Enlivening our Present by Illuminating our Past


<Enlivening our Present by
Illuminating our Past>



<Enlivening our Present by
Illuminating our Past>



<Enlivening our Present by
Illuminating our Past>



<Enlivening our Present by
Illuminating our Past>



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.

2019 Membership

12 months (Feb-December) $60
6 months (Feb-June), (July-Dec) $30

To join or renew membership please e-mail mclachlan@ncable.net.au or phone Angus on 5374 2474 or come with cash on the night.

Membership fees can also be paid via online banking to:

Ballarat Film Society
BSB 633-000
Account No. 108713355
Please include your surname as reference.

Film Inquiries phone Sue on 5341 2266

Visit the Ballarat Film Society website at: http://ballaratfilmsociety.weebly.com/

All films subject to availability

2019 Program

14th February


French Feel Good

France, 2017, 89 min.
Directed by Blandine Lenoir.

In modern-day France, Fifty-year-old Aurore (Agnes Jaoui) separates from her husband at the same time as she loses her job, learns she is to become a grandmother and happens to meet a past love – all whilst coping with menopausal inconveniences.

The film was also released with the English title I Got Life!

Director Blandine Lenoir is well known for films portraying the optimism, resilience and beauty of older women with humour and insight.  Jason de Rosso describes the film as a gem, adding “The way Lenoir depicts intimate relationships in the film is achingly real”.

Enjoy the start of the BFS year with this French comedy.

Palace Films.

March 14

Leave No Trace

American Survivalist Adventure

USA, 2018, 108 min.
Directed by Debra Granik

Director Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone, 2010) is renowned for her portrayal of marginalised outsiders. This poignant, yet beautiful, film tells the soulful tale of a reclusive veteran father and his daughter who live “off the grid” in the national parks and forests of Oregon. Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter Tom (New Zealand newcomer, Thomasin McKenzie) enjoy their freedom and connection to nature in this pristine and beautiful part of America. Whilst living in a camouflaged encampment they are detected, interrogated, and forced to re-enter the modern world. Essentially a coming-of-age story, and loosely based on actual war veterans’ stories, Tom says it all as she decides whether to continue her life living off the land, telling her father “what’s wrong with you, isn’t wrong with me”.

Amalgamated Films.

April 11

Mary Shelley

British Historical Biopic

UK/Luxembourg/USA, 2017, 120 min.
Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour.

This lush literary bio-pic is the second feature-length film by Saudi director Haifaa Al-Mansour (Wadjda 2012). How did a 19 year-old girl come to write a classic of horror fiction, and adapt classical myths of the over-reaching hero to create the trope of the mad scientist? The daughter of radical intellectuals, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley had carried four babies, and lost three of them, since eloping at 16 with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. The novel Frankenstein, unlike most many horror film adaptations, asks what it means to be responsible for creating life, and what it means to be human. Elle Fanning gives a poised performance as Mary, surrounded by the ‘bad boys’ of Romantic poetry, her lover/husband Percy Shelley (Douglas Booth), the outrageous Lord Byron (Tom Sturridge), and Byron’s personal physician John Polidori (Ben Hardy).

Transmission Films.

May 9

Five Cartridges

Spanish Civil War

East Germany, 1960, 84 mins.
Directed by Frank Beyer

After WWII, German cinema understandably had an uneasy relationship with the recent past. Whilst Hollywood rolled out numerous films mythologising their war heroes, few German films did. In this film, however, director Frank Beyer chose to focus on the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). Essentially an anti-fascist film, it tells the story of five volunteers of the paramilitary International Brigade who stayed behind the lines to fight back the Nationalists led by Franco. Shot in Bulgaria, it is a heroic story of running the gauntlet in insufferable conditions against an invisible enemy, trying to survive an unwinnable war. Censored for most of his filmic career, Frank Beyer (Carbide and Sorrel, 1963), is considered one of the most noted East German film makers and Five Cartridges won him critical worldwide acclaim.


June 13


Gritty Melbournian Urban Jungle

WEST OF Australia, 2018, 78 min.
Directed by Jason Raftopoulos.
Stars Damian Hill and Kat Stewart. 

Jim is a courier doing his best in difficult circumstances: his loan shark wants $15,000 by close of business; his boss wants him to stick to his normal deliveries; and, it being school holidays, he is supposed to be looking after his adolescent son. A naturalistic study of fatherhood and desperation, this small independent Australian film debuted at the 2017 Venice Film Festival. Director Jason Raftopoulos shot it in 18 days, with a cast of non and professional actors. Sunshine is known for its migrant communities and working-class history, and as a metaphorical destination where the sun never sets. Tragically, West of Sunshine star Damian Hill, aged 42, was found dead in his flat in late 2018, after a short but notable career in which he played some gritty and memorable characters.

Exile Entertainment

July 11


Israeli Absurdist Military Drama

Israel, 2018, 104 min.
Directed by Samual Maoz.

Winner of the Silver Lion at the 2018 Venice Film Festival and eight Israeli Ophir awards, Foxtrot is a compelling 3-part tragi-comedy exploring Israeli military life, grief and family. As he did in his last Silver Lion award-winning film Lebanon (2008), director Samual Maoz uses extreme scenarios such as war and grief to explore the human soul, to try and understand why individuals behave the way they do. Dead-pan military checkpoint boredom and humour combine with familial anguish and grief. Foxtrot is a daring and delicate dance around the symptoms of ongoing military conflict. The Washington Post reviewer summed it up as “alternately amusing and sobering, [as it] addresses the contradictions of Israel”. It was considered a controversial film by the Minister for Culture in Israel.

Sharmill films.

August 13


Italian Mafia Thriller

Italy, 2004, 100 min.
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s impressive second feature (Italian: Le conseguenze dell’amore) is an ice-cold psychological thriller featuring a brilliant central appearance from Toni Servillo, the quintessential Italian actor who has since starred in Sorrentino’s later films The great Beauty (2013) and Loro (2019)

Upon the film’s release in 2004, the Guardian
Reviewer said “The Consequences of Love
offers a deadpan black comic insight into
mafia violence, and a Greeneian meditation
on the spiritual lives of those intelligent,
middle-management types sucked into its
web of fear”.

Palace Films.

September 12


Kiwi Social Documentary

NZ, 2017, 88 min.
Directed by Slavko Martinov.

There is fowl play afoot at the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon 150th awards show. Meet Doug (the club president), Brian (the reigning champ), Rhys (the ambitious young challenger), Sarah (the chicken whisperer), and Ian (the judge), amongst others. Pecking Order is a quirky mockumentary in the vein of Christopher Guest’s Best in Show (2000) and Connolly and Anderson’s Australian Rats in the Ranks (1996), but starring New Zealand chickens and their breeders. It has everything you would expect of a documentary about a niche endeavour. Described as “ruffled feathers at a chicken beauty contest”, reviewers agree spending time with the characters and their shenanigans is highly enjoyable.

Vendetta Films. 

October 10


Argentinian Historical drama

Argentina/Brazil/ Spain,2017, 115 min.
Directed by Lucrecia Martel.

In the late 18th century, at the far reaches of the Spanish Empire, Don Diego de Zama serves as magistrate at a small colonial outpost. A haggard and forlorn figure, Zama knows the only way to escape his miserable frontier existence is to secure a transfer from the crown. As the years pass and his letters go unanswered, he begins to sink deeper into the nightmare of a New World ripped apart by violence and exploitation. A dreamlike adaptation of Antonio di Benedetto’s masterpiece of Argentinean literature, Zama marks Lucrecia Martel’s (La Ciénega, 2001; The Headless Woman, 2008) return to filmmaking. With its elliptical narrative and sensuous use of sound, the film is an absurdist and occasionally hallucinatory descent into the mind of a man who will stop at nothing to improve his rank, whatever the cost.

Limelight Distribution.

November 14

Ryuichi Sakamoto: CODA

Japanese Music Documentary

Japan/USA, 2017, 100 min.
Directed by Stephen Nomura Schible. 

Ryuichi Sakamoto is one of Japan’s most celebrated composers. He dabbled in early techno pop as well as writing the music for films such as The Last Emperor (1987), The Sheltering Sky (1990) and more recently, The Revenant (2015). In his later years he has captured soundscapes gathered from the Artic Circle to Lake Turkana in Kenya where some of the oldest human remains have been uncovered. At the age of 62 he was diagnosed with cancer and decided to work with new material that would ensure his work did not become obsolete. In this documentary, Stephen Nomura Schible intimately documents the creative process and philosophy that underpins his new and powerful music: music that Sakamoto hopes will be a legacy he can be proud of.





December 12


American Indi

USA, 2016, 88 min.
Directed by John Lynch.
Stars Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch and Ron Livingston.

In one of Harry Dean Stanton’s last films before his death at 91 he plays Lucky, an old man living in a small house in an Arizona town who has out-lived and out-smoked his contemporaries. A fall triggers a change of heart and his approach to life which leads him to confront his local community, where a spirit of kindness and tenderness is the norm. This is the late Harry Dean’s penultimate performance which seems to sum up his philosophy towards his personal and acting life. Look out for his beautiful singing performance and smile your way through to 2020.