Tag Archives: The Act of Killing

a hijacking

What’s your film of the year?

Relaunched last year the Film Society Film of the Year Award celebrates the most popular film among film society and community cinema audiences. Voted for by community exhibitors across the UK the award is presented at our annual Film Society of the Year Awards.

We invite all community exhibitors and their audience to nominate their favourite film from the 2013/14 season and the film with the most votes will be awarded the Film Society Film of the Year. The only restriction is that the film must have been shown at your community cinema after 1st September 2013. To register your vote click here.

This year’s ceremony will take place on the 27 September during the Cinema For All National Conference. To book your place check out our Eventbrite page here.

Last year Untouchable was the winner, after proving to be a huge hit with audiences up and down the country. The  multi award-winning French drama was based on the true story of Phillippe Pozzo di Borgi, a businessmen who was left severely paralysed after a para-gliding accident and who hires a young man from the projects to be his carer – against the advice of his family. The directors, Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, sent in a lovely video message accepting the award and thanking community cinemas for supporting the film.


The last year has seen a tremendous number of great films screened across the community cinema sector and we can’t wait to find out which ones have been the favourites. To get you thinking about your favourite film we’ve selected several highlights below – but don’t forgot to tell us which was your Film Society Film of the Year!

A Hijacking | Tobias Lindholm | Denmark | 2012 | 99 mins

Arriving several months before Hollywood’s own piracy drama Captain Philips, A Hijacking is a perfectly crafted, achingly tense hostage thriller. When the crew of the MV Rosen are taken hostage by Somalian pirates the CEO of the shipping company lurches into a protracted and exasperating negotiation process. While he tries to resolve the situation the crew of the ship suffer in cramped and humid conditions with the threat of a violence constantly hanging over them.

No | Pablo Larrain | 2012 | Chile, France, USA | 118 mins

A Booking Scheme smash hit, No stars Gael Garcia Bernal in the final part of Pablo Larrain’s loose Pinochet trilogy. Bernal is Saavedra an advertising executive who is reluctantly convinced to take on the No campaign in the upcoming referendum on Pinochet’s continuing presidency. Though the election was widely viewed as a corrupt and empty show of the democratic process the No campaign very quickly picks up a startling level of support and the possibility of ending Pinochet’s dictatorship starts to seem within sight.

The Great Beauty | Paolo Sorrentino | 2013 | Italy, France | 135 mins

Winner of the Foreign Language at this year’s Oscar ceremony, Paolo Sorrentino’s latest film is a sumptuous and glorious achievement. Toni Servillo, Sorrentino’s regular collaborator stars as Jep Gambardella, a talented but lazy writer who after a phenomenal debut novel has neglected his art and set about dominating Rome’s decadent nightlife. On the cusp of his 65th birthday though he begins to take stock of his life and of his city.

Gloria | Sebastian Lelio | 2013 | Chile | 110 mins

Receiving a rapturous reception on the festival circuit, particularly for Paulina Garcia, the eponymous Gloria, Sebastian Lelio’s film is a triumphant celebration of the indefatigable Gloria. Divorced and with her grown up kids growing distant Gloria is determined not to remain alone and starts attending Santiago’s nightclubs. She soon meets a retired naval officer Rodolfo with whom she shares an immediate attraction. But Rodolfo’s own divorce has left him markedly less free-spirited than Gloria and their relationship starts to falter.

Gravity | Alfonso Cuaron | 2013 | USA, UK | 88 mins

Alfonso’s Cuaron’s space disaster was equally adored for its photo-real special effects which allowed for one of the most immersive space-set films ever, and it’s crucial central performance from Sandra Bullock. Eschewing the stereotype that films so reliant on special effects skimp on strong characters, Bullock’s Dr Stone is the perfect anchor around which the action circles. Kicking off with a jaw-dropping 20 minute take, Gravity starts with a routine spacewalk that turns into a desperate fight for survival when a satellite crash leaves Stone stranded in space.

Philomena | Stephen Frears | 2013 | UK, USA, France | 97 mins

Telling the true story of Philomena Lee and her 50 year search for the son that was forcibly adopted from her Philomena was one of the most successful British films this year. Judi Dench stars as Philomena whose son was given up for adoption by the convent that she went to to give birth. Working on her own Philomena spent nearly 50 years searching for her son until her daughter contacted the journalist Martin Sixsmith who agreed to help Philomena with the search. Their investigation takes them to America and where they encounter a series of dramatic revelations.

The Act of Killing | Joshua Oppenheimer | 2012 | Denmark, Norway, UK | 115/159 mins

 

A surreal, unforgettable documentary that gets at the very question of man’s capacity for evil, Oppenheimer’s extraordinary film raises pertinent and uncomfortable questions. When his attempts to document the stories of the survivors of the Indonesian genocide were thwarted by the government Oppenheimer turned the camera on the perpetrators themselves, many of whom remain in positions of power. Startlingly comfortable talking about the horrific actions they undertook Oppenheimer plays on their love of American movies and invites them to re-enact their actions in the style of their favourite films. In the process the killers inadvertently force themselves to see their actions from the viewpoint of their victims.

Like Father, Like Son | Hirokazu Kore-eda | 2013 | Japan | 121 mins

Two families are notified by the hospital that their children were accidentally swapped at birth, 6 years before. The hospital recommends they slowly reintroduce their son’s to their biological families. The fable-like set-up allows Kore-eda to contrast different styles of upbringing – Ryota is a wealthy but strict father while Yudai struggles to keep his shop open but keeps his large family constantly entertained. While the parents try to determine what the best outcome is the children get on with enjoying their new extended families. A rewarding and touching drama with a huge heart.

The Selfish Giant | Clio Barnard | 2013 | UK | 87 mins

Updating Oscar Wilde’s story to working class England, The Selfish Giant is a brilliant social-realist tale. Arbor and Swifty are two working class kids who are expelled from school after Arbor intercedes in a fight between Swifty and the school bullies. The expulsion gives them more times to pursue their hobby/job – stealing scrap metal to sell to the terrifying dealer Kitten, who inhabits a fenced off scrap heap. Kitten spies an opportunity to take advantage of the kids who are forced to rely on him for much needed cash.

Make your nomination for the Film Society Film of the Year Award here – and we hope to see you in Sheffield in September!

Documentaries on the BFFS Booking Scheme

After the brilliant Doc/Fest hit Sheffield last week we’ve been thinking about documentaries, so here’s a brief look at a few of  the 150+ documentaries on offer via the BFFS Booking Scheme.

Shut Up and Play the Hits

LCD soundsystem

The carefully orchestrated end to a hugely influential band – Shut Up And Play The Hits details the build up to, and aftermath of, LCD Soundsystem’s final ever gig. An epic 4 hour gig at Madison square Garden saw LCD Soundsystem hold ‘the best funeral ever’. The doc presents an intimate portrait of frontman James Murphy, who’s honest and unflinching interview with Chuck Klosterman, as well as the footage of him the day after the gig, contrasts with the incredible concert footage. Watch the trailer

Way of the Morris

Way of the Morris

Filmmaker Tim Plester embarks on a journey from his childhood village to the battlefields of World War I as he explores the connection between the morris dancers of Adderbury and the history of his community. A film about the importance of tradition and spirit in rural communities Way of the Morris is a moving and, thanks to Plester’s self-mocking persona, amusing look at the oft-maligned art of morris dancing. Watch the trailer

The First Movie

The First Movie

In 2008 Mark Cousins’ travelled to Goptapa in Northern Iraq, a town that was devastated during Saddam Hussein’s genocide against the Kurds. But Cousins did not go to simply make a film about what happened, but to allow the children of the town to make their own films. First he introduced them to cinema – none of the children had seen a film before – and then gave them camera to make their own films. The results are magnificent, heart-breaking and insightful; and Cousins’ documentary is testament to the power of film.

Bobby Fischer Against the World

bobbyf

The remarkable story of Bobby Fischer, arguably the greatest chess player ever, who not only became the youngest grandmaster in history, but also won what was described as the “Match of the Century” against the Russian Boris Spassky. The match in 1972 played out against the backdrop of Cold-War tensions and made Fischer world-famous. His victory brought him huge fame across America, but he almost immediately disappeared from competitive chess and his behaviour became more erratic.  By the 1990s he was wanted by the US Government for breaking an embargo, and he was held in Japan before escaping to Iceland. Combining interviews with rare archival footage, Liz Garbus’s documentary is a fascinating and engrossing look at a troubled genius. Watch the trailer

Swandown

Swandown

Likely to put off those who don’t appreciate its eccentric sense of humour, Swandown is a bizarre and seemingly pointless film that I nevertheless find to be uniquely entertaining. A travelogue of sorts, filmmaker Andrew Kötting and writer Iain Sinclair steal a swan-shaped pedalo from Hastings and pedal it up the River Thames to Hackney; partly as an act of protest but mostly to demonstrate the idiocy of pedalling a pedalo 160 miles up a river. Along the way they ruminate on the English countryside and are shouted at by passers-by. Bemusing, diverting and strangely thought-provoking Swandown is (probably fortunately) one of a kind. Trailer

And if you were around at the festival here’s a few films that are on the Booking Scheme/coming soon:

We Are Poets – Profiling the teenagers that make up Leeds Young Authors, and their entry into Brave New Voices, a prestigious poetry slam competition held in Washington, DC, We Are Poets demonstrates the power of the spoken word. (Available now)

The Act of Killing – Joshua Oppenheimer confronts former members of Indonesia’s death squads. Unrepentant of their crimes, Oppenheimer encourages them to stage bizarre and chilling re-enactments of their murders. In doing so they begin to realise the horror of their actions. Winner of the Special Jury Award at Doc/Fest. (Available later this year)

Blackfish – In 2010, Tilikum, the killer whale who has become Seaworld’s biggest attraction, killed one of its trainers. Though there are no reported incidents of orcas attacking humans in the wild, this is not the first time Seaworld’s killer whales have injured trainers. Blackfish looks at the damage done to animals held in captivity and argues for a drastic reform to such practices.  (Available later this year)

Book a film