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!

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?