The Wellington Film Society will launch its 2018 programme with a screening of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985) on 26 February. The Embassy Theatre will for the first time host the entire film society programme on their Grand screen.
“This is great news for Wellington Film Society, and the Embassy Theatre is a glorious new home for us. It is an accessible venue, and one of the finest cinemas in the world. We hope to see our membership grow even further now that we have a venue with capacity to accommodate over 700 people in central Wellington. The annual membership fee has increased but it still represents unbeatable value at $4 per film for our carefully curated programme. We continue to be the largest and most well-attended film society in the country. A smorgasbord of restored classics, contemporary world cinema, festival favourites, and more obscure adventures will provide an exciting line-up for Wellingtonians to experience from the comfort of the Embassy’s auditorium,” says WFS president Chris Hormann.
From the oldest film on the programme, 1924 French classic L’inhumaine, to lost South East Asian gems lovingly restored and screening in NZ for the first time, to a spotlight on Rita Hayworth (Cover Girl, Lady from Shanghai, and Gilda) marking the centenary of her birth, will screen alongside cult and classic titles including Howard Hawks’ Only Angels Have Wings(1939) and John Frankenheimer’s Seconds, to striking new works from European filmmakers and recent film festival screenings.
Films by women are highlights in the programme again this year. These include Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, the oldest existing animated film The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed) directed by Lotte Reiniger (1926), and the 2016 Oscar-nominated Mustang directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven.
Audiences will have the chance to see striking new work by female German directors plus classics from the New German Cinema movement. In Anne Zohra Berrached’s 24 Weeks (24 Wochen) (2016) Julia Jentsch stars as a comedian who is six months pregnant and confronted with a heart-wrenching decision. Wild (2016) directed by Nicolette Krebitz, which screened at NZIFF 2016, tells the story of a lonely young woman who has life-changing chance encounter with a wolf.
Young Torless (Der junge Törless), Volker Schlöndorff’s 1966 drama about young cadets in an Austrian military academy launched the New German Cinema movement. Auteur filmmaker Wim Wenders features again this year, after a trilogy of his films screened in 2017. (Wenders Wrong Move was the final film to screen at the Paramount cinema in September before the cinema closed). His 1984 American feature Paris, Texas, starring the now late Harry Dean Stanton, is a moving character study written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, the late Sam Shepard. Support from Goethe Institut have made these Wellington Film Society screenings possible.
Further NZIFF titles returning for the Film Society season are: Sean Baker’s iPhone-shot Tangerine (2015), his latest filmThe Florida Project is in cinemas now; The Illusionist, the 2010 animated feature from the director of The Triplets of Belleville; China’s Van Goghs, the 2016 documentary that looks at the skill of the peasant-turned-oil painter producing replicas of Van Gogh paintings; Neon Bull (2015), Brazilian feature set in the macho world of bull wrangling but with a male protagonist who is more interested in fashion and design; After the Storm (2016), the delicate Japanese drama from director Hirokazu Kore-eda about a novelist trying to reconnect with his ex-wife and young son.
The 2018 programme will close on 26 November with Charles Vidor’s 1944 film Cover Girl, starring Rita Hayworth as a bombshell nightclub dancer who wins a modelling contest and becomes the ultimate “cover girl”. Gene Kelly also stars in this vibrant Technicolor musical.
WFS screenings are open to members of the public to join for an annual fee and are run by a volunteer committee. The weekly screenings will be held on Monday evenings at the Embassy Theatre from late February through to November. Members also 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.
The 2018 Wellington Film Society programme comprises of 34 films spanning the years 1924 to 2016. Wellington Film Society, affiliated to the NZ Federation of Film Societies, is the longest-standing film society in New Zealand. Formed in 1945 the Film Society is a registered charity and is run entirely by volunteer members. Full waged memberships cost $120 which equates to less than $4 per film across the year, in addition to receiving discounts at many Wellington cinemas. Screenings will be held at the Embassy Theatre