News from WFS
The Wellington Film Society will open its 2020 programme with the 3D restoration of Universal Studio’s classic 1954 monster film Creature from the Black Lagoon. Star Julie Adams died a year ago and WFS is looking forward to honouring her contribution to the genre with the screening. Films will screen on Monday nights at the Embassy Theatre through till 30 November, closing with Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not to Be, the final film of screwball superstar Carole Lombard.
“We’re thrilled to be back at The Embassy for another year of classic and contemporary film from around the globe,” says WFS president Caroline Garratt.
“Our season launches with the iconic monster movie Creature From The Black Lagoon, spectacularly in its original 3D format. Featuring the unsung work of designer Milicent Patrick, Creature has influenced many contemporary filmmakers, including a certain director of a 70s shark blockbuster. It will be interesting to see when viewed through a 21st century lens if the classic evokes even more sympathy for the Gill Man fighting for his survival.
“This year also marks the 75th anniversary of World War 2 ending and in recognition our closing night film is Ernst Lubitsch’s 1942 Nazi skewering black comedy To Be or Not To Be. Considered bold and controversial upon its release – at a time when Allied victory was not assured – we hope to shine new light on an old classic,” says WFS president Caroline Garratt.
This year, WFS is highlighting the work of one of cinema’s leading ladies and a master behind the camera.
“Anchoring our year is a tribute to the brilliant Tilda Swinton, a chameleon of contemporary cinema, and a retrospective of the Iranian master, Abbas Kiarostami, noted for his strong humanist approach. His restored Koker Trilogy will screen shortly after a retrospective of his work opens in Paris,” said Garratt.
Soon after she was announced as an upcoming BFI fellowship recipient, Tilda Swinton will be featured in film society screenings on the Embassy screen. WFS is enthusiastic about celebrating Swinton’s unique energy with her acclaimed work in Orlando, I Am Love and Only Lovers Left Alive, the latter of which has been timed to coincide with Halloween.
The programme also includes three films from auteur Abbas Kiarostami (Where Is the Friend’s House?, And Life Goes On… and Through the Olive Trees).
WFS continues its commitment to screen films by women who work behind the camera, with over a third of the line-up directed by women. This includes work by pioneers Lina Wertmüller (The Seduction of Mimi), the first woman nominated for Best Director, Nadine Labaki (Capernaum), the first female Arab director to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust), the first African-American woman to direct a feature widely released in the United States.
Work by contemporary filmmakers who have documented human subjects will also screen including Emily Atef (3 Days in Quiberon), Crystelle Moselle (Skate Kitchen) and Claire Simon (Young Solitude). Other highlights include films by Joanna Hogg (Exhibition), Kelly Reichardt (Certain Women) and Kathryn Bigelow (Strange Days). Both Hogg and Reichardt have highly anticipated 2020 releases: First Cow and The Souvenir respectively.
This year’s world cinema programme presents films from six continents. These include work from Guatemala (Ixcanul Volcano), Brazil (Neighbouring Sounds), Zambia (I Am Not a Witch), Iran (Tehran Taxi), Iceland (Arctic) and Australia (The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith). The programme features a selection of screenings presented in cooperation with Goethe-Institut, and Confucius Institute. WFS’s French Connections programme is screened in cooperation with the Institut Français and the Embassy of France and this year comprises three films by Jean-Pierre Melville (Bob le Flambeur, Léon Morin, Priest and Army of Shadows).
Further titles returning for the season that have previously screened in the New Zealand International Film Festival are: Columbus, In the Aisles, Up the Mountain, and God’s Own Country.
The 2020 WFS programme comprises of 33 films spanning the years 1942 to 2018.
WFS screenings are open to members of the public to join for an annual fee – full waged memberships cost $120 which equates to less than $4 per film across the year. The weekly screenings will be held on Monday evenings at the Embassy Theatre from March through to November. Members have access to regular newsletters, social events, guest speakers, and concession pricing at most cinemas around town as well as at the New Zealand International Film Festival in July/August.
WFS, affiliated to the NZ Federation of Film Societies, is the longest-standing film society in New Zealand. Formed in 1945, WFS is a registered charity and is run entirely by volunteer members.
Screenings will be held at the Embassy Theatre (Grand screen) on Kent Terrace (end of Courtenay Place) every Monday from 6.15pm. For a full listing of the 2020 season please visit http://www.filmsocietywellington.net.nz/