Happy New Year Fellow Cinephiles,

We have a terrific line up of films to start 2013 off!

January programming start Saturday 5 January with the Spanish drama “El Mal Ajeno”. A comic love story about a pending apocolyse, “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”, follows. Celebrate the 103rd birthday of the world’s oldest living Oscar winner, Luise Rainer, with the classic film “The Good Earth” (based on the Pear S. Buck novel. Ms Rainer won two consecutive Best Actress Oscars during the 1930s.

“Killer Joe” is a brash black comedy from “Exorcist” director William Friedkin. Approach this film with caution: it is pretty outrageous. Culture Vultures will have a fix this month with the presentation of the German film “Young Goethe in Love”, a sumptuous costume drama about the iconic literary figure. Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon give tense, gripping performances in the suspense thriller “Arbitrage”.

January is wrapped up with two more birthdays celebrated in our cinematic fashion: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s with the 1984 Milo Forman “Amadeus” will fill your senses with Peter Shaffer’s interpretation of the wunderkind Mozart’s life. Vanessa Redgrave’s as Julia from the Lillian Hellman story in her autobiographical “Julia”. Redgrave gave her famous (or infamous) “zionist thugs” speech when accepting the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in the film.

We leave you with this quote from “The Good Earth”:
“O-Lan: When I go back in that house, it will be with my son in my arms. I’ll have a red coat on him… and red flower trousers… and a hat with a gilded Buddha and tiger-faced shoes, and I’ll go into the kitchen where I spent my days as a slave and into the great hall where the old mistress sits with her pipe, and I’ll show myself and my son to all of them.”

See you at the movies,

The ACSA + ANAC Cine Club Team


El Mal Ajeno
Saturday 5 January – 5 pm
Cinema Español
(Spain 2010) 98 min. Eduardo Noriega, Cristina Plazas, Belén Rueda. Dir: Alejandro Amenabar, Oskar Santos. Diego is a doctor so used to working in extreme situations that he has immunized himself to others’ pain. He has switched off from his work, his partner and his commitment as a father. Over the course of a disturbing meeting, Diego is threatened with a gun. Hours later, he can only remember the sound of a bang and the strange feeling of having being hit with something more than a bullet. Diego has to take an irreversible decision which will affect his own life and that of his loved ones.
Original Version (Spanish) with English Subtitles

The Good Earth
Sunday 13 January – 5 pm
Luise Rainer’s birthday – Oldest Living Oscar Winner
(USA 1938) 138 min. Paul Muni, Luise Rainer, Walter Connolly. Dir: Roy Rowland. MGM’s status as the “class” studio was fully engaged when production chief Irving Thalberg took on this expensive, serious adaptation of Pearl Buck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. A smooth entertainment with a stiff portion of this-is-good-for-you seriousness,The Good Earth epitomizes Thalberg’s idea of Art, which was also the prevailing idea of the period he dominated in Hollywood. The story follows a humble farmer, who makes an arranged marriage to a slave. The couple’s great struggle is to procure–and then, against withering odds, keep–a piece of land, ownership of which makes the difference between self-determination and near-slavery. The film’s physical production is truly eye-filling, with location shooting in China providing exterior shots and backdrops . No wonder the great cinematographer Karl Freund won an Oscar for the photography, which includes an awesomely staged locust plague. Also copping an Oscar was Luise Rainer for best actress–her second consecutive award, after The Great Ziegfeld. Rainer’s underplayed portrait of self-effacing stoicism is a contrast to Muni’s broader performance, although in some odd way he’s exactly right for his role. Caucasian actors play the main characters with Asian actors–including Keye Luke–filling out the supporting parts. The blend of sobriety and hokum is vintage Thalberg, and this is the one MGM movie with an onscreen dedication to the young dynamo; he died during production, age 37.
Original Version (English) with Spanish subtitles.

Young Goethe in Love
Sunday 20 January – 5 pm
Deutsche Film
(Germany 2010) 102 min. Alexander Fehling, Miriam Stein, Moritz Bleibtreu. Dir: Philipp Stozl. Germany 1772 the young and tumultuous Johann Goethe aspires to be a poet; but after failing his law exams, he is sent by his father to a sleepy provincial court to mend his ways. Unsure of his talent and eager to prove himself, Goethe soon wins the praise and friendship of his superior Kestner. But then the beautiful Lotte enters his life and nothing is the same as before. However, the young lovers are unaware that her father has already promised Lotte’s hand to another man.
Original Version (German) with English subtitles.

Sunday 27 January – 5 pm
Mozart’s birthday
(USA 1984) 160 min. F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Simon Callow, Elizabeth Berridge. Dir: Milos Forman. The satirical sensibilities of writer Peter Shaffer and director Milos Forman were ideally matched in this Oscar-winning movie adaptation of Shaffer’s hit play about the rivalry between two composers in the court of Austrian Emperor Joseph II–official royal composer Antonio Salieri , and the younger but superior prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The conceit is absolutely delicious: Salieri secretly loathes Mozart’s crude and bratty personality, but is astounded by the beauty of his music. That’s the heart of Salieri’s torment–although he’s in a unique position to recognize and cultivate both Mozart’s talent and career, he’s also consumed with envy and insecurity in the face of such genius. Amadeus creates peculiar and delightful contrasts between the impeccably re-created details of its lavish period setting and the jarring modern tone of its dialogue and performances–all of which serve to remind us that these were people before they became enshrined in historical and artistic legend. The film’s eight Oscars include statuettes for Best Director Forman, Best Actor Abraham, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture.
Original Version (English) with Spanish subtitles.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Wednesday 9 January – 7 pm
(USA 2012) 101 min. Steve Carell, Keira Knightly, Connie Britton, Adam Brody. Dir: Lorene Scafaria. A sweet and subtle love story, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World begins when Dodge watches his wife run away from him because she’s just learned that an asteroid is going to destroy the Earth. Dodge finds himself unmoored in a world that’s lost its bearings in a much bigger way; some people surrender to hedonism, some cling to the mundane patterns of their lives, and others just kill themselves. Then Dodge is given one last chance at meaning in his life: a neighbour named Penny reveals that she’s failed to give him some of his misdirected mail… including a letter from his cherished high school sweetheart, who reveals he was the love of her life. As civilization falls apart around them, Dodge and Penny set off on a road trip to reunite Penny with her family and Dodge with his lost love. The movie takes the scenario seriously (without, mind you, losing its sense of humour) comic and surprisingly heartfelt.
Original Version (English) with Spanish subtitles.

Killer Joe
Wednesday 16 January – 7 pm
(USA 2011) 102 min. Mathew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church. Dir: William Friedkin. The films of director William Friedkin have been called many things over the years, but “subtle” has never been one of them. While his brash, purposely nuance-free style can sometimes prove overpowering, when it clicks with the right material, it booms brilliantly. Killer Joe finds the director’s in-your-face expressionist tendencies working like gangbusters, propelling this black comedy to places where most movies fear to tread. Looking for a way out, a Texas bottom feeder with some serious gambling debts teams with his dim dad to hire a legendary hit man for some dirty work. When the duo fail to come up with the collateral, however, Killer Joe sets his sights on the beautiful sister. Friedkin takes a no-holds-barred approach to this low morality tale, depicting even the darkest moments with overwrought relish. Ruling the roost is McConaughey, who spikes his trademark charisma with layers of serious menace, creating a villain who can seemingly do anything at any given moment. In a movie where virtually every character has an aura of 30-weight motor oil, he shines the darkest.
Original Version (English) with Spanish subtitles.

Wednesday 23 January – 7 pm
(USA 2012) 108 min. Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth. Dir: Nicholas Jarecki. Dynamic performances by Richard Gere and an all-star cast highlight this riveting, suspense-filled thriller about love, loyalty, and high finance. Robert Miller is a New York hedge-fund magnate who appears to have it all – money, power, a loving wife and a devoted daughter working by his side. But behind the gilded walls of his mansion Miller is running on borrowed time, trying to unload his crippled trading company before his frauds are revealed. A deadly error throws Miller’s “perfect life” into a tailspin, raising the suspicions of a detective and threatening the future of his financial empire. As the line blurs between what is right and wrong, legal and criminal, Miller is driven to desperate measures to protect the only thing more precious than his considerable fortune: his family. Acting performances are excellent throughout.
Original Version (English) with Spanish subtitles.

Wednesday 30 January – 7 pm
Vanessa Redgrave’s birthday
(USA 1977) 117 min. Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, Maximilian Schell, Hal Holbrook. Dir: Fred Zinnemann. Based on a story from Lillian Hellman’s best-seller, “Pentimento.” Hellman recalls her lifelong relationship with the fiercely independent and politically minded Julia. Born to great wealth, Julia devotes her life to political causes fighting fascism in the 1930’s. While Hellman is travelling in Europe, she is approached by one of Julia’s political friends and is swept into Julia’s world, smuggling money across hostile borders. Featuring Meryl Streep in her film debut, Julia won three 1977 Academy Awards, including Vanessa Redgrave as Best Supporting Actress, Jason Robards as Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay Adaptation.
Original Version (English) with Spanish subtitles.

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