Adventures in the world of cinema

Galway Film Society’s autumn/winter season 2013

THE FIRST film to be made inside Saudi Arabia; the Snow White tale reimagined as a girl and a troupe of bullfighters in Spain; and popular French actress Audrey Tautou as a proto-feminist - are just some of the delights in store for film fans at the Galway Film Society autumn/winter season screenings.

The season opens on September 15 with French film Populaire. Rose gets a job as a typist in a small provincial insurance company. However her self-consciously handsome boss Louis sees in Rose the opportunity to coach a winner in the unlikely sport of competitive typing, leading the pair to the world speed typing championship in New York. This first feature by Régis Roinsard promises to be a sparkling romantic comedy that matches Gallic savoir faire with vintage Hollywood style.

In Belgian film Come As You Are, three disabled men plan a road trip. Proposed to their carers as a wine-tasting tour, the men’s true destination is a specialist brothel in Spain where they hope to lose their virginity. Find out if they succeed on September 22. The film won the Audience Award at Karlovy Vary, 2012 and the Best Film and Audience Award at the Montreal World Film Festival 2012.

Kuma begins with the traditional Turkish wedding of 19-year-old Ayse and her handsome husband, Hasan. After a teary goodbye, Hasan and his family, led by his kind father, Mustafa, take the timid Ayse back to Austria, where they live. But things are not entirely what they seem. What follows is a fascinating study of intergenerational and cross cultural conflict within an extended immigrant family.

See it on September 29. The film won the Audience Award at the Lecce Film Festival of European Cinema.

Thérèse Desqueyroux stars Audrey Tautou as the complex and frustrated titular character born in the wrong time and place. A proto-feminist before the term was in common currency, she is effectively married off in her late teens to the chauvinistic and casually anti-Semitic Bernard Desqueyroux. Discovering that Bernard’s daily heart medicine contains arsenic, she starts to discreetly increase the dose...

Based on the novel by Francois Mauriac, the film will be screened on October 6.

Moroccan film Zero will be shown on Saturday October 12 at 4pm. This bold and atmospheric cop drama, set against the backdrop of contemporary Casablanca, stars Younes Bouab as troubled cop Amin Bertale, who needs to revolutionise his life. Writer/director Nour-Eddine Lakhmari borrows certain classic film noir elements, but brings to the film a fresh and energetic sense of pacing, strong characters, and a real appreciation for the cop-in-turmoil genre.

October 13 will see two screenings. The first is at 6pm - Coming Forth By Day. Soad lives in Cairo with her mother and a father incapacitated by a stroke. She shares the burden of his care with her mother who works nights at a hospital. Frustrations between mother and daughter surface and Soad must decide to leave or stay.

The film won Best Director Award and International Film Critics Award at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

The second screening is at 8.15pm and is Lebanese film The Attack. Surgeon Amin Jaafari has successfully negotiated the political/religious/cultural divide of Israel/Palestine and he and his wife are fully integrated into Israeli society. But this perfect life is upended when a suicide bomb in a local restaurant kills 17 people and police suspect his wife was involved. This gripping and suspenseful film explores a complex political situation through a heart breaking personal story.

The great impressionist painter Renoir is the subject of the film to be shown on October 20. Renoir looks at the closing years in the Frenchman’s life as he mourns his late wife, is crippled with arthritis, and distressed that his son Jean has been wounded in action in WWI, which has just entered its second year. But then the beautiful Andrée enters and father and son fall under her spell.

Italian film The Great Beauty (November 3 ) centres on Jep Gambaradella, famous journalist, man-about-town, and failed novelist. Then he hears about the death of the woman who was his first love, and things being to change. Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian said: “This movie looks and feels superb, a brilliantly executed, glitteringly hypnotic film.”

The Saudi Arabiamn film Wajada is the first full-length feature film shot entirely inside the kingdom, and won the CICAE Award at the Venice Film Festival 2012.

After a fight with her friend Abdullah, Wadjda sees a green bicycle for sale. She wants the bicycle desperately so that she can beat Abdullah in a race. Wadjda’s mother will not allow it, fearing repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl’s virtue. So Wadjda decides to try to raise the money herself by competing in a Qur’an recitation competition at her school. Find out how she gets on November 17.

It is back to Italy then for Shun Li & The Poet (November 24 ). Shun Li, a reserved and unhappy young woman who has been transported to Italy by her gangmasters, must work in a bar to pay off a loanshark debt. Then she comes into contact with Bepi, an old fisherman who comes into the bar most days. They find comfort in each other, but their burgeoning relationship triggers tribal suspicion in the Chinese and Italians.

The film won Best First Feature at the 2012 BFI London Film Festival and the LUX Prize 2012.

Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs is transported to 1920’s Spain and the world of bullfighting in Spanish film Blancanieves (December 1 ).

Carmen is the daughter of a famous bullfighter and is forced to live under the tyrannical rule of her evil stepmother, Encarna. She escapes and joins a troupe of bullfighting dwarves, where her beauty and natural talent in the ring attract notices from the press. But soon the news reaches Encarna, who at last knows where to find Carmen, and she prepares for the final showdown.

The film won the Special Jury Prize at the 2013 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and Best Film at the Bucharest International Film Festival 2012.

The season concludes with one of the best loved movies of all time - It’s A Wonderful Life - which the society is screening as this year’s Christmas film on December 8 at 3pm.

James Stewart stars as George Bailey, a man who attempts suicide on Christmas Eve, Henry Travers, as his guardian angel Clarence Odbody, and a whole raft of great Hollywood studio character actors, stop him in time and show him how poor so many people’s lives would be if George Bailey was not in it.

The film will be screened in a party atmosphere with carol singing, spot prizes, and light refreshments 30 minutes prior to screening.

All films are screened in the Town Hall Theatre on Sundays and start at 8.15pm unless otherwise stated. Individual and season tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 or www.tht.ie

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