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Autumn 2002 season

Tuesday 24th September at 8pm
Pollock     USA 2000  |  122 mins  |  18
Having forged a very successful career as an actor in such films as Under Fire, The Right Stuff and The Truman Show, Ed Harris made a bold and personal choice for his first film as director: a biopic of the American abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock. The creator of the famous ‘drip paintings’ that divided the art world, Pollock’s personal life was a tempestuous one in which he strove to explore the extremes of art, escape from his fits of depression and at the same time live up to the hard-drinking macho image he had created for himself. Harris the director explores the inner working of a tortured artist with real skill and is unflinching in his portrayal of Pollock’s darker side, including his treatment of his devoted partner and publicist, artist Lee Krasner. But it is inevitably Harris the actor who holds centre stage in a brave, commanding performance that gets under the skin of his subject with compelling honesty.

Tuesday 1st October at 8pm
The Warrior     UK 2001  |  86 mins  |  12
Some time in India’s distant past, warrior Lafcadia (a superb Ifran Khan) serves his heartless master by beheading those who cannot pay their taxes. Feared by many, he is admired by his son, who dreams of following in his father’s footsteps, but one day a vision turns Lafcadia against his violent ways and begins him on a perilous and costly journey back to his homeland. Though only 86 minutes in length, this is a cinematic adventure on an epic scale, an exotic, exciting, visually stunning piece that must qualify as one of the most ambitious debut films ever. Based on a Japanese folk tale, this first film from Hackney-born Asif Kapadia takes all the finest qualities of grand scale Indian cinema and melds them into unique, original and spectacularly cinematic experience.

Tuesday 8th October at 8pm
And your Mother Too [Y Tu Mamá También]     Mexico / USA 2001  |  105 mins  |  18
Left to their own devices when their girlfriends go off to Italy for the summer, young, over-sexed Tenoch and Julio decide to take a road trip to a faraway (and imaginary) beach. On the way they pick up beautiful Luisa, the discontented wife of Tenoch’s cousin, and the three embark on a voyage of emotional and sexual discovery. Having made two films in Hollywood – A Little Princess and a modern version of Great Expectations – director Alfonso Cuaron makes a triumphant return to his native Mexico City with this exhilarating, erotic, intelligent and wittily executed road movie, laced with social commentary and excellent character detail. Breaking all box-office records in its native Mexico, it features a trio of first-rate performances from Maribel Verdu, Diego Luna and (from Amores Perros) Gael Garcia Bernal.

Tuesday 15th October at 8pm
No Man's Land      Slovenia / France / UK / Belgium / Italy / Switzerland 2001  |  98 mins  |  15
At the height of the Bosnian conflict in 1993, a relief patrol finds itself in no man’s land, and after an encounter with enemy forces only one man, Ciki, is left alive. Taking refuge in a trench, he finds himself up against native Serb Nino – initially enemies, the two join forces to resolve the deadly dilemma faced by Ciki’s thought-dead comrade Cera, who is laying on a booby-trapped land mine. Winner of this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, this first feature from Yugoslav director Danis Tanovic uses an intimate situation to address the absurdities of war with a sharply satirical edge that calls to mind Joseph Heller’s famous Catch 22. Tanovic takes no sides, but uses sharply observed black comedy to make his points so well, and it makes it an effective antidote to the Hollywood cod heroics of Behind Enemy Lines.

Tuesday 22nd October at 8pm
Hotel     UK / Italy 2001  |  115 mins  |  18
In a Venice hotel, an obsessive director gathers his cast and crew to begin filming a Dogma version of The Duchess of Malfi, unaware that the hotel staff have a habit of eating the guests. What sounds like a straight horror movie in synopsis is anything but – increasingly experimental British director Mike Figgis’ follow-up to his seductive real-time, split-screen Timecode continues the tradition of playing with video and film form, extending the experiment to include a number of new techniques and a more improvised approach to the performances and even storytelling. The resulting film manages to entertain and intrigue in equal measures, a visually adventurous combination of straight storytelling, character drama and avante-garde cinema that is genuinely unlike anything else you’ll see this year.

Tuesday 29th October at 8pm
Sunshine State     USA 2002  |  141 mins  |  15
Plantation Island, Florida, the Sunshine State. On Delrona Beach, Marly Temple (Edie Falco from TV’s The Sopranos) reluctantly takes over the running of the hotel that was her parents’ life work, but fails to find their enthusiasm and is tempted to sell to the big coporation that is buying up the whole area. Meanwhile on, Lincoln Beach, historically populated by prosperous African Americans, Actress Desiree (Angela Bassett) returns to reconcile with her mother, who sent her away 25 years earlier when she became pregnant by a local football hero. One of the kingpins of US independent cinema, John Sayles (Passion Fish, Matewan) takes the Altmanesque, multi-character structure of his own City of Hope and uses it to examine in fascinating detail the wide variety of characters that inhabit the island, and how their lives are interlinked, and affected by the relentless march of corporate capitalism. A richly textured, moving and beautifully observed study of a diverse community coping with the pressures of the modern age.

Tuesday 5th November at 8pm
Atanarjuat – The Fast Runner     Canada 2000  |  172 mins  |  U
Thousands of years ago in the Igloolik settlement in the Canadian Arctic, the sons of Tulimaq – Amaqjuaq, The Strong One, and Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner – repeatedly clash with the the chief’s unpleasant son, Oki. Oki is angered that Atanarjuat married the beautiful Atuat, to whom he had been betrothed since childhood, and with the aid of his loyal henchmen, he hatches a plan that will eliminate the two brothers. The first film ever to be shot in the Inuktitut language (that of the Canadian Eskimo), this astonishing, visually arresting first work has become an unexpected art-house hit wherever it has played and won the Camera D’Or at Cannes for Best First Film. Shot on digital video and blown up to 35mm to sidestep the problem of working with film at extremely low temperatures, this is a mesmeric, humanistic work that dazzles in its expansive icescape settings, but remains intimate and universal in its characters and storytelling, aided by a series of winning, naturalistic performances from the non-professional cast.

Tuesday 12th November at 8pm
Beijing Bicycle [Shiqi sui de dan che]     Taiwan / France / China 2001  |  113 mins  |  PG
In present-day Beijing, a group of young country boys begin work as cycle couriers. Each is given a new bicycle, to be paid off from their wages over a period of several months, but just as 17-year-old Guo has finished paying for his, it is stolen. For Guo, the bike represents more than his living – it is a symbol of his status, of his own self improvement, as well as a way of impressing the girls – and the hunt to retrieve it from the thief, to whom the bike has also become important, begins in earnest. Inevitably invoking memories of Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 classic Bicycle Thieves and even Tran Anh Hung’s 1995 Cyclo, Beijing Bicycle nevertheless carves its own distinct identity, it’s gentle narrative being used as a springboard for a rich catalogue of detail of life in a modern Chinese city, elegantly photographed and very naturally performed by the young cast.

Tuesday 19th November at 8pm
Heaven     Germany / USA / France 2001  |  97 mins  |  15
In present-day Turin, English teacher Philippa attempts to assassinate a suspected drug dealer with a home-made bomb, but the plan disastrously misfires. In police custody, Philippa develops a relationship with policeman Filippo, who helps her to escape, and the two head into the Italian countryside, fully aware they they are on a road to nowhere. From a script by Polish cinema giant Krzysztof Kieslowski (the Three Colours trilogy) and directed by Run Lola Run’s Tom Tykwer, Heaven is less a lovers-on-the-run thriller than a study of how chance and coincidence can have enormous, life-altering effects. Driven along by an intense central performance from Cate Blanchett, Frank Giebe’s cinematography and Tykwer’s extraordinary technical skills, Heaven is an unusual, emotional and compelling work, and one marked by its director’s unique energy and drive.

Tuesday 26th November at 8pm
Sex and Lucia [Lucía y el sexo]     Spain / France 2001  |  128 mins  |  18
On hearing that her boyfriend has died in a car accident, Madrid restaurant waitress Lucia escapes to a nameless island, where she reflects on her past. Concise plot descriptions are tricky things with the films of Julio Medem (Tierra, Lovers of the Arctic Circle), due to his disarmingly surrealistic and non-linear approach to story structure, where the lines between reality and fiction are frequently blurred and sound and imagery are as important as dialogue. His latest is a mesmerising, challenging work that has found fame in part because of its highly charged eroticism, leading to a refusal by newspapers in Seattle to carry advertisements or even reviews for the film, despite winning Best Screenplay and Best Director at – you’ve guessed it – the Seattle Film Festival.

Tuesday 3rd December at 8pm
Grégoire Moulin     France 2001  |  91 mins  |  15
Raised by his alcoholic uncle and oddball grandmother and beaten up by a girl he loved at school, every aspect of Grégiore Moulin’s life from birth to adulthood has been tinged with disaster. When an unfortunate cleaning accident befalls his grandmother, Grégoire moves to Paris and things start to look up when he falls for the ballet teacher who works opposite his office. But can he pluck up the courage to ask her out? Combining the stylised Paris and love-from-afar plot of Amélie with the blackly comic nightmare trip of Scorsese’s After Hours, Gregoire Moulin is a consistently funny, wildly inventive character farce with a darkly surrealist edge, propelled forward by the energy and inventiveness of its (first time) director and star, Artus de Penguern.

Tuesday 10th December at 8pm
Delbaran     Iran / Japan / Netherlands 2001  |  96 mins  |  PG
14-year-old Afghan orphan Kiam works at a deserted truck stop in the small village of Delbaran on the Iran/Afghanistan border. His father was killed fighting with anti-Taliban forces, and Kiam now helps his boss Khan to smuggle Afghan refugees into Iran. Abolfazl Jalili’s eighth feature (his previous seven have almost all been shelved or censored in his native Iran), made with assistance from Takeshi Kitano’s T-Mark company, abandons traditional narrative structure and gives us instead a cinematic snapshot of life in this isolated outpost. The director speaks to us through imagery rather than dialogue, a daring approach that nevertheless succeeds magnificently, creating a gentle, exquisite, visual meditation on childhood, war and community.

Tuesday 17th December at 8pm
Warm Water Under a Red Bridge [Akai hashi no shita no nurui mizu]     Japan 2001  |  120 mins  |  15
Guided by a homeless philosopher, unemployed Tokyo businessman Yosuke travels to a small seaside town, where he meets and begins a relationship with Saeko, a girl who mysteriously releases gallons of water from her body during the act of love. 75-year-old Shohei Imamura, director of key works such as Vengeance is Mine and the Cannes Palm d’Or winner The Eel, shows no sign of losing his touch with this quirky, metaphor-driven study of passion and small-town Japanese life, rich in eccentric character detail and featuring two fine central performances from The Eel’s Koji Yashuko and Misa Shimizu.