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Wellington Film Society - new season starts tonight

By March 7, 20114 Comments

Wellington Film Society opens tonight? You don’t say!”

All over the world it is volun­teer organ­isa­tions like the Wellington Film Society that keep the flame of film art alive so that cinephili­acs like me can get a decent pal­ate cleanser every Monday night after a week­end of Hollywood tosh.

I can’t recom­mend Society mem­ber­ship highly enough. Your mem­ber­ship fee equates to around three bucks a screen­ing (33 Mondays!) and your mem­ber­ship gets you enough dis­counts (at the Film Festival and par­ti­cip­at­ing cinemas) that it doesn’t take long to pay for itself.

This year’s pro­gramme has many high­lights. The French and German sea­sons (sup­por­ted by the French Embassy and the Goethe Institute respect­ively) are always inter­est­ing. This year: a trib­ute to the lumin­ous movie star Isabelle Huppert and a couple of clas­sic crime flicks; three east German doc­u­ment­ar­ies as well as a chance to see two very early German pro­duc­tions by the great Hollywood styl­ist Ernst Lubitsch (his clas­sic The Shop Around the Corner, which was remade in 1998 as You’ve Got Mail, also screens).

There are oppor­tun­it­ies to see some recent clas­sics on the big screen once again: Terrence Malick’s The New World didn’t even get a cinema release in NZ and has found a repu­ta­tion only on home video; Sokurov’s spec­tac­u­lar Russian Ark is a must-see; Sotishi’s anim­ated psy­cho­drama Millennium Actress; Barry Barclay’s Ngati – the list goes on.

And of course there are the big screen mas­ter­pieces – this year we have Rossellini’s Journey in Italy star­ring Ingrid Bergman, the Japanese clas­sic Sansho the Bailiff and the irre­press­ible Singin’ in the Rain – argu­ably the most joy­ous 103 minutes ever com­mit­ted to celluloid.

The first screen­ing is tonight – a sneak pre­view of the new Bill Murray/Robert Duvall com­edy Get Low – and hence­for­ward every Monday until November 28 (inter­rup­ted only by pub­lic hol­i­days and oth­er festivals).

While I’m encour­aging you to start organ­ising your diar­ies it is worth not­ing that, due to the Rugby World Cup and the accom­pa­ny­ing changes to school hol­i­days, this year’s Wellington Film Festival is two weeks later than usu­al: July 29 to August 14. Book that annu­al leave now.

Printed (in short­er form) in Wellington’s Capital Times on Wednesday 9 March, 2011.


  • mafalda says:

    What did you think of Get Low? It did­n’t impress me, but Robert Duvall cer­tainly shines. 

    Looking for­ward to see Isabelle Huppert’s movies. I adore her ‑spe­cially when dir­ec­ted by M. Haneke.

    • Dan says:

      I have to review Get Low later but my first thoughts were that Murray, Duvall and Lucas Black were great (and Cobbs) and the script gave them plenty toto work with – which was what it needed to do.

      The film looked good through the new Paramount pro­ject­ors but second half was a little out of focus, I thought.

  • mafalda says:

    Are you going to review Malick’s A new world? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

    • Dan says:

      Super-busy at the moment. I do want to talk about The New World but I think I’m going to wait until I’ve seen the Director’s Cut which is 40-odd minutes longer than the one we saw on Monday.

      That one seemed (as it did to me at the Festival in 07?) a little rushed at the end and a little dis­join­ted. I’m hop­ing that Malick’s ver­sion fixes those problems.

      Stone cold mas­ter­piece, all the same.