Newsletter – 27 February 2018

Our final four screenings of the season

March sees the last four events of our 2018/9 season. Eclectic is the word that best describes our annual programme of films; and these four illustrate that quite strikingly. Of course, with only 22 film evenings available to us, there are many films and types of film that we have not been able to include, but for a local film society we feel we provide quite a decent range of material that complements well what our local mainstream cinemas offer.

This Thursday we are showing Closely Observed Trains, which won the best foreign language Oscar in 1967. It’s one of ’10 Essential Films From The Czech New Wave’, on the Taste of Cinema website, who write: “The film’s theme can be summed up as bumbling innocence leading to unexpected heroism. Centering around an oblivious railroad apprentice working at a village station during Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, who wishes for little else than to lose his virginity at the start of the film, it follows his progression to take a role in the resistance … . The tone is wry, witty, with its depth coming through the cracks.” (

On March 8 we screen Shooting Stars, our annual silent. Made in 1927 by Anthony Asquith (1902-1968), son of Herbert Asquith. He is buried in Sutton Courtenay, which means that we will have featured work by film makers with local connections twice in three weeks. (Ian Wiblin is the other one). Shooting Stars, a witty and tense film, will be accompanied on the piano by Andrew Youdell. Please note the following:

The venue for this event is St Nicolas’ Church, Market Place, Abingdon and the start time will be 19.30. Do feel free to bring guests.

Our penultimate film is the 1967 US-made In the Heat of the Night. It had a huge impact at the time, both because of fine acting performances by Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger, but also because the grotesque racism endemic in the southern states of the USA was being bravely resisted by its victims at that time.

Our final film on Mar 22 is by our standards at least bang up-to-date, having come out in the UK last May. Frantz is directed by François Ozon, who, as Geoffrey Macnab pointed out in his Independent review, “early in his career, was one of the flashiest, most irreverent young directors in French cinema, continually changing style and often seeking to outrage or provoke audiences. His latest feature Frantz is one of his very best –but also one of the least characteristic. It’s a subtle, beautifully observed and very restrained melodrama …” .( In recent years it’s become our practice to present our final film jointly with the Abingdon twinners. Frantz seems particularly appropriate because of its WW1 aftermath storyline – an aftermath that is only very slowly ebbing away and still affecting all the combattant countries.

We always mark the end of our season with a convivial cheese and wine party. We provide the food and soft drinks, but as we have no drinks licence, you should bring your own wine, but not drinking vessels. Timings are as follows:

  • Doors open at 19.00
  • Cheese and wine begins at 19.10
  • Film starts at 19.45 pm (or soon afterwards)
  • and ends soon after 21.50 pm, with tea and coffee available.

Do bring guests–normal admission charges apply. All attendees will be asked to make a contribution to the cost of the food and drink provided. As ever, we aim just to cover the costs.

Please note we will be holding our members’ meeting on Thursday May 10. We hope to present you with our thinking about next season’s films and events, but all will not yet be set in concrete, so your comments could have an influence on the final outcome. There will be a reminder newsletter early in May.

In our last newsletter we mentioned and recommended ‘Eisenstein – the shape shifting genius‘ at Stonehill House, just south of Abingdon, on March 10. The session will be given by ABCD’s great friend, Prof. Ian Christie. Anthea Norman-Taylor, the organiser, has told us that there are still places available, so it’s not too late to book. For further information:

Next newsletter is planned for early May.