The blog and the Community

Hi all !!
Welcome to the Cinema-Club blog. We have decided to open this as our own web space and to invite all of you to participate actively in the organisation of the Welcoming Cinema Club.
You can enter and add all your opinions about the viewed movies and also make suggestions for the forthcoming. We hope that you will take the best out of it !!
See you at the screenings!

Friday, 11 December 2009

10th of December "Blackboards" by Samira Makhmalbaf (2000)

“Blackboards” is Samira Makhmalbaf’s second movie which is well received by critics and awarded many prizes in 2000. The screenplay was written by Samira Makhmalbaf and her father Mohsen Makhmalbaf who is also a director.

The story is about two journeys of two teachers in the remote areas of Iran borders with Iraq (Kurdestan) who are desperately searching to find some students. They carry their blackboards on their shoulders and during the way the use them as shelter, splint, stretcher, camouflage and as shields from gunfire.

The life situation, fear and hardship of the people they have met show the irrelevance of education.

you can find more information in:

The topics we have discussed on 10th of December:

  • The life situation of Kurds in Iran, Iraq and Turkey
  • Looking for homeland and nationality
  • Surviving needs and poverty
  • Fictions and realities in the movie

Monday, 30 November 2009

The Age of Stupid, 3/12/09

Tollcross Community Centre's cinema club is pleased to announce the screening of The Age of Stupid this Thursday, 3rd December, at 6.15pm.

From the film's website:
'The Age of Stupid is a 2008 film by Director Franny Armstrong (McLibel, Drowned Out)
Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite stars as a man living alone in the devastated future world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?'

From Wikipedia:
'Shot in seven countries over a period of three years, the film features six separate documentary stories, archive footage and lots of animation from, amongst others, Passion Pictures, creators of the Gorillaz animations. The original rough cut did not include the archivist which was added later to frame the story and better tie together the six parts.'

'The film was "crowd-funded", with the £450,000 budget being raised by selling “shares” to 223 individuals and groups who donated between £500 and £35,000. These groups range from a hockey team to a women’s health centre. This is mostly to give it the best chance of reaching a mainstream multiplex audience, but also to retain complete editorial control. These investors all own a percentage of the film and will receive a pro-rata share in any profits, alongside the 105 crew who worked for survival wages'.


Last Thursday our cinema club goers had the opportunity to watch and to discuss The Flower of My Secret, a film from Pedro Almodovar. This was the second session of the the International Cinema Club's new season.
The film was well received by our audience who enjoyed the  wounded passion and the unfulfilled desire of Leo (Marisa Paredes), the main character of the film, and her fight to find herself amongst the emotional labyrinth of her broken marriage.
Almodovar's exaggerated situations and acid sense of humor made us roar with laughter in a few occasions too!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

New Series of the International Cinema Club in November 2009

Hi Every body

We start the new season of our movie programme at The Welcoming International Cinema Club.

On Thursady November 19th we have seen the movie "Ten" By Abbas Kiarostami and had a short discussion afterwards.

We have discussed the worldwide issue of "love", sence of attachment and belongingness. The dynamic quality of modern women in Iran by shooting the female main character in an automobile, the nowadays power of childern in societies and especially in Iran among other issues were the most topics of this discussion.

This Thurday, 26th of November we will watch a movie from Spain "The Flower of My Secret" by Pedro Almodovar.

Hope you can make it and join us for the discussion.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Thursday June 25 2009 Film,18:15 -PERSEPOLIS!!

This week film selection’s decision could not remain uninfluenced and independent from the events going on now in Iran. Persepolis is an animation film, and one of Iranian Cinema’s most recent and greatest works.Rreleased in 2007, and based on Marjane Satrapi’s novel, the film tells the story of a young girl, Maryam, as she comes of age against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution and finally becomes an ex-patriot. The film is admirable for the great graphics and colours, but what really makes it a great film, is the simplicity and humor with which the director manages to comment on hot issues related to contemporary Iran and Western cultures both.Footage and filming from the recent violations and riots in Iran will open this film, together with an introductory speech by the Iranian Edinburgh University student Aidin Poori

Monday, 11 May 2009

June 11 2009:Charlie Chaplin a comic and tragic hero together, of Modern Times....

This is one of Chaplin's most appreciated films, highly
entertaining,funny, and human but at the same time deeply critical
invites us to look at the desparate employment and fiscal conditions that
many people faced during the Great Depression in the 30's created
by Chaplin's unigue view by the effieciences of modern Industrialization.
Although a 30's film, can stand as a strong commment of ''today's modernity'' as well....
Short Synopsis: Charlie Chaplin plays a man struggling to survive in the modern world,
working in a factory under very hard conditions. Soon, he falls into a mental
breakdown and thus sent to a hospital. Following his recovery, thought as a Communist leader
by mistake, he is put into jail.There, he is hailed to a hero and finally released due to a series
of accidental episodes. Chaplin, as soon as he is part again of the free world, he realises
that he prefers to turn back into jail, unable to stand the hard conditions of everyday life.
Determinated to return back into the jail, he is trying desparately to get arrested again,
and thus involved into various funny situations.

Monday, 4 May 2009

June 4th: The Breadmakers, (Yasmine Fedda, 2007), and State of Dogs, (Brosens & Turmunkh, 1998)

As part of the content and purposes of our cinema-club, we are delighted to present this week The Breadmakers, a short documentary by Yasmin Fedda, Kuwait-born and Edinburgh-based film and television director. The film certainly deals with notions of community and fellowship despite of handicap as it reveals the very specific and highly interesting relationships that operate in a group of workers with learning disabilities who make a fantastic range of organic breads in a daily basis in the city of Edinburgh. The film will open with the director herself, who will be present at the screening to share with us her views and comments on this engaginly beautiful proyect and some other experiences she had in her short yet incredibly rich career as anthropologist and documentary filmmaker.

The Breadmakers will be followed by State of Dogs, an international (Belgian-Dutch-Finnish-Danish-Mongolian) co-production documentary, and a source of inspiration for Yasmin herself. State of Dogs is in fact a kind of hybrid of documentary and fiction which develops a half mystic-half real story of dogs and humans, located in actual Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia and house of a dog population of 120.000 individuals struggling to share the ground with a population of 800.000 humans.

Baasar is one of the hundred of thousand dogs that wonder around Ulan Bator everyday but its story (as the film's) begins from death as Baasar is shot by a dog-hunter in the early minutes of the film. Dog-hunter is a very common rol in a capital where the amount of dogs is just half the human population, however ancient beliefs consider killing a dog an evil act.

Although the film could be understood as the tale of Baasar, is not quite the case. Sorrounding Baasar's death there is tough and real footage of actual dog-hunters in their daily and deathly activities. According to Mongolian beliefs dogs are reincarnated as human beings, although when stray Baasar is killed he doesnt want to become human so for a while he wonders through landscape and memory as a disembodied spirit. The film enters episodes of some disconnected sequences where Baasar's spirit fluctuate around Ulan Bator, in winter as in summer through seemingly random images of Mongolian life. It is indeed Baasar's lifeless presence which shows us the real essence of this huge corner of the globe: the dreary outskirts of the city, the pulsion of a charming decadence in a routine city bus, the dust reincarnating the deaths.

At this stage of the film it is clear that randomness fills Mongolian life as it did with the filmmakers' proyect: a shot of solar eclipse, and interlude with a young man reciting a poem or an astonishing performance by a woman contorsionist take over the screen. The real footage intertwins with real life so the script eventually becomes a roadmap. As an almost dialogue-free work, the cinematography and soundtrack of State of Dogs is as moving as the stories behind the images.

Half way the movie Baasar will eventually reincarnate and the story will seem to be fragmented, but the attention was never relying on interpreting the information but rather feeling the images.

In context, many travellers who visited Mongolia were impressed with the huge number of cattle and dogs all over the place. The origin of this is in the Mongolian nomadic families and their life style to which dogs that could allert the arrival of strangers while guarding the sheep flocks are crucial. Hence, before the revolution of 1921 the number of dogs, according to veterinarian D. Tseveenjav was astonishing: 200-300.000 dogs lived in the country.

However today, as the population gets more settled and nomadism becomes rare, dogs are certainly a problem. Mongolia is a land of fables, but they meet nowadays the neccesities and impositions of modern life: myth, beliefs and progress blur, leaving room for several stories in this truly state of dogs.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Thursday May the 28th: La Haine, by Mathieu Kassovitz (1995)

Following the questions opened few weeks ago with the film we watched by Claire Denis´ Beau Travail, this week's film: La Haine represents the counter-part of the question. If Denis' film portrays the obsoletism of the ideal of Colonialism, we believe that Mathieu Kassovitz's La Haine is a beautifully-shot urban study of the late consequences of Post-colonialism. The film departs from the radical riots that in the 1990's confronted French police with the working-class areas on the edge of large cities such as Paris or Lyon for instance. The suburbs in questions (banlieue in French) are housing states originally built in the early 60's, designed to host workers near the factories where they worked. However, in the following three decades these suburbs became a black spot in the modern vision of France by the French government since in these areas nowadays lives a largely unemployed population of immigrants originating from the old French colonies whom often mistakingly perhaps relate to drug-dealing, robbery and violence. La Haine is a highly inspiring, provocative and very entertaining account of some of these historical facts.


La Haine is a cinema-verite film telling the story of a modern Paris trio in their rage against authority at the core of French society's economic, ethnic and cultural anxieties. Opening with documentary footage of riots, the film unfolds a mixture of the three main characters personalities along the city: the originally Jewish Vinz, who is the angriest but perhaps the least intelligent; the calmer yet most dispairing about the future North-African Said; and the most mature Afro-Caribbean descent Hubert.

After a riot, in which police shot badly a youth inmigrant who was very close to the community, Vinz finds a lost gun that will activate the solidarity against the authority but it will also unfold waves of fury and variety of disagreements . Following the three in the hopeless routine of the ''ghetto'' where music, dance and drug consumption are daily bread, the story twists when the group set a journey into town to visit their mate in hospital. The confrontation with the police experiences then a climax and a later-on second visit to the heart of Paris will carry unexpected consequences.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Thursday May the 21st: Last Resort, by Pawel Pawlikowski (2000)

A film vaguely based on personal experiences: the ones of those who, alike the filmmaker himself, come to U.K. searching a future yet facing the outsider's attempts to overcome the difficulties.


Las Resort is a tale of a Russian single mother, Tanya, who arrives at England with her 10-year-old son to settle with her fiancée. The later will dump her in the last minute as he does not show up, leaving Tanya and her son trapped in a foreign country in which they have no legal access. Within the airport confusion, Tanya applies for asylum and will become locked in the dead en¡mbrace of bureaucracy, abandoned besides her son in a grim seaside tower block where she is expected to wait several months until her application is considered.

After few attemps to escape, she finally makes friends with an arcade worker who, attracted to her, does his best to make her hopeless life more acceptable. But Tanya's point of view, strongly conditioned by her bourgeoise background and her problems to survive in an isolated resort of an allien country, will address the crude humanity of the film to a lack of conclusion following like this the pure essence of real life.

Simply made, and intentionally located in an empty landscape, Last Resort sucessfully depicts the struggle of the outsider in the pursuit of happiness, blank gaps of land where the burden of the inexorable procedures of life leave little room for hope.

Open questions:

- Have you ever had a personal experience of immigrating into another country?

- What do you think can be the motives of people to move to another country from their homeland?

-What do you think of UK as a country of reception of asylum seekers?Do you have again any personal experience that you would like to share?

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Thursday May 14th: I Am Cuba, by Mikhail Kalatozov (1964)

A 1964's Cuban-Soviet propaganda film by Russian filmmaker Mikhail Kalatozov. Mainly formed as a well renowed documentary filmmaker, Kalatozov found himself with unlimited resources coming from both countries to produce his most remarkable work. The result is a beautiful experiment of camera moves and wide-angle lenses, a movie of city and countryside, of music and dancing, but also a poetic portray of Cuba, eternally settled on the ambivalence of luxury and poverty sharing the same land. Almost forgotten for 30 years, the film was re-discovered by prominent filmmakers such as Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese.


This Russian-made study of Cuba, partially written by renowed poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, captures the island just before the transition to a post-Revolutionay society. The film, alike the country, is a sample of dramatic contradictions as luxury is followed in the screen by raw nature or poverty sharply contrasted with pure wealthiness. Nevertheless, the film is comprised in poetic simplicity for four vignettes. Beginning in a decadent, Pre-Castro Havana we firstly follow a track of casinos, luxury hotels and bars where desperately poor locals like Maria, a virginal beauty, try to take part on the tough game of life. From here, the other three sections star Cubans taking direct action. One of them is a sugarcane farmer applying drastic measures to his fatal fate after loosing both land and home. The third follows a revolutionary student who fails to carry a political assault yet encourages the crowd to disbelieve false reports of Castro's death. the final cut is an affecting story of a farmer leaving his family behind to join the revolutionaries that battle in the countryside until they triumphaly reach the capital.

In sum, a visual essay on the revolutionary spirit that was given birth to a new Cuba through the eyes and actions of the locals, yet the film also participates in the depiction of prostitution and poverty mainly constructed by the intervention of well-established foreigners. Both the country itself and the spectators corroborate the contradictions of a magical country that continually disrupts its ambiguous reality.

Open questions:

- What is your image / idea of Cuba?

- Where is this idea mainly comes from?