“A Call to Spy” is based on true events. During World War II, Churchill orders his new spy agency to recruit and train women as spies. The film is based on the lives of two of the women, Vera Atkins and Noor Inayat Khan. There were a series of short interactions, helping to build the tension. Vera, who had a wooden leg, proved to be extremely proficient in building a strong resistance cell. When her identity and cell were revealed by a double agent, she escaped walking across the alps. She retrained as a radio operator and returned to Europe. Noora was a radio operator. When caught she was tortured but refused to reveal any locations and was executed. Performances were excellent, depicting the bravery of these women. Scenes that stood out were the crossing of the Alps, and the performance of Noora’s mother when she learned of Noora’s death.
Members who watched the film rated it as 4 out of 5.
“Penguin Bloom” was also based on a true event. Sam Bloom is injured in a fall in Thailand and ends up a paraplegic. She is the mother of three sons and struggles to find her identity as she cannot do all the things she had done as a wife and mother. Her eldest son, Noah, believes the accident was his fault and his mother blames him. When Noah finds an injured baby magpie, he brings it home to nurse. The magpie is named Penguin – hence Penguin Bloom. Noah asks his mother to care for it while he is at school. This is the start of Sam’s journey out of depression. She then learns to kayak. The scenes provide a clear picture of her awakening, as well as the emotions of the key characters. These were all relevant to the relationship to Sam. The class particularly enjoyed the down to earth approach of the kayak instructor, as well as the actions of the two younger boys who came across as “real boys”. Perhaps the greatest performance though was by the various magpies who played Penguin.
The class rated the film as between 3.5 and 4/5.
Our April discussion will be on a range of films screening at BPACC on during the remainder of March. These include “A long Story Short”, “The Nest”, “Wild Mountain Thyme” and “Minari”.
The things we will watch for in viewing the film include:
- Did you enjoy the film? What in particular did you like?
- Was there anything that you did not like?
- What did you think about the cinematography?
- What did you think of the performances? Any strong performances that stand out? Any weak performances that spoilt the film?