Newsletter – 3 January 2020

Future of ABCD

Because of the uncertainty about our future, the brochure issued last October listed only films to be screened in 2019 plus the Silent scheduled for March 5th 2020. The revised programme of films for 2020, in our present guise, is given below and confirms the announcements already made.

Following a series of discussions with Ian and Sue Wiper, managers of the Abbey Cinema in Abingdon, the Society hopes to form a mutually beneficial arrangement with them and to relocate to a purpose fitted space on their premises round about Easter time.

Your (much reduced) Committee continues to try and function, with the essential roles of Secretary and Treasurer still vacant. We appeal once more to members to step forward and offer what help you can, as our ability to continue remains uncertain with so few active members

Programme for 2020

We shall continue screenings at the Health and Wellbeing Centre on the first Thursday of each month  up to Easter, starting at 7.45pm (or as otherwise noted).

Thursday January 9th:  HAPPY AS LAZZARO (Italy, 2018, 120mins, Cert 12A)

Rated as one of Sight&Sound’s best films of 2019, Happy as Lazzaro, from director Alice Rohrwacher (The Wonders, 2014), weaves a tale about modern-day exploitation bordering on slavery, here set in a seemingly rural idyll on an Italian tobacco plantation. To amplify the reality of slavery down the ages, where the idyllic beauty of the fields masks a life of endless toil, Rohrwacher gives only hints as to the period wherein the story is set. Triggered by a few clues in the opening section of the film, it soon becomes clear that this is a modern story, where the unscrupulous aristocratic landowner, Marchese Alfonsina de Luna, has contrived to keep her workers in ignorance as indentured servants and prevent them from being able to escape from her feudal control.

Using elements of magical realism in the film, Rohrwacher’s true aim is to portray the strength of the human spirit in its pure form while being subjected to malign and cynical influences.  

Happy as Lazzaro demonstrates the writer-director’s ability to combine, convincingly and charmingly, an aesthetic which is firmly in the tradition of neorealism with elements of a peculiarly Italianfabulism” Geoff Andrew, Sight&Sound

Thursday February 6th:  SORRY WE MISSED YOU (Britain, 2019, 91mins, Cert 15)

Director Ken Loach and his long-time writer Paul Laverty once again turn their gaze onto the policies of austerity and how they have affected ordinary working people in last decade. Sorry We Missed You focuses on one such Newcastle family, where the father, Ricky, has to work in the ‘gig’ economy as a self employed van driver for a large distribution franchise. His wife, Abby, is an essential worker in the care system on a zero-hours contract: they have two school-age children. Loach, without any sentimentality, portrays a scenario currently widespread across Britain, where the so-called ‘working poor’ struggle to survive without proper job security. An ensemble cast delivers the naturalistic performances so characteristic of Loach’s narratives.    

“Loach does what he does best in this persuasive, affecting drama about a couple ground down by zero-hours contracts, where humour and honesty keep sentimentality at bay”

Geoff Andrew, Sight&Sound

Thursday March 5th:  DIE PUPPE (The Doll) (Germany, 1919, 64mins, Cert U)

Start time: 7.30pm

As noted in last October’s brochure, we continue our annual tradition of screening a silent classic at St. Nicolas’ church, Market Place, Abingdon, with piano accompaniment by Andrew Youdell of the National Film Theatre – and long-time friend of ABCD.

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch, Die Puppe is the comedic story of Baron of Chanterelle’s determination to find a suitable wife for his shy nephew Lancelot, in order to continue the family line. Lancelot finds himself enthusiastically pursued by all the eligible local village girls until finally Hilarius, a local doll maker, is called upon to assist. However, his daughter Ossi is the only one that Lancelot has eyes for.

Thursday April 2nd:  LES PARAPLUIES de CHERBOURG (France, 1964, 91mins, Cert A)

Doors open: 7.00pm for 7.45pm screening 

Our annual joint presentation with the Abingdon & District Twin Towns Society for this bring-and- share social event, with a cheese and light refreshment buffet.            Voluntary contributions to cover our costs, please

As a follow-up to the Ann Miller event last October, when she introduced Agnes Varda’s film Jacquot de Nantes, a loving tribute to her late husband Jacques Demy, we now present his classic film Les Parapluies de Cherbourg

This delightful, magical and elegantly choreographed musical, with music by renowned composer Michel Legrand (who died a year ago), tells the story of the beautiful, pregnant and impoverished Genevieve (Catherine Deneuve) whose mother owns a local umbrella shop. When Genevieve’s     adored suitor, a car mechanic, is posted to Algiers for military service, her mother sets about introducing her to a more suitable, and wealthy, beau. 

“Catherine Deneuve brings an unworldly, subtly erotic charm to Jacques Demy’s re-released pastel rainbow of a musical” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Full/One Week Membership 

Note: Full members have already paid for the Silent event on March 5th in their 2019/2020 subscription. At the first screening on January 9th, they can sign up for the other three 2020 events (January 9th, February 6th and April 2nd) at a cost of £9.00 in total.

Otherwise, one-week members/guests can ‘pay-as-you-go’ at £6.00 per screening

For reasons indicated above, no other membership deals can be offered during this interim period