By Alan Davies
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
A WOODY Allen movie will open the Welwyn Garden City Film Society’s 67th season.
The society’s new season starts at the Hawthorne Theatre, in WGC, this week and again features some of the best films from around the world.
The acclaimed Woody Allen, back on top form as director and writer, kicks off the programme on Friday, September 7, with Midnight in Paris, a charming fable about a Hollywood screenwriter travelling back to 1920s Paris, meeting his heroes.
Starring Owen Wilson, look out for Michael Sheen and a cameo performance from Carla Bruni.
Le Havre, showing on September 21, is also set in France, but is by Finnish writer-director Aki Kaurismäki, famous for his deadpan humour. A shabby shoe shiner shelters a young illegal immigrant in this film.
South America has recently been producing some marvellous films, and from Argentina, Lucrecia Martel’s The Headless Woman on October 5 is no exception. It is a thriller concerning memory loss.
One of two classic films this season is Howard Hawks’ The Big Sleep on October 19, starring Humphrey Bogart as LA private eye, Philip Marlowe.
Together, Bogart and Lauren Bacall became iconic figures, sharing cigarettes and exchanging wisecracks on and off screen.
How I Ended This Summer, from Russian director Alexei Popogrebsky, is a compelling psychological drama about two men running a decrepit weather station in the Arctic Circle. It is a nail-biting survival yarn and can be seen on November 2.
In great contrast, French director Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist on November 16 is a charming animated film based on a Jacques Tati script.
It beautifully recreates the England and Scotland of the 1950s, and centres on an old-fashioned variety-turn conjuror who struggles to make a living.
The Salt of Life on January 11 is the follow-up to the very popular Mid-August Lunch, which was shown by the film society two years ago.
Italian director Gianni Di Gregorio once again plays a dutiful middle-aged son with the outrageous nonagenarian Valeria De Franciscis Bendoni as his poker-playing, Krug-swilling mother.
A sixty-something woman, faced with the onset of Alzheimer’s and the discovery of a heinous family crime, finds strength and purpose when she enrols in a poetry class. This is the theme of South Korean Lee Chang-dong’s moving Poetry on February 22.
Rashomon, on March 22, is the classic Japanese film by Akira Kurasawa. An outrage is committed by a bandit, but all the witnesses give entirely different accounts.
Society in Iran seems remarkably similar to ours when it comes to certain painful universals in Asghar Farhadi’s poignant A Separation on April 19. It begins with the divorce of a middle-class Teheran couple.
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia on May 17 is a police procedural set in a remote landscape of mystery and foreboding. Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film was the co-winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes.
The final film will be The Kid with a Bike on June 21, the other co-winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes. The Belgian Dardenne brothers evoke Bicycle Thieves in this tale of a troubled boy of 11 who, abandoned by his father, searches obsessively for his bike, the symbol of their relationship.
* All 12 shows – some including a short film – can be seen at Campus West for a membership fee of just £30 and students for £15. There is nothing else to pay.
Non-members may attend any show, as guests, for £5.
All shows are on Fridays, and start at 7.45pm.
For information about joining, call membership secretary Anna Gladstone on 01727 842215, visit the society’s website at www.wgcfs.org.uk, or just pop along to any show.