Life and how it is lived - on screen

Galway Film Society's winter season programme

Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris in Chinese Puzzle

Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris in Chinese Puzzle

DANGEROUS JOURNEYS, complicated love lives, actors dragged out of retirement, and finding a supernanny for a naughty little boy - it is all happening on screen for the Galway Film Society’s autumn/winter season.

The season runs from September 21 to December 7 and it is a major year for the GFS as it is celebrating its 50th birthday.

The opening film on September 21 is Chinese Puzzle (France, 2014 ). Xavier (Romain Duris ) is devastated to learn his wife Wendy (Kelly Reilly ) is leaving for her fancy man in New York and she is taking the children with her. Xavier follows her, has a fake wedding with a Chinese-American to stay in the country, and then his ex-girlfriend Martine (Audrey Tautou ) shows up... The film won the Audience Award at this year’s San Francisco Film Festival.

Following Oscar-winning drama A Separation, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi returns with another study of modern family life in The Past.

Ahmad arrives in Paris, from Tehran, to finalise the end of his tempestuous marriage to estranged wife Marie, but it is Marie’s sulky teenage daughter Lucie, whose strange contempt for her mother’s new boyfriend Samir that sets events in motion. See it on Sunday 28.

Guatemalan teens Juan, Sara, Samuel, and Chauk, a Tzotzil Indian, make the decision to attempt the 1,200 mile-long arduous border crossing into the USA, via Mexico in search of a better life. This is The Golden Dream (Mexico, 2012 ), a heart-wrenching story of hope, friendship, survival, love and desperation. It won the Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes 2013 and the Audience Award at the 2013 Thessaloniki Film Festival.

Roman Polanski’s Venus In Fur (France, 2013 ), adapted from David Ives’ 2010 Tony Award-winning play, will be screened on November 2.

Thomas (Matthieu Almaric ), is a theatre director staging an adaptation of a Leopold von Sacher-Masoch novel. He is about to give up when Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner ) arrives. Theybegin a fevered, intense, collaboration, where the lines between passion and perversity become blurred.

Ilo Ilo (Singapore, 2013 ) tells the story of Lim Jiale, a very naughty boy with a bad temper, so to help handle Jiale, the Lims hire a maid, Terry. Will she prove to be a supernanny? The film won the Camera d’Or for best first film at Cannes 2013. See it on November 9.

Anna, an orphan raised in a convent, is preparing to take her vows when she’s sent to visit Wanda, a hard-drinking Communist Party judge, and Anna’s only living relative. Then Wanda reveals that Anna’s real name is Ida and that her parents were Jews murdered during the Nazi occupation. So this unlikely pair embark on a journey to discover the family’s history. This is Polish film Ida (2013 ). See it on November 16. It won Best Film at the 2013 London Film Festival.

Two Days One Night (Belgium, 2014 ), to be screened on November 30, and starring Marion Cotillard, is the latest film from the Dardenne brothers (Kid On A Bike ).

Sandra is a woman who has one weekend to convince her colleagues to sacrifice their bonuses so she can keep her job, going as far as forcing her colleagues to vote on the issue. Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian said: “Cotillard shows what a marvellous technical actor she is: every nuance and detail is readably present on her face. She is compelling and moving – and so is the film.”

Films From The Southern Mediterranean

‘Films From The Southern Mediterranean’, in association with Access Cinema, takes place on October 5 and 12, and will see a double bill of films on each night.

Israeli film Gett: The Trial Of Vivian Amsalem (October 5, 5.30pm ) explores how in that state, there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce. Only rabbis can legitimmise a marriage or its dissolution, but only with the full consent from the husband.

Viviane has been applying for divorce for three years, but her husband Elisha will not agree. This expertly written, brilliantly acted film documents the painful process for a woman attempting to obtain a divorce.

It is worth noting that the film’s makers, Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz, were part of a group of directors at the Jerusalem Film Festival in July, this year, who issued the following statement: “We call on the Israeli government to cease fire; we call on it to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Palestinian people. Children living in Gaza today are our partners in peace tomorrow.”

The 8pm screening that evening is A Bag Of Flour (Morocco, 2012 ). Eight-year-old Sarah lives in a Catholic orphanage in Belgium, until her father, whom she has never met, comes to take her for a week-end in Paris. But Sarah wakes up in Morocco. Then her father abandons her without any explanation. How will she survive here? How will she get back to Belgium?

The October 12 double-bill in this series begins at 5.30pm with Ladder To Damascus (Syria, 2013 ). The first film by Mohamad Malas after almost a decade-long hiatus, this film explores the turmoil engulfing his country. Ghalia is inhabited by the soul of Zeina, a girl who drowned the day she was born. Haunted by Zeina’s past life, Ghalia travels to Damascus to study acting. There she meets an aspiring filmmaker, but the erupting civil war threatens their budding romance.

Cycling With Moliere.

At 8pm, Cycling With Moliere (France, 2012 ) sees Serge Tanneur (Fabrice Luchini ) retire from show business to live in the picturesque Île de Ré, off France’s Atlantic coast. Then along comes Gauthier Valence (Lambert Wilson ), a popular TV actor, to offer Serge a principal role in Moliere’s The Misanthrope. Will Serge return to acting? If he does, will he stick out the rehearsals? The film won the Audience Award at the Sarasota Film Festival 2014.

Special screenings

As part of Culture Night on Friday September 19, the GFS in association with The Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUIG, will host Galway’s Film Heritage, a series of films made in and about Galway between 1921 and 1974. Admission to this event is free. It takes place in the Huston School (across from Galway Cathedral ) at 7.30pm.

This year’s Christmas screening is White Christmas (1954 ), starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney, on December 7 at 3.30pm. Bing and Danny are the hottest act in show business. They go to Vermont for Christmas to discover the local inn is run by their old army general who is now in financial trouble.

All films are screened on Sundays in the Town Hall Theatre at 8pm, except where stated otherwise. Admission to individual films is €9/7. A season ticket is €48/45. For more information and booking contact the Town Hall on 091-569777 or see www.tht.ie

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