Ballarat Film Society
The Ballarat Film Society is a member of the Federation of Victorian Film Societies and is a not-for profit organisation. Films play on the second Thursday of every month in the Minerva Space.
Doors open at 7.00pm with refreshments for a 7.30 start.
The Ballarat Film Society is a member of the Federation of Victorian Film Societies and is a not-for-profit organisation.
Please note, no single entry tickets are available.
Entry by Membership only.
12 months (Feb-December) $60
6 months (Feb-June), (July-Dec) $30
To join or renew your membership, please e-mail or phone Angus McLachlan (5374 2474), or come with cash on the night.
Membership can be paid by bank transfer or with cash.
For film enquiries, phone Sue Nunn: 5341 2266
Visit the Ballarat Film Society website at: http://ballaratfilmsociety.weebly.com/
All films subject to availability
The Heiresses (Las Herederas)
Paraguay, 2018, 98 min. Directed by Marcelo Martinessi
The 2020 program begins with a drama from Paraguay, in which two older women, Chela and Chiquita, living in genteel poverty in uptown Asunción, find themselves in legal as well as financial trouble. Their relationship is threatened when Chiquita is jailed and Cela, having to go out to work to earn money, begins an unexpected flirtation. During the film, the political undercurrents of Paraguay’s 65-year history of military dictatorships subtly emerge as an established elite find their lives crumbling. The first feature film by acclaimed short film writer/director Marcelo Martinessi, Las Herederas took out two prizes at the Berlin Film Festival (2018) and Best Feature Film at the Sydney Film Festival (2019).
Source: Palace Films.
Who You Think I Am (Celle Que Vous Croyez)
France, 2019, 101 min. Directed by Safy Nebbou
French Dark Satire
Oh, what a tangled web! Dubbed by one critic “Catfish a la Francaise,” this drama about the perils of internet flirtation explores the consequences of deception and obsession. Juliette Binoche is fascinating as Claire, a 50-year-old professor whose husband has left her for a younger woman. Stung by a dismissive younger lover, Ludo, she contacts his friend, Alex, on Facebook. As she becomes obsessively attached both to Alex and to her own persona as the desirable, 24-year-old Clara, we see the web of lies unravelling in sometimes surprising ways. Based on a novel by Camille Laurens, “this film – part romantic drama, part sly and wildly entertaining thriller – explores contemporary issues in an intelligent and compelling manner” (Palace). Presented in partnership with Alliance Francaise as part of their French
Film Festival (Melb. 11 Mar- 8 April, Ballarat 17-19 April).
Source: Palace Films.
USA, 2019, 122 min. Directed by James Gray
American Psychological Sci-fi
Brad Pitt stars in this visually stunning and thoughtful sci-fi drama. Astronaut Roy McBride travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of Earth. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos. This is a film which has more in common with Tarkovsky’s Solaris than Star Wars. Brian Tallerico praised its “rare, nuanced storytelling, anchored by one of Brad Pitt’s career-best performances and remarkable technical elements on every level. It’s a special film.”
Korea, 2018, 138 min. Directed by Bong Joon-Ho
Winner Palme D’Or, Cannes Film Festival, 2019. This genre-bending film had its origins in the writer/director’s own experience of tutoring for a wealthy family and being curious about their lives; in this film, he takes this to comic and ultimately tragic extremes. The Kim family of four are all unemployed and the future looks bleak for them, until the eldest son, Ki-taek, is offered a cushy job tutoring the daughter of the wealthy Park family. What follows is an incredible series of dramatic, and nefarious, turns and twists; A.O. Scott describes the film as “wildly entertaining, the kind of smart, generous, aesthetically-energized movie that obliterates the tired distinctions between art films and popcorn movies” (New York Times).
Finland, 2018, 86 min. Directed by Guillaume Maidatchevsky
Wildlife Adventure Documentary
Narrated by Donald Sutherland, this is the story of Ailo, a little reindeer. Filmlink: “Pondering deep questions about existentialism and climate-change, Finnish reindeer documentary Ailo’s Journey is told with the thematic sensibilities of a Disney film,” albeit set in a chillingly beautiful landscape, captured by the cinematography of Teemu Liakka. This uplifting nature documentary follows what feels like an incredible journey, as baby Ailo navigates his first year of life migrating across the snowy terrain of Lapland, beneath the beautiful aurora borealis. Frail and vulnerable, Ailo must learn to walk, run, leap and hide to ensure he survives the long, treacherous journey with his attentive mother and herd. Ailo’s name means ‘bringer of light,’ and Ailo’s Journey is an inspirational film. Why not bring
along a friend?
Source: Vendetta Films.
Birds of Passage
Colombo, 2018, 125 min. Directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra
Colombian Drug Crime
In 2018 we screened the well-received film Embrace the Serpent; Birds of Passage is the latest film from the same directors. Spanning the 1960s, 70s and 80s in rural Colombia, the film charts the sharp rise and fall of a Wayuu family who become involved in the drug trading industry. The film focuses on many of the same themes as Embrace the Serpent, with a poignant exploration of the loss of tradition, culture and history in conjunction with colonialism, illegal drug trafficking and the concept of capitalism. The film takes on the well-worn drug-trade, family-drama story but re-focuses it through a new and most illuminating lens. As Variety critic reflected, it is a “south-of-the-border drug epic like you’ve never seen before.” This film comes highly recommended by Jason de Rosso, who interviewed Guerra
on Radio National’s Hub on Screen program.
Source: Palace Films.
USA, 2018, 113 min. Directed by Paul Schrader
Ethan Hawke brilliantly plays a former military chaplain, now alcoholic minister in the (fictional) Dutch Reformed church, who undergoes a spiritual and psychological crisis following the death of his son in Iraq. Critics have compared this film to the work of Ingmar Bergman and Robert Bresson, and to Schrader’s work on Taxi Driver. Aliza Ma from Film Comment: “First Reformed marks a considerable turning point, a film à thèse about the
struggle for grace and faith in our modern world of hyperreality and despair, especially when the various stopgaps offered by society—organized religion, political institutions, ecological activism—seem variously counterfeit.” With a sparse soundtrack, some violent images, and an ambiguously open/fantastic ending, this film has been described as the culmination of Shrader’s cinematic and psychic explorations throughout his long career.
The Young Karl Marx
Germany, 2017, 114 min. Directed by Raoul Peck
British Political Biopic
This historical biography of the stern, impassioned Karl Marx follows his intellectual collaboration with bearded dandy Friedrich Engels as they developed the new political doctrine of Communism. Set in Paris, Brussels and London, this is a film about the energy and excitement of young men with new ideas intent on overthrowing an old order, and the wives and families who supported the cause and follow them into debate and exile. While Cuban-born director Raoul Peck takes us through factories, hostels, meeting halls and the dust-filled attics of workers and factory owners in turbulent times, the film shows what radical politics was all about for these intellectuals – talk, talk, and more talk, plus writing and thinking. It isn’t all wordy philosophical prose; we also hear electrifying speeches and debates that characterised the times. The film’s momentum builds towards the publication of The Communist Manifesto in 1848, the year of revolutions in Europe.
Between Yesterday and Tomorrow (Zwischen gestern und morgen)
Germany, 1947, b/w, 107 min. Directed by Harald Braun
German ‘Rubble’ Film
A group of people gather in the ruins of a luxurious Munich hotel they had each stayed in at some point years before. Now, in the aftermath of World War II, they are trying to cope with the tragic consequences of the war and their own actions, especially in relation to the fate of Nelly Dreifuss, a Jewish woman who died under the Nazi regime. Part of both the cycle of ‘rubble films’ and subgenre of hotel films, this film examines issues of collective guilt and future rebuilding. In films typical of this genre, the destroyed cityscape is not only a setting but a metaphor for the human condition and often a starting point for future visions. Shot in black and white with touches of both German Expressionism and film noir in the cinematography, the film features Hildegard Knef who became the first new star of the German post-war cinema.
Australia/France, 2018, 115 min. Directed by Partho Sen-Gupta
Gritty Australian Drama
This film centres around Ricky (New York based Adam Bakri), a young Australian Muslim refugee whose peaceful suburban life turns into hell when his sister Ameena, a slam poet and social activist, suddenly disappears after a gig. Slam follows the aching search for her by her family and a police detective (Rachael Blake). Indian-born, Sydney-based writer/director Partho Sen-Gupta drew on the real-life experience of Australian Poetry Slam artist Danielle Horvat, who plays Ameena. As he says, “when I spoke to her, there was no doubt that she would be perfect. She was Palestinian Australian, and I wanted her to write about her lived experience.” Slam is an examination of the aftermath of trauma and barriers faced by refugees expected to assimilate. The film was jointly funded by Screen Australia, and France’s CBC Cinemas du Donde, and has been shown at the Sydney and Melbourne International Film Festivals. No DVD release is scheduled, so see it here!
USA, 2018, 90min.
Directed by Sydney Pollack et al
Spiritual Music Doco
We end 2020 with a musical documentary. Aretha Franklin was the daughter of a preacher who honed her stupendous talents in gospel music. In 1972, aged 29 and at her Grammy- winning peak, she recorded the Amazing Grace album live at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in LA. Sydney Pollack – then a talented up-and-comer – was there to film the two days of recording. However, he forgot to synch the sound, and the footage remained in the vault for over 20 years, until a specialist technical team was able to sort it out. Franklin was unwilling to have the film released, perhaps because of illness, but after her death in 2018, her family gladly gave permission. The power of Amazing Grace is its simple immediacy, and a sense of transcendence as she performs in the church setting. The restored film puts you right there, being uplifted with a congregation of family and friends, and at the centre is the Queen of Soul herself, shifting effortlessly from serenity to pure devotion.