The Light Thief (CTBA) (Svet-Ake)
Dir Aktam Arym Kubat/Kyrgyzstan DE FR NL 2010/80 mins/Kyrgyz wEng ST Aktan Arym Kubat, Taalaikan Abazova, Askat Sulaimanov, Asan Amanov
Blending tradition with political commentary, The Light Thief is a modern-day folk tale of good and evil in which an electrician devotes himself to improving his neighbours’ lives. Fixing anything he can including short circuits, power cuts, electricity meters and even marriages, Svet-Ake is an unassuming local hero. When unemployment and capitalist corruption challenge the villagers,he refuses to give up his humble struggles.
The Tree (CTBA)
Dir Julie Bertucelli/FR AU 2010/100 mins
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marton Csokas, Morgana Davies, Aden Young
Set in rural Queensland, The Tree is an emotional and sensitively presented exploration of grief. Following the sudden death her husband, Dawn and her four children struggle to cope with their devastating lost. The film focuses on eight-year-old Simone who firmly believes that her late father’s spirit lives on in the imposing fig tree that overshadows their weatherbeaten house. When both the tree and her ties to the past are threatened, Simone seeks solace in the tree’s branches.
From Fri 5 August
Sarah’s Key (12A)
Dir Gilles Paquet-Brenner/FR 2010/110 mins/French wEng ST
Aiden Quinn, Kristin Scott Thomas, Mélusine Mayance, Niels Arestrup
Kristin Scott Thomas delivers a compelling performance as Julia, an American journalist living in contemporary Paris whose investigations into the 1942 Vél d’Hiv round up of French Jews uncovers unsettling secrets. Alongside scenes of Julia’s modern day life, Sarah’s Key presents the emotional story of Sarah Starzynski a 10-year-old girl, caught up in the tragedy at the velodrome who is desperate to save her younger brother.
From Fri 12 Aug
Project Nim (12A)
Dir James Marsh/GB 2011/100 mins
Oscar-winning director James Marsh (Man on Wire) presents the moving story of a life hijacked by science. Nim was raised as a human child in order for those following his every action to ascertain whether chimpanzees had the skills to communicate with the same complexity as humans. Featuring remarkable archive footage and interviews with everyone involved in Nim’s life, Marsh’s film is an insightful, emotionally engaging and thought-provoking documentary. Followed by a post-screening Q&A with producer Simon Chinn.
From Fri 12 Aug
The Salt of Life (CTBA) (Gianni e le donne)
Dir Gianni di Gregorio/IT 2011/88 mins/Italian wEng ST
Gianni di Gregorio, Valeria de Franciscis Bendoni, Alfonso Santagata, Elisabetta Piccolomini
The Salt of Life is a charming family saga from Italian actor/director Gianni di Gregorio. Continuing the themes of di Gregorio’s break-out film Mid-August Lunch, The Salt of Life focuses on Gianni, a middle-aged man dominated by the women in his life: his wife, surly daughter and demanding mother. Unsatisfied with his lot, Gianni follows some dubious advice and decides to take on a mistress.
From Fri 19 Aug
In a Better World (CTBA) (Hævnen)
Dir Susanne Bier/DK 2010/113 mins/Danish wEng ST
Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, Markus Rygaard
Winner of the 2011 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Susanne Bier’s In A Better World presents interwoven stories of revenge and forgiveness centred on one family who are split across two continents. Anton works in an African refugee camp and witnesses the effects of violence on a daily basis; his wife and two young sons live a seemingly less troubled life in a quiet Danish suburb. As the couple struggle to make their marriage work, their eldest son Elias becomes a victim of school bullies. His closest school friend loyally defends him, and the pair embark on a perilous revenge mission.
From Fri 19 Aug
The Guard (15)
Dir John Michael McDonagh/IE 2011/96 mins
Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham
A culture clash police comedy set in Galway on Ireland’s west coast. In a standout pivotal performance Brendan Gleeson stars as Sergeant Gerry Boyle – an anarchic, small-town policeman with a confrontational personality and subversive sense of humour. Gerry is less than impressed when he’s teamed up with straight laced FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) to tackle an international cocaine-smuggling ring and an enthralling tale of murder, blackmail and rural police corruption ensues. An exceptional directorial debut from John Michael McDonagh with comedy touches reminiscent of the Coen brothers. Executively Produced by Martin McDonagh, acclaimed director of 2008 hit black comedy In Bruges.
From Fri 26 Aug
The Skin I Live In (15) (La piel que habito)
Dir Pedro Almodóvar/ES 2011/Running time TBA/Spanish wEng ST
Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Blanca Suarez
Superstar Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar embraces horror and thriller conventions in his macabre melodrama The Skin I Lived In. Almodóvar re-unites with Antonio Banderas (Law of Desire) who excels in his role as an eminent plastic surgeon dedicated to creating flawless artificial skin. Haunted by his past and driven by revenge, the doctor’s obsession leads him to carry out increasingly sinister tests to perfect his invention. With a One Hour Intro led by Dr. Nuria Triana Toribio, Senior Lecturer in Spanish Cinema at the University of Manchester.
Eyes Without a Face (18) (Les yeux sans visage)
Wed 31 August, 20:30
Dir Georges Franju/FR 1960/90 mins/French wEng ST
Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Edith Scob, Juliette Mayneil
A rare screening of one of the masterpieces of French cinema, a hugely influential film not least on Pedro Almodovar’s newest release The Skin I Live In. George Franju’s fascinating fantasy is a highly charged blend of visceral excess and visual poetry, an amalgam of horror and fairytale in which Dr. Génessier experiments with skin grafts in the hope of replacing his daughter’s face, which has been disfigured in a car crash. Imprisoned behind a mask, Génessier daughter, Christina, suffers whilst her father removes the faces of the ‘donors’ acquired by his devoted assistant on nocturnal prowls through Paris.