What's on at Arts Picturehouse Cambridge - Big Scream
Director: Víctor Erice. Starring: Omero Antonutti, Sonsoles Aranguren, Icíar Bollaín. Spain/France 1983. 95 mins. Spanish with English subtitles.
One of the greatest of all Spanish films, Victor Erice’s spellbinding follow-up to The Spirit of the Beehive has been little seen since its original release. Growing up in the 1950s in a small Northern town, Estrella feels a strong affinity with her sensitive, talented father who was raised in Andalusia but left for mysterious reasons which she suspects may be connected with the Spanish Civil War. Disturbed and intrigued by his strange moods and unexplained absences, she attempts – maybe unwisely – to uncover the secrets he keeps so carefully hidden. Exquisitely shot, with a haunting use of music and subtly compelling performances, El Sur reminds us how hard it is truly to know our parents, however close our bond with them may be."95 minutes of emotions so intense that you’re left breathless" Pedro Almodóvar
Voices: Jim Broadbent, Brenda Blethyn, Luke Treadaway. UK 2016. TBC mins.
Raymond Briggs, beloved children’s author-illustrator of The Snowman and Fungus The Bogeyman, also won 1999’s Best Illustrated Book Of The Year with a rather more grown-up graphic novel telling the story of his parents, the titular Ethel and Ernest. That story is now an entrancing hand-drawn animation. Ethel (Blethyn) was a lady’s maid in the 1920s whose middle-class ambitions were somewhat tempered by Ernest (Broadbent), the milkman and committed socialist she married before becoming a suburban housewife and mother to Raymond (Treadaway). As they live through the Great Depression, World War II and the birth of television, the family experience hardship, change and a great mutual fondness. It’s all beautifully realised by Mainwood’s team, which includes London-based Lupus Films, who also worked on Briggs’s The Snowman And The Snowdog.
Director: Ken Loach.
Starring: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires. UK 2016. TBC mins
A searing indictment of the state of the British welfare system, this film is a passionate plea for social justice, bearing all the hallmarks of its thoughtful, highly political director.
Daniel (Johns) is a friendly 59-year-old joiner who is unable to work due to bad health. However the Department of Work and Pensions overrides the doctor’s report and refuses to award benefits. Daniel must be seen to look for a job although, on doctor’s orders, he cannot accept any work. It’s an absurd predicament that reaches Kafkaesque proportions as the hero becomes buried in red tape and jobsworth employees. As characters try to help each other despite their own troubles, Loach also offers humour and hope.
The film received the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and more awards seem certain for this compelling drama from a seminal director.