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Spring 2004 season

Tuesday 20th April at 8pm
The Mother     UK 2003  |  112 mins  |  15
Following the death of her husband, sixty-something grandmother May visits London to visit her children, both of whom are wrapped up in their own troubles. Enter easy-going young builder Darren, who is building a conservatory for May's son Bobby and dating her daughter Paula, and who May finds herself unexpectedly attracted to.Written by My Beautiful Launderette, Buddha of Suburbia and My Son the Fanatic creator Hanif Kureishi, The Mother examines a subject curiously sidestepped by cinema, an age-gap relationship in which the woman is the older party. Impressively handled by Roger Michell, the director of the more mainstream Notting Hill, the film pleasingly avoids sensationalism, takes some nicely aimed shots at the upwardly mobile London lifestyle and features some first rate performances, notably Daniel Craig (seen in last season's Some Voices) as Darren and Dinnerladies' Anne Reid as May.

Tuesday 27th April at 8pm
Touching the Void     UK / USA 2003  |  106 mins  |  15
The post-Bowling for Columbine return of the documentary film as a cinema feature continues with Kevin MacDonald's simple but compelling story of survival in seemingly impossible conditions. In 1985, young British mountain climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates were attempting to scale the notoriously difficult west face of the Siula Grande mountain when disaster struck - Simpson lost his footing. shattered his knee joint and fell, the rope that tethered him to his companion threatening to drag Yates with him. Yates. convinced Simpson was dead, was forced to make a decision – perish with his friend or cut the rope free so that he might survive? Based on the book of the same name, McDonald, who won an Oscar for his thrilling documentary One Day in September, uses a combination of interview and staged footage to create a haunting, sometimes harrowing tale of surviva l in the loneliest of places and the harshest of conditions. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 4th May at 8pm
The Cuckoo [Kukushka]     Russia 2002  |  130 mins  |  12A
Towards the end of the Second World War, Finnish soldier Veiko is chained to a rock by his German comrades and told to watch for approaching Russian troops. Ivan,meanwhile, is a Russian soldier who has been left for dead after the vehicle transporting him to prison is attacked. Veiko eventually escapes and finds refuge at a remote farm, where he is befriended by Lapp widow Anni, but discovers that they are not alone – Anni has also found the injured Ivan and nursed him back to health. The men regard each other as enemies, while love-starved Anni, more rooted in the daily realities of life than in i nternational conflicts, acts as referee, determined that the three should learn to understand one another,despite the considerable cultural and language barrier between them.Like Danis Tanovic's 2001 No Man's Land, Kukushka examines the absurdity of war by throwing two supposed enemies together,but the addition of Anni and her own needs and desires moves character to the fore. The result is a richly detailed,often amusing drama,smartly scripted (in three languages!) and very naturally performed.

Tuesday 11th May at 8pm
Decasia     US 2002  |  70 mins  |  U
Though it is traditional to give a plot summary to the films we show, in this case it would not so much be inappropriate as impossible. Decasia is cinema as art, a filmic creation to be enjoyed and admired on a purely aesthetic basis. Bill Morrison's film is comprised solely of found footage, old nitrate stock in varying states of disintegration, which Morrison has assembled into a hypnotic collage of broken images, set against Michael Gordon's avant-garde,minimalist score.The film has no narrative in the traditional sense of the term, but remains a nonetheless compelling piece, a symphony for the senses, and proof that film can be every bit as challenging and poetic as the written word.The screening will be accompanied by Morrison's earlier short, The Film of Her, which uses si milar techniques and tells the story of a Library of Congress clerk who saves a collection of archive footage from incineration. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 18th May at 8pm
Dogville     Denmark / Sweden / France / UK / Germany / Finland / Italy / Netherlands / Norway 2003   |  177 mins  |  15
In Depression-era America. Grace is an ex­gangster's moll on the run who seeks refuge in the small, run-down mining town of Dogville. Initially friendly, the town's inhabitants agree to shelter her if she will help them with family and domestic duties, but as the demands on her become greater and people begin to turn against her, the true nature of Dogville's citizens is unpleasantly exposed. No stranger to controversy after The Idiots and Dancer in the Dark, Danish maestro Lars von Trier has once again come under fire, this time for anti-Americanism, but von Trier is targeting humanity itself with this extraordinary drama, which runs for 3 hours and is set entirely on an almost set-free stage, but packs the sort of emotional wallop this director has made one of his trademarks. The film features an extraordinary. career-best performance from Nicole Kidman and a killer cast that includes Lauren Bacall, Jean-Marc Barr, Blair Brown, James Caan, Ben Gazzara, Philip Baker Hall, Udo Kier, Stellen Skarsgard and John Hurt. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 25th May at 8pm
Osama     Afghanistan / Japan / Ireland 2003  |  83 mins  |  12A
In Afghanistan at the height of the Tali ban rule. when the world of work became an exclusively male preserve, a widow disguises her 12-year-old daughter as a boy in order that one of them be able to earn money. But shortly after finding a job, the child is sent to a Taliban training school, where, given the name Osama, she has to fight to conceal her true identity. The first feature to emerge from post-Taliban Afghanistan, Siddiq Barmak's study of life under a regime of religious oppression is an exceptionally powerful work and angry cry against the country's former rulers, and specifically its treatment of women.This is a sobering. sometimes frightening story, told with conviction and skill, and featuring a string of fine performances from a non-professional cast. (Cine Outsider review)

Tuesday 1st June at 8pm
Nói Albinói [Noi the Albino]     Iceland / Germany / UK / Denmark 2002  |  93 mins  |  15
Introverted 17- year-old Nói leads a bored and directionless life in the small Icelandic village of his birth. Constantly in trouble at school, having to deal with an alcoholic father with an Elvis fixation at home, Nói's life suddenly changes when the beautiful Iris arrives in town – he falls immediately in love with her and plans a future for them together, away from the confines of his present location. If the story sounds a little familiar, it is given a freshness here by the setting – the snow-covered village is surrounded by sea and mountains – and by the character of Nói himself; pale-skinned, bald-headed and insular, his true nature is a mystery, he could be just a disgruntled loner or possibly an undiscovered genius. The second feature from Icelandic director Dagur Kari (following 2001's intriguing-sounding Villiljos), Nói Albinói is an involving drama with a nice line in oddball characterisation and dark humour with a winning central performance from Tomas Lemarquis as Nói.

Tuesday 8th June at 8pm
Elephant     US 2003  |  81 mins  |  15
On a normal autumn day in an average American suburb, a new high-school day begins. But as the students and teachers go about their daily routine,they are tragically unaware of the fate that will befall the school and its students before the day is out. Winner of the Palme D'Or and Best Director prizes at Cannes last year, Gus Van Sant's compelling, troubling tale of the events leading up to a Columbine-like school massacre takes a commendably unexploitative and low key approach to a potentially sensational issue, its long tracking shots recalling Alan Clarke's TV masterpiece of the same name, while its use of a non-professional cast, non-linear narrative and unhurried pacing seem more European than American. A disturbing and yet never gratuitous work, Elephant is also a non-judgemental one, refusing to supply pat reasons for a very real.

Tuesday 15th June at 8pm
The Dreamers [Les Reveurs]     France / UK /Italy / USA 2002  |  115 mins  |  18
In Paris in the Spring of 1968,what starts as a protest over the dismissal of Henri Langosi from the Cinemateque Franaise soon develops into mass street protests and clashes with the police. Into this exuberant chaos steps 20-year-old American, Matthew, caught up in the atmosphere and the spirit of revolution. Here he meets good­ looking Leo and his beautiful sister Isabelle, both film obsessives, and both closer than brother and sister would normally be, and the three become intimate friends, launching them on a voyage of sexual discovery and adventure. Veteran director Bernardo Bertolucci, who made the ground breaking Last Tango in Paris, returns to familiar thematic and locational territory with this highly charged drama of sex and cinema, infusing it with a nostalgic but documentary-like recreation of an age when cinema itself could rally a city in protest.

Tuesday 22nd June at 8pm
A Mighty Wind     USA 2003  |  91 mins  |  12A
Following the death of folk music impresario Irving Steinbloom, his son Jonathan organises a tribute concert featuring some of the groups his father helped to fame, something that has for the most part deserted them in recent years. The groups gather enthusiastically, hoping to both send off their old friend in style, and once again prove themselves as top-class entertainers. Following his lampooning of amateur dramatics in Waiting for Guffman and the world of show dogs and their owners in Best in Show, actor/director Christopher Guest once again proves himself king of the mockumentary with this affectionate but gloriously on-the-nose send-up of the world of American folk music. Featuring a string of delightful performances from Guest's regular troupe, including Bob Balaban, Fred Willard and, re-united from the godfather of mockumentary movies, This is Spinal Tap, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Guest himself.