PEDRO ALMODÓVAR's new film, Julieta; the new Irish film, VIVA, from director Paddy Breathnach; a feast of award winning French films; and movies about dogs needing a new home, kidnappings, women struggling for freedom; and a journey through the Colombian Amazon - this is what is in store from the Galway Film Society.
The Galway Film Society's new autumn/winter season of screenings start this weekend, and will take place every Sunday at 8pm, unless otherwise stated, in the Town Hall Theatre.
The new season opens with French film Marguerite (September 18 ), inspired by Florence Foster Jenkins, an amateur singer from the 1910s to the 1940s, who believed she was a magnificent soprano, but who in fact could hardly sing at all. Through years of misguided praise, Marguerite (Catherine Frot ) believes herself a singer of exceptional talent. Convinced to stage her first public performance, the scene is set for her inevitable exposure.
A highlight of the season is likely to be Turkish film Mustang (September 25 ), a heady, emotional, and deeply personal story about five free-spirited teenage sisters who have been raised in a north Turkish village by their grandmother and strict uncle since their parents’ death. After a neighbour reports some innocent fun the girls have with male classmates on a local beach, they find their freedom starts to be stripped away. However the bond between them only strenghtens as they search for ways to rebel against the restrictions. The film won the Europa Cinemas Label for Best European Film in the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes.
An important new Irish film comes next with VIVA (October 2 ). Struggling hairdresser Jesús finds a way to earn some extra money by performing as a drag artist, but his abusive and estranged father has no intention of letting this happen. Directed by Paddy Breathnach, this bittersweet story of pain, regret, and reconciliation won Best Irish Film at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival 2016.
Summertime (October 16 ), is set in 1970s France. Delphine moves to Paris to break free from the shackles of her family and to gain independence. She meets Carole a Parisian activist involved in the feminist movement. Cue a passionate, all-consuming affair, until Delphine's father has a stroke, and everything comes to a dramatic halt. Carole follows Delphine to the family home, but only when she enters this world does she realise what is at stake for both of them.
Another must-see film will be the latest from the great Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, in Julieta (October 23 ). A female-focused story about love, loss, and regret, it sees Julieta (Emma Suarez ) leave Madrid for a life in Portugal with Lorenzo (Dario Grandinetti ). However, a chance encounter with Beatriz (Michelle Jenner ), a childhood friend of Julieta’s estranged daughter Antia, throws her off track. She cancels her plans with Lorenzo, and starts writing a letter to her daughter explaining the past.
Thierry (Vincent Lindon ), is unemployed but does not want to rely on the dole, so he still looks for work. This is French film The Measure Of Man (November 6 ). He finally gets a job as a supermarket security guard, with the secret brief of spying on his underperforming co-workers. Now Thierry struggles to negotiate between his conscience and the demands of his new position. Lindon won Best Actor at the 2015 Cannes festival.
Embrace The Serpent (November 13 ) is a poetic, dreamlike, journey through the Colombian Amazon. Shamen Karamakate, the last of his tribe, guides two explorers, both searching for the sacred and rare Yakruna plant. Theodor believes it will cure the fever threatening his life; Richard is researching for academic purposes. Throughout the journeys both travellers see the influence and ravages of colonialism, the rubber barons, and the missionaries, as local tribes are stripped of their traditions, freedom and language. Sight & Sound described the film as "a roar of protest against colonialism, told from the perspective of an indigenous protagonist”.
Madrid-based Julian receives an unexpected visit from old friend Tomas. However this will be no ordinary reunion, as Julian has decided to discontinue treatment for his terminal illness he has been battling. Instead he wants to put his affairs in order, the most pressing of these concerns being to find a new home for his beloved dog Truman. This is Truman (November 20 ), which won Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Spanish Goya Awards 2016.
The state-sanctioned “disappearance” of c30,000 dissidents under the Junta of Jorge Rafael Videla has inspired The Clan (November 27 ). Former state intelligence worker Arquimedes Puccio snatches rich targets off the streets and imprisons them until their families cough up the ransom money – except the victims never managed to make it back alive. All the while, Arquimedes presides over a household where his wife, sons, and daughters gather for evening meals and discuss their days. The film's director Pablo Trapero won the Silver Lion at the 2015 Venice International Film Festival.
Winner of the Audience Award at the 2015 Cork Film Festival, Sweet Bean (December 4 ) by Japanese director Naomi Kawase, is a gentle, quietly-moving drama, about how an elderly woman, with a unique culinary skill for making sweet bean paste, transforms the life of a lonely dorayaki pancake chef. The New York Times said of it, "beautifully shot and acted, it earns its ultimate sense of hope by confronting real heartbreak head-on, and with compassion.”
This year's Christmas film is Scrooge (December 11, 3pm ) the classic 1951 adaptation of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge, the man who considered Christmas as just "Humbug". The film will be screened in a party atmosphere with carol singing, spot prizes, and light refreshments, 30 mins prior to screening.
All films are subtitled in English. For tickets contact the Town Hall (091 - 569777, www.tht.ie ).