Members comments 2013-14

Here are the comments and ratings on our 2013-2014 season.

11 September 2013
Love Is All You Need (Den skaldede frisør) (15)

Members' rating 68.9%: A-14, B-28, C-9, D-9, E-1  ; 61 votes from 88 members who signed in
Members' comments: Not very comedic but rather lovely.  A first class start to the season!  Too many clichés, Brosnan character not well developed.  Lots better than any Richard Curtis film – really enjoyed it; and Pierce Brosnan is always great.... when not "singing" in a film!!  Light and sweet.  Good plot but what happened to the others?  Not Mamma Mia!; not Last Chance Harvey; and not very good.  That was so much better than I thought it was going to be!  Great start to the season – Aaaah! lovely film.  Not a fan of Richard Curtis so didn't really enjoy this formulaic version; thought Brosnan was his usual wooden self; there were compensations – great Italian scenery etc.  Brilliant start to the 2013 season; picture much sharper, sound excellent.  A happy mix of lighter and heavier emotions as our summer ends.  Too slow for me; some interesting story ideas and a very strong performance from the lead actress but too sentimental for me and I found the soundtrack annoying.  A great start to a new season – thoroughly enjoyable: a mixture of happiness and pathos, just the ending we love.  An utterly charming film – a great start to the new season; a great storyline beautifully acted with comedy, poignancy and romance.  A pleasant enough film; a little too predictable – happy ending though!  Took too long to tell a rather lightweight story.  Amazing scenery, middling plot; good cast but Pierce was a bit wooden.  A gentle start to the season although somewhat predictable.  A mixed bag of plotlines but the two main characters sensitively portrayed.  A little too much sugar but enjoyable.  A pleasant surprise!  Lots of noise and fun leading to a very sober ending; lovely photography.  Enjoyable, just about stayed the right side of Richard Curtis – and at least Pierce Brosnan didn't sing.  I loved it; great start to the season.  A modern day Shirley Valentine with a lot more emotion; a lovely start to the film society year; great intro to the CFS – a well spent 5 minutes.  A cut above Richard Curtis with some realistic plot threads to leaven the sentimentality; maybe Susanne Bier should stick to films more like In a Better World.  Too many shots of Sorrento as if this was a travelogue, but overall a pleasant introduction to the new season.  Moved along at a pleasant pace but kept me intrigued; built to a nice happy ending; also liked the introduction of the film and the back story by the CFS – please do this at all the films.  Enjoyed the film but couldn't keep up with the subtitles – old age!  Quite excellent; a delightful start to the season.  Great story – we've booked our flights!  A very sweet film; great start to the year, keep it up!  A charming film with unexpected twists to the plot.  Delightful!  Superb; so honest and direct compared to the usual British portrayal.  A family all mixed up, but beautifully portrayed.  Wonderful scenery – Bella Italia.  A very entertaining film.  Great film.  I really enjoyed it – not too slushy.  Cinematography marvellous, must go to Sorrento one day; but plot and characters not at all credible.  Love all around is to be celebrated!  Left no cliché unturned – selection committee please adjust your ideas [edited to remove an offensive comment].  Easy to watch and stunning scenery.  More com than rom! (at least Pierce didn't sing...)  Beautiful setting and interplay between the lead characters; superb choice of film to start the season off, well done.  Very enjoyable, especially the beauty of Italy.  Great.  That was no rom-com – just a roller-coaster of emotions, phew!!

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25 September
A Hijacking (Kapringen) (15)

Members' rating 85.6%: A-28, B-20, C-3, D-1, E-0  ; 52 votes from 69 members who signed in
Members' comments: Wow! Powerful by its understatement, gripping but felt little retribution for pirates!  Fantastic film, engrossing throughout.  What a film!  The realism almost a documentary – I thought I'd been on the boat for 3 months.  Very well acted but slow-moving portrayal of very difficult situation expressing helplessness and hopelessness.  A very gripping film, never sure what the final outcome was going to be – sad but could have been much worse – saddest part is that it was a true story!  Totally absorbing, very tense and believable.  A harrowing film.  I can't begin to imagine how anyone who went through this in real life coped – before, during or after.  Good film that displayed emotions well.  Very authentic film as somebody currently working for the world's largest shipbrokers.  Very tacit, claustrophobic, suspenseful.  Definitely powerful – why do humans treat other so badly – I don't understand.  Gripping film thoroughly enhanced by pre-showing talk.  Superb, captivating from start to finish.  Fascinating.  What a brilliant film, excellent acting and direction.  Even more potent when you are aware this actually happens!  Pre-film talk extremely useful, well done.  Stunning.  Harrowing.  Marvellously realistic – brilliant!  Spellbinding, best film for a long time but so tense.  Gripping story, realistically told; a fine piece of film making.  Brilliantly drawn characters.  Tense and gripping, but also a thoughtful and intelligent film!  Sets the bar high!  Yes, another very well chosen film.  Pre-film talk very good too!  I found this film amazing, gripping and very frightening.  I've never seen a film where everybody sat still for some time after it had ended.  Was really taken in with the story line, however it felt a little slow in places.  Brilliant Danish drama, as usual!  The human pain was almost too much to bear.  Very harrowing, sad, brilliant.  I'm not often speechless!  A real eye opener – it felt like a documentary at times.  A real gut-wrenching ending – almost uncomfortable.  Superb, controlled film-making.  What a film!  Best I've seen in any category for years, well done CFS.  Brilliant, terrifyingly convincing.  Utterly gripping, documentary quality, completely forgot the Danish TV drama faces I recognised.  Fantastic comment on the lack of care of big business.  An interesting commentary on fear and all its facets.  The play between money, life and their intrinsic values was explored in a unique way.  Hard to view and evaluate particularly in view of the Nairobi tragedy.  Mesmerising; horrifyingly and so sadly real, and a film that will stay with me for a very long time.  Good to hear intro and theidea of debating; brilliant film but was irritated by stereotypical company boss and couldn't believe anyone let him negotiate.  Particularly illuminating to have the pre-show talk with snippets like: how the West destroyed Somalia's fishing grounds - and the blatant contrast of the US trailer; intensely claustrophobic and nerve-racking.

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2 October
Sister (L'enfant d'en haut) (15)

Members' rating 53%: A-1, B-16, C-30, D-9, E-2.  58 votes from 77 members who signed in
Members' comments: Well acted by the boy, but the story didn't go anywhere.  Very well acted, but didn't seem to go deep enough.  Rather drawn out but rather sad – might there be a happy ending?  Depressing!  Sad story of how life is on the other side of the tracks or, in this case, at the bottom of the hill.  Excellent acting by the lead pair, otherwise typically French – starts nowhere, goes nowhere and ends up nowhere.  A slightly unbelievable story; good acting.  Difficult to relate to and not the Verbier I (am privileged to) know!  Waste of film.  Depressing but horribly real.  Sad.  Different.  Didn't think much of Swiss security services!  The underclass was truly shocking in such a careless affluent setting; skilfully portrayed but too long and repetitive.  Great acting by the boy.  Good acting, unconvincing story.  Moving at times but far-fetched; hard to believe that police/social services/school/other local parents had no intervention.  Moving.  Well acted but depressing.  Nice scenery.  Please could the film start promptly at 8pm with any adverts and/or talk before 8pm – ie talk and adverts to finish by 8pm.  I think it might have had more impact in a different rich/poor part of the world – maybe Torquay!  A disturbing film leaving me uneasy, despite the good acting.  Well done CFS, you've unearthed another gem – great twist in the story line!  Prelim talk gave too much information; Kid on a Bike posed more questions. Thought-provoking – brilliant acting by a 12 year old; would be better if film started on time.  A bit too slow to get to the point but interesting and thought-provoking.  Interesting but a little over-dramatised; no ski police in Switzerland evidently; music was good.  What a sad, sad story – brilliant acting, especially from the boy who needed so much love.  Very moving and reminiscent of Kes.  Amazing performance by the boy.  Explanation of the underclass was good – but unresolved at the end.  Nicely shot and acted (especially by the 12 year old) but no real development.  Well acted; predictable story line; disappointing.  Good acting by the boy but I found it a bit woolly and depressing; a tad slow.  The chair lift was the star; nice snow!  Lovely scenery but just too sad.  Very heartfelt film of a bond that cannot be broken.  I could not understand why social services did not support them; does he not go to school; well acted and superb scenery.  Unrealistic because the boy would have been in care; slow moving with no decisive conclusion.  Well acted film but rather drawn out – didn't like the language – very innovative young man; preferred A Hijacking.  The plot was a slow burning piece of heart wrenching drama; the twist may have come a bit too early, but an interesting side of an unseen world.  PS please can the Elgiva sort out the playback/speakers system – there were several short blanks in the sound and a couple of freezes during the credits.  I'm afraid that the talk at the beginning spoilt the film for me – I like to discover the film, not have it explained before I watch it.  Some very good pieces but also parts that were slow and predictable.  Boring; I could not see where it was going; unrelieved sadness.  The boy was amazing.  Tragic and heart wrenching portrayal of Simon - brilliant young actor - we hope to see more of him in the future.

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9 October
In the House (Dans la maison) (15)


Members' rating 67.1%: A-14, B-24, C-16, D-9, E-0.  63 votes from 77 members who signed in.
Members' comments: An interesting and initially well developing film where both the young Claude and the Director Ozon appeared to lose the plot in the last third.  The line between true events and Claude's, at times manipulative, story end up slightly confusing, but Claude and Germain give us two outstanding performances.  Brilliant.  Very French.  What an extraordinary twisted story.  Superbe, formidable!  Confusing (but forgot long distance specs, couldn't read subtitles and didn't understand!).  A joy of a film with beautiful twists.  Haunting and enigmatic.  When all the world is the stage a teenage author is too real for reality! - a great ramble through the blend of perception, conception, imagination, desire, loss and need that is life!  Amusingly surreal.  Hard to keep up with – 'un peu bizarre'.  Highly original and brilliantly acted; slightly dragged at the end as if not properly worked out.  Wee bit too juvenile.  Very well produced.  Assured, complex, but too much fantasy?  Interesting but unconvincing.  Unusual but totally captivating.  Very simple theme overplayed continuously in a very tedious manner; trite and boring. little amusement and less drama - perhaps the producer should reduce quantity and improve quality.  Loved it but so sad at the end.  Good cast, promising start but got lost in the telling and became tedious.  Top film, great stuff.  As good as a good read!  Good intentions turned to disaster – certainly a very black comedy.  Started well enough but seemed to dig a hole for itself from which it did not climb out.  What a brilliant film – turns and twists all over; good music too!  Very imaginative; just as the preview.  Quite arduous at times having to read the subtitles; clever, however.  Bizarre, quirky; reminded me a bit of Amelie.  Thought provoking, mordantly funny, very accomplished; could have been one of Woody Allen's better films!  A vicious dissection of what it means to write and the need to be under the skin of the people we meet, admire, love and fantasise about; as for the ending – "Bof!".  Well acted and intriguing to watch.  Slow, but I'm sure the Francophile middle classes of the CFS population enjoyed it; give me Sister any day of the week.  A very grown up and beautifully acted film – kept our attention throughout.  Bizarre concept but very well done.  Interesting film, mais un peu estrange.  Very good acting all round; the subject rather disturbing but this could happen.  A bit weird but interesting.  Compelling story line, well acted.  Unusual and beguiling.  Clever story but a bit too languid perhaps.  Clever, amusing script; brilliant characterisation – but it did go on a bit; think the ending had really caused some head-scratching.  A clever, albeit slightly unsettling plot, executed charmingly and amusingly by an excellent cast; highly enjoyable.  Clever plot, good characterisation, satisfactory ending!!  Interesting plot; made me feel tired and fidgety.  Entertained throughout.

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23 October
Elena (12A)

Members’ rating 48.5%:   A -1,  B – 15, C – 15, D – 11, E – 9.  51 votes from 74 members who signed in
Members' comments:
A beautifully slow moving film depicting two different classes of the modern Russia.  It shows a mother’s love for her son and the lengths she will go to help him, despite the fact that he is wasting his life. Thought provoking.  Slow moving but intriguing, well-acted but waiting for a conclusion.  What did the fight signify?  Gradually built up to be quietly gripping though can’t decide whether the ending is realistic or unresolved. Loved the Philip Glass music! Extraordinary background music which seemed to belong to a quite different film.   Great music and thought provoking film. Some reasonable moments, but overall far too slow. Dire! Very boring. Very sad film, mother driven to murder for her own worthless family – brilliant photography, slow build-up, peculiar music. Well-made film with believable characters and well acted. Very drawn-out – boring. How depressing!  A sad reflection on society in general but Hey – it’s not just the Brits!  Not a very chirpy number! Up to half-way through unusual, but then very strange.  Acting good. Well-made film with excellent character studies – miserable topic. Elena held my attention throughout giving up the only thing she had – Vladimir’s affection for her. Useless son and grandson.  An engrossing study.  Rather slow and wasn’t Elena misguided! Too slow and deliberate.  Typical Russian – little humour. Too slow, too long, boring. Lovely apartment, film a little slow. Loved everything about this absolutely brilliant film – haunting!  The film was slow, even with  momentous things happening.  I found it fascinating. If it was filmed in Russian, it was interesting to see the good life.  Slow and lost direction towards the end.  Didn’t get why the fight? What was it trying to tell us? A tad slow, but the ending was good – no sympathetic characters.  Very slow.  Music odd. I am afraid it was a bit like watching paint dry – best bit was the amazing dive by the lifeguard in the pool and the gorgeous little lad.  Very slow – odd storyline. I felt no feeling towards Elena and found the soundtrack very annoying.  Far too many lingering shots! Very intriguing and well-acted and interesting insight into wealthy Russian living,  Worst soundtrack ever though.  A bit slow – the End? Unfinished business.  Very Russian in atmosphere and excellent acting – good to have a non-South-Europe film!  Not keen to go to Russia! Very slow and not a lot of story – ended before it got started.  Was it pre-meditated?  Alright as a documentary – disappointing “story”.  So many pointless things!  The music was the best thing – p.s. I fell asleep three times! Best bit was the beautiful music for the closing credits.  Atmospheric – excellent camera work. Very absorbing – what mothers will do for their sons never ceases to amaze me. It left me with a very troubled feeling. A refreshing contrast to Swiss poverty and French suicidal distress – a Russian murderous wife!  However very believable characters and a probable unhappy outcome for Elena bearing in mind the character of her offspring. The gentlemen of the film society, the moral of the story is…don’t allow your lady to dish out your Viagra supplies! Unremitting misery, but I shall write my will now and undertake no exercise.  Intriguing insight into Russian life. Compelling (even before the pulsating violin theme cut in) and disturbing.  The depressing message embodied in the younger generations – not least the baby in its pampers – wondered how the film was received in Russia if at all, but see it was shown at the Sundance Festival – so maybe appealing to western preconceptions.  As so often a thoroughly engrossing and challenging oeuvre but not one that I would seek out for a relaxing evening. ‘C’ I hover on the borderline with a ‘D’ but no, it was a finely crafted work in terms of photography and atmosphere – a simple journey on public transport seemed to require a deep breath and a day’s commitment and endurance, but the intensity was too heavy handed and ultimately it felt like a sink of hopelessness.  The most consummate handling of the murder though – so simply achieved and glossed over as to be a cause of permanent nightmares. A courageous choice.  The film was well constructed and shot, but altogether too slow and bleak.  No empathy with any of the characters except perhaps the daughter. A powerful film that will be remembered for its unremitting gloom.  Would like to see more Russian cinema.  A good C.

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13 November
The Sapphires (PG)

Members' rating 76.2%: A-21, B-27, C-12, D-2, E-1.  63 votes from 71 members who signed in.
Members' comments: Brilliant movie; good to have an uplifting movie for a change and one based on a true story – good choice!  I enjoyed the social and historical context but felt too far removed from "The Sapphires" themselves.  Oh yes, Oh yes, Oh yes – enough said!  Brilliant entertainment and great soul music!  What a very clean war!  I think I would have preferred to see this on TV.  Loved the feel good factor.  A good and most unusual film.  Just wanted to join it; lovely acting and feel good factor which was nice.  The actual events and footage interspersed throughout made the film.  Managed to balance some serious themes with a lot of fun – a really good film, thank you.  Fantastic music, very captivating and entertaining, while including serious social topics; and humour too – what a great package.  Unusual but worth seeing.  Terrific; sad, exciting and educating! - music terrific.  Australians seem to specialise in this type of film and this was a very good example of the genre; contrived but entertaining!  I'm forming a girl group tomorrow – loved it, a real feel-good!  A really good, feel good film; time passed very quickly.  An excellent film brilliantly acted; enjoyed the musical content and comedic element; very enjoyable.  A very good film and very good acting throughout – enjoyed all the music – good message of problems with racism; looking forward to next half season.  Great fun.  Make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, make 'em think – yes.  Through thick and thin a feel good film emerged!  A film with a happy ending – what great girls.  Pleasant entertainment making some points of social history.  Thoroughly enjoyed a well put subject.  Good depiction of relationships in sisterhood and crazy Asian war!  Great music, most enjoyable, uplifting film.  Very gutsy but serious issues underneath it all.  A good old-fashioned feel good movie!  A simple story enhanced by clever references to the black struggle and the Aboriginal stolen generation.  A great story but deep undertones relevant to Australian society even today.  Most enjoyable!  Music excellent – from a great era; film entertaining; post-production could have been better.  Everything I love in a film – highs, lows, laughs and a happy ending – plus a reminder of the bad things humans do.  Lovely evening.  A very enjoyable film. Sharply observed – and a terrific soundtrack.  Enjoyable and entertaining; something appealing about immediacy of films made on a shoestring.  Not my kind of film, but I'd like to see it again.  A sensitive portrayal of the deep divide of colour and race.  Most enjoyable.  Enjoyable – but it tried to be loved so much I found it annoying.  A real feel good with just enough "edge" re Vietnam and racism.  Cheers you up.  Wonderful feel good film with some superb casting; your main man putting a super spark into the girls' amazing singing voices; well done on this Wednesday film – just the ticket to lift the spirit.  Did what it said on the tin but given the themes of racism, Martin Luther King assassination and Vietnam it hardly scratched the surface.  Enjoyable and the setting made a change from the usual story of upcoming bands; great music (thank goodness they dropped the Country music!).  Great film; had to see it again.  Wonderful, Wonderful!! more like that please; great feel good factor; thank you.


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8 January 2014
Trance (15)

Members' rating: 60%; A-13, B-18, C-16, D-12, E-6.  65 votes from 83 members who signed in.
Members' comments: Good fun but what was the point?  Interesting – made one think.  A very good idea but confused by the complicated soundtrack and too much unnecessary violence.  Boyle is still an art master of the film but lost the "plot" on this one; stop caring and you've lost the value.  Too long and too violent.  Too complicated.  By the end I loved how it kept you guessing!  Pretentious rubbish.  A real mind bender.  Fascinating.  Echoes of Memento and Inception but not as clever – some gratuitous scenes but as a film held my attention.  Loud music distracting but suspense build-up excellent.  Thought the subject matter was short-changed by a director keen on style over substance; and attempt to make a basic thriller (very well) and pretend it's very intelligent.  Thought of his Olympic show and did not realise his other side!  Very clever, very slick but a perfect horror.  Where was the humour?  Shame it couldn't hypnotise me into liking it more.  All too clever by half – acting pretty average.  Gripping and tense: a clever film but could have been less violent and noisy; should be an 18.  I don't know whose brain is more fried – Simon's, Franck's or mine! – a brave and different choice.  Far too much gratuitous violence.  Brings together some interesting concepts on the morality of revenge and resolution and when that fine line is blurred; other films of this genre may do a more scientific approach but this human version was stirring.  What a horrible film – clever it may be but definitely not for me!  In 1hour41minutes we had special effects galore, extreme violence, pyrotechnics – need I go on?  Too multi-layered for its own good.  Complicated story and in the end I did not care what happened.  Too noisy, too scary, but a good film.  Too noisy; very difficult to tell "fact or fiction" though it set the pulse racing.  Superb film, brilliantly acted; somewhat noisy (as warned) and bizarre confused ending.  Ann excellent film although very violent and very noisy – but excellent plot and intrigue.  Stylish, clever and noir – more please!  Rather gory but very different.  Considering the original film planned for January 8th was described as " story" and "light of heart" to choose a replacement that was a violent pseudo psychology thriller seemed rather odd; it was a thoroughly unpleasant experience – the film had no integrity, relying totally on sensationalism.  Not poor I'm sure but it's not a great radio play (I couldn't manage the pictures and wanted to protect my ears).  For me a total waste of time.  Danny Boyle rules! – provocative and entertaining.  Not as good as it could have been; tries to be too clever, but just becomes confusing – NB would have been better without an introduction.  Brilliant!  Interesting story ruined by gratuitous violence.  Must have been in a trance – could not make out whether it was supposed to be happening now, in a dream or in the past.  Definitely different; clever but a tad choppy, certainly thought provoking; bit too violent but very gripping.  Good start then became tedious – good that's over!  Brilliantly paced, psychologically balanced – a superb film.  Typical Boyle – clever, disjointed and shouty.  Still mystified but fascinated – it messed with my mind!  Too noisy and too clever by half for me.  Please keep the introduction shorter and please don't influence us with your thoughts on the film.  Fantastic – music not loud enough!!  Contrary to expectations at the outset, I managed to sit through Danny Boyle's film.  A flashy, spasmodically enjoyable mess – spent much of the time marvelling at James McAvoy's resemblance to a young David Cameron.  I am still in a trance!!  Wonderful acting and very realistic; too much violence for my taste; the plot let me guess until the end and is cleverly constructed – at times a little confusing!  Puzzled...but I think it was good!  Usual Boyle – excellent film maker but what is it about?

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29 January
Wadjda (PG)

Members’ rating 82.7%: A-31, B-24, C-9, D-1, E-0.  65 votes from 84 members who signed in.
Members’ comments.
Very useful pre-film talk for us to hear about the secrecy and camerawork involved in making the film.  Great girl determination by a few, great to see some of the men respecting Wadjda (boy and shopkeeper).  What a sad, sad life the women have to lead; I wondered if it was autobiographical;  I hope this is the start of a revolution in Saudi; It made me angry that me could dominate so much.  Yes, this was very good indeed – a little slow in parts, but overall well worth watching.  The story and context of the film is amazing – the film itself not that original or breath-taking; basic story-telling; lead actress, though, brilliant.  Amazing insight into a different world and even the clichéd ending didn’t seem clichéd.  Lovely film, thought-provoking but with a real lightness of touch and a very winning lead performance; informative intro by Andy.  How I appreciate the chance to see this sort of film – a privileged glimpse into their enclosed world; for how long will she be able to ride her bike?  Sensitive – a brilliant insight, a very brave director.  And they lived happily ever after – but this was not a fairy tale.  A charming film of two rebellious young people making their way in a very closed society.  Unexpected and very enjoyable.  A wonderful film – a privilege to get an insight into a foreign world.  A charming film made under difficult circumstances – a real eye-opener to life in Saudi Arabia.  A bit slow-moving and predictable.  A beautiful film, wonderful glimpse into a very different world.  A thought-provoking, excellent film – the best of the season by far.  Truly remarkable!  Well filmed – a delightful story and insight into a different culture.  Excellent choice – more like this please.  Lovely film – what courage it took to make it!  Found the subject matter depressing but this didn’t affect my overall enjoyment – I guess this is the world we live in.  A very brave film.  A little slow, but brilliantly constructed and it gave a very good insight into the life of women and the first signs of a bid for more freedom.  Moving and revealing; wonderful portrayal of a young and spirited teenage girl and hope that her society will evolve to give her freedom.  The veil was raised for me in ways I hadn’t expected; enjoyable as well as informative.  Very good for its insight into Saudi life and values; very rough around the edges at times but probably all the better for it.  What a difference to the last film [Trance]!  I congratulate the cast and crew on breaking all the taboos in the book.  Children can be precocious when filmed but these young adults had sincerity and grasp of the true enjoyment in life; surprising but not as surprising as the underlying puzzle – how does a society evolve with women manacled?  the skill of turning that dilemma and that delight.  Captivating from start to finish – a fascinating insight.  More directors should direct from inside a van – beautifully constructed film.  Depressing, thought-provoking, hopeful.  Fascinating portrayal of life in Saudi, especially for women.  Interesting insight into Saudi customs.  Very unusual and impressive film.  Simply told and effective – we are all the same really.  What a place – food but not even one glass of wine; amazing insight into Saudi and very moving at times.  Fun stuff – bit serious.  Lovely acting, a bit long.  I think Haifaa Al Mansour was showing her rebellious views through this film?  Humorous, light-hearted – not miserable and depressing.  Exquisite – great soundtrack.  Window on another world.  Revealing portrayal of Saudi life but acting a bit clunky.  Very simple but quite delightful.  Fab film – glad I don’t live in Saudi.  Lovely film; very interesting picture of life there.  A wonderful insight into what goes on in Saudi Arabia; a brave film.  Heartening to think that a feisty young girl could be the product of such a repressive society for women.  Delightful.  Charming film although slow-moving; well acted and once again the young actors “steal the show”.  A “nice” film but rather slow-moving – although much less violent than the last film; acting was good and a good insight into their religion.  Lovely film; insight in to women’s lives in Saudi Arabia.  Great film.

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12 February
Lore (15)

Members’ rating 70% A-18, B-16, C-13, D-7, E-1.  55 votes from 71 members who signed in
Members’ comments:
Having lived through these terrible times myself, I found the film very true and authentic; very interesting to see the other side of the war; very good acting!  Nerve-racking; even the baby was a good actor.  Harrowing.  Such a graphic succession of powerful images; not a coherent story but such a disturbing evocation of disintegration.  A very harrowing portrayal of the aftermath of war and break up of ordered family life.  An amazing, harrowing film of life for displaced people in the war’s last chaotic days.  Good story marred by too much arty close-cropped shots and random cuts; slow.  Disturbing.  Story lines disconnected and confused; some individual elements powerful but in total the whole thing was trivialised and generally unconvincing; a great film opportunity wasted.  Powerful depiction of desperate times; less preview of film would be appreciated.  A typical long and tedious German film.  It all went wrong for me when the dog was shot.  Amazing acting and gruelling portrayal of the appalling aftermath of WW2.  A bit self-indulgent compared to the book it comes from.  Not without fault – on seeing her first dead body should she seem so calm? what was the metaphor with the feet?  Far too slow and didn’t believe the journey; a podiatrist’s dream? too many holes in the story.  A beautiful film – but not sure I enjoyed it!  Powerful right from the opening bar and the clash of childhood with disintegration was consistently disturbing; but moist disturbing was the awareness of what is happening in the world today.  Too much out of focus handheld camera work.  Wonderful filming  - storyline realistic and good acting; an overwhelming, depressing sense of the realities of war and crumbling of a society.  Painfully slow; potentially a good storyline - but never gets going.  Very powerful story, but so slow and almost no dialogue.  Survival can be cruel! excellent filming.  Powerful study of adolescence in abnormal circumstances; I liked the contrast between idyllic pastoral scenes and a society in disarray.  PS – so fed up of seeing the trailer for “One Chance” every week!  A reflection on what is happening elsewhere today.  Too sad for me – a film without hope.  The film – and the misery of it – seemed interminable, but such is war and lost innocence?  Unusual and generally gripping film – lost its way a little towards the end.  Beautifully crafted; compelling from start to finish.  Horrible; very good child actors; didn’t like the camera angles – hard to watch.  Bleak!  Enjoyed the cinematography and direction, also the message; but not much happened.  More films with women directors please.  I enjoyed the start and the ending, but it was the hour and a half in the middle that I ‘glazed over’ in.  Interesting, but in a film supposedly ‘true to life’ strange that she had such a vast wardrobe!! camera work fine, but too much dwelling on various body parts.  A beautifully made film in a very difficult but possibly still valid situation.  A very moving story, the confusion was brilliantly done.  Thank goodness we didn’t have to live through what that generation did.  An excellent film – well acted but so harrowing – a rather ‘unfinished’ ending – the whole scenario doesn’t bear thinking about!!  Brilliant acting as usual but what a harrowing tale; as with any war the most affected are the innocents.  A great film – congratulations on finding it.

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26 February Derek Goddard memorial film

Avanti! (12)

Members’ rating 82.7% A- 30, B-23, C-7, D-2, E-0.  62 votes from 77 members who signed in
Members’ comments:
Light-hearted and easy to watch.  Very Jacques Tati in style.  Pleasurable to the ear and eye – humour, sadly, a little dated.  Lovely film, ages well and a pleasure to watch it again.  Excellent filming and humorous too!  Delightful film, but could the introductions to the films be shorter than the film itself?  A me piace molto, molto.  Very enjoyable film, a real gem.  Introductory talk far too long.  I don’t find Jack Lemmon very funny.  Like an overlong stage farce.  Definitely a classic but overlong, as was the introductory talk.  Delightful, a wonderful choice.  Let’s have more classics.  Quite brilliant, witty exposé of national characters, beautifully acted.  Clive Revill outstanding.  Again next week, please!  Typical style of film for its age – felt like a cross between a carry on film and a James Bond movie.  Nice to watch!  Some lovely moments and not too dated.  We were all younger then…  A good story very well told.  Well done CFS, a film I would not have seen had it not been for the Society selection.  Very enjoyable with plenty of laughs.  Light hearted and enjoyable.  Very entertaining – beautiful scenery.  FANTASTIC!  Very good - not Jack Lemmon’s best film (that was Missing) but the sort of film that Love is all You Need should have been!  Superb.  Lovely film – enjoyed every minute.  A feel-good film.  Sorry not for me a classic, but I guess of its time.  If weight was such an issue, why cast a thin actress?  Amusing, but so many stereotypes!  A lovely comedy, with some subtle jokes.  One of the most charming, funny and delightful films I have seen in a long time!  Very well chosen, lovely acting and superb views of Italy.  Let’s have more films like this.  Lavish and gently mocking but stiff and dated escapism, but maybe escape to nowhere worthwhile.  Wilder and Jack Lemmon at their best ably supported by Clive Revill and Juliet Mills.  A treat to have a Billy Wilder film!  I prefer his vintage tighter black and white films, but even so this was entertaining with some great lines.  Miss Piggott was hardly 'a Japanese wrestler'!- I enjoyed the film but the constant references to Miss Piggott being overweight (when she was slim) were both baffling and irrelevant.  Not as dated as I feared, I had forgotten how good Jack Lemmon is.  Please keep the introduction short!! or at least start 10 minutes earlier.  Great fun – delightful.  Absolutely charming.  A proper film.  A wholly delightful frothy Italian style film, with a splendid performance by Clive Revill.  Very refreshing!  An excellent film, brilliant acting all the cast – Jack Lemmon his usual excellent entertaining self.  Funny and very watchable.  A little dated, but very enjoyable.  Could the introduction be kept shorter please, and confined to the background if required rather than the film itself – we like to make up our own minds!  Wonderful humour and escapism, excellent acting, scenery revived memories.  Good light entertainment.  Quite delightful and brought back memories of our holiday in Capri last year.  Pure delight – witty and sustained throughout.  A good old fashioned comedy.  Brilliant.  Jack Lemmon never fails to entertain.  Thoroughly enjoyable.  A delightful feel good film – a true Billy Wilder success!  Charming - a great evening of relaxation and laughter - scenery magnificent.  Only in Italy could one find this delightful approach to romance - a thoroughly enjoyable film.

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5 March
No (I) (15)

Members’ rating 75% A- 21, B-12, C-9, D-4, E-2.  48 votes from 62 members who signed in
Members’ comments:
Thank you for the opportunity of having seen this film.  Another great CFS production.  Well done! (NB Andy’s intros are always informative and timely, we are not all cinema experts so his “full length” style is appreciated! Thank you).  Choice of documentary absolutely right – they should send a copy to Putin!  Wonderful acting – gripping and a happy ending.  A very good film - let us hope that the population in this country wake up as well.  Great film.  Gripping stuff – amazing what an advertising mind can help achieve.  Most interesting – one really got involved in the story.  The political rhetoric early on eventually brought the “right” result thanks to the power of advertising!  Another A for “No”!  Riveting, totally convincing and inspirational.  A triumph of the human spirit.  A war presented from a viewpoint I was suspect of but totally won over.  MORE LIKE THIS PLEASE!  YES vote- on this occasion.  An excellent comment on political and social history.  I was not looking forward to this film, in spite of the violence and the background of the terrible things that happened in Pinochet’s rule - the film was terrific.  (Subtitles impossible to keep up with)  I valued this as a unique film. I enjoyed the music but the subtitles were taken off the screen too quickly so I was unable to see the picture.  One of the highlights of the season.  Fascinating glimpse into the world of political advertising. Also a historical reminder.  Modest in scale but engrossing and a welcome change for British media cynics to see inside another country’s campaign process.  Excellent atmosphere – dictatorships do feel like that…  Interesting style, subtitles made it hard to watch.  Thought provoking comment.  Very good acting, a little slow at times.  I felt sorry for the little boy who lived a lonely life and was dragged along by his father into dangerous situations.  All a little disturbing.  Excellent choice.  Clever ending.  Subtitles too fast to follow at the start.  Interesting, thought –provoking.  Excellent film.  Documentary style effectively recreating actual drama of Pinochet’s defeat.  Interesting historical portrayal of the political situation in Chile at that time.  Rather slow first half but more interesting filming later on.  Subtitles too fast at times, so confusing to start with.  Good for thought but not an easy film.  ‘Mad Men’ meets ‘All the President’s Men’ cynical ending suggests that whatever happens admen stay the same?  Interesting but dragging on.  Restless camera too distracting.  Started off slowly – got slightly better – could have finished 30 mins earlier.  The subtitles made the camera movement very disturbing.  I think the story could have been told better.  Not my cup of tea I’m afraid – sorry.  Excellent story and acting.  Thought it was a good 30 mins too long though.  Very slow.  Disappointing.  Low point of the CFS season.  Liked the way in which the credits were rolled!

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19 March
Caesar Must Die (Cesare deve morire) (12A)

Members’ rating 73.6% A- 21, B-15, C-14, D-3, E-2.  55 votes from 62 members who signed in
Members’ comments:
Riveted to my seat!  A gripping film, with the black and white cinematography and close-ups adding to the intensity and a terrific Brutus: do wish the house lights wouldn't come on as soon as the end credits start though - it really dispels the atmosphere.  Very ambitious, not quite my scene.  What an amazing film : thank you for the talk, Andy, I needed it!  Terrific acting, must make prison bearable for a lifer - the talk before helped a lot.  Rather moving - better than the full Monty from Shakespeare?  Impressively realistic - a true joy of a performance.  A very worthy experiment.  The play and the real prison life is brilliantly interwoven and make the film more tragic than the play itself : what brilliant acting of untrained people.  A fresh choice!  Intelligent and I enjoyed it.  Not really my bag baby.  Wonderful faces and for amateurs the direction was very good.  Good to see such a very different film.  Strange they didn't try to escape!  These great actors deserved a better script!  I applaud the principle behind making the film and showing it - it was clearly a success in getting serious criminals enthusiastically involved in an interesting cultural project : in its own right it is a very worthwhile exercise which hopefully opened new opportunities for them: having said that, the message was clear very quickly and the rest of the film was dreary, heavy-handed and frankly boring.  A brilliant choice - through brutish men a tender insight into prison life.  At last - Shaky in a few words!  Good insight into these men and can well understand that after the drama there was.....prison.  Interesting idea : it would have been more powerful if the play had reflected the lives of the convicts.  Sadly, did not hold my attention.  A new and different take on Shakespeare : Mafia honour rules!  Would have liked to see more prison scenes and less Shakespeare.  Impressive, but not to my taste.  Intense atmosphere, superbly captured: a real little gem : will miss Andy's intros on the next 2 films!  I actually felt I could have been watching a production of Julius Caesar from the National Theatre live.  Very poignant.  Excellent acting, very engaging, (The talk before the film is always enlightening - thank you.)  Fantastic acting.  "Escapism" for the prisoners and they need it well but not entertainment for me.  Powerful.  A most unusual and brilliantly constructed film.  Brilliantly acted and entertaining : an excellent portrayal of a familiar play from a different aspect.  I can see why it appealed to Mike Leigh.  Very good introductions - keep it up!  Brilliant!  Powerful - Shakespeare never so convincing.  Inspired! fantastic film - loved every minute.  Though some moments felt false (mainly the non-Shakespeare parts) the rest was riveting and a brilliant interpretation of the play.  Enjoyed the Shakespeare but we did not learn much about the actors : pleased that it avoided the cliché of making the director the star.  Very powerful : excellent acting : think I should read the play!  Couldn't retain my interest, not knowing enough about the Shakespeare version : too depressing and overly dramatic music : well acted though.  Clever, but not my cup of tea: was bored throughout.  As much a treatise on freedom as anything : it revealed a lot about the play that I had never considered ; some great performances.  Bravo!  Brilliant - arty and sincere: great use of colour for the outside world and black and white for prison: I could write an essay - again excellent.  Is redemption possible?  How supremely triumphant - the Tavianis left the Shakespeare to prove the depth of every human character - no unnecessary interference or direction - power of art or power of God? who knows but for one and a half hours it didn't matter.

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2 April
About Elly (Darbareye Elly)

Members’ rating 70.7%: A-10, B-23, C-8, D-5, E-0.  46 votes from 69 members who signed in:
Members’ comments:
A marvellous window on Iranian society as it really is – a gripping and tense film.  Too long and too muddled.  A very sad story very realistically filmed.  A roller coaster of emotions – good intentions certainly went awry!  gripping to the end.  Didn’t gel somehow.  A very well made film of disparate friends driven to ever more lying to cover the sad end of Elly, the daughter’s teacher.  Not very convincing.  Very sad – well acted.  What a society where lies to save face seem to be so much the accepted norm!  [As Sir Walter Scott said in his poem Marmion] “Oh, what a tangled web we weave When first we practise to deceive!”.  Best film of the season; a simple nuanced story told exceedingly well – more by this director please.  No soundtrack music – only the sea: excellent storytelling and acting, raw and honest: unsteady camera-work annoyed me at times but, overall, best film of the season!  Captivating from start to finish: a fascinating insight into Iranian culture.  Not bad.  Predictable – slightly naïve but entertaining.  What a complex and somewhat backward society: gripping film, good twisty plot: glad to be British!  An interesting story and well acted, although very frenetic – not an invitation I would have accepted! but I found it very watchable and a couple of good twists in the story.  Started quite well but got really slow and bogged down before fizzling out altogether.  What a bunch of numpties! - a brilliant insight into human inadequacies, presumptions and prejudices.  Well acted but somewhat frenetic at times: an interesting insight into the cultural differences: good storyline with unexpected ending.  Too much shaky hand-held camera work.  It all began like any other seaside weekend party of family and friends, but the cultural differences between Iranian society and our own emerged painfully and graphically.  Very gripping and thought provoking – good choice.  A fascinating film: tragedy of different mores – would make no sense to an average western audience.  Very good build up but suspense ruined by being told Elly disappears in the intro [this had been in our publicity for the film from the start of the season, sorry!]: fabulous acting throughout.  Chaotic – needed editing.  Fascinating insight into Iranian culture and values.  Interesting to see the different reactions to the tragedy, and to see the obvious separation of the sexes when making decisions etc.  Excellent.  The chaos of the situation was well reflected in the editing.  Well made film – the tension and confusion felt real.  Clever, well made film: the portrayal of the very ordinary group of young people made Elly’s disappearance even more mysterious.  It developed into a fair analysis of the currents between a group of friends under pressure.  Hard to appreciate the film while trying to read all those rapid subtitles: have those children all been to RADA? great acting, a bit slow in parts.

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16 April
Barbara (12)

Members’ rating 78.3%: A-17, B-22, C-3, D-3, E-1.  46 votes from 65 members who signed in:
Members’ comments:
Humanity triumphs over evil in a world we can hardly imagine; beautifully directed and acted.  I’m reminded of life 30 years ago in Eastern Europe, depressed by uninspired people; I enjoyed the characters and the way the story developed.  Very interesting, bleak; good unexpected ending.  Demonstrates well the problems of living in East Germany; well plotted and acted.  Really enjoyed this film – found it very gripping, however I got lost in parts – annoying with mobile phone lights going on throughout the film; this was very distracting and rude.  There’s “thoughtful” and there’s “slow to the point of inert” – I know which applies here.  A brilliant, riveting and very interesting film, thank you!  Simply and well told subtle story.  Please can the stage lighting be adjusted – two lights were positioned to cause shadows at the top of the screen.  A bit slow – good ending.  Very well acted and giving a feeling of that terrible time in East Germany when no-one could be trusted – and that only 35 years ago!!  Relentlessly grim, but intelligent use of the lack of music to heighten tension – clever.  An excellent film; dealing with the conflicts of life in the East – Duty or Dreams?  Too slow apart from the last 10 minutes; the closing music was good – by Chic.  First class film - although maybe 15 minutes too long.  In spite of subtitles flying by and scenes that were unseeable, it kept me awake and was good.  Certainly not my sort of film.  A good and revealing look at life behind the Iron Curtain, with the Stasi and their goings-on; I liked this film.  An engrossing film with the light ending; what a terrible existence under the Stasi!  Such a strong and disturbing story but somehow the sentimental bit took off its edge – he so ‘crinkly-eyed’ handsome, she a fine classical pianist and the works! so talented as doctors too…  Kept me guessing right to the end – most enjoyable.  A powerful and well-acted film although rather confusing at times as you were left guessing at background and motives – what a lot of riding in the night!!  A fascinating character this Barbara!  Very well acted but confusing story line; left to work out the plot as the film progressed – unexpected ending!  I’ve no idea!  Very thoughtful – glad Germany is now united!  Gripping – unexpected twist at the end.  This was a most impressive adult film, well constructed, written and acted; an unsentimental and realistic portrayal of the appalling life in East Germany with neighbours and relatives spying on each other and reporting back to the Stasi; people who are too young to remember or be aware would find it difficult to comprehend such an existence; in my view it was a great film - and timely in view of the situation in Ukraine.  Interesting - will be fascinating to read up on more of the background.  There is life even in a police state - daily tasks repetitive but vital no matter what the prison conditions.

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30 April

The Joy of Six (15)

Members' rating: 59.8% - A-5,B-14,C-14,D-7,E-1.  41 votes from 72 members who signed in
Members' comments: Eclectic mix of good, bad and ugly; let down by Scrubber otherwise quite innocent fun.  Apart from the last short, all the rest were boring, depressing and pointless; more cheerful films for next year please.  A lovely pick and mix – good fun. Patchy but on the whole enjoyable – how does Judi Dench get it right every time?  Was the theme loneliness  as published or mental health issues?  Not much entertained by the last one – hope Judi didn’t charge them;  liked the variety – rather worried about the little girl…  A bit hit and miss but entertaining on the whole.  I liked Ellington best.  It is good to have a hidden threat but when it is there throughout four short films with only a half-hearted outcome it betrays a sloppiness; thank goodness for the brilliant timing and morally oblique challenge of the butchers’ café.  I loved A Gun for George - Terry Finch should have his own television series; overall, disappointed and this feels like a wasted slot – stick to the feature films please.  Liked the Reprizaliser best; have been a member for 10 years and have loved this season’s films – thanks so much, best ever season.  A mixed bag.  They were all very much like student films; the last one was best.  Good to see England/Britain’s next film makers.  A great selection of short films.  Didn’t quite understand the Romola Garai movie – loved the rest.  In the main good except Scrubber – story too wishy-washy; good acting, great showcase for upcoming film makers; excellent use of humour but the Judi Dench one could almost have been a BT advert.  I hadn’t anticipated that six short films meant six long credits!  Same again please; thank you very much for a great season and yes – go ahead and book 12 films to start and then surprise us with the remainder.  Intriguing mix but I prefer one long film rather than snapshots.  Apart from the last short I found all the others far too violent, dark and depressing; good acting no doubt but not my idea of an enjoyable evening.  That made a change!  quite a diverse and variable selection, mostly enjoyable especially the Judi Dench film (though the most conventional).  A fitting end to a super season; very interesting to see emerging talent and speculate as to who will figure in the future; Man in Fear powerful, Ellington Kid yes – last one saved by Dench.  All very good – especially the second short.  More like that please; thank you very much for a great season; agree with the AGM – book 12 and choose the remainder later – we don’t know what the others are going to be unless we watch them!  Very mixed.  The last short was fun, the remainder a waste of good actors.  Loved the two shorter, funnier ones, the Judi Dench one was a bit clichéd, but an interesting mix and lots to talk about.  The six shorts all gave the impression of “I’ve just finished film school and this is my trailer.  Would you like to look at working with me?”; didn’t rock my boat!  First five shorts not ones I would have chosen to see but Judi Dench saved the day!  Odd mix of shorts but interesting; the last two shorts saved the evening.  Sound is always too loud; good ideas – found the sex one a bit complicated.  Didn’t work for me.  Enjoyed all (especially Man in Fear) apart from the final one which was a bit slick; shows that having a big name doesn’t always help.  A dire evening saved by the last two films.  1-4 OK, 5 very good, 6 a feel-good film.  Interesting experiment – a bit of a curate’s egg.

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