Films around Cheltenham from 13 August 2022

The Roses

The Roses has more showings of Joyride, reviewed with no great enthusiasm last week, but the main attraction, if that’s the phrase I am looking for, is DC League of Super-Pets. However, tucked away next Friday morning at 11.15 is the first of just two showings of The Good Boss, directed by Fernando Leon de Aranoa and starring Javier Bardem. This film was shown in May at the Cheltenham International Film Festival and was received very warmly. It isn’t an art house film, but a very well made feature, satirising workplace corruption, that just happens to be in Spanish. Bardem gives a brilliant performance as the boss in question, alternately charming and creepy, but determined to gain a prestigious business award, whatever the cost. (PW). Pamela is right. I think it is the best film I have seen this year: funny, fast-moving, insightful, filled with historical resonance and brilliantly constructed as a kind of bedroom/boardroom farce (JM).

The Guildhall

It’s closed for a £230,000 refurbishment, funded by the Arts Council, which must like throwing good money after bad. The refurbishment doesn’t seem to be affecting the cinema, which has not long been tarted up, but it’s closed anyway. (JM)

The Sherborne

Minions, Railway Children, Crawdads, just like last week. From Friday, it has Fisherman’s Friends: One and All, the heartwarming sequel to the heartwarming true story of the not-at-all bogus ‘folk’ group from Port Isaac, Cornwall. Following the ‘unexpected’ and not-at-all bogus success of their first album, they now face the challenge of playing Glastonbury. The trailer made me want to throw up and it wasn’t even shot on board a trawler. (JM)

The Cineworlds

This week’s new film is Nope, directed by the Oscar-winning Jordan Peele, and starring Daniel Kaluuya. A family of ranchers in the Californian backwoods are menaced by something that arrives in a UFO. Or something. It’s supposed to be some sort of summer horror thing. Am I very interested? Nope. (JM)

Otherwise, there is Laal Singh Chaddha, a Hindi-language film based on Forrest Gump, and Bullet Train. Here’s what one of my informants said about that: ‘The film is a constant stream of joking and a must for lovers of violence for violence’s sake. I didn’t find a single moment either funny or exciting. Judging by IMDb, audiences seem to be loving this crap, though. Did look good!’

The Tivoli

I’m tempted not to mention The Tivoli, because everything I’ve written about it since June has been mysteriously deleted from my site. Who would have a motive for that? Let’s leave it there.

Anyway, this week the overpriced bunker has Crawdads, Nope, Elvis, Bullet Train, Thor and Top Gun: Mavericks. The only surprise is the arrival of Where Is Anne Frank, an animated feature that we showed in the Cheltenham International Film Festival.

This is what I wrote about it then: ‘Israeli director Ari Folman has taken the familiar story of Anne Frank and daringly made it his starting point for an exploration of modern global injustices, asking what we have learnt from her story. It is another stunning work of animation from the director of the celebrated for Waltz with Bashir (2008), which was based on interviews with veterans of the 1982 Lebanon invasion. Where is Anne Frank is set in present day Amsterdam, where the main character, Kitty (voiced by British actress Ruby Stokes), the imaginary friend to whom Anne dedicated her diary, suddenly comes alive. She must stay near the diary or she becomes invisible. Not knowing of Anne’s fate, she sets out to find her in the modern world. When she wanders out into the street, she is told that Anne Frank is everywhere, because streets, museums and libraries have been named after her. But it turns out that while the name lives on, the spirit with which she lived does not. The film asks a provocative question: is Anne Frank now primarily a tourist attraction?’

As anyone who has been to Amsterdam knows, the answer to that is Yes. The same could be said of Auschwitz. I can admit now that when I actually saw the film I was not very keen. The animation wasn’t bad, but I didn’t like the teenage romance element and didn’t think it was a very useful contribution to our understanding of the Holocaust or anything else. Go and see it by all means, but you’d do better to read Peter Longerich’s Wannsee, belatedly available in English, which I read during the lockdown. It was pretty much the only book I read during the lockdown. That’s how much it upset me. (JM)

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