Film Society Selection
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Tickets £8.60, SHP members £7.00.
BFS members (BFS shows only) £6.60. You may have to show a BFS membership card. Concessions £7.60. SHP make an additional £0.70 charge when paying by credit card. Reserving a ticket by phone, expect to pay by cash at the box office 30 minutes prior to show time.
12th December 7.30pm
to be confirmed
Film Festival 2017
People's Choice Award Best Narrative Feature
Deftly constructed, fast-moving and deliciously barbed SIGHT&SOUND
Plus short film
If the Cuckoo Don't
Director: Steve Kirby, UK, 2015, 107 seconds
Brian from Melton recounts how his mother predicted Britain's Great Storm of 1987, but when she
phoned the BBC, she was told not to be so daft
Unassuming and old-fashioned funny entertainment isnt exactly what we associate with this film-maker, but thats what she has very satisfyingly served up here. Its not especially resonant or profound but it is observant and smart, with some big laughs in the dialogue. The whole thing is enjoyably absurd though not precisely absurdist.
The Party is like a kind of one-act play by Simon Gray or Anthony Schaffer, which might be produced on stage as the second half of a double-bill with an early piece by Stoppard before the interval, perhaps so that the evening can end on a heartstoppingly loud gunshot before the curtain call.
The party in question is a small, select soiree held in a book-lined London townhouse owned by Janet, a cabinet politician played by Kristin Scott Thomas, and her academic classicist husband Bill (Timothy Spall). We are firmly in the realm of elites and experts. The celebration is in aid of Janet getting the prestigious job of health minister a stepping stone on the way to party leader and prime minister. She is on the verge of greatness.
include Tom (Cillian Murphy), a smooth, well-dressed banker who keeps
sweating, sniffing and running off to the bathroom. He has been assisting
Janet with private-sector partnership initiatives. (Her party leader
is therefore not Jeremy Corbyn ... but could be Theresa May). Janets
old friend Jenny, wittily played by Patricia Clarkson, shows up with
her insufferable new-agey boyfriend Gottfried (Bruno Ganz). And an
old university contemporary of Bills, Martha (Cherry Jones),
is there with her pregnant partner Jinny (Emily Mortimer).
Perhaps it is possible to write a movie or play set at a party in which festering secrets do not rise to the surface, do not explode, do not leave the guests stunned with the knowledge that after this catharsis things can never be the same.
Not here. The party is simmering with repression. As she puts together canapés in the kitchen, Janet is giggling over racy texts from a secret lover. Bill looks stunned, almost catatonic, playing loud records as if in a world of his own. Martha and Jinny have issues they havent quite come to terms with and Tom has brought a certain something to the party that we are to see in Janets vengeful hand in the flashforward instant that starts the film.
It all kicks off mightily. People make personal announcements of the sort that punctuate parties in films, which are then superseded by other announcements unexpected and unwelcome. There are rows. People get slapped and punched. Someone lies catatonic on the ground, bringing to the proceedings a touch of Ortonesque black-comic panic. It is pure farce, but at its centre, Scott Thomass drawn, wan poise keeps things from accelerating out of control.
admirable discipline, Potter keeps the running time within strict
bounds. Like the best sort of party guest, it doesnt outstay