Rod White introduces the May/June 2016 brochure

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Fri 6 May 2016

Rod White introduces the May/June 2016 brochure

Welcome to the early summer May/June bumper double issue of the Filmhouse programme. We go ‘double’ and cover two months at this time of year as our local International Film Festival takes up our screens for much of the second half of June, and so it seems like the perfect opportunity to, well, save a bit of cash if I’m honest. I hope the lovely front cover doesn’t fade too much what with all that time it will have to spend, pride of place, on your coffee table... Whilst I can’t tell you it’s twice as good as the usual programme (“How could anything be twice as good as last month’s incredible selection?!” I hear you cry), I can tell you there’s very near to twice as much in it, and, at Filmhouse, quantity is never at the expense of quality.

Just when you thought you’d spent an eternity waiting for a film telling the story of a mid 20th century opera-obsessed heiress and socialite who loved singing but couldn’t sing a note – a fact that escaped no-one’s notice but hers – two of them come along at once! Let me explain. Back in March, we showed a French film, called Marguerite, which was (loosely) based on the life of one Florence Foster Jenkins, whose name lends itself to the title of the second film about her in almost as many months. Off-key she may have been, but not so Meryl Streep’s note-perfect performance. She’s a joy to watch, as is Hugh Grant, who plays her indulgentto- a-fault partner, a failed Shakespearean thesp called St. Clair Bayfield, and Big Bang Theory’s Howard Wolowitz, Simon Helberg, completes the main cast as FFJ’s reluctant accompanist, Cosmé McMoon. (Helberg’s real-life ivory-tinkling prowess – as witnessed by yours truly at an EIFF party some years back – cannot have hurt his chances of landing the role, that’s for sure!) And pushing the tuneful/tuneless juxtaposition further than perhaps I ought, Stephen Frears direction is pitchperfect too, turning what might have been an uncomfortable ‘laugh at’, into a genuinely warm and affecting tale.

Mustang was one of the most talked about titles post-Cannes Film Festival last year, gathering a clutch of awards since - and it’s easy to see why. It tells the story of a group of five, lively, orphaned sisters – in various stages of pre-to-late adolescence – in a village in Turkey, as they struggle against the increasingly extreme strictures placed upon them by their über-conservative guardians – in particular their barbaric uncle. If that all sounds too bleak, well, it isn’t. Trust me. Love & Friendship is Whit Stillman’s hugely entertaining film of the little known and posthumously (some 50+ years) published Jane Austen novella, ‘Lady Susan’. It sees Kate Beckinsale in the [epistolary novella’s title] role of a recently widowed socialite/Machiavellian schemer on the prowl around London society for a husband for her daughter, and maybe for herself too, albeit decidedly on her own terms. Great fun! And pay attention, it rattles along at a fair old pace!

We’re delighted to bring you, fully restored, what Martin Scorsese referred to as Nicholas Ray’s “intense, unconventional, stylized picture, full of ambiguities and subtexts”, western one-of-a-kind, Johnny Guitar. We’re also delighted to bring you, all in brand new digital ‘prints’, an entire feature film retrospective of the ultimate directors’ director, Andrei Tarkovsky – Andrei Rublev, Stalker, Solaris et al! Now if that isn’t the perfect ‘arthouse’ cinema ‘palate cleanser’ prior to the 70th – yes the 70th – edition of our proper all-grown-up International Film Festival (15-26 June) then I simply don’t know what is! Rod White, Head of Filmhouse

Rod White

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