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Thu 23 Oct 2014

We regularly get asked by our customers, “why aren’t you showing this film, why aren’t you showing that film.” Occasionally, the answer is “because it’s not very good,” but more often than not the answer is “because the film’s distributor wouldn’t let us” – not until later in its release at any rate. Often, we simply don’t get access to many films as early as we’d like and so we play them when we’re, well… allowed. Every month there are likely to be one or two of these titles ‘missing’ from our programme, so we’ve taken to listing them (and some other upcoming titles) in this publication in advance, so that you’ll know that these marvellous films are coming up and we’re not not playing them on their release because they’re not very good, rather that sometimes the folks who control such things deem that supplying all our nearest competitors (all national commercial chain operators except the Dominion, the only other independent cinema in the city) and not us is the way to go. We’re hugely dependent on the revenue from these bigger titles, so this is a heartfelt plea to all of you to join us in exercising a little patience, and come and see them here when ‘market forces’ allow. If you like your cinemas local, fully independent and a registered charity, where every penny earned is ploughed straight back into the business of putting great films on screens, well, there’s only one choice, isn’t there?

That was a party political broadcast on behalf of the Filmhouse cinema, Edinburgh…

Now, to what films we were ‘allowed’… No less than four new releases in this month’s programme featured in the Cannes Film Festival competition earlier this year: Mike Leigh’s superb Mr. Turner continues well into November, followed swiftly by Andrey (The Return, Elena) Zvyagintsev’s stunning satire, Leviathan, which tells the tale of one man’s epic struggle with his faith, not in God, but in the Russian state (oddly enough, the film has been chosen as Russia’s Oscar entry this year…); The Homesman is Tommy Lee Jones’ original and hugely enjoyable frontier western, in which a doughty pioneer spinster (Hilary Swank) recruits a curmudgeonly old army deserter (Jones) to help her return three ‘crazy’ women, driven mad by their lives out west, to sanctuary back east; and lastly, though assuredly not leastly Cannes-wise, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s intimately epic, Palme d’Or winning character study Winter Sleep is, as Variety have said, “a richly engrossing and ravishingly beautiful magnum opus that surely qualifies as the least boring 196-minute movie ever made,” which is a statement likely to get no argument from me. Lastly, My Old Lady, in which a middle-aged American would-be writer (a welcome, rare big screen outing for Kevin Kline) inherits a Parisian house, only to discover he has also ‘inherited’, for life, its tenant, the redoubtable Mathilde (Dame Maggie Smith) and her frosty daughter, Chloé (Kristin Scott Thomas) to initially comedic, and growingly poignant, effect.

There’s a trio of marvellous restorations as well: Don Siegel’s 1956 original and best paranoid sci-fi classic, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers; Bruce Robinson’s seminal British comedy, Withnail & I; and Jacques Tati’s late-career masterwork, Playtime. Our annual French Film Festival comes around in its 22nd(!) edition, and we’ve a special treat for all you Béla Tarr fans out there, for we’ve taken advantage of our cult film friends at Scalarama’s importing of a 35mm print of the Hungarian ‘arthouse’ doyen’s 7h12m epic, Satantango, to bring you a super-rare screening of this mesmerising masterwork. Get plenty of sleep the night before, you’ll be fine!


Rod White, Head of Filmhouse

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