As we embark on the second half of the 2017-8 season, we send you our best wishes for the New Year and urge you to come to as many of our screenings as you can manage between now and late March. The remaining films and events surely encapsulate what ABCD aims to be – a place where you can see a very wide range of cinema and where you can reasonably expect to be stimulated emotionally, intellectually and funnybone-wise, not infrequently all at once.
Let’s start with the humour. What could be more amusing than the threat of nuclear annihilation? You’ll find that even harder to answer when you’ve seen Peter Sellers in Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove this Thursday (Jan 4). Then there’s Force Majeure, an acerbic Nordic production that takes a scalpel to some of the illusions of family life; and Taxi Tehran (made by Jafar Panahi, whose Offside we showed two years ago) in which the words and styles of a range of Iranians inside the titular conveyance will prompt some quiet smiles, along with thoughts about the complexity of that society. Closely Observed Trains is one of the films most frequently requested by ABCD members. Set in Czechslovakia during WW2, it is seriously funny – and touching.
There are four special events. On January 18, we show Truffaut’s Les Quatre Cent Coups (The 400 Blows), arguably the best known French film of the post-war era. It will be introduced by Ann Miller, who has visited us many times. After almost 60 years it holds up very well. The View From Our House (Feb 22) is an engrossing documentary or ‘film essay’ which will be introduced and discussed by its makers, one of whom hails from Abingdon and recalls seeing Pasolini’s The Canterbury Tales at ABCD in the late 1970s.
Shooting Stars (Mar 8) is a very sharp comedy drama set in a film studio, and will be accompanied on piano by Andrew Youdell on what has become his annual visit to ABCD. It was made by a local lad, Anthony Asquith, who went on to make many famous British films. The last special event (Mar 22) is a brilliant film, Frantz, by François Ozon set in both France and Germany in the immediate aftermath of WW1. Jointly presented with Abingdon and District Twin Towns Society, there will be refreshments beforehand.
The committee has not yet decided whether to add a film on Feb 15. If we do, it may well be a sequence of short archive films in the BFI’s Britain On Film: Black Britain On Film, which would complement our screening of In The Heat Of The Night with Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger, whose subject matter seems to have become more urgent in the last year or two. You can find out about this package by visiting: www.independentcinemaoffice.org.uk/films/britainonfilmblackbritain?c=9823
A new development in Abingdon which deserves to be warmly welcomed is The Unicorn Cinema which has opened in the last few days (https://theunicorn.ac/web). It will provide a service to the town that has long been lacking. May it last as long as ABCD has. Its programming will of course be rather different from ours, but complementary. Are we a cinema? Well, Film Hub South East, a BFI supported organisation, lists us as such.
Finally, you may have noticed that this newsletter has not pressed you to bring guests to our screenings. But our forbearance has its limits: Please do bring guests and get people interested in what we do.
P.S. We’ve just had this message from the Oxford-Perm Association, that you might well be interested to read:
I would be very grateful if you could let your members know about these two film events, organised by the Oxford-Perm Association for Jan 11th and Jan 14th.
The Oxford-Perm Association supports links with Oxford’s Twin City in Russia; Perm. At the Association’s invitation the curator of the Flahertiana Film Festival in Perm, Vladimir Beresnev, will be in Oxford from the 10th to 15th January and will introduce a total of four documentary films.
On Jan 11th at 6pm, free of charge at St. Antony’s college , will be “Overdrive” about Russian air force pilots’ conflicted loyalties in the Crimea and Donbass conflicts and “Fellow Countryman” – an observation of an African man from Mali who realised his dream to settle in the USSR.
On Jan 14th at 4pm at Rewley House, Wellington Square Oxford will be “Strange Work /It’s not my job” about a migrant in Moscow trying to make his way and Third Class Travel, a series of conversations between long-distance travellers on the Trans-Siberian.
The screening on Jan 14th is ticketed at £8/head . Tickets can be purchased in advance through the eventbrite website,
Details of the films are on the Eventbrite website:
The films are available for other screenings. Please contact me if you wish to include them in your programme for 2018.
Oxford Perm Association
Tel 07710 592 576