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Newtown  Film  Appreciation

For further information about Newtown U3A or any of the groups please contact: secretary@newtownu3a.co.uk

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Members of U3A are all welcome to join the activities of  the groups.  Contact details of leaders are given in the Programme of Events.

The last meeting was on Wednesday 31st at Sally's home.  The film shown was 'The Aviator'. The film was a 2004 American epic biographical film directed by Martin Scorsese.  It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, Kate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn and Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner.

Billionaire Howard Hughes is a successful public figure, a director of big budget films, a passionate lover of Hollywood leading ladies and an aviation pioneer who helps build TWA into a major airline.  But, in private, he remains tormented suffering from paralysing phobias and depression.

The film is 10 minutes short of 3 hours and on the whole we did not enjoy the first 3/4 of the story - it almost became a farce - the setting was 1920's and 1930's with a great many parties with very loud music and people shouting at each other in a attempt to be heard above the entertainment.  In fact everyone shouted throughout the film. The last quarter of the film was more bearable but sad as the health of Hughes deteriorated and he became more obsessed with his phobias.  There is no doubt that he was a brilliant aviator but that couldn't save the film as far as we were concerned!


We met on Wednesday 26 June at Ralph's home in Berriew. The film was 'The Descendants' starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller and Nick Crause.

 George Clooney plays a workaholic Hawaian real estate lawyer with a cheating wife and two children who he barely knows.  When a tragic motor boat accident leaves his wife in a coma, not only must Matt struggle with the stipulation in her will that she be allowed to die with dignity, but he also faces pressures from relatives to sell their family's enormous trust land.  Angry and terrified at the same time Matt tries to be a good father to his young daughters as they too try to cope with their mother's possible death.

 Rather a lot of swearing but still an enjoyable film as we watch Matt get to know his daughters all over again.  Wonderful scenery too.



The last meeting was on Wednesday 29th May at Anne's house in Tregynon.The film shown was a Merchant Ivory film 'Before The Rains', a bold, intensely beautiful tale of romance torn between two worlds.

Southern India in the 1930's: against the tumultuous backdrop of growing national unrest an idealistic young man T.K. finds himself torn between his ambitions for the future and his loyalty to the past when people in his village learn of an affair between his British boss Moores (Linus Roache) and local village girl Sanjani.  As he struggles with the new found freedom that revolution threatens to bring to a culture steeped in tradition, loyalty and honour, T.K.witnesses first-hand the tragedy, betrayal and intense passion which are ignited in a country teetering on the brink of history.



The last meeting took place at Nick's home in Abermule on Wednesday 24 April.  The film shown was 'Memoirs of a Geisha' Winner of 3 Oscars in 2006 and starring Suzuka Ohgo and Togo Igawa.
This story is a rare and utterly engaging experience - it tells the extraordinary story of a geisha, summoning up a quarter-century from 1929 to the post-war years of Japan's dramatic world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation.
A young peasant girl is sold as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha house.  She is sold by her father,  together with her older sister to pay for medicine for her dying mother.  She tells her story many years later from the Waldorf Astoria in New York.  Her memoirs conjure up the perfection and the ugliness of life behind rice-paper screens, where young  girls learn the art of geisha - dancing and singing, how to wind the kimono, how to walk and pour tea and how to beguile the land's most powerful men.



The last meeting was on Wednesday 27th March  at Sally's home near Shrewsbury.The film 'LOVING' starred Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga.

In 1958 in the state of Virginia, the idea of interracial marriage was not only considered to be immoral to many, it was also illegal.  When Richard and Mildred fall in love, they are aware of the eyes staring at them and the words said behind their backs.  It is when they get married, however, that words and looks become actions, and the two are arrested.  The couple decide to take their case all the way to the Supreme Court in order to fight for their love .

New laws were passed and they won their case.

If you want action and a fast-moving film - this is not for you, but it is a true story of just an ordinary couple who wanted to live together as husband and wife. It was interesting to see how accepted Joel was by the black community and how  unacceptable Mildred was to the white community. Shame on us!



The last film watched by the Group was in February and a French film in two parts. Part 1 was entitled 'Jean De Florette' and Part 2 'Manon Des Sources'.

It was the French director Claude Berri's stunning adaptation of the acclaimed Marcel Pagnol novel and the winner of numerous international awards and is the world's most popular foreign language film ever.

City-dweller Jean de Florette (Gerard Depardieu)moves his family to the Provence countryside in the 1920's to forge a new life as a farmer.

But his proud, cocky neighbouring rival Le Papet (Yves Montand) schemes with his simple-minded nephew (Ugolin (Daniel Auteuil) to acquire some nearby land ensuring the novice-owner never discovers an all-important natural spring on the property.

A wholly captivating, emotionally powerful and beautifully photographed classic epic of innocence, evil, greed, envy and revenge.

 Part 2 - 'Manon Des Sources' continues with the late Jean de Florette's daughter Manon (Emmanuelle Beart), now grown up into a beautiful and free-spirited young shepherdess on her father's Provence farm.  But when she finally learns the tragic truth behind her father's death, Manon plots her revenge on the dim-witted Ugolin and the scheming Le Papet.

 A visual feast containing masterly performances leading to a heart-stopping and totally unexpected conclusion.  The films are a must-see!!



The group met in November at Nick's home.  The film we saw was 'In the Heat of the Night' starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger. 

In the Deep South, homicide detective Virgil Tibbs (Poitier) becomes embroiled in a murder investigation.  When the bigoted town sheriff (Steiger) gets involved both he and Tibbs must put aside their differences and join forces in a race against time to discover the shocking truth.

 This film won Best Picture Award in 1967.  The two leading actors gave wonderful performances and we sat throughout, on the edge of our seats waiting for the racial tensions to erupt but despite the deplorable way that every black person in the town was treated the film ended reasonably happily for everyone except the corpse!



On Wednesday 26 September we visited Sally's home and watched 'The Birdcage' starring Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane and Dianne Wiest. It is a non-stop hilarious comedy.  Williams starred the outlandish owner of a wild Miami Beach night club, whose partner Lane is also the star attraction at the club.  Hackman was the ultra-conservative US Senator who faces political problems when his closest political ally dies in bed with a prostitute.

When Williams' son announces his engagement with Hackman's daughter, the scene is set for a riotous comedy of errors, Hackman sees the wedding as the opportunity to restore political fortunes by promoting 'traditional family values'.  If he only knew what sort of family his daughter was marrying into!'  Put the two families together and watch the sparks fly in this hilarious battle of the three sexes!



We meet on the last Wednesday in the month at each members' house.

The films chosen are those that do NOT regularly appear on the various television channels and which have a decent story and/or have an innovative content.

A number of films are chosen by the host, the one shown is selected by the attendees.

Links: Welshpool U3A      The Virtual U3A (vU3a)