More Film – this time in Dunedin!


Hi everyone. Here is this year’s Dunedin Film Society programme. We remain the only organisation in town dedicated to showing a broad cross section of significant films from around the world, screening classic and experimental works from every period of cinema history. So whether you are a film lover, an aspiring film maker, or simply interested in learning about other cultures, our 2009 programme has something for all of you. This year’s highlights include two works from renowned artist/filmmaker Lech Majewski, two short film programmes from French New Wave director Agnès Varda, a silent film programme starring Charlie Chaplin, Gus Van Sant’s strikingly original first feature, three groundbreaking contemporary dramas from France, a short look at the best of East German cinema, three revealing documentaries examining the psychic and biological health of our planet, and special screenings of a number of other important films from home and abroad.

Please help to ensure that this sixty two year old non-profit, volunteer-run alternative film distribution network continues to survive by joining us for at least a few of our 2009 screenings and by passing this message on to all of your friends.

A full Waged membership (for all 22 screenings) will cost $65.00 this year (approximately $3.00 per film), while a Student/Unwaged membership (for all 25 screenings) may be purchased for just $55.00 (approximately $2.55 per film). If you only want to see a few of this year’s films a three movie pass ($25.00) will also be available. A three movie pass may be upgraded to a full membership without any financial penalty by simply paying the difference in price (i.e. a student holding a three movie pass need only pay another $30.00 in order to obtain a full student membership). The three admissions purchased by acquiring a three movie pass may be shared by more than one person. We also accept partial payments towards a Film Society membership at the door before our screenings. Each full member will also be entitled to bring a single guest to just one screening selected from this year’s programme free of charge.

The Film Society Management Committee has also negotiated substantial discounts for our members at Dunedin’s major commercial cinemas. Full Waged and Student/Unwaged Film Society members will receive a discounted ticket price of $9.00 at Rialto cinemas (every day except Tuesday) and a discounted ticket price of $10.00 at Hoyts cinemas (every day except Tuesday), which represents an enormous saving (even for students). Full Waged or Unwaged members will receive the same discounted ticket prices as students at all evening and weekend sessions of the World Cinema Showcase in March and the International Film Festival in July/August. Only full Waged and Student/Unwaged Dunedin Film Society members are entitled to receive these additional discounts.

If you would like to join the Dunedin Film Society, simply arrive ten minutes before any of our screenings, fill in a form and pay the chosen membership fee at the door (payment by cash or cheque only please). You may also post a cheque payable to the Dunedin Film Society Inc. to The Dunedin Film Society, P.O. Box 5454, Dunedin 9058. Please enclose a piece of paper containing your name, postal address, telephone number and e-mail address along with your cheque and we will post your membership card out to you. Between screenings, you may also purchase a Dunedin Film Society membership from the counter staff at Modak’s (337 George Street) or from the reception staff at the OUSA office (near Cumberland Street) on the main campus of the University of Otago.

All of our regular events this year will take place on a Wednesday night, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the University of Otago’s Red Lecture Theatre (located near the side entrance of the Scott Building on Great King Street, across from the emergency entrance of the Dunedin Public Hospital).

Casual admission is possible to those screenings marked with an asterisk only. We hold more limited non-commercial screening rights for the rest of the programme, which means that entry must be restricted to Film Society members or three movie pass holders.

Wednesday, March 4th at 7:30 p.m.*
Rob Van Alkemade, U.S.A., 2007, 90 min. (digital)
Van Alkemade’s entertaining documentary follows the anti-consumerist odyssey of performance artist Reverend Billy accompanied by his Church of Stop Shopping Choir. The film follows the group’s cross-country tour to L.A.-the final destination is Disneyland- with stops at college campuses and such shrines of capitalism as Mall of America and the headquarters of Wal-Mart in Bentonville, Ark.
*Casual admission is possible in exchange for a small donation.

Wednesday, March 11th at 7:30 p.m.
Mauvais sang
Dir: Leos Carax, France, 1986, 116 min. (16 mm.)-Cert.-M
This noirish second film from Leos Carax’s (Lovers of Pont-Neuf) earned him laudatory comparisons with such acclaimed filmmakers as David Lynch and Martin Scorsese. Awarded France’s Prix Delluc as the best film of 1986, Bad Blood stars a young Juliette Binoche in a doomed love triangle with Denis Lavant and Michel Piccoli. All three contribute remarkable performances.

WORLD CINEMA SHOWCASE: March 12th-March 25th

Wednesday, April 1st at 7:30 p.m.
Dir: Bruno Dumont, France, 2006, 91 min. (35mm)-Cert.-R16
Life is brutal in the provocative cinema of Bruno Dumont (The Life of Jesus, Humanity) and his fourth feature is a typically austere and audacious account of two young farm workers who sign up to fight in an unspecified Middle-Eastern conflict and the woman they leave behind. It is also a film about rural France shot with such realism that it bleeds. Winner of the 2006 Cannes Grand Prix.

Wednesday, April 8th at 7:30 p.m.
Dir: Jennifer Baichwal, Canada, 2006, 90 min. (35 mm.)-Cert.-G
A staggering, unconventional documentary that follows the celebrated Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky on a tour of Asia, where he trains his lens on such colossal monuments of industrialisation as China’s Three Gorges Dam and factory workers lined up to infinity. The result is a highly unusual viewing experience that stimulates the senses and the conscience simultaneously.

Wednesday, April 15th at 7:30 p.m.
La Sentinelle
Dir: Arnaud Desplechin, France, 1992, 139 min. (35 mm.)-Cert.-TBC
Inflected with touches of Dostoyevsky, Kafka and Le Carré, this stylishly moody debut film from modern master Arnaud Desplechin (Kings and Queens, A Christmas Tale) combines elements of espionage thriller with his trademark probing philosophical drama. “May be the sharpest film ever made about the end of Cold War Europe.”- Kent Jones

Wednesday, April 22nd at 7:30 p.m.
Dir: Lech Majewski, U.K./Italy, 2004, 103 min. (35mm.)
Polish born Majewski is a painter, poet, composer and filmmaker whose “haunting aesthetic” has been “captured onscreen with the rigour and perfectionism of an artist.” In this playfully joyous, erotic and melancholy film, a beautiful British art historian travels to Venice to spend her last few weeks contemplating the mortal pleasures of Bosch’s painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights.”

Wednesday, April 29th at 7:30 p.m.
Dir: Julian Schnabel, U.S.A., 1996, 108 min. (35mm.)-Cert.-M
Majewski co-wrote this fascinating portrait of graffiti artist turned Soho gallery painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. The tale of the Haitian-American’s meteoric rise to celebrity status has been sympathetically told by a fellow artist who was there, including the sense of disgust that comes from by being poor and black in the world of the rich and white. Stars David Bowie, Gary Oldham, and Jeffrey Wright.

Wednesday, May 6th at 7:30 p.m.
Dir: Gaylene Preston, N.Z., 2003, 95 min. (35mm.)-Cert.-M
Melanie is kidnapped by a mysterious stranger (played by Sam Neill) who takes her to a deserted island off the West Coast of the South Island on his boat after meeting her in a bar. She turns the tables on her captor with unexpected results, in this intriguing, virtually unclassifiable romantic thriller from New Zealand’s most established woman director. Also stars Rachel Blake of Lantana fame.

Wednesday, May 13th at 7:30 p.m.
Bad Night
Dir: Gus Van Sant, U.S.A., 1985, 78 min. (35mm.-B+W)-Cert. M
Still distinctively original more than twenty years on, this bittersweet ode to Portland’s skid row revolves around a shabby gringo’s unrequited love for a Mexican hustler. Mala Noche (Van Sant’s first feature) was based on an autobiographical novella by local “street poet” Walt Curtis. It was shot for $25,000 on 16 mm. film, and looks fantastic blown up to 35 mm. in this recently released print.

Wednesday, May 20th at 7:30 p.m.*
Dir: Larissa Shepitko, U.S.S.R., 1976, 109 min. (35 mm.)-Cert.-GA
Winner of the Grand Prize at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival, The Ascent revolves around an epic trek across the frozen landscape that also chronicles the suffering of the Byelorussian peoples during the Nazi invasion. In particular, this remarkable religious allegory points to the burning of the village of Khatyn during the Second World War, together with its entire population of women and children.
*Casual admission is possible in exchange for a small donation.

Wednesday, May 27th at 7:30 p.m.
Dir: Herbert Sauper, Austria/France/Belgium, 2004, 107 min. (35 mm.)-Cert.-M
A jaw dropping and scathing exposé of ecological disaster and ruthless exploitation in Tanzania’s Lake Victoria, where the introduced Nile perch has devastated all other forms of aquatic life. Sauper’s film surveys the pollution while drawing frank interviews from exploiters and exploited alike: pilots, security guards, factory owners and fishermen.

Wednesday, June 3rd at 7:30 p.m.*
Der Dritte
Dir: Egon Günther, East Germany, 1972, 107 min. (digital)-Cert.-TBC
An illuminating story that reveals East German cinema’s forward-thinking engagement with feminist issues. Told in a series of flashbacks, it recounts eighteen years of a woman’s life. After two failed relationships, each producing a child, Margit finally discovers independence.
*Casual admission is possible in exchange for a small donation.


Wednesday, July 15th at 7:30 p.m.*
Dir: Gerhard Klein, East Germany 1957, 79 min. (digital-B+W)-Cert.-TBC
This classic teen cult film was the German Democratic Republic’s answer to Rebel Without a Cause, offering a perceptive social portrait of a city whose political and economic divisions affected its entire population. Greeted with suspicion by cultural authorities, the film was instantly embraced by the East German public for its truthful portrayal of everyday life.
*Casual admission is possible in exchange for a small donation.

Wednesday, July 22nd at 7:30 p.m.*
Dir: Peter Kahane, East Germany, 1990, 102 min. (digital)-Cert.-TBC
Filmed as the GDR crumbled, this sombre and nuanced depiction of life in East Berlin focuses on a young architect who feels his vision and goals are being strangled by communist dogma, which is represented in part by the older generation. The production team had to rebuild parts of the Wall to depict scenes from 1989, as it had been dismantled so rapidly.
*Casual admission is possible in exchange for a small donation.


Wednesday, August 12th at 7:30 p.m.
Dir: Agnès Varda, France, 1958-2004, 85 min. (Digital)
A collection of eight short films celebrating Varda’s passion for the streets and boulevards of the Left Bank. It includes brief studies of Caryatids, a portrait of her own neighbourhood, brief studies of Surrealist poet Louis Aragon’s tributes to his wife, and a light hearted comedy featuring New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard and his wife Ana Karina.

Wednesday, August 19th at 7:30 p.m.
Dir: George Cuckor, U.S.A., 1944, 114 min. (16 mm.)-Cert.-PG
A chilling Hollywood melodrama set in a fogbound London house in which a sinister Victorian husband sets out to drive his wife (played by Ingrid Bergman) insane. It is directed with consummate skill, as Cuckor plants an indefinable sense of unease during the couple’s sunnily romantic Italian honeymoon that is gradually orchestrated into a genuinely harrowing crescendo of terror.

Wednesday, August 26th at 7:30 p.m.
Dir: Agnès Varda, France, 1962-2004, Approx. 96 min. (digital)
These three short films by the French New Wave’s 76-year-old doyenne Agnès Varda (The Gleaners and I) have been programmed together by the filmmaker herself. Each explores the subject of still photography and all resonate together in fascinating ways. They feature a wealthy Toronto curator who has put together an exhibition of photos that contain at least one teddy bear, a trip back to the site of a seaside tableau that Varda had created 28 years before, and her 1963 photographic salute to Cuba made during the heyday of Castro’s revolution.

Wednesday, September 2nd at 7:30 p.m.*
Programme 1: Multicultural Medley
Approx. 86 min. (35 mm.)
Clean Linen, Zia Mandviwalla, 2007
Coffee and Allah, Sima Urale, 2007
Fog, Peter Salmon, 2007
Run, Mark Albiston, 2007
Take 3, Roseanne Liang, 2008
The Graffiti of Mr. Tupaia, Christopher Dudman, 2008
Programme 2: It Came From the Swamp
Approx. 69 min. (digital)
Reftribution, Paul Tilling
Clean as a Whistle, Sarah Rosser
Swing, Dawn Tuffery
Betty Banned Sweets, Michelle Savill
Spit Takes, Chris Tan
Meat, Joe Citizen
Dark Priest, Sarah Nixon
*Casual admission is possible in exchange for a small donation.

Wednesday, September 9th at 7:30 p.m.
Joseon namnyeo sangyeoljisa
Dir: E J-Yong, Korea, 2003, 124 min. (digital)-Cert. R16
An ingenious reworking of Choderlos de Laclos’s Dangerous Liasons set in the court of the 18th-century Chosun Dynasty. Lady Cho challenges her cousin Cho-won to bed the young virgin who is to become her husband’s concubine. “A viciously purring comedy of sexual conquest.”- New York Times

Wednesday, September 16th at 7:30 p.m.
Du levande
Dir: Roy Andersson, Sweden, 2007, 90 min. (35 mm.)-Cert. M
Andersson is Sweden’s comic laureate of depression and cinema’s living master of the deadpan. The motley bunch of characters that inhabit this series of vaguely connected episodes of modern Stockholm life that sits somewhere between Kaurismaki, Bunuel and Far Side cartoons all look as if they died days ago. Like his previous film Songs from the Second Floor, You the Living consists of a series of ingeniously twisted sketches.

Wednesday, September 23rd at 7:30 p.m.
Dir: Charlie Chaplin, U.S.A, 1914-1917, Approx. 80 min. (35mm.-B+W-silent)-Cert. G Chaplin plays the dastardly cad in the Mack Sennett farce Tillie’s Punctured Romance, one of his earliest appearances, complete with pie fight and the Keystone Kops’ unique approach to law enforcement. Complemented by two additional Chaplin two-reelers, The Tramp and The Adventurer.

Wednesday, September 30th at 7:30 p.m.
Dir: Ousmane Sembene, Senegal, 2004, 123 min. (digital)-Cert.-M
This stirring final film from the groundbreaking African director follows a defiant wife who refuses to allow four girls to undergo the traditional initiation rituals of female circumcision. “A rousingly political film that is a critique of traditional forms of authority and a celebration of the warmth and dynamism of traditional African life.”-New York Times


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