite its negative reception upon the initial preview which sent it directly to video rather than theatrical release, ANGEL'S EGG is a profound example of Oshii's complex visual mythology and radical symbolism.

Watch the trailer.

The Selfish Giant : 14 October 2016

Selfish GiantThe Selfish Giant (2013) 
directed by Clio Barnard 

When: Friday 14 October, 2pm-4pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

The third event in the series of the contemporary British social realism – with an emphasis on female directors’ contribution – will be a screening of Clio Barnard’s THE SELFISH GIANT (2013). A heart-wrenching coming-of-age drama characterized by its honest, often stark realist style, the film recounts the story of two thirteen-year-old boys from working-class families in a poor neighborhood of Bradford, northern England, who start to collect scrap metal to sell to a devious dealer after they are suspended from school. Arbor is a hyperactive boy while Swifty is a bit slow-witted – yet their bond is beyond their apparent differences as they find themselves forced to undergo similar tragedies and life-changing adventures. Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s story of the same title.

A British filmmaker known for her documentary as well as feature cinematic achievements, Clio Barnard gained worldwide critical acclaim and attention thanks to her debut film THE ARBOR (2010) – an experimental documentary about the life of the playwright Andrea Dunbar. The film was nominated for the BAFTA award for Outstanding Debut by a British Director.

Watch the trailer.

Fish Tank : 7 October 2016

Fish TankFish Tank (2009) 
directed by Andrea Arnold 

When: Friday 7 October, 2pm-4pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

A British coming-of-age drama about Mia (stunningly portrayed by Katie Jarvis in her debut performance) – a fifteen-year-old socially isolated girl, a loner yet also a rebel who lives in a council estate with her oddly precocious younger sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths), and her hard-partying single mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing), an alcoholic and a chain-smoker who spends her days doing anything but looking after her alienated daughters. Chaos reigns from the outset but the whole predicament gets drastically exacerbated once the mother brings home her new boyfriend Conor (Michael Fassbender) – a charming Irishman who, unlike the others, appears to express remarkable sympathy towards Mia, encouraging her to pursue her dream of starting a career as a professional dancer.

Arnold's second feature film is too unnerving and disquieting to simply fall under the category of youth-in-trouble classics. With its unsentimental yet engrossing realist style, FISH TANK is instead a major contribution to the contemporary British social realism, to its aesthetics and not least to its gender politics.

Watch the trailer.

Ratcatcher : 28 September 2016

RatcatcherRatcatcher (1999)
plus two short films, Small Deaths (1996) & Gasman (1998) 
directed by Lynne Ramsay 

When: Friday 28 September, 6pm-8pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Set in a poor neighborhood of Glasgow in 1973 amid a rubbish collectors' strike, RATCATCHER (1999) is a rigorously composed and captivating coming-of-age drama about James Gillespie – an observant, 12-year-old boy haunted by a dark secret who not only struggles with his own guilty conscience but also witnesses the hopeless world of the people surrounding him: his almost always drunk father and his kind, vulnerable mother whose only hope is to get the approval to move from the uninhabitable council estate they live in to a newly-built one; Margaret Anne, a 14-year-old girl who allows herself to be abused by the local gang but forms a Platonic bond with James; and Kenny, a socially alienated boy who struggles to maintain his innocence despite the incessant bullying.

Lynne Ramsay’s low-budget debut feature is an unsentimental yet attentive look at the lives of the marginalised. The film’s success was followed by Ramsay’s further cinematic achievements: MORVEN COLLAR (2002) and WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011).

Also included in the session are 2 short films by Ramsay:

SMALL DEATHS (1996): Ramsay's graduation film (from the UK's National Film and Television School) which won her the 1996 Cannes Prix de Jury. She is also credited as the cinematographer for this episodic film (11 min).

GASMAN (1998): nominated for BAFTA, the film is about an eight-year-old girl named Lynne who is headed to a holiday party at a pub during the Christmas season with his father, his brother, and another woman and her two children (15 min).

Ramsay is among the female directors (including Andrea Arnold, Carol Morley, and Clio Barnard) who have greatly contributed to the contemporary British social realism – the latter mostly dominated by their male colleagues.

Watch the trailer.

The Marriage of Maria Braun : 23 September 2016

Maria BraunThe Marriage of Maria Braun (Die Ehe der Maria Braun) (1979)
directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder  

When: Friday 23 September, 2pm-5pm
Where: Cinema 327, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

In Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s widely successful and acclaimed THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN, Hanna Schygulla stars as the title character – a penniless widow who builds an industrial empire in West Germany following the Second World War.

Indisputably the film that brought popular acceptance to Fassbinder’s cinema among the German as well as the international audience and solidified his position as a reputed filmmaker, MARRIAGE is the first film in his trilogy about women in post-war Germany followed by VERONIKA VOSS (1982) and LOLA (1982). Characterized by its bleak atmosphere, stunning cinematography, and highly stylized yet also obscure performances, the film is a dramatic but also deliberately distanced study of a society involved in the process of reconstructing itself

Directed by: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring: Hanna Schygulla, Klaus Löwitsch, Ivan Desny, Gisela Uhlen
Music by: Peer Raben
Cinematography by: Michael Ballhaus
Country: West Germany
Language: German, English (with English subtitles for non-English parts)

Watch the trailer.