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The Films

2014 Winter Schedule

Jan 8 Haute Cuisine
Jan 22 Gabrielle
Feb 5 Watermark
Feb 19 Inside Llewyn Davis
Mar 5 The Past
Mar 19 The Great Beauty
Apr 9 Gloria
Apr 23 The Lunchbox
May 7 Like Father, Like Son
May 14 TBA
TBA Always much more coming!

Welcome!

Screening times are the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month (usually - check the schedule), 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 $8.00 (cash only; exact change is appreciated because that makes sales proceed quickly/smoothly). We are not equipped for debit/credit cards.

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The Films

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Haute Cuisine (sub-titles)

Wed. Jan. 8th, 7:30 p.m., Galaxy Theatre

Haute Cuisine A box-office smash in France, Haute Cuisine will appeal instantly to anyone interested in its succulent subject: perfectly prepared French food. Based on a true story, Christian Vincent’s charming and inspirational comedy is both an homage to the traditions of French cookery, and a sharp-eyed commentary on social hierarchy in contemporary France.

Hortense Laborie (Catherine Frot), a 50-year-old cook from the Périgord region—the cradle of French gastronomy—is astonished when she’s hired as the personal chef of the President of the French Republic (Jean d’Ormesson), who is hankering after the traditional regional cuisine he knew as a child. Whisked away from her modest restaurant to the lavish halls of the Élysée Palace, Hortense draws on traditional and secret family recipes to bring her presidential patron “the best of France.” But Hortense’s culinary challenges are nothing compared to the social obstacles she encounters from the president’s stuffy bureaucracy and the hidebound conservatism of the Élysée kitchen staff. Forced to navigate the bewildering worlds of social and political etiquette, the hard-driving Hortense pushes back against the system, unafraid of potential faux pas.

Frot carries the film with all her usual charm, quick wit, and tart and clever delivery, but the real star of Haute Cuisine is the cuisine itself, presented lavishly in mouthwatering close-ups. (Who needs 3D?) A bona fide crowd-pleaser and a gourmand’s dream, Haute Cuisine salutes tradition while also speaking to the need to give that tradition new roots.

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Gabrielle (sub-titles)

Wed. Jan. 22nd, 7:30 p.m., Galaxy Theatre

Gabrielle Louise Archambault's smart and refreshing debut feature Familia marked the arrival of an extraordinary new talent in Canadian film. Delivering on the promise of her earlier work, Gabrielle is a stunning, tender film about a developmentally challenged young woman's quest for independence and sexual freedom.

Living in a group home, musically talented Gabrielle has found love in Martin, a fellow member in a choir for developmentally disabled adults. Gabrielle (Gabrielle Marion-Rivard) and Martin (Alexandre Landry) want to explore their feelings for one another physically, but are not allowed. Convinced that living alone will allow her to have the intimate relationship she so desperately craves, Gabrielle tries valiantly to prove she can be independent.

As she did with Familia — which won Best Canadian First Feature at the Festival — Archambault displays her keen ability to distill the emotional currents of families at a crossroads. Gabrielle's rock is her sister Sophie (Mélissa Désormeaux- Poulin) who tries to help her but knows full independence will never be possible. Meanwhile, Sophie is facing her own life-altering decision. Unlike the fraught relationship the women have with their mother, Sophie and Gabrielle find immeasurable strength and inspiration in each other.

At the core of this film is the heartfelt performance by Marion-Rivard (who has Williams syndrome in real life). Gabrielle's effusive giddiness is contagious, her drive unrelenting. As the choir works towards its big performance with Quebec music legend Robert Charlebois, this turbulent, moving journey is furthered by Mathieu Laverdière's ethereal cinematography. Produced by the team behind Academy Award-nominated Incendies and Monsieur Lazhar, Gabrielle is a captivating film about tolerance and finding happiness, but, above all, it is a story of love.

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WaterMark

Wed. Feb. 5th, 7:30 p.m., Galaxy Theatre

Water Mark A film of astonishing beauty and perspective, Watermark reunites award-winning documentary filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal with acclaimed environmental photographer Edward Burtynsky. While Manufactured Landscapes, their last project together, examined large-scale industrial terrain, Watermark follows Burtynsky's global photographic exploration of our most vital and compromised resource: water.

Transporting us all over the world, Watermark reveals the extent to which humanity has shaped water, and how it has shaped us. In California, the vast, manmade All-American Canal diverts water from the Colorado River to urban centres. In India, the mass Hindu pilgrimage called the Kumbh Mela sees thirty million worshippers bathe in the sacred river at Allahabad in a single day. The images are incredible, taking something as commonplace as water and capturing it in curiously beautiful ways. Tributaries of the dried-up Colorado River look like stunning woodcuts of snow-covered trees, while the Xiluodu Dam release in China is reminiscent of Victorian painter J.M.W. Turner's representation of natural forces.

Expanding on Burtynsky's photography, the film presents compelling first-hand accounts of how humanity has impacted water. It also captures the mesmerizing movement of water with aerial perspectives that allow us to witness the scale of what is before us.

Avoiding didacticism, Baichwal and Burtynsky explore human reverence of water in its natural state, and the massive impact of human intervention in its lifecycles. Part wonder, part lament, Watermark is a poetic and thought-provoking reflection on this most precious resource.

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Inside Llewyn Davis

Wed. Feb. 19th, 7:30 p.m., Galaxy Theatre

Inside Llewyn Davis Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Inside Llewyn Davis recounts a desolate week in the life of a fctional folk musician in early 1960s New York.  Brilliantly written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen (O Brother Where Art Thou?, The Big Lebowski), the flm is a humorous, heartfelt, and bittersweet ode to squandered opportunities, thwarted ambition, and unsung genius. 

A gorgeous opening scene in Greenwich Village’s Gaslight Café introduces us to Llewyn Davis (a delightfully rumpled and bearded Oscar Isaac; Drive, W.E.) as he sings a bleak but beautiful song called “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me.”  Llewyn has been attempting a solo career, having just split from his performing partner, but despite his extraordinary talent and good looks, he just can’t seem to catch a break. Desperately low on money, he tramps the cold streets of New York, guitar in hand, playing only the tiniest of gigs. He is essentially living a transient existence, bouncing from apartment to apartment and crashing on the couches of anyone who will have him—and some who won’t.  With his music career stalled, Llewyn has reached a personal cross-roads and is unsure whether to continue in a world that doesn’t seem ready for what his songs have to say.

Loosely inspired by the life and music of iconic Greenwich Village folk musician Dave Van Ronk and his memoir The Mayor of MacDougal StreetInside Llewyn Davis perfectly captures the atmosphere of the sixties folk boom through its resonant soundtrack (curated by T-Bone Burnett), exquisite production design and cinematography. Isaac gives a mesmerizing performance in the lead, sufusing his troubled troubadour with both easy charm and subdued anger. Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby, An Education) stands out in her supporting role as an irascible and foul-mouthed fellow folk musician who may or may not be pregnant with Llewyn’s child. 

Moving and mordantly funny, Inside Llewyn Davis shows the Coen Brothers at the top of their game.

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The Past (sub-titles)

Wed. Mar. 5th, 7:30 p.m., Galaxy Theatre

The Past The winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film with 2011's A Separation, Asghar Farhadi returns with a film that's recognizable but also quite different. The similarities are many: a couple in conflict, the role of children in this conflict, an interest in class, and a reliance on conversations to examine ethical dilemmas arising from the situation. The setting has been moved from Tehran to Paris, although, under Farhadi's gaze, France has never looked so much like Iran. And the interchanges that defined his earlier film have become even more intricate and maze-like in Le Passé.

The story circles around Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), who travels to Paris from Tehran to finalize his divorce from his French wife, Marie (Bérénice Bejo), after a period of separation. Their beautifully depicted greeting at the airport soon gives way, however, to constant bickering and disagreements, as Ahmad finds that life can never be entirely compartmentalized. No matter how much he tries to remain apart from it all, events conspire to drag him into a series of new emotional involvements. As he discovers that his ex is about to remarry, and that her daughter vehemently objects to this new liaison, Ahmad is gradually drawn into their lives anew. Farhadi places this tale of emotional failures and marital collapse against a very specific socio-economic background: the immigrant community struggling to survive in a foreign country. As he peels the various layers away from his story, we are astonished at the strong interconnections he makes between his characters. Life runs deep.

Exquisitely written, the film is also acted by a note-perfect cast. (Bejo's performance won her the Best Actress award this year at Cannes.) With Le Passé, Farhadi has proven once again that he is a master at exploring the rich nuances of feelings and words that pass between couples and their children.

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The Great Beauty (sub-titles)

Wed. Mar. 19th, 7:30 p.m., Galaxy Theatre

The Great Beauty Paolo Sorrentino's work becomes freer and more daring with each film he makes. Il Divo, his brilliant, kaleidoscopic portrait of the politician Giulio Andreotti, and This Must Be the Place, a film about a man roaming the world in search of his past, were bold, individualistic pieces of cinema. From the striking opening shot of his new film — a shell being blasted from a cannon, followed by the party of all parties set above Rome's Colosseum — we know we are in for a special ride. Sorrentino's subject extends well beyond the crisis his sixty-five-year-old protagonist is undergoing, for The Great Beauty is determined to look into the very soul of Italy.

Concentrating on world-weary journalist Jep Gambardella as his cipher and muse, Sorrentino scrapes away the veneer of this character to explore his disappointments, not just as a failed novelist who never married and has no children, but also as a man who has surrendered to cynicism. Whilst remembering moments of purity in his past, he also admits to the compromises he has made and the emptiness that surrounds him.

Compulsive partying, shallow conversations, and casual sex keep the void at bay, but Jep is too sensitive to his plight to enjoy these diversions without self-awareness. As Sorrentino's camera moves through a nocturnal Rome, after the parties and the conversations are over, it settles on the timeless beauty of the city's monuments and statues, which act as wordless reminders of a different kind of past. The Great Beauty is a grand indictment of a man, and a society, that has lost its way. Toni Servillo, as always, dazzles in the lead role, serving Sorrentino's grandly ambitious vision perfectly.

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Gloria (sub-titles)

Wed. Apr. 9th, 7:30 p.m., Galaxy Theatre

Gloria Gloria Cumplido (Paulina García) is in her late fifties and lives on her own. Divorced for more than twelve years, she has two grown children and a toddler grandson. While she loves her family, she is not ready to move into full-time grand-parenting. She is smart, savvy, and vivacious. Behind her coquettish demeanour and her oversized glasses is a woman who doesn't want to settle into a tepid relationship she's supposed to be grateful for. She wants a real romance, ideally with a partner who loves to dance. At night, Gloria visits her favourite clubs, filled with other middle-aged singles grooving on the dance floor. When she meets the recently separated Rodolfo (Sergio Hernández), it seems that she has found one last chance at love.

Brilliantly scripted and energized by a keen sense for music, Sebastián Lelio's fourth feature sensitively portrays a woman facing the reality of aging. Bubbly and exuberant, Gloria is unwilling to compromise in affairs of the heart. García, who won a Silver Bear at Berlin for her performance, is breathtaking as the singular Gloria; the camera never leaves her, as she perfectly transmits the world from the character's unique, often hilarious perspective.

Lelio's latest slowly captivates the audience as we accompany its title character on her search for love and adventure. Despite her missteps, Gloria always maintains her dignity — one can't help but cheer her on. Most rewarding is rediscovering along with Gloria that, while couples dancing is nice, there is nothing quite as liberating and fulfilling as learning to dance on one's own.

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The Lunchbox (sub-titles)

Wed. Apr. 23rd, 7:30 p.m., Galaxy Theatre

The Lunchbox Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire) stars alongside the radiant Nimrat Kaur in Ritesh Batra's delightful feature debut, in which a mistaken lunchbox delivery paves the way for an unlikely romance. In Mumbai, home to over 18 million people, more than 5,000 famously efficient dabbawallas — lunchbox couriers — navigate chaotic streets to deliver lunches, lovingly prepared by housewives, to working men across the city.

Ila (Kaur) is a housewife living in a middle- class neighbourhood with a husband who ignores her. Saajan (Khan) is a beaten down widower about to retire from his number-crunching job. After Ila realizes that Saajan is receiving the meals meant for her husband, the two begin sending each other letters through the lunchbox.

What starts as an innocent exchange about Ila's cooking gently develops into something more. Outside the space of their daily lives, both Ila and Saajan feel free to express themselves in new ways, leading them both to question how they might find happiness.

Batra's The Lunchbox paints a nuanced portrait of life in contemporary Mumbai, effortlessly weaving themes of gender values, social class, and generational differences into its core love story. Batra's beautifully penned characters — including Aslam (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), the eager trainee preparing to take over Saajan's job — and gentle, precise direction simply envelope you.

Whether it's the cooking of a meal, the reading of a letter, or the riding of a crowded train, the film's small moments culminate in big impact. In a word: enchanting.

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Like Father, Like Son (sub-titles)

Wed. May 7th, 7:30 p.m., Galaxy Theatre

Like Father, Like Son Acclaimed Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-Eda took home the Jury Prize at Cannes for this poignant film that explores the age-old debate of nature versus nurture. Like Father, Like Son tells the heart-wrenching story of two sets of parents whose worlds are turned upside down when they learn that their six-year-old sons were switched at birth.

Ryota and Midori Nonomiya live with their only child, Keita, in a modern Tokyo high-rise. Ryota is an ambitious architect who puts in long hours climbing the corporate ladder. Midori is a loving, if docile, stay-at-home mother who carefully monitors Keita's academic and cultural education. After discovering the truth about their son, the Nonomiyas suddenly find their lives populated with a whole new cast of characters. Their birth-son, Ryusei, is being raised by the easygoing Yudai and Yukari Saiki. In stark contrast to the Nonomiyas, the Saikis and their three children live in a modest apartment above the family's appliance shop outside the city. While Keita practices piano before bedtime, Ryusei plays in the bath with his siblings and watches his father tinker with his toys. Both couples are hesitant to force an abrupt environmental and emotional change on their families, but soon engage in socialization, including swapping boys on weekends.

Like the work of a seasoned symphony conductor, Kore-Eda's direction is at once gentle and powerful, favouring small, tender moments over a single dramatic incident. Japanese pop star Masaharu Fukuyama delivers a moving performance as the reserved Ryota, whose soul searching about what it means to be a father lies at the heart of the film. Although framed in a Japanese cultural context, the questions Kore-Eda poses around parenthood and lifestyle choices are universal. Like Father, Like Son reminds us that any definition of family needs to be constructed around unconditional love, first and foremost.

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TBA

Wed. May 14th, 7:30 p.m., Galaxy Theatre

TBA

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TBA

Always more to come!

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