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|FRIDAY, September 11, 2015 7:30 pm
Far From the Madding Crowd
UK, 119 min., PG-13, English.
Based on the literary classic by Thomas Hardy, this is the story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless army sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba's choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love - as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.
|FRIDAY, September 25, 2015 7:30 pm
The 100-Year Old Man who Went Out the Window & Disappeared
2014, Sweden, 114 min, R, Swedish with English subtitles
Based on the international best-selling novel by Jonas Jonasson, this film is the unlikely story of a 100-year-old man who decides it's not too late to start over. For most people it would be the adventure of a lifetime, but Allan Karlsson's unexpected journey is not his first. One reviewer describes our protagonist as “Forrest Gump's Nordic cousin.” This highest-grossing-ever Swedish film has been described as an absurdist comic fable.
|FRIDAY, October 9, 2015 7:30 pm
The Wrecking Crew
2008, US, 95 min, PG
What the Funk Brothers did for Motown, the Wrecking Crew did for the West Coast Sound. The favorite songs of a generation are all here, presented by the people who made them for you. This documentary film tells the story of the unsung musicians who provided the backbeat, the bottom and the swinging melody for many of the number one hits of the 1960s. Whether it was Nat "King" Cole, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, The Monkees, The Byrds or The Beach Boys, these dedicated musicians brought the flair and musicianship that made the American "west coast sound" a dominant cultural force around the world. A fun and moving tribute to the music, the times and to the secret star-making machine known only as The Wrecking Crew.
|FRIDAY, October 30, 2015 7:30 pm
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
2014, US, 104 min, Unrated, Farsi, with English subtitles
The first Iranian Vampire Western ever made, this director's debut basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. The film opens with a scene of a vast wasteland, Bad City, populated with oil drilling machines and the foreboding sense of a ghost town. Here Arash, a lonely teenager, tries his best to make a living working as a gardener for a rich family. Unknown to him, the city is inhabited by a lonely young vampire who acts as a sort of vigilante, choosing to feed from those who she considers "bad.” One night she runs into Arash and will learn that even in Bad City, shines a small glimmer of hope and, possibly, love. A joyful mash-up of genre, archetype and iconography.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Ana Lily Amirpour, the director, attended high school in Bakersfield in the 1990s and filmed her movie in Taft.
|FRIDAY, November 6, 2015 7:30 pm
2014, Argentina, 115 min, R, Spanish with English subtitles
In Europe 1990, the Berlin wall has just crumbled. Katrine, raised in East Germany, but now living in Norway for the last 20 years, is a "war child"; the result of a love relationship between a Norwegian woman and a German occupation soldier during World War II. She enjoys a happy family life with her mother, her husband, daughter and granddaughter. But when a lawyer asks her and her mother to witness in a trial against the Norwegian state on behalf of the war children, she resists. Gradually, a web of concealments and secrets is unveiled, until Katrine is finally stripped of everything, and her loved ones are forced to take a stand. What carries more weight, the life they have lived together, or the lie it is based on? The great Liv Ullman appears in a supporting role.
|FRIDAY, November 20, 2015 7:30 pm
Of Horses and Men
2014, Iceland, 81 min, Unrated, Icelandic with English subtitles
A country romance about the human streak in the horse and the horse in the human as depicted in six interlaced tales. The director gets up close and personal with horses in a way that is earnest and romantic rather than erotic or ironic; in particular, he has a montage of horses' textures, close-up shots that allow you to appreciate the feel of a horse's hide—clearly the work of a connoisseur. This is an elegant love story about horses and the people who love them. Horses are the language that allow the human characters to speak to each other. This film has achieved well-deserved cult status in Europe.
|FRIDAY, December 4, 2015 7:30 pm
2014, France/Mauritania, 97 min, PG-13, Arabic & French with English subtitles
Not far from the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, now ruled by religious fundamentalists, proud cattle herder Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima, his daughter Toya and Issan, their twelve-year-old shepherd. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists determined to control their faith. Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned. The women have become shadows but resist with dignity. Every day, the new improvised courts issue tragic and absurd sentences. Kidane and his family are being spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu. But their destiny changes abruptly in this stunningly rendered film from a master of world cinema. NOMINATED FOR THE 2015 FOREIGN-LANGUAGE OSCAR.
|FRIDAY, December 11, 2015 7:30 pm
Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed
2014, Spain, 108 min, Unrated, Spanish with English subtitles
It is 1966 in Albacete, Spain. English teacher and die-hard Beatles fan Antonio decides to go on a road trip to Almería in the hope of meeting John Lennon, who is shooting a film there. On the way he picks up two hitch-hikers, Juanjo and Belén. This unlikely trio form a bond and decide to follow their dreams in hopes of finding their freedom. Half a century after the Beatles, here’s a film that reminds us just what that music represented to its first generation of fans—freedom, and a connection with others touched by the same songs, the world over. Winner of nine Goya awards in 2014 (Spain's equivalent to the Academy Awards).
|FRIDAY, January 8, 2016 7:30 pm
2014, Argentina, 70 min, Unrated, Spanish with English subtitles
In a rural boarding school in the middle of the mountains, a girl who is starting to become a woman feels the profound need to discover her true identity. She does not know who her father is and she is determined to find him, but her mother does not approve of her search. The hostility of winter in such a harsh place turns this desire into a real threat: freezing in the middle of nowhere. Going behind the backs of the school authorities and the girl's mother, her teacher decides to help her. They set off on this quest for truth, but it is not going to be an easy journey . . . their only clue is a small, rusty metal plaque. Acclaimed at film festivals in Berlin, San Sebastian, Guadalajara, Buenos Aires & Athens.
|FRIDAY, January 22, 2016 7:30 pm
2014, US, 85 min, Unrated, Russian and English with English subtitles
From Oscar nominated and Emmy award-winning filmmakers, Red Army is a feature documentary about the Soviet Union and the most successful dynasty in sports history: the Red Army hockey team. From the perspective of its captain Slava Fetisov, the story portrays his transformation from national hero to political enemy. From the USSR to Russia, the film examines how sport mirrors social and cultural movements and parallels the rise and fall of the Red Army team with the Soviet Union. An inspiring story about the Cold War played out on the ice rink, and a man who stood up to a powerful system and paved the way for change for generations of Russians.
|Friday, January 29, 2016 7:30 pm
2014,Estonia, 87 min, R, Estonian and Russian with English subtitles
Set in 1992, during the growing conflict between Georgia and Abkhazian separatists following the Soviet Union's dissolution, this compassionate tale focuses on two Estonian immigrant farmers who decide to remain in Georgia long enough to harvest their tangerine crop. When the war comes to their doorsteps, Ivo takes in two wounded soldiers from opposite sides. The fighters vow to kill each other when they recover, but their extended period of recovery has a humanizing effect that might transcend ethnic divides. Set against a beautiful landscape defiled by war, this poetic film makes an eloquent statement for peace. Nominated for the 2015 Foreign Language Oscar.
|Friday, February 5, 2016 7:30 pm
2014, US, 80 min, Unrated, English
Peter and Chloe, a young married couple from New York, take a belated honeymoon on-board a research vessel en route to Antarctica. Early in the journey Chloe feels neglected and betrayed by Peter, who is focused on gathering information for an article he plans to publish about the research of a fellow passenger, an esteemed whale biologist. Chloe moves into her own room and stakes out her independence onboard the ship. Drawing attention to the poles within each of us, the impressionistic story oscillates between the super-confined interiors of the ship and the vast open spaces of Antarctica. In the end, it's not until Chloe and Peter are lost—perhaps literally, perhaps metaphorically—in the Antarctic ice that they discover how essential they are to each other.
|FRIDAY, February 19, 2016 7:30 pm
2014, Iran,119 min, Unrated, Farsi with English subtitles
From the director of A Separation comes this gripping mystery set among a group of old friends on a holiday retreat. With the return of their close friend Ahmad from Germany, a group of former college pals decide to reunite for a weekend outing by the Caspian Sea. The fun starts right away as they quickly catch on to the plan of lively Sepideh, who has brought along Elly, her daughter's kindergarten teacher, in hopes of setting her up with recently divorced Ahmad. But seemingly trivial lies, which start accumulating from the moment the group arrives at the seashore, suddenly swing round and come back full force when one afternoon Elly suddenly vanishes. Her mysterious disappearance sets in motion a series of deceptions and revelations that threaten to shatter everything they hold dear.
|FRIDAY, March 11, 2015 7:30 pm
2014, France, 85 min, Unrated, French and German with English subtitles
As the Allies march toward Paris in the summer of 1944, Hitler gives orders that the French capital should not fall into enemy hands, or if it does, then “only as a field of rubble.” The person assigned to carry out this barbaric act is General Dietrich von Choltitz, who already has mines planted on the Eiffel Tower, in the Louvre and Notre Dame and on the bridges over the Seine. Nothing should be left as a reminder of the city's former glory. However, at dawn on 25 August, Swedish Consul General Raoul Nordling steals into German headquarters through a secret underground tunnel and there starts a tension-filled game of cat and mouse as Nordling tries to persuade Choltitz to abandon his plan.
|FRIDAY, March 25, 2016 7:30 pm
2014, UK and New Zealand, 84 min, R, English
At the end of the nineteenth century, 16-year-old Jay Cavendish leaves Scotland and journeys across the American frontier in search of the woman he loves. He is joined by Silas, a mysterious traveler, and is hotly pursued by an outlaw gang along the way. The director creates a gallery of startling grotesques for Silas and Jay to run into, and makes each encounter meaningful, driving the movie forward. One is an apparently liberal European expatriate pioneer who gives a duplicitous speech about settlers exterminating indigenous Americans while patronizing their culture. The movie starts out drenched in cynicism and nihilism, but gradually moves towards a feeling that the continuous paranoid suspicion needed for survival at all costs may not be worth it.