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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 took place at 2 pm. on Wednesday 25 September at Anne's house.  The film was 'Hampstead' starring Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson as the main characters but also starred James Norton, Lesley Manville, Phil Davis and Simon Callow.  It was listed as being 'funny, uplifting and full  of heart' although all of us agreed that it lacked comedy.  Inspired by true events, Hampstead tells the story of an American widow who, one day when exploring the gorgeous area surrounding her home in Hampstead Village, meets a man who lives off-grid in his own private paradise on the Heath and the two strike up an unexpected romance.  However, when unscrupulous property developers threaten to uproot the man, destroy his home and build luxury flats in its place, the widow is determined to fight back to defend the Heath as well as the man she loves.

hamstead

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We last met on Wednesday 28 August at Nick's home.  The film we watched 
was 'About  Schmidt' starring Jack Nicholson.  It was a winner of 2 Golden Globe Awards and whilst it was  entertaining it was one of those slowwww films.  He was a completely joyless man who had arrived at several of life's crossroads all at the same time.  To begin with, he retired from a lifetime of service with an Insurance Company and he felt utterly adrift.  His wife of 42 years dies suddenly  and he is lost without her unable to do anything for himself.  He then discovers his ex boss  and wife had an affair many years ago.  Schmidt feels that his soon to be married daughter (who lives some distance away) could do better.  He sets out on a journey of self-discovery,
exploring his roots across Nebraska in the 35-foot motor home in which he had planned to drive around the country with his late wife.
Nothing much interests him along the way.  He spends the night before the wedding at his future son-in-law's house, whose mother is a happy free spirit who gives him some medication for an aching neck - this results in  Schmidt spending  the wedding day in a doped haze. He then returns to an empty home. On retiring, Schmidt decided to send 22$ a month to Africa to adopt a little
orphaned 6 year old boy to help with his upbringing.  He would write to him at regular intervals telling him how mad he was at everyone, how his wife and daughter were annoying him and anything he could think of at the time of writing - really unburdening himself  and saying how he had not made a difference to anyone in his life.  The little boy's letter was the first he had received and was written by a nun who said she read all Schmidt's letters to his foster son as he was unable to read or write.  The little boy had sent a drawing of 2 figures, one tall, one short, holding hands.  Schmidt burst into tears - he HAD  made a difference to someone.

aboutschmidt

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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!

 aviator
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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.

descendants

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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.

beforerains

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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.

geisha

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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!

loving

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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!!

 jeandeflorette

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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!

heatofnight

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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!

birdcage



 

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.

NOTE: There will be no meeting in October.

Links: Welshpool U3A      The Virtual U3A (vU3a)