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Five Decades

Five countries... Five dramas... Five decades... Five films...

Towards the end of Season 2, members were beginning to ask for more. A season of alternative Friday nights was perhaps not sufficient, so it was decided to take a risk and show 5 non-mainstream films with a theme alongside the main season.

For the Five Decades mini-season, we chose five classic films from five great European directors, spanning five countries and five decades.

From the determined climb to the top of a German war bride to a gripping thriller set in Mussolini's Italy; from the defeat of Poland at the end of World War II to the struggles of a novice nun in post-war Spain; and ending in dazzling games of romance in the Rhone valley, there was something for everyone, five wonderful evenings of cinema at its best.

 

Kanal

12 | Poland | 1957 | Polish, German
Drama, War
Director: Andrzej Wajda
Date Shown: Saturday 2 February 2013

Set in September 1944 during the last days of the Warsaw uprising, Andrzej Wajda's gripping drama Kanal tells the story of a group of Polish resistance fighters escaping the final Nazi assault through the city's sewers. Determined to survive, they fight through the labyrinth, piercing the darkness with the strength of their individual spirits.


Viridiana

15 | Spain | 1961 | Spanish
Drama
Director: Luis Bunuel
Date Shown: Saturday 23 February 2013

Banned in Spain and denounced by the Vatican, Luis Bunuel's irreverent vision of life as a beggar's banquet in Viridiana seen by many as his masterpiece. In it, novice nun Viridiana does her utmost to maintain her Catholic principles, but her lecherous uncle and a motley group of paupers force her to confront the limits of her idealism.


The Conformist

15 | Italy | 1970 | Italian, French, Latin, Chinese
Drama
Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Date Shown: Saturday 2 March 2013

Bernardo Bertolucci's finest film, The Conformist, tells of a tormented Italian intellectual marrying a mindless beauty and setting out to be the perfect fascist. To assuage the guilt arising from his latent homosexuality and his father's insanity, he volunteers as an assassin for Mussolini's secret police and partakes in a dazzling mix of art, romance, and violence?


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The Marriage of Maria Braun

15 | Germany | 1979 | German, English
Drama
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Date Shown: Saturday 16 March 2013

The gripping tale of a wartime bride exploiting every opportunity to improve her lot, The Marriage of Maria Braun was the film that made director Rainer Werner Fassbinder as international star. His "German Hollywood" style combines drama, colour, powerful characters, and an incisive view of the post-war economic miracle.


Autumn Tale

U | France | 1998 | French
Drama, Romance
Director: Eric Rohmer
Date Shown: Saturday 23 March 2013

Tale of Autumn is a story of romance and matchmaking amongst the middle-aged in the Rhone Valley. Friends plot to pair-off a widowed vintner with a friendly businessman while her son's girlfriend schemes to introduce her to a high-school philosophy teacher. As usual in an Eric Rohmer film, the soul-searching is exquisite, sensual and civilized.