Do you enjoy watching movies? Do you find discussing movies adds to your enjoyment? Do you find that you can better understand a movie by hearing and sharing thoughts about the movie? Then come along to our Film and Literature class.
In the class we discuss a movie we have watched, treating the movie as a form of literature.
In 2019 we will be attending current movies chosen from BPACC’s program at a time which suits our individual commitments.
A ‘Movie Money’ voucher from BPACC will enable group members to watch each movie at a cost of $9.50.
We will then catch up at the library or one of Benalla’s wonderful coffee shops at 1:30pm on the second Wednesday of the month to discuss the movie.
We spent our final session for the year discussing movies we had seen. Each member had an opportunity to talk about movies they liked or was memorable in some way. The majority were movies watched during the year, although there was mention of movies from the past. We covered a wide range of movies from The Leisure Seekers, which was appreciated by many who had seen it to the recent release of Halloween (a bit of a nothing movie). One of our members talked about the recent release of A Star is Born, with some comparison with previous releases of the same movie.
For 2019 we will be focussing on movies being screened at BPACC, and then meeting on the second Wednesday at a café to discuss the movie. The first movie for the year will be a remake of the movie Storm Boy which will be screened at BPACC from the end of January. We will then be meeting at 1:30 on the 2nd Wednesday to discuss the movie. It is likely that the venue for our first session will be the library.
Our November film was The Wife, screened at BPACC from mid October. Then we met at our scheduled time to discuss the movie.
We had a great time discussing the The Wife. Everyone enjoyed the movie. Some found it was slow to start, but then found it held their interest. Perhaps it could have been shorter?
Comments on the performances of the leading characters were very positive – Glenn Close as Joan Castleman and Jonathan Pryce as her husband, Joe. Pryce’s performance was excellent, portraying the arrogant and pompous Joe well. Glenn Close’s character was well played, although there was comment that Joan did come across as bit weak – why did she not stand up to Joe earlier? Was this because she found creative satisfaction in her writing? Maybe it was Joe’s “put down” that she did not write that was the final straw. The inclusion of their son, David (played by Max Irons, son of Jeremy Irons) was also discussed, deciding he was there to show more of Joe’s character.
The rating for the film varied between 3.5 and 4 out of 5.
Our December class will be the last for the year. We will each talk about our favourite movie for the year. This may or may not be one that we have watched together, as many have seen other movies either at the theatre, on a DVD or on television. We are also bringing some afternoon tea to share.
For 2019 we will be focusing on movies being screened at BPACC, and then meeting on the second Wednesday at a café to discuss the movie. The first movie for the year will be a remake of the movie Storm Boy which will be screened at BPACC from the end of January.
Our October film was Christopher Robin, screened at BPACC from late September. Then we met in our normal time slot to discuss the movie.
The movie is based on the adult Christopher Robin, played by Ewan McGregor, and his self-discovery in revisiting his life with Pooh and his friends. A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life.
Some of us were familiar with the AA Milne stories around Christopher Robin and his friends, and it was fun to revisit the stories and poems during our discussion. Included was reading the poems Buckingham Palace and The King’s Breakfast.
It was good to see Christopher Robin’s friends, his stuffed toys, represented as stuffed toys rather than animated characters. This created a great contrast between the actors and the toys. Another contrast was between the business world and a balanced and joyful approach to life.
Another topic for discussion was the issue of sending children to boarding school – or other institutions; it was planned to send Christopher Robin’s daughter to boarding school.
Performances of the actors were good, with people enjoying the portrayal of Christopher Robin by Ewan McGregor, and of his boss, Giles Winslow, played by Mark Gatiss.
Our November movie will again be at BPACC to watch The Wife (screening from 25 October), starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce. A wife questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband, where he is slated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. We will discuss the movie at our 14 November class.
There were some problems with the computer this month. While this was addressed we discussed the program for the remainder of the year (more of this later). We watched Ladies in Lavender so that anyone who needed to leave before the end given the late start, could borrow the DVD to watch in their own time.
The main characters were two sisters, Ursula (played by Judi Dench) and Janet (played by Maggie Smith). With two such talented actors, it was no surprise that everyone enjoyed the movie, rating it as 5 out of 5.
The story is set in Cornwall where the two sisters live by the coast, during the period between the two World Wars. After a violent storm they discover a young Polish man washed up on the beach. They nurse him back to health, discovering that he is a very talented violinist. We thought if the movie as a study of relationships.
The movie is filmed in the UK, predominantly in Cornwall. As a result, there is great scenery, with views of the cottage and garden where the sisters live, as well as waves breaking over the rocks. The music was good, with the violin often being the focus. From a point of view of the characters, there is a contrast between the sisters, with occasional tensions, but also closeness. Ursula longs for some sort of companionship and a close relationship with Andrea. Janet lost her love during the First World War. Another interesting character was their cook and maid Dorcas, played by Miriam Margolyes, who provided a bit of comic relief.
Apart from the main characters, Ursula, Janet, Dorcas, Andrea and Olga (a Russian artist who recognises his talent) most of the supporting roles were predominantly male.
Our October movie will be a visit to BPACC to see Christopher Robin (screening until 9 October). This is based on the adult Christopher Robin and his self-discovery in revisiting his life with Pooh and his friends. It should not be confused with the story of AA Milne’s life, Goodbye Christopher Robin, which was released last year. We will discuss the movie at our scheduled 10 October session.
With several possibly interesting movies screening during October, we have decided that we should again visit BPACC. The movie we will discuss at our November session will be The Wife (screening from 25 October) which is receiving good reviews.
We had a change of plan for our August Film and Literature session. We were a very small group as several people were unable to attend. Instead we watched an episode of an Agatha Christie short story, The Case of the Missing Woman.
This was an entertaining movie, which we decided was a satirical comedy rather than a traditional Christie crime movie. There was an element of mystery as the main characters, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, seek to locate a missing woman at the request of her fiancée, Gabriel Stavansson. She had been staying with her aunt, Lady Susan Clonray while Stavenssen was away for two years. Stavansson did not get on with Lady Susan who he thought of as fat, and she was evasive about her niece’s whereabouts. Tommy and Tuppence eventually located the missing woman only to find that she was undergoing radical treatment to lose the weight she had put on while her fiancée was away.
Costuming was great, with Tuppence wearing matching dress and hat in one scene. Lady Susan’s portrayal as a fat lady did not work as well as we would have liked, with a thinner person’s head on a supposedly fat body. Her costume though was bright and impressive. We did discuss the current issues around obesity, and what is considered fat or obese. Finally, we enjoyed the butler who was serving Lady Susan as he was portrayed as old and doddery, one of many comical scenes in the movie.
Our September movie will be either Belle or Ladies in Lavender. Belle is based loosely on the story of Dido Belle, the illegitimate daughter of a Royal Navy captain and a slave woman in the 18th century. This will be the movie if the internet behaves well for streaming the movie. If we have internet problems we will watch Ladies in Lavender, starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.
With all the movies we watch, our aim is to focus our discussion, covering ideas around genre, characters, plot, but also adding the aspects that relate to film, such as cinemascope, music and atmosphere. We aim to start promptly at 1:00pm to allow time to discuss the movie.
In July we watched A Room With a View
Genre: Romantic satire
Plot: Lucy Honeychurch, a young Englishwoman, is touring Italy with her older cousin. Lucy meets the charming and free-spirited George Emerson. Although intrigued by George, once she's back in England Lucy ponders settling down with the wealthy, staid Cecil Vyse. When George reappears in her life, Lucy must decide between him and Cecil.
Key Characters: Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter), Charlotte Bartlett (Maggie Smith), George Emerson (Julian Sands), Reverend Mr Beebe (Simon Callow), Eleanor Lavish (Judi Dench), Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis)
Review: we rated the movie as 4.5 out of 5.
This was a gentle movie, with some wry humour. The key roles were caricatures of early 20th century characters. For example, Charlotte Bartlett as Lucy’s chaperon was portrayed as the poor cousin spinster, and Cecil was very much rich and idle. It is also a movie of contrasting characters…George as the passionate and brooding young man and Cecil as passionless and arrogant. All enjoyed the movie, which is not surprising given the quality of the cast. Many of the cast were top actors, having either won or been nominated for Academy Awards. And the movie won three Academy Awards.
Further: Our August movie will be Belle based loosely on the story of Dido Belle, the illegitimate daughter of a Royal Navy captain and a slave woman in the 18th century.
With all the movies we watch, our aim is to focus our discussion, covering ideas around genre, characters, plot, but also adding the aspects that relate to film, such as cinemascope, music and atmosphere. We aim to start promptly at 1:00 pm to allow time to discuss the movie.
On a dreary Benalla afternoon, we watched “Little Miss Sunshine.” Essentially a road movie with a fractured, somewhat dysfunctional family uniting to get seven-year-old Olive to the “Little Miss Sunshine.” Pageant in far off California, the rusted-out VW being just one of their many problems.
With lots of laugh out loud incidents, cringe and shudder reactions and “this could only happen in America” moments we had lots to talk about – winners verses losers, family values, happiness, ageing, philosophy, shattered dreams, mental health and body image. Add in six unique and complex characters and we had a film that, whilst not appealing to every viewer, certainly gave us things to think about.
This month we watched the 1946 version of The Postman Always Rings Twice
Genre: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Plot: The Movie was based on a book by James M Cain. Nick Smith, the middle-aged proprietor of a roadside restaurant, hires drifter Frank Chambers as a handyman. Frank eventually begins an affair with Nick's beautiful wife Cora, who talks Frank into helping her kill Nick, by "accident." But there are always repercussions, as this pair found out.
Key Characters: Cora Smith (Lana Turner), Nick Smith (Cecil Kellaway), Frank Chambers (John Garfield), Arthur Keats (Hume Cronyn), Kyle Sackett (Leon Ames)
Review: we rated as 3.5 out of 5.
We selected this movie after discussing the term film-noir in April. This term was originally applied to American thriller or detective films made in the period 1944–54, a style or genre of cinematographic film marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace. The performances were good, less wooden that the performances in last month’s movie. In comparing the movie with Please Murder Me, we found the theme different with Cora, the key female character, much less manipulative than Myra. This time it was the defence lawyer who was manipulative. While Nick and Cora were not an ideal couple, Cora had married him because he was the first person who had mentioned the word marriage, while others in her life were just interested in her beauty. While Cora and Frank do not end up in prison for killing Nick, Cora dies as a result of an authentic accident, and Nick is convicted of her murder. In the final scene, Frank talks about the postman always ringing twice – justice will prevail in the end. The theme was very much about relationships, with twists that kept you guessing, but it was not as dark as Please Murder me, and one of our group though it was more of a melodrama.
Further: Our May movie will be Little Miss Sunshine starring Toni Collette. Pat will be running the session as I will be in Scotland. Have a great time.
With all the movies we watch, we look at them as literature – literature in a different medium, the medium of film. This helps to focus the discussion, covering ideas around genre, characters, plot, but also adding the aspects that relate to film, such as cinemascope, music and atmosphere. We aim to start promptly at 1:00pm to allow time to discuss the movie.
About the Film & Literature Group