Category Archives: Films

Our Next Film: The killing Of A Sacred Deer

Thursday, 1 February 2018, 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm

ONLINE BOOKING - Pontardawe Arts Centre

2017, UK/Ireland, 121 minutes, (15)
Director – Yorgos Lanthimos

Steven (Colin Farrell) a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behaviour of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister. Also starring Nicole Kidman.

TRAILER:

LINKS:
IMDb – The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Rotten Tomatoes – The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Our Next Film: I Am Not a Witch

Tuesday, 16 January 2018, 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm

2017, UK/France, 93 minutes, (15) subtitled
Director – Tungano Nyoni

From the Welsh/Zambian director a tale of a 9 year old orphan girl who is identified as a witch by her local community and is forced to choose between life in a travelling witch camp or being transformed into a goat.

A pulsingly odd and strikingly original debut’, The Guardian

TRAILER:

LINKS:
IMDb – I Am Not A Witch
Rotten Tomatoes – I Am Not A Witch

AUDIENCE REACTION:

Oh dear, a rather mixed reception for ‘I am Not a Witch’ resulted in an overall score of just 52.69%

The voting was as follows:

Excellent  3
Very Good 13
Good 15
Average 5
Poor  3

COMMENTS:

  • Witch or goat?  I suspect watching a goat for an hour and a half might have been slightly more interesting!
  • A seriously weird film — but, having said that, one containing many seriously funny moments. A sort of “satire meets magical realism”. A few shots were over-long, I thought, but there was some fine acting, especially from the 8-year-old (?) lead.
  • Left many questions but shone a fine light on societal acceptance of abuse
  • Arresting scenery and great use of music and scenery
  • I like slow paced films but this I must say was too much.  But some interesting shots
  • Very interesting and unusual film but astonishing at the same time.  Very good photography
  • Weird but interesting
  • A fascinating blend of ancient and modern culture. Beautifully photographed
  • Perplexing and interesting
  • Sadly subtitles and cataracts don’t go
  • Excellent
  • Too many questions unanswered but fascinating
  • A sinister reminder that superstition and child abuse are still problematic in Africa – well acted and always menacing
  • Which witch was which?  A sad tale of corruption and child abuse in dark Africa
  • Directing and editing unprofessional.  Boring.   Tradition interestingly frightening.  Does it still go on?  Was the poor child killed because she didn’t bring the rain?  Were all the other ‘witches’ turned into goats at the end?
  • One to ponder on
  • I suspect there is more to this film that meets the eye and that the film maker has a back story we would benefit from hearing.

Our Next Film: The Party

Wednesday, 3 January 2018, 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm

2017, UK, 71 minutes, (15)
Director – Sally Potter


A political comedy wrapped around a tragedy about a dinner party gone very wrong.  Featuring a spectacular cast including Kristin Scott Thomas, Emily Mortimer, Cillian Murphy, Timothy Spall and Patricia Clarkson.    A savage satire on the middle-class, exploring the deeper truths behind seemingly liberal convictions with insight and a killer wit.

TRAILER:

LINKS:
IMDb – The Party
Rotten Tomatoes – The Party

AUDIENCE REACTION:

We have 60 members at present but an average of 27 turn up to each film.

40 members turned out for this film – and  generally a well received reception for the first film of the season.

The votes were as follows:

Excellent  26
Very Good  12
Good 5
Average 2
Poor 2

Which gave an overall rating of 80.85%

COMMENTS:

  • A very surprising watch.  Effective ending.  Interesting camera work – every line on skin visible.  Characters generally unlikeable!!
  • What a party.  What a riot
  • The music was very good.  This film would have made a good play
  • Very drole – amusing and quirky characterisation.  Well supported by the musical choices.  A classy little comedy
  • Timothy Spall was wonderful
  • Is it true than when you scratch beneath the surface of urbane liberalism all you find is egocentricity?
  • Awesome – a great start to the season
  • What happens when the liberal elite is stressed
  • Despite a great cast I’m afraid it didn’t quite work for me
  • Excellent tragi-farcical comedy of manners
  • Parts I liked but I wasn’t entirely convinced!  Not sure the black and white added anything
  • Good fun film to start the season
  • Not for me
  • Funny poignant and well paced.  Would make a great stage play
  • Such a brilliant performance of actors – I loved it
  • Funniest and cleverest film I’ve seen in a long time    more Potter
  • Interested.  Acting excellent.  Script and characterisation poor
  • Acting was better than the script
  • Amusing, tense, unexpected moments, not only the ending.  Excellent dialogue at times.  Actors all excellent
  • A film worth watching for its black comedy, good acting and funny dialogue
  • Very funny, witty and eccentric
  • The antithesis of Ken Loach’s film style – self-indulgent, stagey and self-conscious – utterly irritating.  It’s one redeeming feature – it was short!
  • A rather dull tale of dysfunctional bourgeoisie
  • Loved it.  Extremely well acted.  The camera shots were a joy to watch, a good whole hearted funny (in a dark way) film.

Our Next Film: Sweet Bean

Tuesday, 19 December 2017, 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm

2015, Japan | France | Germany, 113 minutes, (PG)
Director – Naomi Kawase


Struggling street food vendor Sentaro finds himself confronted with Tokue, an odd but sympathetic elderly lady looking for work. When he reluctantly accepts its not long before Tokue proves to have an extraordinary fit when it comes to making ‘an’ the sweet red bean paste filling used in his dorayakis – which starts a relationship that is about much more than just street food.

TRAILER:

LINKS:
IMDb – Sweet Bean (An)
Rotten Tomatoes – Sweet Bean (An)

AUDIENCE REACTION:

A huge turn out for members for our last film of the season (39 out of 91 members)– the only film which had higher attendance this year was Manchester by the Sea.

Votes as follows:

14 Excellent
18 very good
7 good
1 average

Which gives an overall rating of 78.12%

COMMENTS:

  • Peter Bradshaw may have thought the film sentimental and slightly preposterous but I rather liked it
  • Gentle and touching insight into Japanese culture but just a bit too slow
  • Evocative, sensitive, and delicate.   Like cherry blossom and bean paste I guess.   Not sentimental but sad
  • Beautiful, still and poignant.  Very moving description of loneliness and people overcoming damaged lives
  • A lovely film on so many levels, culture and the role of people of all ages.  Great
  • An emotional spiritual film about life.  Slow but I enjoyed,  guess you have to be in a melancholy mood to watch.  Well acted, real tears, a very reflective film.
  • Touching, charming film
  • I was a bit sceptical at first but the film became compelling and I enjoyed it
  • Moving story  very strong message about the influence of rumours
  • I was quite surprised by this – not what I was expecting from the trailer
  • They all had their problems but blossomed together
  • A sweet tale – great that the main character was an elderly, disabled, marginalised woman who was the source of the sweetness
  • Beautiful – the perfect antidote to Hollywood
  • Very touching, lovely film but sad

Our Next Film: Frantz

Thursday, 30 November 2017, 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm

2016, France | Germany, 113 minutes, (12A)
Director – François Ozon


A stylish black and white film set in the aftermath of WWI. When a young German woman grieving for the death of her fiancé meets a mysterious Frenchman who visits the grave to lay flowers.

TRAILER:

LINKS:
IMDb – Frantz
Rotten Tomatoes – Frantz

AUDIENCE SOCRE: 87.96%

Votes as follows:

Excellent  16
Very Good 9
Good 2

COMMENTS:

  • I’ve not been so affected since first reading Birdsong regarding the First World War.  Acting by all leads very very good.   Narrative line about responsibility profound.
  • Beautifully filmed and lovely music
  • Love, loss, self sacrifice – it was just deliciously emotional
  • Finding a way to continue to live after loss and pain
  • Strong statement made by parents against war
  • Extremely moving and believable story.  Totally gripping
  • Rather too many improbabilities in the story line, but an interesting film with some very nice photography
  • Really touching
  • A beautiful and moving examination of the lies we tell ourselves and others
  • Brilliant thought provoking film
  • WAR and PEACE  both painful and complicated.  Black and white gave it the ‘old movie’ feel
  • The futility of war!  Excellent acting and good music
  • Not sure of the ending
  • Beautiful film with some good plot twists.  Very moving
  • Sad but lovely – loved the music – sad times
  • Powerful emotional film – very special and lasting

Our Next Film: The Red Turtle (La Tortue Rouge)

Thursday, 26 October 2017, 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm

2016, France | Belgium | Japan, 80 minutes, (PG)
Director – Michael Dudok de Wit


A man is shipwrecked on a deserted island. He is desperate to escape until one day he meets a strange, giant red turtle and begins a friendship that will change his life. Exquisite wordless animation from Studio Ghibli.

TRAILER:

LINKS:
IMDb – The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge)
Rotten Tomatoes – The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge)

AUDIENCE SOCRE: 79%

Votes as follows

Excellent 21
Very Good 13
Good 6
Average 1
Poor 2

COMMENTS:

  • A simple story realised with such beauty and an emotive and heart-wrenching score
  • Was a bit long but I liked the crabs
  • A sweet tale – almost believed in the cartoons
  • Really enjoyed the Welsh short films – Turtle – confused – will have to think about it
  • Too many adverts
  • Haunting music and a charming tale with reminiscences of ‘Castaway’ and ‘Water Babies’ excellent animation
  • Don’t recommend
  • Simplicity at its best  beautiful wordless film  the 3 shorts were also outstanding – excellent evening
  • Beautiful gentle and absorbing.  Very pleased my wife made me watch it
  • Moving, mysterious and magical
  • Beautiful images – but hopeless storyline
  • Beautiful animation (of course) loved the music.  Another excellent choice
  • Wonderful animation and story- a beautiful film – enjoyed the short films too
  • Absolutely enchanting – lots of tears shed
  • The grainy, lush animation style is so lovely to rest your eyes on!   What a heart warming and lovely story about mankind/womankind and nature.  Than you for showing this
  • The short films were brilliant
  • Gorgeous, detailed and captivating

Next Film: Men & Chicken

Wednesday, 9 November 2016, 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm

2015, Denmark, 104 minutes, (15)
Director – Anders Thomas Jensen


Riotous, bawdy and transgressive black comedy. Discovering their father isn’t really their father two brothers go in search of their biological parent. They discover a unique place – where bestiality is gleefully accepted, casual violence the norm and unusual passions are indulged – and start to uncover the mysteries of their origins. Not for the faint hearted.

TRAILER:

LINKS:
IMDb – Men & Chicken (Mænd & høns)
Rotten Tomatoes – Men & Chicken (Mænd & høns)

Next Event: Silent Horror Shorts III

Wednesday, 26 October 2016, 7:30 pm


Commissioned by Abertoir, this collection of silent horror shorts celebrates the inventive and imaginative in early cinema with a selection of rarely seen films on the lighter side of horror and, forming the programme’s centrepiece, one of the truly dark but little known masterpieces of the avant-garde in silent cinema.

All the films will be introduced and accompanied on the piano by Paul Shallcross, presenting his own brand new scores.

Those Awful Hats

1909, USA, 3 minutes, (NR)
Director – D.W. Griffith


Possibly the earliest example of a public announcement film and from none other than the director later famous for Birth of a Nation, a film which features some very unexpected happenings in a cinema audience.

LINKS:
IMDb – Those Awful Hats

The Invisible Thief (Le voleur invisible)

1909, France, 5 minutes, (NR)
Director – Segundo de Chomón


The darker undertones of H. G. Wells’ story are transformed into a delightful skit on crime with Chomón’s camera techniques exploring every possibility of stop-motion and double exposure photography. This is the earliest recorded film to make use of the renowned author as source material.

LINKS:
IMDb – The Invisible Thief (Le voleur invisible)

An Over-Incubated Baby

1901, UK, 1 minutes, (NR)
Director – Robert W. Paul


Robert W. Paul was a pioneering engineer of movie cameras and a filmmaker with a keen eye for the fantastic and the bizarre. His films, such as this one and Undressing Extraordinary, are often cited as being some of the earliest manifestations of horror in film. A cautionary tale of what happens if you leave a baby cooking for too long…..

LINKS:
IMDb – An Over-Incubated Baby

The Man with a Rubber Head

1901, France, 3 minutes, (NR)
Director – Georges Méliès


The inventor of inventive cinema applies his teeming imagination to his own remarkably distensible skull.

LINKS:
IMDb – The Man with a Rubber Head

The Fall of the House of Usher

1928, USA, 13 minutes, (NR)
Director – James Sibley Watson & Melville Webber


This is unusual in being the work of a group of amateur filmakers with both financial and artistic clout. The use of prism photography suffuses the whole film with an eeriness and claustrophobia which lead inexorably to the truly horrific catharsis. In many ways the definitive cinematic version of the Edgar Allan Poe short story.

LINKS:
IMDb – The Fall of the House of Usher

There It Is

1928, USA, 22 minutes, (Unrated)
Director – Charley Bowers


One of the now almost forgotten comedians of the silent era Charley Bowers is both actor, animator and inventor in this film. A thinly veiled ghost-house story is the vehicle for some extraordinarily surreal humour, for elaborate sequences of stunning camera effects rarely if ever seen in silent comedy, and for an eye-boggling array of Heath-Robinson-like contraptions which continually thwart the efforts of the two detectives (Charley and his midget assistant) to apprehend the malevolent spirit in the Daffydil Sanatorium.

LINKS:
IMDb – There It Is

AUDIENCE SCORE:  95.71%

And the comments as follows

  • Magical.  Perfect piano.  Timeless and delightful.  I felt delighted, amused and entertained
  • Another wonderful selection of silent era films
  • Loved the piano accompaniment
  • Fabulous
  • A rare treat excellently delivered.  Will be back next year.  Paul’s enthusiasm makes the evening
  • A real treat to see the films and to hear Paul play along in just magic
  • Very enjoyable.  Never knew that there were such interesting early films.  Excellently presented
  • Brilliant as usual
  • As always very entertaining, and also informative.  Music is inspired.  Paul is obviously very passionate about what he does
  • Charming, quirky and uniquely entertaining
  • The music suited the films very well.  Very entertaining
  • An atmospheric session of cinematic treats.  Live piano music extremely effective.
  • Entertaining Shallcross’s music great and his selection of knowledge of the films is rare
  • Erudite, informative and entertaining introductions.  Please let us have more of the genius that is Paul Shallcross
  • I really enjoyed the evening.  Info, films and music were fantastic.  I’m going home to read some Poe
  • Quirky as ever and very entertaining
  • Wonderfully entertaining and well presented
  • Very informative and some hilarious moments
  • Wonderful glimpse at history, and the music and talk were fantastic.  As a film novice and first timer at film club I was very impressed and will definitely be returning
  • Both educational and entertaining.  A most enjoyable evening
  • Really enjoyed The Fall of the House of Usher.  Inspirationally shot
  • Fabulous.  Great music, entertaining presentation, educational and interesting and fun.

Audience Reaction: ‘Mustang’

The audience gave ‘Mustang‘ a score of 86.11.

COMMENTS:

  • Beautifully filmed brilliantly acted very harrowing story – highlighting what’s happening to young girls in so many countries
  • Mixed feelings. Hard to watch at times
  • Excellent drama, beautifully told with some great scenes and an uplifting ending. Really enjoyed it.
  • Blimey!
  • Gripping – old values suffocating modern young Turkish women – a contempary theme not yet resolved
  • A well told tale of young girls growing up in a Muslim country!
  • Very watchable but sadly disturbing film. Plaudits for the editing.
  • Brilliant film but a sad indictment of the way women are treated in vast swathes of the world
  • Thought provoking. Tradition eh!
  • Pointless. Puerile. Bad direction
  • So very sad that women are treated like this
  • Sadly how many millions of girls does this apply to in the world…
  • Very powerful touching film. Really enjoyed but sad. Beautiful film
  • Very moving film. Beautifully filmed. Felt for each character
  • A very powerful and moving film!
  • Story excellently told, good cinematography. Believable portrayals throughout

Audience Reaction: ‘The Pearl Button (El botón de nácar)’

The audience gave ‘The Pearl Button (El Botón de Nácar)‘ a score of 82.69.

COMMENTS:

  • Stunning. Multi facetted
  • Beautiful filming amazing and worth watching despite being traumatic events
  • Beautifully filmed + well told
  • Excellent cinematography. Not expecting a documentary but told a story in an innovative way.
  • Very well documented. Beautifully filmed horrendous story – and we never learn from history! It goes on
  • Hard to watch at times but we need to be reminded of past brutalities if only to help prevent new “waves” of cruelty.
  • I feel emotionally drained. A very spirited film, water giveth & taketh away. History, never forget.
  • So moving so very sad
  • Very moving and extremely beautiful. Definitely want to see the 1st film. Want to learn more about the dictatorship
  • A chilling tale of Chile! The natives always get a bad deal.
  • A story that needs highlighting. However, was it a documentary? Was it a geographical study, anthropological study, or a brutal historical story?