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TWBnews :: march09

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01.04.09 :: Happy-Go-Lucky :: Library Lecture Theatre 
05.04.09 :: Burn After Reading :: Palace Theatre 

08.04.09 :: Gomorra :: Library Lecture Theatre 

14.04.09 :: Silent Running :: Central Museum 

15.04.09 :: Forbidden Planet :: Library Lecture Theatre 

22.04.09 :: Of Time And The City :: Library Lecture Theatre 

28.04.09 :: Southend on Sea Film Festival launch…

April Fools Day? Hopefully not! This is the first of we hope many films to be screened in our new regular venue in Southend’s Central Library Lecture Theatre every Wednesday evening.
We hope to bring you a regular slot of films that rarely make it into Southend on the big screen (or Essex for that matter).
Please support these screenings as April will be a trial month – ‘use it or lose it’ is our motto for April

118mins : 2007 : Cert 15
Wednesday 1 April 7.30pm (Doors open 7.10pm) Admission £5.00

Southend Central Library Lecture Theatre, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea

Mike Leigh followed the downbeat Vera Drake with this immensely likable comedy-drama. Thirty years old and single, Poppy is a Pollyanna-type primary school teacher who breezes through life in an infinitely optimistic and irrepressibly cheerful manner. Of course, not everyone appreciates her natural good nature and her instinctive outlook on life is severely tested in situations which make us in the audience question our own view of such a relentlessly positive character.

We are back in Leigh’s familiar milieu: the contemporary London shown in such films as Secrets & Lies, Career Girls and All or Nothing. But the mood now is almost entirely benign, with the music and production design reflecting Poppy’s colourful, bubbly personality, and where every calamity presents a new opportunity (when her beloved bicycle is stolen, she simply starts her long-delayed driving lessons). Not that Leigh has lost his powers of caustic observation, but we see racism, homelessness, family abuse and misogynistic violence through Poppy, who refuses to judge. Sally Hawkins deservedly won many awards for her career-defining performance, while Leigh’s screenplay was Oscar nominated.

Starring: Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Alexis Zegerman, Sinead Matthews, Andrea Riseborough, Sylvestra Le Touzel


Another new venue has beckoned…We have always thought that the Palace Theatre is potentially a great place for screening films (as it was in the 1930s), so it’s a pleasure to team up with HQ Theatres.
Our huge inflatable screen will fill the main auditorium stage and transform the 600 seat theatre into a cosy traditional cinema for the day. If this screening is well supported we’d love to show more films here and i’m sure you would too.
Please support it even if you’ve already seen this great as ever Coen brothers film. It’s only a fiver and better than seeing it on your telly (or even at a multiscreen cinema)

96mins : 2008 : Cert 15
Sunday 5 April 7.30pm (Doors open 7.00pm) Admission £5.00

Palace Theatre, London Road, Westcliff-on-Sea

This jet black comedy was Joel and Ethan Coen’s follow up to their hugely successful Oscar winner No Country for Old Men. By contrast to the brooding, moody narrative of its predecessor, Burn After Reading’s complex story of intertwined relationships is simply great fun. Osborne Cox (the splendid John Malkovich) resigns his CIA post in a fit of pique and sets in motion a series of events, including murder, blackmail and international intrigue, that his CIA superiors struggle to understand, let alone control. A sparkling script sees the stellar cast on top form – and who can resist any film where the simple minded employee at the Hardbodies gym is played by Brad Pitt. The obvious enthusiasm the cast feel for the material is clear to see in this hugely enjoyable film.

This was the first original screenplay by the Coen brothers since The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001). It premiered, out of competition, at the Venice Film Festival. Joel Coen has said, perhaps with tongue firmly in cheek, that their first spy movie is not meant to be a comment or satire on Washington D.C. However, George Clooney caught the anarchic mood by remarking that, following his roles in O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Intolerable Cruelty, his role as a mystified Treasury agent has completed his “trilogy of idiots” for the brothers! Great fun.

Starring: George Clooney, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Brad Pitt, J. K. Simmons

For advance tickets: www.cliffspavilion.co.uk


136mins : 2008 : Cert 15
Wednesday 8 April 7.30pm (Doors open 7.10pm) Admission £5.00

Southend Central Library Lecture Theatre, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea

A modern Italian masterpiece, this realistic portrayal of Mafia wars is far removed from the sense of order and control in films such as The Godfather. Instead, we follow five intertwined stories showing the effect sudden and seemingly random acts of violence and stupidity can have on those on the fringes of organised crime. Here, there is no place for charismatic bad guys who get the beautiful girls and die in theatrical shootouts. Instead, we see the squalid reality where any sense of normality and humanity is crushed by the organisation’s faceless law.

Based on the book by Roberto Saviano, the film’s authenticity is vouched for by the price put on the author’s head – he lives as a semi-recluse, with constant police protection – especially as mafiosi usually like to see their exploits in literature and on the big screen. The title is a pun on the Biblical city of sin, but it also refers to the Camorra territory in Naples where Saviano grew up and where the stories unfold.           

Gomorra won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s almost universal critical acclaim is well deserved.

Directed by Matteo Garrone; Starring: Toni Serville, Gianfelice Imparto, Maria Nazionale, Salvatore Abruzzese, Ciro Petrone, Salvatore Cantalupo

In support of the Southend Planetarium’s 25th anniversary celebration, we are pleased to join with the museum screening of Silent Running with the  50′s cult sci-fi Forbidden Planet the very next day.
The supporting music of Robin Saville of ISAN prior to the screening will set an appropriate mood and backdrop to the film.
89mins : 1971 : Cert U
Tuesday 14 April 7.15pm
(Doors open 6pm) Admission £3.00

Southend Central Museum, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea

Absolutely wonderful science fiction! If the message in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was that man needs guidance from beyond, the message in Silent Running (significantly set in 2001) is that man must be his own saviour, even at the risk of madness. Thus, when appropriately named astronaut Freeman Lovell is ordered to abandon a project to refurbish Earth, devastated by nuclear fallout, with experimental forests of fruit, plants and animals, he rebels and heads off into deep space towards Saturn’s outer ring, though which no one has ever passed.

The spectacle of 2001 is largely subservient to the human dimension in this compassionate film. However, director Douglas Trumball masterminded the effects in the Kubrick film and they do not disappoint here. Indeed, they retain that film’s awe of the beauties of space even as this magnificent film goes several steps beyond in its witty satire of space age technology.     

Starring: Bruce Dern, Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin, Jesse Vint, Mark Persons

97mins : 1956 : Cert U
Wednesday 15 April 7.30pm (Doors open 7.10pm) Admission £5.00

Southend Central Library Lecture Theatre, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea

One of the most charming works in the science fiction genre, this is nothing less than an updated version of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’. Here, Prospero is a scientist called Morbeus, who lives on the planet Altair IV with his daughter who, like Shakespeare’s Miranda, has never seen men. All of which, of course, is about to change.

The ‘casting’ of Robby the Robot in the role of Ariel indicates the intention to appeal to a juvenile audience. However, there is much for adults to admire, from the storyline, which includes the ‘Monster from the Id’, a manifestation of Morbeus’ incestuous desires towards his daughter when she responds to overtures from a newly arrived explorer, to the sumptuous sets depicting Altair IV’s two suns, green sky and underground cities of steel and porcelain. Fred McLeod Wilcox directs with surprising flair and sophistication and the film is justifiably considered to be one of the most imaginative and innovative of all science fiction films.

Starring: Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Neilson, Anne Francis, Warren Stevens, Richard Anderson

73mins : 2008 : Cert 12A
Wednesday 22 April 7.30pm (Doors open 7.10pm) Admission £5.00

Southend Central Library Lecture Theatre, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea

In this elegiac yet prickly documentary (would we expect anything else?) Terence Davies reflects on his upbringing in 1940s and 1950s Liverpool and the city’s changing identity in the subsequent years. Through narration and archive footage he touches on subjects such as his strict Catholic upbringing, his burgeoning homosexuality and his ravenous appetite for cinema.

The film premiered at Cannes, where it received rave reviews. ‘Time Out’ regarded it as “the only truly great movie to emerge so far”, while ‘The Guardian’ called it “a British masterpiece. Not only does it tug the heart-strings but it’s also savagely funny”.

Terence Davies has explored this territory before, particularly in his very autobiographical, celebrated fea
tures Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) and The Long Day Closes (1992). His cinematic output has been constrained by funding difficulties and his refusal to compromise, making this new film especially welcome.

Southend on Sea Film Festival 09

Well it may not quite be Palm Beach at Cannes yet at Southend, but at long last it’s happened! – The humble beginnings of Southend on Sea’s very own film festival, which, with your support we hope to become a unique international film festival in future years.

We are very pleased to be in partnership with Southend on Sea Borough Council to programme and deliver an eclectic mix of films that are old and new, yet to be released and even sneak previews of some still in post.

The festival will open on the 28th April with the gala night screening on the 30th April and will run throughout the week finishing on 6th May.

Details of the programme and how to book tickets will be available at the beginning of April. Watch this space and the launch of the SFF website…

 screenings supported by


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