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Winter 1997 season

Tuesday 14th January at 8pm
Fargo     USA 1996  |  98 mins  |  18
Finding himself in financial dire straits, Twin Cities car salesman Jerry Lundegaard hires two crooked losers to kidnap his wife with the intention of demanding a ransom from her wealthy father. No sooner has the plan been put into action than it begins falling apart, with the hapless conspirators dogged both by repeated misfortune and Marge Gunderson, the laconic and very pregnant local police chief. Allegedly based on a true story (though the film-makers themselves have now cast doubt on this claim), Fargo is the latest work from the extraordinary Coen brothers, a dark, rivetting and blackly comic return to their filmic roots after the big-budget (but still wonderful) The Hudsucker Proxy, boasting fine cinematography and music from Coen regulars Roger Deakins and Carter Burwell and a string of superb performances from the likes of William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 21st January at 8pm
Les apprentis     France 1995  |  95 mins  |  15
Two seemingly ill-matched flatmates - a cheerful but essentially lazy would-be photographer and a depressed, antisocial hack journalist with ambitions to be a playwright - conquer their initial dislike of one another and conspire to rob the offices of a magazine one of them has been working for in the hope of easing their joint cash-flow problem. When the robbery goes wrong, however, events in their lives take an unexpectedly sinister turn. Pierre Salvadori revitalises the buddy movie genre with this funny and sometimes moving character piece, aided by a witty, intelligently devised screenplay and two thoroughly engaging central performances from Guillaumane Depardieu (son of Gérard) and Fancois Cluzet.

Tuesday 28th January at 8pm
La madre muerta     Spain 1993  |  105 mins  |  18
A violent burglar shoots an art restorer and injures her young daughter during a robbery. Years later he discovers that the daughter, though now a catatonic, is still alive, and fearing that she may still be a potential witness to the earlier murder, kidnaps her with the intention of insuring her silence, but finds that her company awakens an unexpectedly tender side in him. Seemingly designed to court controversy with its breaking of traditional taboos, this remarkable film from the relatively unknown Juanma Bajo Ulloa is a disturbing but surprisingly touching work, very well written and directed and with strong performances from a first-rate cast. Despite its very human side, patrons should be aware that some scenes in this film could potentially give offense.

Tuesday 4th February at 8pm
Peeping Tom     UK 1960  |  109 mins  |  18
A young camera obsessive works for a film studio by day and stalks women at night with a movie camera-come-weapon, which he uses to film their reaction to their impending deaths. Showing in a new print, Michael Powell’s stunning examination of filmmaking-as-voyeurism met with such a hostile reception on its release that it all but finished the career of one of Britain's very greatest film-makers; only several years on, after Hitchcock had opened a few doors with Psycho, was the film to be be fully appreciated for the extraordinary work that it is. Beautifully stylised in places, unnervingly realistic in others, this remains one of Powell’s most important works, and in the intervening years has lost little of its raw, disturbing power. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 14th January at 8pm
Fallen Angels [Duo luo tian shi]     Hong Kong 1995  |  90 mins  |  18
In 1995 Hong Kong, a contract killer fed up with being injured decides to retire, but does not know how to break the news to the devoted female agent who not only arranges all of his jobs, but all of aspects of his private life for him as well. Wong Kar-Wai’s latest work shares much with his earlier Chunking Express in both setting and the dynamic style of its execution (notably Chris Doyle’s, kinetic hand-held camerawork), but is nonetheless a darker, more sensual and more violent trip through contemporary Hong Kong’s mean streets from one of modern cinema’s most audaciously imaginative talents.

Tuesday 18th February at 8pm
The Secret of Roan Inish     USA 1993  |  103 mins  |  PG
In the mid 40s, a 10-year-old girl is sent to live with her grandparents in a small Irish fishing village where local legend tells that an ancestor of hers married a selkie – a seal that can turn into a human – and she soon discovers evidence that this story may be less fanciful that she at first realised. John Sayles, perhaps America’s foremost independent film-make, here takes a sideways leap from the films with which he made his name (Return of the Secaucus Seven, Brother From Another Planet, Matewan and City of Hope among them) with this delightful and exhilarating fantasy tale, a true family film that for once does justice to the term, being imaginative and intelligent without ever disintegrating into the cute or shallow – in other words a film that both adults and children can enjoy in equal measures.

Tuesday 25th February at 8pm
Strawberry and Chocolate [Fresa y chocolate]     Cuba 1993  |  111 mins  |  15
David, a young Marxist on the rebound from a recently failed relationship, meets Diego, a flamboyant homosexual who is immediately attracted to him. Initially not responding directly to his overtures, David is nevertheless encouraged by his rigidly political schoolfriend to return to Diego’s flat to spy on him and becomes increasingly fascinated by the objects in Diego’s flat, the music he listens to and the fresh ideas that he shares with him. A film that examines the seduction of the mind rather than the body, this is a brave and unexpected work to emerge from Cuba, co-directed by the 72-year-old Tomas Gutierrez Alea, once a supporter of Castro but whose films have been repeatedly critical of the Cuban government. Never resorting to preaching, the film is primarily a touching and believable character study, the message emerging naturally from depiction of this unusual meeting of minds.

Tuesday 4th March at 8pm
Antonia's Line     Belgium/Netherlands/UK 1995  |  102 mins  |  15
In an anonymous village somewhere in rural Holland, a strong-willed woman on her death-bed looks back over the past fifty years at the house in which she grew up, the people that have been close to her and the events that helped shape her life. Winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, this thoughtful, smartly paced and often delightful tale of love, sex, intrigue and family life is refreshingly removed from the traditional Hollywood approach to the same subject through its strong, unglamorised female central character, the splendidly oddball characterisations and an effective but unintrusive feminist undertow. Confidently directed by Marleen Gorris, who never forgets that her prime concern is to tell a good story in a captivating and entertaining way.

Tuesday 11th March at 8pm
Angels and Insects     UK / USA 1995  |  116 mins  |  15
In Victorian England, the aristocratic Alabaster family, whose behaviour seems to mirror that of the insects that inhabit their garden, invite into their house a young scientist (Mark Rylance) whose studies and interest in Eugenia (Patsy Kensit), the family’s oldest daughter, alter the course of their seemingly safe and set future. Adapted from the novel by A.S. Byatt, from which the film also takes much of its dialogue, the film has been described as the dark underside of the typical Merchant-Ivory film, where familiar country house life is continually overturned to reveal the darker underside that lurks just under the surface. Rich photography and a fine attention to detail mark this fascinating alternative to the usual British paean to bygone days.

Tuesday 18th March at 8pm
Blue in the Face     USA 1995  |  84 mins  |  15
A delightful, spontaneous and richly entertaining hymn to the Planet Brooklyn, a direct companion piece to Wang and Auster’s Smoke (which we screened in November 1996), devised and shot in a matter of days after work had been completed on the first film and using many of it’s characters and locations. Slimmer on plot than its predecessor, Blue in the Face succeeds by approaching the same situations from a different direction, mixing documentary footage and on-the-street interviews with scenes in which the characters improvise around loosely devised stories, a technique that could so easily have failed but somehow comes together perfectly. The performances really make it, some of the best coming from a string of often delightful cameos, which include turns from Roseanne, Michael J. Fox, Madonna, Jim Jarmush, Lou Reed and an almost unrecognisable Lily Tomlin. (Cine Outsider review)