Force Majeure - Film

Programme of Films 2016/17

 53rd Season of World Cinema  
Join before August 23rd for membership discount  
Wednesday September 14th 2016: 8.00pm YOUTH

UK, 2015, 125 Mins, English language, colour. Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Leading players: Michael Caine (Fred Ballinger) Harvey Keitel (Mick Boyle).

Michael Caine in Film Youth at Walton in September 
A famous composer contentedly enjoying his retirement in a Swiss spa resists even a royal request to conduct his most famous work. However, troubles arising in his daughter’s marriage interrupt his serenity.
Fred Ballinger, is enjoying his retirement in a Swiss spa hotel, set in glorious Alpine scenery. His long-standing friend, film director, Mick Boyle, is also at the spa planning his next film. The friends enjoy reminiscing about past affairs and comparing medical conditions. They are also connected in another way, as Fred’s daughter, Lena, is married to Mick’s son. Lena is sharing Fred’s room until she leaves for a holiday with her husband.
She is soon back, in tears, having discovered her husband is having an affair. Further drama arises when Mick’s chosen leading lady (a bright cameo from Jane Fonda caked in thick make-up) arrives to denounce Mick’s film, and Fred resolutely resists repeated visits from an emissary of Buckingham Palace bearing an invitation to perform his most well-known work before royalty.
The film is full of quietly amusing incidents, with strong performances from both leading players. There are several choice incidental scenes featuring several of the widely varying
other residents at the spa. KW
Film Youth at Walton in September 
Film notes
This is Director Sorrentino’s second English language film. He has previously been more noted for films such as ‘The Great Beauty’, which opened our 2014/15 Season.
Wednesday October 5th 2016: 8.00pm RAMS

Iceland, 92 minutes, Icelandic language, subtitles, colour.
Director: Grimur Hakonarson
Leading players: Sigurður Sigurjónsson (Gummi); Theodór Júlíusson (Kiddi);
Charlotte Bøving (Katrin); the sheep of Halldorsstaoir farm

Movie RAMS (Iceland) 
Hakonarson sets a tale of family feuding and loneliness relieved by stark Icelandic humour in the remote countryside where he lived as a young man. 
Two brothers, Gummi and Kiddi, run neighbouring sheep farms, but have not spoken for nearly forty years. They compete for the prize of ‘Best Ram’. 
The discovery of highly infectious and potentially fatal scrapie in the winning animal means that all the livestock who have come into contact with it have to be condemned.
This threatens the entire neighbourhood along with the brothers’ whole economic and social existence. The plot is unfolded skilfully and sensitively as Hakonarson explores the closeness between farmer and sheep and their landscape setting. JT 
Film notes
The film’s budget was under 2 million euros, but it is one of the most commercially
successful films yet to come from the Nordic countries. Its quirky Icelandic humour has
travelled well and negotiations are even taking place for showing in China. 
Wednesday October 26th 2016: 8.00pm FORCE MAJEURE

Sweden/France/Norway/ 119 mins. Subtitles, colour.
Director: Ruben Östlund Germany/Denmark/Italy/Finland 2014.
Leading players: Johannes Bah Kuhnke (Tomas); Lisa Loven Kongsli (Ebba);
Kristofer Hivju (Mats)

Film Force Majeure
Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund specializes in films depicting situations in which social lines are crossed making it difficult for people to go on living as they did previously without having to summon all their resources of denial.
Force majeure begins with a scene in which a family holidaying in the French Alps are having their photograph taken when a dramatic event occurs that initially appears to threaten their lives but soon becomes the catalyst in a rift that might tear them apart.  
It is here that Tomas performs the inadmissible act of selfishness that will torment him. Matters are worsened by Tomas’ denial of what happened whilst his wife insists the opposite. A haze of ambiguity continues to surround the event’s status. 
It is here by observing all the differing viewpoints of an event that we witness that the
filmmaker gives us a biting satire of modern middle-class life. Also Östlund deconstructs
the male psyche, the concept of masculinity in contemporary society in this amusing and
controlled drama. BD 
Film notes
Other Ruben Östlund films: Play (2011), Involuntary (2008). 
                               Wednesday November 16th 2016: 8.00pm LOCKE

 UK, 2013. 84 minutes, English, colour.
Director: Steven Knight
 Leading player: Tom Hardy.
Voices of Tom Holland, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott.

locke steven knight film walton weybridge 
The night before the most important concrete pour of his life, construction foreman Locke discovers an ex-colleague is in premature labour with his child.
Locke drives to London to be at the birth, making ’phone conversations to family and colleagues as he tries to sort out all his problems. A tour de force by Tom Hardy.
One man in a car talking over the ‘phone for nearly an hour and a half does not sound a promising idea for a film. But Locke is entirely engrossing as the viewer is gradually drawn into the protagonist’s dilemma. Ivan Locke himself is as convincing to the audience, with his calm Welsh tones (apparently modelled on Richard Burton reading Dylan Thomas), as he is persuasive to the majority of those to whom he talks on his hands-free ’phone.
Ivan Locke is a thoroughly upright man with a loving family, who has made just one mistake. Although this is the night before the most important concrete pour of his life as a construction foreman, he is determined to stand by the woman he has accidentally made pregnant, because of his own experience of being abandoned by his father. His successful career and marriage crash down around him as he drives.
An expert in the field and obviously in love with his job – there is an almost poetic hymn to concrete in his conversation with his assistant Donal - he is determined to make the pour go without a hitch. He is also desperate to salvage his marriage if he can. JT
Film notes
The film was shot in real time in a BMW X5, which was driven down the M6 on a flatbed truck, with breaks only to change the cameras’ memory cards. It has been called ‘an acting masterclass all round’.
Wednesday December 7th 2016: 8.00pm THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

USA/Germany/UK 2014 Director: Wes Anderson
Leading players: Ralph Fiennes (M. Gustave); Jude Law (young writer);
Saoirse Ronan
(Agatha) F. Murray Abraham, Tilda Swinton,
Edward Norton
,Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe.

walton film festival the grand budapest hotel 
The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.
In the former republic of Zubrowka, in post-1985 Eastern Europe, a young woman contemplates the statue of the country’s greatest author. In 1985 the author tells us how in 1968 he visited the Grand Budapest Hotel, high up in the mountains, now fallen on hard times.
There he meets the owner Mr Moustafa, who tells the story of how he first came to the hotel in 1932 during its glory years, and his tutelage under the hotel’s greatest concierge, M. Gustave.
What follows is a fast paced comic crime caper involving a valuable painting bequeathed to M. Gustave by one of the elderly guests he romances and her furious son’s violent attempts to steal it back. Wes Anderson’s 8th feature film is a delicious confectionery of a comedy, exquisitely designed and featuring a whole host of star cameo performances.
Ralph Fiennes displays a previously under exploited gift for pure comedy, and Anderson’s highly affectionate literary and cinematic references delight and entertain. Inspired by the novels of Stefan Zweig (The Post Office Girl, Beware of Pity) but also steeped in an understanding and homage to genre archetypes.
There are mini pastiches of film noir, jailbreak movies, screwball comedies and in Alexandre Desplat’s Oscar winning music score, all sprightly zithers, balalaikas and doom-laden chorales, a nod to nostalgia for a lost age. CJ
Film notes
Other Wes Anderson films: Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Fantastic Mr Fox, Moonrise Kingdom. The film won 4 Oscars and 5 BAFTAs and was also the highest grossing independent film of 2014, taking $175m worldwide at the box office. This is the 7th Wes Anderson film that Bill Murray has appeared in.
Wednesday January 18th 2017: 8.00pm TAXI TEHRAN

 82 mins, Persian language, subtitles, colour.
Iran 2015 Director: Jafar Panahi
Leading player: Jafar Panahi (Taxi driver)

taxi tehran film at Walton, directed by jafar panahi 
Panahi poses as a taxi driver and drives around the streets of Tehran picking up passengers and recording their conversations. Panahi discusses the social challenges that Iranian citizens face on a daily basis.
After making several robust realistic dramas about the challenges of everyday life in his country Jafar Panahi fell foul of the Iranian government, which threatened him with imprisonment, prevented him from travelling and banned him from making films for 20 years.
He has protested by working under the wire, an example of which is Taxi Tehran, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. To make Taxi Tehran, Panahi rigged a taxi with three hidden video cameras and surreptitiously filmed a drive round Tehran, with himself at the wheel ferrying assorted passengers.
The film begins with a prolonged discussion between a female teacher in the back seat and an outspoken man sitting beside the driver on the subject of thieves and capital punishment. Echoing the director’s own celebrated The White Balloon (1995) about a little girl desperate to buy a goldfish, there is an episode featuring two bad-tempered old ladies with a goldfish in a bowl. They don’t trust Panahi to get them or their precious cargo to their destination.
Other passengers include the director’s outspoken niece, desperate to be bought a banana split, and a bootlegger carrying pirated movies. Taxi Tehran seems lighthearted but its director is making very serious points about the repressive nature of Iranian society. AW
Film notes
Other Jafar Panahi films: The White Balloon (1995), The Circle (2000), Crimson Gold (2003), Offside (2006), This is not a Film (2011).
Wednesday February 22nd 2017: 8.00pm MIA MADRE

Italy/France/Germany 2015, 106 mins. English subtitles, colour.
Director: Nanni Moretti
Leading players: Margherita Buy (Margherita); John Turturro (Barry Huggins);
Giulia Lazzarini
(Ada); Nanni Moretti (Giovanni).

Wlaton & Weybridge Cinema Club - nanni moretti mia madre film 
Margherita, a film director in her fifties in the middle of an existential crisis, has just started shooting her latest production and and is distracted by worries surrounding her seriously ill mother.
In present day Rome, Margherita, a film director in her fifties, has just begun shooting her next picture, about a sit-in at a factory threatened with layoffs following a takeover by an American company. Suffering a crisis in confidence, she is distracted by thoughts of her mother Ada, a former loved and respected Latin teacher, now seriously ill in hospital.
When her teenage daughter returns from a skiing holiday with Margherita’s ex-husband Federico, personal and professional tensions serve to destabilise Margherita’s life. Margherita reflects on her relationship with her brother (played by director Moretti himself), her daughter, her estranged husband and most of all, with her mother.
When Barry Huggins, the American star of her film, arrives, tensions on the set arise, mainly due to Barry’s self-absorbed and temperamental outbursts. He also has trouble remembering his lines and resists Margherita’s attempts to direct him.
Nanni Moretti’s sharp and ultimately moving drama deals with themes of bereavement and the importance of family that permeate much of his earlier work. Sentimentality is kept at bay and there’s a hilarious performance by John Turturro as the needy, narcissistic Hollywood actor.
There are plenty of movie making inside jokes, and some strikingly ambiguous sequences reflecting Margherita’s state of mind (could they be dreams, memories, anxieties or nightmares?). CJ
Film notes
Other films directed by Nanni Moretti: Dear Diary, The Son’s Room, April. The film has many autobiographical elements, not the least of which was that Moretti’s own mother died whilst filming his previous film We Have a Pope. Many items used in the film (e.g. the car that Margherita drives, the books on her shelves) were Moretti’s own.
Wednesday March 15th 2017: 8.00pm THE WONDERS

Italy/Switzerland/Germany 2014 111 mins. English subtitles, colour.
Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Leading players: Maria Alexandra Lungu (Gelsomina); Sam Louwyck (Wolfgang);
Alba Rohrwacher
(Angelica), Monica Bellucci (Milly)

The Wonders - Film Programme for Walton & Weybridge Elmbridge in 2017 
A family of beekeepers living in the Tuscan countryside finds their household disrupted by the simultaneous arrival of a silently troubled teenage boy and a reality TV show intent on showcasing the family.
Gelsomina lives on a farm in the Tuscan countryside with her fiercely independent German father Wolfgang, French mother, three younger sisters and Coco, who although not family acts as an aunt to the girls and helps work the land. The family’s main source of income is their apiary. 
When Wolfgang agrees reluctantly to let German juvenile delinquent Martin live with the family in return for a monthly stipend, the delicate family balance is disrupted. 
Meanwhile Gelsomina, against her father’s wishes, signs up for a reality TV competition showcasing rural achievements and eccentricities called ‘Countryside Wonders’, largely due to Gelsomina’s fascination with the glamorous presenter Milly (Monica Bellucci). Alice Rohrwacher’s 2nd feature is a lyrically beautiful coming-of-age tale that avoids all the usual clichés. 
There’s an almost documentary approach to depicting the naturalistic beauty of rural life and the film has a timeless feel best summed by Wolfgang’s telling comment ‘certain things you can’t buy’. CJ 
Film notes
The film won 10 awards, most notably The Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The director’s sister Alba, one of the stars of the film, also appeared in I Am Love, which we screened a few years ago. 
Wednesday April 5th 2017: 8.00pm TIMBUKTU

France/Mauritania 2014, 97 minutes, colour
Tamasheq, Bambara, Arabic, French, and English, subtitles
Director: Abderrahmane Sissako.
Leading players: Ibrahim Ahmed (Kidane, herdsman); Toulou Kiki (Satima his wife);
Layla Walet Mohamed
(Toya, their daughter).

timbuktu movie at Walton & Weybridge Film Society - director abderrahmane-sissako 
Herdsman Kidane angrily confronts a fisherman who has killed his cow, GPS, with terrible results for himself and his family. 
In the strained atmosphere of the quiet Muslim town now ruled by jihadis enforcing bans on smoking, music and soccer, Sissako explores the insufficiencies of the makeshift legal system and the injustices that ensue. 
Living in the dunes outside Timbuktu, Kidane and his family are removed from the officiousness of jihadis imposing sharia law on an already law-abiding Muslim town.
The Islamists throw their weight around, broadcasting warnings that no smoking, music, or soccer are allowed, harassing women selling fish for showing their hands or making an offer for a woman’s hand in marriage, but then making it clear that refusal is not an option. 
Kidane’s beautiful wife has caught the eye of one of the fighters who drives out into the desert to visit her, enjoying some illicit cigarettes on the way. It is not until the confrontation at the riverside between Kidane and the fisherman who killed Kidane’s favourite cow, GPS, that the family is drawn closely into contact with the jihadis, with a tragic outcome.
While giving a searing indictment of the militia who are overrunning Mali, Sissako wants to present the militiamen as human, as “..fragile being[s]. And fragility is an element that can make anybody tip over into horror.” This is a beautiful film: the desert scenery against which the poignant story evolves is stunning and the depiction of everyday life carried on despite the Islamists is heartening. In one episode, boys have an exciting game of football – with an invisible ball. Townspeople pray in the mosque, while their Imam lectures the militiamen on their behaviour. JT 
Film notes
Timbuktu became the first film shot in Mauritania by a Mauritanian director to win at the Cesar film awards. Winning seven awards out of its eight nominations including Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Music and Best Sound, thus setting the record for being the African film with the most awards ever. 
Wednesday April 19th 2017: 8.00pm WAKOLDA

Argentina 2013 93 mins. Spanish & German languages, subtitles, colour.
Director: Lucia Puenzo
Leading players: Alex Brendemuhl (Helmut/Josef); Natalia Oreiro (Eva); Diego Peretti (Enzo). 

wakolda - film director lucia puenzo 
Fascinating, and not in the least macabre, imagining (from the director’s own book) of Josef Mengele’s continuation in Argentina, under an assumed name, of his wartime comparisons of human development. 
The director is also a novelist and this film is taken from her own book which imaginatively expands on the few facts known about Josef Mengele’s activities in Argentina, where he fled in 1949 having earned the reputation of ‘The Angel of Death’ from his genetic experiments at Auschwitz.
The setting is 1960s Patagonia, where there is a German-language community. Mengele, practising as a doctor, takes the assumed name of Helmut Gregor, and, after a chance meeting, befriends a married couple, Eva and Enzo, who have a daughter, Lilith, born prematurely and, at age 12, still underdeveloped.
Helmut takes an intense interest in Lilith, secretly prescribing her growth hormones and recording their effect in clinical detail. Eva is pregnant and, wishing to have a ‘normal’ child, agrees that Helmut should supervise her progress. Enzo is suspicious but his judgement is swayed by Helmut’s generosity to the family and by his help in developing Enzo’s own ambition to mass- produce porcelain dolls. 
There is nothing macabre in the film, Gregor/Mengele being portrayed as simply having a genuine academic interest in genetics and human development. The result is a deeply absorbing film. KW
Film notes
Lucia Puenzo is noted for other films examining aspects of Argentine reality such as tensions arising from lesbian teen romances across racial and cultural divides. 
Wednesday May 3rd 2017: 8.00pm TRUMBO

USA 2015, 124 mins. English language, colour.
Director: Jay Roach
Leading players: Bryan Cranston (Trumbo); Helen Mirren (Hedda Hopper);
John Goodman
(Frank King). 

Trumbo is movie in Walton & Weybridge Film Society Programme for 2016 - 2017 
Leading Hollywood scriptwriter, Dalton Trumbo, falls foul of the McCarthyist Communist witchhunt trials and is imprisoned for non-cooperation. Very illuminating about some of the biggest Hollywood stars of the day
Los Angeles 1947. Dalton Trumbo, a noted screenwriter, is at a cinema with his family. A newsreel is shown in which Hedda Hopper, a vitriolic gossip columnist of the day, castigates a strike of set builders and also claims that Trumbo and others are Communist infiltrators. A couple of years later, Trumbo is called before the House Un-American Activities Committee but refuses to co-operate. 
Referral of the case to the Supreme Court for contempt is derailed by the death of a liberal judge and Trumbo is jailed for 11 months.
After release, Trumbo is blacklisted and cannot find legitimate work. Under a number of aliases, Trumbo frantically writes scripts for a Z-list producer (a brilliant and hilarious cameo from John Goodman) to keep his head above water.
There are many fascinating insights into the politics of Hollywood, Trumbo moving amongst many of the biggest stars of that era, but, above all, Bryan Cranston gives a barn-storming performance KW 
Film notes
The original financiers would not agree to Bryan Cranston as the film’s lead, believing him, despite his success in TV’s Breaking Bad, as not capable of ‘carrying’ a film. The producers easily enough found other financiers!
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