The most impressive debut feature of the year also happens to be the scariest. This tale of an anguished single mom (an incredible performance from Essie Davies), her monstrous six-year-old, and the storybook bogeyman who terrorizes their home is guaranteed to chill you to the bone.
"One of the strongest, most effective horror films of recent years - with awards-quality lead work from Essie Davis, and a brilliantly designed new monster who could well become the break-out spook archetype of the decade." — Kim Newman, Empire
"Managing to scare an audience silly with original imagery and non-formulaic jolts is no mean feat [...] Managing to move us at the same time is close to miraculous." — Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
"Deeply disturbing and unusually beatiful." — Variety
An honest, hard-working schoolteacher in a small Bulgarian town is driven to desperate measures to avoid financial ruin. This is an austere and well-composed film that builds dramatic tension through the main character’s shifting moral perspective. A disciplined performance by Margita Gosheva beautifully captures the specificity of time and place.
Preceded by the short film: Flash (Canada, 10 min)
A young woman on a bicycle, with a dangerous curiosity, takes an unexpected detour through a magical fantasy on her usual ride home from work.
British Columbia’s marine ecosystem has collapsed. Fish farms were seen as a way to offset growing pressure on declining wild stocks, but one woman, marine biologist Alexandra Morton, noticed that diseases coming from fish farms were killing wild salmon. In this revealing documentary, filmmaker Scott Renyard links the crash of many fish species on Canada’s west coast to diseases spread from fish farms and shows how the loss in marine fish biomass has global implications.
A rare chance to revisit this singularly strange, radical environmental, aboriginal rights drama from the Polish filmmaker Ryszard Bugajski (Closed Circuit; The Interrogation). Graham Greene gives the performance of his career as Arthur, who is either a pissed-off warrior on a rampage against a mill encroaching on his people’s land, or a trickster spirit manifesting to teach an ineffectual liberal lawyer (Ron Lea) a lesson about the need for action - unless he’s both?
Imagine spending years in prison without being charged with a crime or knowing exactly what you’re accused of. A film about the human impact of the “War on Terror,” The Secret Trial 5 is a sobering examination of the Canadian government’s use of security certificates, a Kafkaesque tool that allows for indefinite detention without charges, based on evidence not revealed to the accused or their lawyers. Over the last decade, this rare and highly controversial device has been used to detain five men for nearly 30 years combined. To date, none has been charged with a crime or seen the evidence against them. Through the experience of the detainees and their families, the film raises poignant questions about the balance between security and liberty.
"Troubling and compelling ... As Canadians, we’re used to looking elsewhere in the world and shuddering at the lack of due process and respect for human rights. This film is bound to shake many of us out of that sense of smug complacency." — Bruce DeMara, The Star
Ana Valine’s darkly comic drama centres on mother/daughter con artists who just can’t catch a break. Seen through the eyes of 16-year-old Sammie (Paloma Kwiatkowski)—who lives with her pill-popping, alcoholic mom Marlene (Suzanne Clément)—this bittersweet journey leads us through dysfunction, love and addiction, before culminating with an unusual deliverance for this compelling pair. Winner, Best Director, Leo Awards 2014.
Plus–sized and 30 years old, Lexie is a feisty Bed & Breakfast owner who desperately needs a date to her sister’s wedding. In small town Nova Scotia, that’s no easy task. When a handsome and charming guest arrives she thinks all her problems are solved. But she misreads the situation and is soon reeling, believing her romantic dream has slipped away, perhaps forever. After a series of funny mishaps and a reality check or two, Lexie opens her heart to see that love may be closer than she thought. The film is a romantic comedy as feisty as Lexie herself. It stars Australian actor Melissa Bergland (Winners & Losers) in a breakout role, and is based on the best selling novel by Lesley Crewe.
Preceded by short films: Happy and Gay; Bedbugs: A Musical Love Story.
Since the late 1960s, many young women have disappeared or been found murdered along the 724-kilometre stretch of Highway 16 in northern British Columbia. Most of these women are from First Nations communities and are victims not only of murderous predators but of the systemic racism of governments that have shown little interest in apprehending their killers. The film not only movingly relates the personal stories of the victims and their families, but investigates how the legacy of colonialism contributed to their tragic fates — and how contemporary First Nations leaders are striving to change that legacy.
A family, including three young children, pack up and move to the remote wilderness of the Canadian North. For nine months they live in a small cabin. No road access, no electricity, no running water, no internet and not a single watch or clock. Set in the Yukon and filmed without an external crew, this is a thought provoking documentary that chronicles life’s natural unfolding when a family abandons the habits required in our time-based world.
France, Poland, Denmark
Polish-born, UK-based filmmaker Pawlikowski (My Summer of Love) returns to his native land for this evocative, resonant art film about a novice nun discovering a family secret in the 1960s. Beautifully shot in black and white, this award-winning drama has been compared to the work of Francois Truffaut and Robert Bresson.
"In a very short time, Pawlikowski’s film tells us a powerful, poignant story with fine, intelligent performances." — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
"This story of faith and despair is gracefully told, its simple, uncluttered spaces and luminous black-and-white photography harking back to Robert Bresson." — JR Jones, Chicago Reader
"It’s absolutely stunning, one of the year’s best films, and a fulfillment of the promise that the director has shown for so long." — Oli Lyttleton, Indiewire
Nathalie is a young Parisian woman who passionately enjoys life. She likes her job, adores hanging out with her colleagues, and is about to move in with the man she loves. But then, in a matter of a few minutes, everything changes. Marie Denarnaud convincingly captures Nathalie’s transformative experience. This is a powerful and thought-provoking film.
Preceded by the short: Through the Pane
In the first of our series bringing you opera productions from London’s Royal Opera House, a chance to enjoy the company’s new staging of Richard Wagner’s epic, his final masterpiece. A young man ignorant of everything, including his own name, arrives at the Kingdom of the Holy Grail. Is he the ‘pure fool, enlightened by compassion’, who, it has been prophesied, will purify the kingdom?
Running time includes two intermissions.
An unforgettable experience!
Richard Eyre’s produciton of Verdi’s masterpiece has been one of the most successful opera stagings in the long and celebrated history of the Royal Opera House. We present the original, definitive incarnation of that production, starring the incomparable Renee Fleming as the ill-fated courtesan Violetta, oppose Joseph Calleja as Alfredo and Thomas Hapson as his unyielding father.
Andrei Serban’s staging of Puccini’s final opera is a glorious pageant of rich colour, dance and drama. Turandot is a tale of disguised identities, riddles, ritual executions and powerful, triumphant love.
Paris in 1855, when the opera was first performed, provides the starting point for the interpretation by celebrated Norwegian born director Stefan Herheim. The opera ballet plays a significant role too, with Johann Kobborg choreographing for dancers from the Royal Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet. The story is set to impassioned and dramatic music, rich in showpiece arias and ensembles with striking choruses. Antonio Pappano conducts a world-class cast including Erwin Schrott, Bryan Hymel and Lianna Haroutounian in The Royal Opera’s first ever staging of Verdi’s grand opera.
Don José (Jonas Kaufmann) is a young soldier in the army in Seville. He intends to marry Micaëla, a girl from his home village, but when he meets the sensual and high-spirited Carmen (Anna Caterina Antonacci), his head is soon turned…Spanish heat and gypsy passion are brought to the stage in Francesca Zambello’s vivid production of Bizet’s famous opera.
Sung in French with English subtitles
Acts One and Two will last for about 1 hour 50 minutes, followed by a 15 minute interval. Act Three will last for about 1 hour 5 mins.
Powerful music, a gripping story and a tragic end: Puccini’s ever-popular Tosca performed with a fabulous cast. Among the star singers in this revival are Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel. Jonathan Kent’s detailed production draws to the full on the historical backdrop of Rome in 1800, an atmospheric backdrop to the love of the beautiful diva Tosca, the idealism of her lover Cavaradossi and the deadly, destructive obsession of the malevolent Chief of Police, Scarpia.
Daniele Abbado explores themes of identity, exile and religion in a powerful staging of Verdi’s epic opera. War has broken out between the Babylonians and Israelites. The Israelites have captured Fenena, younger daughter of the Babylonian King, Nabucco. In revenge, Nabucco vows to destroy Jerusalem, aided by the vengeful Abigaille.
“Domingo’s career, 42 years at Covent Garden and counting, continues to be a wonder of the age.” The Guardian
A lost key and an accidental touch of cold hands in the dark – so begins one of the great romances of all opera. In his depiction of the tender and ultimately tragic love between Mimì and Rodolfo, Puccini achieved an immediacy, warmth and humanity that have rarely been equalled.
Kasper Holten, ROH Director of Opera, presents a mesmerizing new production of Mozart’s sublime tragicomedy. The impulsive and charismatic Don Giovanni travels through Europe seducing women, accompanied by his long-suffering servant Leporello. When he commits murder, he unleashes vengeance from beyond the grave.