David Lean Cinema’s March movie list defies arthouse image

It may be that, in being described as an “arthouse cinema”, the David Lean Cinema conjures up notions for those who have not yet visited, of screening nothing other than deeply meaningful documentaries, or impenetrable black and white Swedish movies with sub-titles.

SelmaWhile the March 2015 programme arranged by the volunteers of the Save the David Lean Campaign does, indeed, include documentaries (including an opener to mark Fairtrade Fortnight) and foreign films with sub-titles, the growing monthly screening programme is notable for including a selection of recent releases and some of the most acclaimed movies of the Bafta and Oscar awards season.

Though, true to the Cinema’s “arthouse” mission, none of these might be described as blockbusters, the likes of Birdman, Into the Woods, Foxcatcher and the awards-lite Selma are all the kind of films which you might expect to see screened at a local mutliplex.

It is just that you won’t catch them, perhaps, at such convenient screening times, and never at such a reasonable price.

In March, the campaign volunteers’ expanding programme again includes regular Tuesday screenings, more films being shown at 11am (intended for mothers with young children) as well as at 2.30pm and the usual evening show, all in response to demand for a growing clientele which is ensuring full-houses being quickly booked for many of the most popular films on show.

To be added to the Campaign’s membership list, please email savedavidlean@gmail.com.

  • Tickets for all screenings are £7.50. Concessions (Freedom Pass-holders, full-time students, claimants and disabled) £6.
  • Bookings can be made  via TicketSource 

David Lean Cinema March programme

All films are at 2.30 and 7.30pm unless stated

Tue Mar 3 BLACK GOLD (U) (7.30pm)
2006 UK 78min Directors: Nick and Marc Francis
Featuring Tadesse Meskela. Coffee is the most valuable trading commodity in the world after oil. Our consumption funds an immensely profitable industry, but many farmers struggle to survive. When Ethiopian coffee manager Meskela travels the world seeking buyers willing to pay a fair price, the enormous power of the multinational players that dominate the trade becomes apparent. This “good-humoured and essential” (Observer) documentary has “extraordinary power” (Telegraph).
Plus Fairtrade Matters (2015 13min) – an evocative and thought-provoking glimpse into the lives of two Malawi tea farmers. Fairtrade Fortnight screening in association with Croydon Fairtrade Community Network.

Birdman-Movie-Poster-KeatonThu Mar 5 BIRDMAN (15) (11.00am* & 7.30pm)
2014 USA/Canada 119min. Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Starring: Michael Keaton, Zach Galiffinakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts. Can a faded Hollywood star, famed for playing an iconic superhero, reinvent himself as a serious Broadway actor/director? Riggan Thomson (Keaton) tries to do so, but with a volatile cast, his embittered daughter for an assistant, and his superhero alter ego growling at him, it’s far from easy. Filmed largely as if in a single take – and with great humour amidst the backstage chaos – González Iñárritu and his outstanding ensemble create a compelling and memorable spectacle. Nominated for nine Academy Awards. *The 11.00am screening will be subtitled for people with hearing loss.

into the woodsSat Mar 7 INTO THE WOODS (PG) (2.30pm)
2014 USA 124min. Director: Rob Marshall.
Starring: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick. Tasked by a witch to find a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold, a baker and his wife meet Jack (and his beanstalk), Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Rapunzel. Not all will end happily ever after in Stephen Sondheim’s musical homage to the Brothers Grimm, but there’s plenty to enjoy through the superb tunes, engaging performances from Blunt and Kendrick, and hilarious turns from Streep as the Witch and Chris Pine as the “charming, not sincere” Prince.

Thu Mar 12 WILD (15)
2014 USA 115min. Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffman. Divorce and the loss of her mother (Dern) sends Cheryl Strayed (Witherspoon) into a spiral of self-destructive behaviour. Desperate to break this cycle, she sets out to wall more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Coast Trail, with a pack larger than she is, no hiking experience and plenty of determination. Nick Hornby’s imaginative adaptation of Strayed’s memoir and acclaimed performances make Wild a great continuation of the DLC’s tradition of epic hiking adventures.

foxcatcher Tue Mar 17 FOXCATCHER (15) (7.30pm)
Tue 17 March 7.30pm
2014 USA 129min. Driector: Bennett Miller.
Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanesa Redgrave. When millionaire John Du Pont (Carell) sets up a wrestling training camp on his country estate, Olympic gold medallist Mark Schultz (Tatum) is keen to sign up, and Mark’s successes lead brother Dave (Ruffalo) to join him. As their mentor’s behaviour becomes more bizarre, however, the Foxcatcher camp becomes anything but a safe haven. This tense and compelling drama has been nominated for three major Academy Awards.

Thu Mar 19 SELMA (12A) (11am & 7.30pm)
2014 USA 127min. Director: Ava Duvernay.
Starring: David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth. In 1965, Dr Martin Luther King (Oyelowo) identified Selma, Alabama, as the frontline in his non-violent confrontation with the segregationist Southern establishment. As King and local civil rights leaders began preparations for the Selma to Montgomery march, President Lyndon B. Johnson (Wilkinson) was supportive of their goals, but concerned by the momentum of King’s movement. Oyelowo’s rousing performance, and DuVernay’s direction, have been widely praised but overlooked in the awards season – we recommend that you judge for yourselves.

Tue Mar 24 EX MACHINA (15) (7.30pm)
2015 UK 108min. Director: Alex Garland.
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander. Young computer coder Caleb (Gleeson) is selected to spend a week at the hideaway of his secretive boss Nathan (Isaac). Caleb is tasked with running the Turing Test of artificial intelligence on the company’s new creation, the beautiful yet partially robotic Ava (Vikander). As the bond between Caleb and Ava grows, and it appears that Nathan may replace Ava with another model, a battle of wits erupts with potentially deadly consequences. This directorial debut by Garland (writer of 28 Days Later) is “his best work yet” (Empire), “bewitchingly smart science fiction of a type that’s all too rare” (Telegraph).

Love is strangeThu Mar 26 LOVE IS STRANGE (15)
2014 USA/Fra 94min. Director: Ira Sachs
Starring: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei. 39 years into their relationship, Ben (Lithgow) and George (Molina) legally marry, but the celebrations are cut short when George’s Catholic employers fire him. With their Manhattan apartment now unaffordable, the couple are forced to live separately as the house guests of friends and relatives. Lithgow and Molina’s expert characterisations of a flawed but loving couple lie at the heart of this “delicate, superbly crafted and deeply moving portrait of family in its many forms” (Washington Post).

Tue Mar 31 SCHOOL OF BABEL (PG) (7.30pm)
2014 Fra 94min (subtitled). Director: Julie Bertuccelli
A year in the life of a Parisian junior high school’s reception class for pupils who arrive with limited French. The children hail from many countries and have come to Paris for differing reasons, but form a strong community. This charming film observes their progress and struggles, and gives space for their stories and often wonderfully novel views of the world, in the tradition of past French school documentaries such as Etre et Avoir and The Class.

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