As 2014 winds to a close we take a look back at what has been a fantastic year for the Cinema For All Booking Scheme. With several new distributors joining the scheme and loads of new titles it’s been a bumper year for bookings and we’re hugely grateful to all the film societies and community cinemas who have helped make the scheme such a success. But what were the most popular films of the year?
A slew off new releases from Peccadillo Pictures kicks off February and in the next few months we have a selection of new (And some familiar) titles from Arrow Films.
A Magnificent Haunting | Ferzan Ozpetek | 2012 | Italy | 105 mins
After the hugely popular Loose Cannons Ferzan Ozpetek returns with another spectacular comedy. A young aspiring actor, Pietro, moves to Rome in the hope of landing a starring role. He takes a job in a bakery to support himself while he tries for auditions and when he hears of a slightly run-down apartment going for cheap he snaps it up to escape his overprotective cousin. When he arrives he finds the previous tenant too scared to come inside to collect her things – and it quickly transpires that the flat is haunted. To Pietro’s delight however, the ghost are the members of a 1940s theatrical troupe who offer to help him coach him for a forthcoming audition if he will track down their missing member.
Kuma | Umat Dag | 2012 | Austria | 93 mins
Umat Dag, a Turkish-Austrian filmmaker, presents his debut feature – a precise and illuminating depiction of an unusual marriage. Ayse a 19 year old Turkish woman is chosen to be married to Hasan, the son of Fatma and Mustafa. However when Ayse arrives in Austria where Hasan’s family live it quickly becomes apparent that she is destined to be the second wife of Mustafa, given Fatma’s ailing health. Though manipulative, Fatma, is from a villain, dedicated as she is to ensuring her husband will be cared for after her passing, and Dag takes care to ensure the audience can understand each character’s motivations.
In the Name Of… | Malgorzata Szumowska | 2013 | Poland | 102 mins
A Catholic priest, Adam, is sent to help run a halfway house in rural Poland. He turned to religion fairly late, at 21, and it seems that he, like the boys in the retreat, is running away from something. The enforced isolation, though unexplained it is clear Adam does not wish to be here, causes him to harbour thoughts of temptation. Though Adam claims that his religion has been liberating for him, it is apparent that he is also refusing to acknowledge his desires. Winner of two awards at Berlinale 2013.
Any Day Now | Travis Fine | 2012 | USA | 98 mins
A dramatisation of the landmark 1970s court case in which a homosexual couple fought for adoption rights. Alan Cumming is Rudy Donatello, a musician and drag performer who is dating Paul Feiger (Garret Dillahunt), an assistant district attorney who has only come out to Rudy. Rudy’s neighbour, Marianne a drug addict with a disabled son, is busted for possession and her son, Marco is left uncared for. Distraught that Marco is being left to fend for himself Rudy takes him in and applies for custody of the child. However when his relationship with Paul becomes known the authorities take Marco away and Rudy convinces Paul to fight for the right for gay couples to adopt children for their neighbour’s disabled son after his mother was imprisoned. Both Dillahunt and Cumming give astounding performances in Fine’s impassioned drama.
I Wish | Hirokazu Koreeda | 2011 | Japan | 128 mins
Returning to the Booking Scheme this month I Wish has already proven a hit with community cinemas. A sweet family drama, I Wish focuses on two brothers who’ve parents have split up, Koichi lives with his mother while Ryu lives with his father. The arrangement is supposed to show that the split is temporary but as months go by it begins to seen more and more permanent. Joichi and Ryu dream of getting their family back together and over the phone they hatch a plan inspired by the rumour that if you make a wish at the precise point where two of Japan’s new bullet trains pass each other at top speed the incredible energy at that point will make it come true. The only problem is getting there…
A Hijacking | Tobias Lindholm | 2013 | Denmark | 103 mins
Screen from 1 May 2014
Another familiar film – A Hijacking will be rejoining the BFFS Booking Scheme this May! Tobias Lindholm’s masterful thriller has been justly praised for its spectacular direction, strong performances and unnerving tension. Lindholm, who wrote the Oscar nominated The Hunt, meticulously researched this dramatisation of the hijacking of a Dutch cargo ship off the coast of Somalia. The attention to detail heightens our immersion and the film is riveting and suspenseful. Split between the crew held hostage on the boat and the negotiations taking place from the shipping company headquarters, A Hijacking shows the extraordinary pressures on both sides of the crisis. Pilou Asbæek and Søren Malling, stars of Borgen and frequent collaborators with Lindholm, are exceptional as the ship’s cook and the company CEO who takes on the negotiations personally respectively.
Love Is All You Need | Susanne Bier | 2012 | Denmark, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany | 116 mins
Screen from 20 April 2014
Susanne Bier’s bittersweet romantic comedy makes the most of a catalogue of problems for her leads which makes their eventual meeting all the more rewarding. Ida (Trine Dyrholm), a hairdresser who’s undergoing chemotherapy (the original Danish title was a ‘The Bald Hairdresser’) finds her husband cheating on her shortly before they are due to fly out to their daughter’s wedding. Philip (Pierce Brosnan, expertly cast) a widower and a lemon seller is similarly frustrated by life and evidently Ida and Philip are fated to meet. What makes Love Is All You Need such a joy is the rich characters, the bitter humour and terrific chemistry.
Looking for Hortense | Pascal Bonitzer | 2012 | France | 100 mins
Screen from 10 August 2014
A droll French comedy starring Kirsten Scott Thomas and Jean-Pierre Bacri. Damien and Iva, a well-to-do Parisian couple who are nevertheless bored with each other and both considering affairs. Iva however needs to keep Damien on side at least so she can use him to acquire work papers for her relative who’s being threatened with deportation. As ever Thomas gives a fantastic performance.
Like Father, Like Son | Hirokazu Koreeda | 2013 | Japan | 121 mins
Screen from 20 October 2014
Koreeda latest film concerns two Japanese families who learn that their 6 year old sons were accidentally swapped at birth after the hospital uncovers evidence of its mistake. The two families are encouraged to spend a period of 12 months getting to know each other before swapping their sons back. The film focuses on one of the fathers, Ryota Nonomiya, a busy architect who has raised Keita to be a hardworking, disciplined and successful child. His biological son, Ryusei has been brought up in a larger, more laid back family; poorer but happier. Ryota and the other parents worry: which child has had the better upbringing? Which child should live where? Meanwhile the boys delight in exploring new homes and new surroundings. It’s a playful and delightful film,that toys with the ‘Nature vs. Nurture’ debate and explores how the familial bond is developed.
Looking further ahead; South Korean thriller The Taste of Money is available from 1 November 2014 and daring Danish comedy Klown is available from 7 December 2014.
Continuing my delve into the extensive collection of films on the BFFS Collection I recently watched The Conformist, Bertolucci’s pre-WWII set thriller. The film centres on a weak-willed agent of the Mussolini government who is sent to France to assassinate a political dissident. Though vaguely aware of the film and its reputation beforehand I was nonetheless awed by this tremendous film.
Update: A Hijacking is available to book now to screen from 1st May 2014.
Tobias Lindholm’s nerve-shredding thriller is coming to the BFFS Booking Scheme this summer. Uncompromisingly realistic and directed with a masterful eye towards building tension A Hijacking is one of this year’s standout films.of the Danish cargo ship, MV Rosen, where half of the film’s narrative takes place, in favour of concentrating on what comes next: negotiation, uncertainty, fear and frustration. And it turns out that this is where the real drama lies.
The film comes across as so grounded in reality, so accurate and detailed that it is easy to forget that you are watching a fictional film. Lindholm was inspired to make the film after learning about the hijacking of two Danish cargo ships in 2007 and 2008, but the film itself is not based on any particular case. It appears however to have been impeccably researched and filming took place on a ship that had been previously been hijacked, while real life negotiator Gary Skjoldmose Porter plays a version of himself.
The film’s narrative is split between events on the Rosen where Mikkel, the ship’s cook, (played by Borgen star Pilou Asbæk) as well as the other sailors wait in captivity with no idea how or when they are likely to be freed; and the offices of the shipping company where CEO Peter (played by Borgen’s other big star Søren Malling) leads negotiations with the pirates and struggles to cope with the pressure.
It is a film that concentrates more on emotional drama than action and there are no Hollywood inspired heroics that will save the day. Instead the audience is left in the unusual position of having no assurances as to how the situation is likely to unfold, and the unpredictability makes for engrossing viewing. With uniformly excellent performances across the board and a script that allows the characters to develop without overloading us on backstory, it can be hard to shake the feeling that you are watching real events unfold.
A Hijacking is in cinemas now and will be available on the BFFS Booking Scheme from the end of August.