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The Films

2016 Winter Schedule

Jan 06 Trumbo
Jan 20 Brooklyn
Feb 10 Al Purdy Was Here
Feb 24 The Second Mother
Mar 09 Carol
Mar 23 Rams
Apr 13 Youth
Apr 27 Born To Be Blue
May 04 Mountains May Depart
May 11 Theeb
TBA Always much more coming!

Welcome!

Screening times twice monthly on Wednesdays on what has become a somewhat irregular schedule- check the listings, below; 7:30 p.m., Galaxy Cinema, 1000 Islands Mall, Brockville, Ontario.

The box office opens about 7:00 p.m. Seating is limited (200) and is on a first-come first-served basis, so come early. The ticket price is $9.00 (cash only; exact change is appreciated because that makes sales proceed quickly/smoothly). We are not equipped for debit/credit cards. Any change can be donated to the Brockville food bank.

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The Films

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Trumbo (14A, 134 minutes)

Wed. Jan. 06, 7:30 p.m.

Trumbo A fascinating portrait of one of the most emblematic figures of Hollywood's Golden Age, Trumbo stars Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston as the prolific screenwriter who paid a terrible price for his political convictions.

The author of scripts for such films as Kitty Foyle, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, and Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, Dalton Trumbo was among the highest-paid scenarists of his time. He was also among the most unjustly ostracized, one of numerous film artists who saw their careers screech to a halt after being interrogated by the House Un-American Activities Committee about their supposed communist ties. An outspoken member of the so-called Hollywood Ten, Trumbo did in fact identify as communist. Nevertheless, he refused to testify and was cited for contempt of Congress, resulting in a year-long prison sentence and a prominent place on the studios' blacklist. Unable to obtain employment under his own name, Trumbo did some of his finest work pseudonymously throughout the 1950s — even winning an Oscar for The Brave One — until his public crediting for the epics Exodus and Spartacus in 1960 helped bring the blacklist era to an end.

Featuring exceptional performances by Cranston and a remarkable supporting cast — including Diane Lane and Elle Fanning as Trumbo's wife Cleo and daughter Nikola, John Goodman as Trumbo's producer and ally Frank King, and Helen Mirren as notorious gossip columnist Hedda Hopper — Trumbo is a gripping drama that sheds light on one of the darkest chapters in Hollywood history.

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Brooklyn (PG-13, 111 minutes)

Wed. Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m.

Brooklyn This Sundance hit — with its stellar cast including Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, and Julie Walters — is an exquisitely crafted period piece telling the tale of a young immigrant in a strange new land.

There aren't many opportunities for young women in postwar Ireland, but soft-spoken Eilis Lacey (Ronan) is lucky: America has long been considered the land of opportunity, and when her family makes arrangements with a kindly Brooklyn priest (Broadbent) for her to move there, she jumps at the chance. Set up tentatively in a boarding house and working in a swanky Brooklyn department store, Eilis struggles to find her place — but after meeting Tony (Emory Cohen), a handsome young Italian man with an infectious passion for life, she's filled with the joy of young love and the promise of a future. When a family tragedy brings her back to Ireland, she discovers that her perspective has changed dramatically; facing mounting pressures from those closest to her, Eilis must decide where she is to spend the rest of her life.

Adapted from Colm Tóibín's acclaimed novel, Brooklyn is a story universal in its reach yet personal in the telling. Painting with a luscious colour palette, the film recreates 1950s Brooklyn as a romantic dream — and at the centre of this dream are the captivating performances. Ronan is outstanding, letting us in on every nuance of Eilis' transformation from a lonely young wallflower to a confident adult, and you won't soon forget Cohen as the tough but tender Tony. Brooklyn is a gorgeously realized film about family, memory, and making a new home.

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Al Purdy Was Here (PG, 92 minutes)

Wed. Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m.

Al Purdy Was Here An icon of English Canadian letters, the late Al Purdy was equal parts rock star, raconteur, and rabble rouser — in other words, all poet. Coming to prominence in the 1960s alongside a crop of other extraordinary talents (including Irving Layton, Leonard Cohen, George Bowering, Alden Nowlan, Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood, and Michael Ondaatje), Purdy scorned the tired tales of rural life that had dominated Canadian literature and set out to create a different language, one that came from the contemporary Canadian experience.

Purdy's impact on Canadian culture has now been lovingly detailed in Brian D. Johnson's fine documentary Al Purdy Was Here, which artfully combines archival footage — including some of Purdy's priceless television appearances, where he played the eccentric contrarian with everyone from Adrienne Clarkson to William F. Buckley, Jr. — with readings and reminiscences from friends and colleagues, as well as performances from such musicians as Bruce Cockburn, Tanya Tagaq, and Sarah Harmer, who set Purdy's words to music.

What emerges is a far more complex portrait of Purdy than was suggested by his public persona as the boisterous lover of booze, brawls, and verse, immortalized in his best-known poem "At the Quinte Hotel." While Johnson does not skimp on anecdotes about Al's delightful debauches, the Purdy he presents is a diligent, hard-working writer, and one of the first in English Canada who was actually able to make a living off his work. Underlying the whole of Johnson's affectionate elegy, and investing it with a sense of urgency, is the realization that the fiercely proud cultural nationalism that Purdy embodied has not been seen in Canada for decades — and perhaps never will be again.

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The Second Mother (PG 112 minutes)

Wed. Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.

The Second Mother After leaving her daughter in a small town in Pernambuco to be raised by relatives, Val spends the next 13 years working as a nanny to Fabinho in São Paulo. She has financial stability but has to live with the guilt of having not raised Jessica herself. As Fabinho’s college entrance exams roll around though, her daughter calls and gives her what seems to be a second chance.

Jessica wants to come to São Paulo to take her college entrance exams as well. Filled with joy as well as apprehension, Val gets ready, with the wholehearted support of her employers, for the long-dreamed moment of being near her daughter again. But when Jessica arrives, cohabitation is not easy. She doesn’t behave in conformity to what is expected of her and starts to create tension inside the household. Everyone will be affected by the girl’s personality and candor. And Val finds herself right in the middle, split between the living room and the kitchen, where she will have to find a new way of facing life.

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Carol (PG, 118 minutes)

Wed. Mar. 09, 7:30 p.m.

Carol In an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s seminal novel The Price of Salt, CAROL follows two women from very different backgrounds who find themselves in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York. As conventional norms of the time challenge their undeniable attraction, an honest story emerges to reveal the resilience of the heart in the face of change. A young woman in her 20s, Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), is a clerk working in a Manhattan department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage. As an immediate connection sparks between them, the innocence of their first encounter dims and their connection deepens. While Carol breaks free from the confines of marriage, her husband (Kyle Chandler) begins to question her competence as a mother as her involvement with Therese and close relationship with her best friend Abby (Sarah Paulson) come to light.

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Rams (R, 93 minutes, subtitles)

Wed. Mar. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Rams Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at this year's Cannes festival, Grímur Hákonarson's Rams — a warm, compassionate drama laced with moments of beautifully deadpan comedy — tells the tale of two rival sheep farmers whose decades-long feud is interrupted by an unforeseen event that threatens to destroy centuries of tradition.

Despite the fact that they live on neighbouring farms, Gummi (Sigurdur Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) have not spoken to one another in forty years, their intermittent and grudging communications carried out via letters carried by Kiddi's dog. Their rivalry reaches its height in the valley's annual competition for best ram, which Kiddi has won several times. After once again losing the prize to the boastful, hard-living Kiddi, the stern and solitary Gummi spots a dead sheep in Kiddi's field, and soon begins to notice symptoms of the lethal and highly contagious disease scrapie in his neighbour's flock. Veterinary authorities quickly arrive in the valley and decree drastic measures that may mean disaster for the entire region, and that the two men determine to resist, each in his distinctive way.

With keen observation and gently sardonic humour, Hákonarson offers an understanding yet incisively satirical take on the Icelandic championing of independence and self-reliance, and how those otherwise admirable qualities can turn into isolationism, short-sightedness, and unyielding recalcitrance. Driven by the stellar performances of its two leads, Rams masterfully mixes comedy and heartbreak in its portrait of an ancient, and endangered, way of life.

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Youth (14A, 123 minutes)

Wed. Apr. 13, 7:30 p.m.

Youth A superb follow-up to Paolo Sorrentino's Academy Award-winning The Great Beauty, Youth is set against the magnificent backdrop of the Swiss Alps, in a spa to which several disparate characters have travelled for very different reasons. Fred (Michael Caine), a retired composer and conductor, has been coming to the resort for decades, and has the air of an Englishman at peace with himself. His bosom buddy Mick (Harvey Keitel), an American filmmaker, is at the spa to finish his new screenplay, along with a group of brash young collaborators who bat ideas and dialogue back and forth ceaselessly. As the days pass, the two reflect with humour and wisdom on both past and present, on the ways and wiles of the world. Featuring a magnificent supporting cast that includes Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano and the legendary Jane Fonda, Youth is "Sorrentino's most tender film yet.... an emotionally rich contemplation of life's wisdom gained, lost and remembered". (14A 123 minutes)

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Born To Be Blue (14A, 97 minutes)

Wed. Apr. 27, 7:30 p.m.

Born To Be Blue Ethan Hawke is utterly magnetic as Chet Baker, the legendary trumpeter and singer who, after becoming a jazz icon in the 1950s, became equally famous for his drug addiction. Born to be Blue reimagines Baker's life as a mixture of fact and fiction, picking up his story late in his career when, after years of heroin abuse, financial loss, and public disgrace, he attempts to stage a comeback. Starring in a film about his own infamous life, Baker strikes up a passionate romance on and off the set with Jane (Carmen Ejogo), the actress playing one of his lovers, but his hopes for a bright future are suddenly darkened when he suffers a brutal beating in a parking lot after a gig. The film is shelved, and his mouth so badly damaged that his musical career looks in doubt. With a modified sound, a youthful hunger, and Jane's unflagging support, he becomes determined to regain his place among his peers. Much more than a standard biopic, Born to be Blue takes an imaginative approach true to its subject's own creative nature as it portrays the life of an artist whose contributions to the music world were as grand as his addictions were tragic.

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Mountains May Depart (PG, 125 minutes, sub-titles)

Wed. May 4, 7:30 p.m.

Mountains May Depart Mainland master Jia Zhang-ke scales new heights with Mountains May Depart. At once an intimate drama and a decades-spanning epic that leaps from the recent past to the present to the speculative near-future, Jia's new film is an intensely moving study of how China's economic boom — and the culture of materialism it has spawned — has affected the bonds of family, tradition, and love.

Mountains May Depart opens in 1999 to the strains of the Pet Shop Boys' "Go West," a song whose promise of blue skies captures the dreams of affluence that seized so many Chinese youth at the turn of the century. And it's to the West that small-town dance instructor Shen Tao (played by Jia's muse Zhao Tao) looks when she spurns the shy, introverted labourer Liangzi (Liang Jindong) to marry the slick entrepreneur Zhang (Zhang Yi). The couple soon welcomes a son, whom Zhang names Dollar — though if he could have seen only a few years into the future, he would surely have christened him Renminbi. The chasm between the family's origins and their new life of Western-style wealth grows ever wider as the film leaps ahead to 2014 and finally to 2025, when Dollar is living in Australia and struggling to relearn the mother tongue he has forgotten with the help of an attractive, older college professor (played by the great Sylvia Chang, also at the Festival in Johnnie To's Office and with her own film Murmur of the Hearts), who embodies the culture, life, and love he has never truly known.

Shooting each of the film's three time periods in a different aspect ratio — with the square Academy frame gradually expanding to widescreen — Jia creates a prescient chronicle of his country's path to the future. Lyrical, moving, and dazzlingly ambitious, Mountains May Depart is one of the year's most important films.

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Theeb (PG, 100 minutes, sub-titles)

Wed. May 11, 7:30 p.m.

Theeb Shot entirely on location against the ravishing landscape of Wadi Rum and Wadi Araba, Jordanian director Naji Abu Nowar's award-winning debut feature is a genre-crossing blend of coming-of-age drama and Middle Eastern western. Living in a Bedouin tribe in the harsh desert environment of the Ottoman Empire's Hejaz Province in 1916, the young Theeb (Jacir Eid) is unaware of the tremendous upheavals of the First World War and the incipient Great Arab Revolt. When a British officer stumbles into the tribe's camp, Theeb's elder brother is assigned to guide him to his destination — and Theeb, eager for adventure, follows closely and clandestinely behind.

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TBA

Always more to come!

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-updated 2016-03-05