25th April MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT, 2000. Dir: Claude Chabrol. Cert 15. Sub titles

25th April MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT, 2000. Dir: Claude Chabrol. Cert 15. Sub titles

Based on the story The Chocolate Cobweb by Charlotte Armstrong, this film stars ISABELLE HUPPERT as Marie-Claire Muller (known as ‘Mika’) the wife and ex-wife of famous pianist Andre Polonski (JACQUES DUTRONC). Re-marrying after a gap of 18 years, the couple move into Mika’s vast, gothic mansion in Lausanne, paid for with the profits from her family’s chocolate factory. Into the family home comes Jeanne, a music student, who says she wants to play the piano with Andre (the celebrated pianist) who takes a keen interest in her. Meanwhile, Mika keeps serving hot chocolate. Is Mika putting poison into the chocolate and, if so, who are her intended victims? This is one of the psychological thrillers for which Claude Chabrol is renowned.

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16TH May SECRETS & LIES (1996). Dir: Mike Leigh Cert 15

This British drama stars Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Hortense, a well-educated black middle-class London optometrist, who, as an adopted baby, has chosen to trace her family history – only to discover that her birth mother, Cynthia, played by Brenda Blethyn, is a working-class white woman with a dysfunctional family. Claire Rushbrook co-stars as Cynthia’s other daughter Roxanne, while Timothy Spall and Phyllis Logan portray Cynthia’s brother and sister-in-law, who have secrets of their own affecting their everyday family life. The film won numerous awards which include Brenda Blethyn; Best Actress and Palme d’Or at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, the Goya Award for Best European Film, LFCC Award for Film of the Year, 7 nominations at British Academy Film Awards, winning both Best British Film and Best Original Screenplay to name but a few.

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20th June NIGHTS OF CABIRIA ( 1957). Dir: Frederico Fellini Cert PG. Sub titles

Cabiria (Giulietta Masina) is a happy go lucky passionate street walker who finds herself constantly challenged by the men in her life as her Romantic liaisons consistently fail. This film, starring Frederico’s wife as the lead character, has been described as ‘a magical mix of Neo-Realism and Romantic optimism set on the streets of Rome’. Fellini triumphs in engaging the audience as we experience Cabiria’s bittersweet disillusions, her trials and emotions that are tempered with honest hope and strength in optimism. No other Fellini film portrays such a soaring celebration of the human spirit in the face of such bitter devastation. A must for all Fellini fans.

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