Jan 132016
 January 13, 2016  Film, Lectures

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at 2 pm

“Cool Blonde”: Alfred Hitchcock’s Dark Obsession

grace-kelly“If the on-set legends are true, Alfred Hitchcock was no gentleman—but he certainly preferred blondes. With their cool, controlled exteriors, the director’s heroines elevated hair colour from the realm of sexpot Hollywood dye-job to a shade that telegraphed aloof continental sophistication—which may be why Hitchcock once infamously asserted that blondes “make the best victims” for his particular brand of on-screen suspense. Take the unshakable elegance of Tippi Hedren’s coiffed bouffant as it was pecked apart in The Birds, or Janet Leigh’s neat champagne crop as it unfurled gracefully under the shower in Psycho. Grace Kelly enthralled Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief and James Stewart in Rear Window (pictured here) with her impeccable pale golden bob and icy passion to match. And while Kim Novak was barely recognizable as a brunette in Vertigo, she drove her leading man to madness as her character’s platinum doppelganger.” (Sophie Schulte-Hillen)

Join movie librarian Steven Tomlinson for this provocative, indeed hair-raising lecture/discussion on the always-fascinating, sometimes disturbing, relationship between the great filmmaker and his many leading ladies.

Free for library members; non-members $5. Registration required.

Location: Multi-purpose room of the library

Dec 302015
 December 30, 2015  Film


Wednesday, January 6, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

ill-see-you-in-my-dreams-blu-ray-cover-78Carol is a retired schoolteacher and a longtime widow in her 70s. She enjoys a tranquil routine playing cards with close friends, keeping up her garden, and relaxing with a glass of wine. When her beloved dog dies, there’s a mournful vacuum that draws new experiences, friendships and attachments into her world. And then there’s the gravelly-voiced, exuberant gentleman, Bill, who comes out of nowhere. The authenticity and honesty coursing through every scene of I’ll See You in My Dreams perfectly echoes the point of view of its elderly characters, who have no more time for nonsense or pretension, even in the most awkward or emotional moments. The talented and vibrant supporting cast avoids clichés in favor of nuance and truthfulness. Blythe Danner was made to play Carol, a beautiful, understated woman resigned to existential realities but certainly not ruling out the magic.

“A work of quiet, crystalline empathy, I’ll See You in My Dreams is notable for reasons that nearly overshadow its modest yet indisputable charms. It’s a drama about the kind of people invisible to the movies and much of our culture — senior citizens in the early evening of their lives — and it grants its characters individuality in ways that are almost wholly free of cliché.” (Graham Fuller, New York Daily News)

United States – 2015 – 96 mins. – In English only

Dec 012015
 December 1, 2015  Film


Tuesday, December 8, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

Deli Man - DVD 909Jewish culture reflects the heart of a vital ethnic history. As that culture continues to shift and adapt within a North American context, delicatessen food remains a beloved communal delicacy. In Houston, Texas, third-generation deli-man Ziggy Gruber has built arguably the finest delicatessen restaurant in the U.S. His story—augmented by the stories of other iconic delis—embodies a tradition indelibly linked to its savory, nostalgic foods.

Deli Man is the documentary equivalent of comfort food: warm, generous and made with love.” (Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post)

In English only.

United States – 2014 – 91 mins.

Introduced by Gayle Cohen with a post-screening discussion lead by her

Click here to download a PDF of the latest Bright Lights Film Club pamphlet

Nov 252015
 November 25, 2015  Film


Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

Far From the Madding Crowd - DVD F21987Thomas Hardy’s classic Victorian tale about one woman’s dueling desires for feminist independence and fiery passion has long been catnip for filmmakers. But Thomas Vinterberg’s latest version is, hands down, the best yet. With a steely resilience burning beneath her delicate, creamy complexion, Carey Mulligan brings remarkable nuance and a rich inner life to the role of Bathsheba Everdene, a modest English country girl who inherits her late uncle’s farm, leading to a wealth of choices most women at the time wouldn’t dare to dream possible. Those, naturally, include a trio of romantic suitors: the shepherd smitten with her even before she came into money (Matthias Schoenaerts); the rich and slightly bumbling landowner next door (Michael Sheen); and the rakish bad boy in uniform (Tom Sturridge). Even if you don’t consider yourself an easy mark for literary bodice-rippers served with a side of sexual politics, this Far From the Madding Crowd gives you plenty of reason to swoon, most particularly in its earthy realism, gorgeous cinematography, deft editing and beautiful musical score.

“Vinterberg’s romantic rollercoaster honors Hardy’s rustic vibe. Remarkably, too, he’s made a thoroughly modern film anyone can relate to — it’s like a “what a woman wants” discussion set in Victorian times. It’s also an instant classic.” (Graham Fuller, New York Daily News)

Great Britain – 2015 – 119 mins. – In English only

Click here to see the latest PDF of the Wednesday Afternoon at the Movies pamphlet

Nov 242015
 November 24, 2015  Film


Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

NNVG10006150_VicFloSawBearitunes_itunesWinner of the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, this is a darkly mysterious tale of two lesbian ex-cons, Victoria and Florence, trying to make a new life for themselves in the backwoods of Quebec. Seeking peace and quiet, the couple slowly begin to feel under siege as Vic’s probation officer keeps popping up unexpectedly, and a strange woman in the neighbourhood soon turns out to be an increasingly menacing shadow from Flo’s past. With its collection of complex and eccentric characters, surprising plot twists and unsettling humour, Montreal filmmaker Denis Coté has created an utterly original work whose thunderclap of a climax will leave you breathless.

“This isn’t, it turns out, the usual once-upon-a-time tale, but a story about the unknowns that can swallow us up.” (Manohla Dargis, New York Times)

“It’s an ominous, claustrophobic, unhappily sapphic work whose ending instills terror and awe of the fates’ petty, whimsical cruelties.” (Inkoo Kang, Village Voice)

In French with English subtitles

Canada – 2013 – 95 mins.

Introduced by Gayle Cohen with a post-screening discussion lead by her

Click here to download a PDF of the latest Bright Lights Film Club pamphlet

Nov 172015
 November 17, 2015  Film


Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

Felix and Meira - DVD F3163A labour of love by rising young Montreal filmmaker Maxime Giroux, this cross-cultural romance won the Best Canadian Feature prize at the Toronto International Film Festival. Felix and Meira’s uniqueness is a big reason why, as is Hadas Yaron’s entrancing performance. The Israeli actress plays Meira, a young wife and mother who chafes at the constrictions placed on her by the ultra-orthodox community in her Mile End neighbourhood. The bond she forges with Felix (Martin Dubrueil)—a fellow misfit grieving the recent loss of his father—will have huge ramifications in both their lives. Funny, touching and as quirky as its characters, Giroux’s film never fails to charm or surprise.

“A somber romance that’s as much about the cultural confluence of city life as it is about the unlikely couple who manage to find each other in it, Félix and Meira captures the dislocating loneliness of “Lost in Translation” without leaving its characters’ native Montreal.” (David Ehrlich, Time Out New York)

In French, Yiddish and Hebrew with English subtitles

Canada – 2014 – 105 mins.

Introduced by Gayle Cohen with a post-screening discussion lead by her

Click here to download a PDF of the latest Bright Lights Film Club pamphlet

Nov 102015
 November 10, 2015  Film


Tuesday, November 17, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

Clouds of Sils Maria - DVD C6475Enduring French star Juliette Binoche plays a 40-something actress who is asked to star in a remake of the play that launched her career. Only this time, she is asked to portray the older character, while a younger, rising Hollywood starlet (Chloe Grace Moretz) takes her former role, unleashing a myriad of frustrations and insecurities in the former. Meanwhile, Kristen Stewart shines as the veteran star’s assistant. Writer-director Olivier Assayas’ meditation on aging, the art of acting and the role of women on film and in life is both moving and profound.

Clouds of Sils Maria is an expertly filmed insider’s look at the film business, the trappings of fame and the unstoppable, sometimes bone-chilling march of time. It’s complex and wickedly funny and dark, and it features the best ensemble acting of any film I’ve seen so far this year.” (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

In English, French and German with English subtitles

France / Germany – 2014 – 123 mins.

Introduced by Gayle Cohen with a post-screening discussion lead by her

Click here to download a PDF of the latest Bright Lights Film Club pamphlet

Nov 052015
 November 5, 2015  Film


Wedneday, November 11, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - DVD S4444The old gang is back! Check in again for more love and laughter, as new arrival Richard Gere joins returning stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy for this heart-warming sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Now that his first venture has proven successful, ever-confident young entrepreneur Sonny (the terrifically likeable Dev Patel) is busy juggling plans for a second resort in Jaipur, India, as well as his own wedding. But his efforts are hampered, and in order to pull it all together, he’ll need a little help and encouragement from his resident friends. As lively in tone and spirit as its predecessor, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is an entirely pleasing extension of the most unlikely of movie franchises, gently handling big themes and dissolving cynicism with charm and good will.

Great Britain — 2015 — 122 mins. — In English only

Click here to see the latest PDF of the Wednesday Afternoon at the Movies pamphlet

Nov 032015
 November 3, 2015  Film


Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at 2 pm – Free


Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Pierre Darroussin embody the earthy chemistry of long-married spouses in this story of a cattle farmer and his restless wife. Their characters, Xavier and Brigitte, have always been a bit mismatched. He’s happy tending to the cows while her head is a bit more in the clouds. Now that their son has left for college, Brigitte is even more at odds with her agrarian life, and a nasty rash is physical evidence of her 20-year itch. After she meets a flirtatious young man at the neighbours’, she’s quick to take off for the big city in search of a possible fling while a suspicious Xavier follows behind. Paris Follies is a finely-tuned gem where below the light comedy lies a tender portrait of middle-aged yearning and rediscovery.

In French with English subtitles

France – 2014 – 98 mins.

Introduced by Gayle Cohen with a post-screening discussion lead by her

Click here to download a PDF of the latest Bright Lights Film Club pamphlet

Oct 282015
 October 28, 2015  Film


Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

timbuktu_xlgInspired by real events, this incomparably moving portrait of a cattle herder fending off jihadists in northern Mali unfolds during a fundamentalist occupation that enforces bans against sports, music, and laughter. Mauritanian-born filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako weaves together stories that capture all the absurdity, hypocrisy, and terror of living under such an occupation. Yet at the same time, his film is also lyrical, gorgeous, and exalting as it locates the warm human poetry that exists even under these conditions. Nominated for Best Foreign Film at this year’s Academy Awards and winner of two prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, Timbuktu is the most universally acclaimed African film of the decade.

Timbuktu is as fresh as today’s headlines, but it’s paced and photographed like a timeless slice of life. It’s an exquisite, wise and even funny film, easily the best of the year.” (Joe Williams, St. Louis-Post Dispatch)

“In providing audiences a chance to bear witness to unspeakable suffering as well as dazzling defiance and human dignity, Sissako has created a film that’s a privilege to watch.” (Ann Hornaday, Washington Post)

In Arabic and Bambara with English subtitles

Mauritania / France – 2014 – 97 mins.

Introduced by Gayle Cohen with a post-screening discussion lead by her

Click here to download a PDF of the latest Bright Lights Film Club pamphlet