miniCLIFF 2015

SATURDAY 18th APRIL

11am Little Big Man (1970/USA) 139m (M)
Based on Thomas Berger’s astounding novel, Little Big Man might just be Dustin Hoffman’s greatest cinema moment. He plays the rambling Jack Crabb, who recounts his storied life as raised by Indians and befriended by the murderous General Custer. Ultimately Crabb is either insane or one of the most unique characters you will ever meet. Or both.
Satirical, wise and deftly humorous, Little Big Man is a neglected gem.

2pm La Grande Bouffe (1973/France) 130m (M)
Brilliant satire on the collapse of a miniature consumption society or depraved exhibition of corpulent decadence? Marco Ferreri’s controversial and delirious epic divides critics and viewers alike. Marcello Mastroianni and friends gather in a Paris mansion with the express aim of gorging themselves to death on an extreme diet of sex, booze and gourmet food. With lashings of excess, Ferreri sculpts a delicious and dark comedy that will leave you desperate for just one more bite …(French language with English subtitles.)

4.30pm The Frightened Woman (1969/Italy) 108m (M)
In some ways Piero Schivazappa has crafted the ultimate late 1960s confection, a melange of dizzy pop-art, psychedelic intent and sublime style. At its heart The Frightened Woman is also undoubtably biting social commentary of the finest sort. A rich and depraved businessman considers the world his plaything until one woman finally stops him in his tracks. Boasts a superlative score and stunning visuals. An undiscovered and rare classic. (Italian language with English subtitles.)

 7pm CITIZENFOUR (2014/Germany/USA) 114m (M)
The inside and intimate story of Edward Snowden, former NSA contractor turned explosive whistleblower. Snowden’s revelations of ubiquitous global surveillance have shocked the world and sparked heated debate. Here Snowden is filmed from his very first clandestine meeting with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras. CLIFF is proud to present this important, timely and stunningly atmospheric documentary.

9.30pm El Topo (1970/Mexico) 125m (M)
Before The Holy Mountain, Alejandro Jodorowsky shocked and amazed the world with El Topo, surely the most surreal ‘Western’ ever committed to celluloid. A mysterious black-clad gunfighter wanders a mystical landscape strewn with symbolism while encountering a multitude of bizarre characters. El Topo (the Mole) must discover himself before he can subdue the foes in his path. John Lennon’s fortune brought the bizarre vision of El Topo to the big screen, and we should be forever thankful. (Spanish language with English subtitles.)

SUNDAY 19th APRIL

11am Jason And The Argonauts (1963/USA) 104m (G)
Greek mythology comes alive! Heroic Jason battles skeleton armies, an enormous bronze warrior, assorted harpies and the dreaded Hydra on his quest to recover the fabled Golden Fleece. The very zenith of analogue-era special effects (by master Ray Harryhausen) and gorgeous production design highlight this big screen retelling of an ancient and renowned tale.

2pm Matango – Attack Of The Mushroom People (1963/Japan) 89m (PG)
Powerful, allegoric, psychedelic and genuinely chilling, Matango involves a group of boat-holidaying Japanese proto-yuppies who get stranded on a mysterious island populated with giant mushrooms. No prizes for guessing what happens next, but the denouement is both hallucinogenic and breathtaking. This rare, quite fantastic film looks bold and beautiful on the big screen.

4pm The Hidden Fortress (1958/Japan) 126m (PG)
A sprawling epic of masterful storytelling, Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress overbrims with wit, satire and adventure. It tells of a 16th century Japanese princess, whom by stealth, guile and battle, attempts to resuscitate her defeated clan. George Lucas is certainly a fan, his Star Wars  franchise would appear to be directly minted from The Hidden Fortress’ characters, plot and themes. Kurosawa is an acknowledged master of composition, pace and narrative, and The Hidden Fortress is an electrifying big-screen experience. (Japanese language with English subtitles.)

7pm The Lives Of Others (2006/Germany) 137m (R)
Set in 1984 East Berlin, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives Of Others is surely one of the greatest films to deal explicitly with the themes of surveillance, state oppression and mankind’s innate inhumanity. Centred on a Stasi campaign to monitor a group of thespians and intellectuals (and the destruction wrought), The Lives Of Others presents a universal tableau, the highest highs and the very lowest lows of our species. Moving and intelligent, The Lives Of Others might just be perfect filmmaking. (German language with English subtitles.)

9.30pm Battle Royale (2000/Japan) 114m (R)
To be blunt, Battle Royale is not for the faint of heart. It revolves around the fate of a class of Japanese teenagers who must battle each other (to the last one standing) in a government-sanctioned, media-saturated, blood-sport spectacle. On an isolated and fortified island the histrionic teenagers meet their demise in a series of gruesome and over-the-top scenarios, until one lone survivor is announced. Satirical, delirious and extreme, Battle Royale is challenging filmmaking, and makes Hollywood xerox The Hunger Games look like popcorn Disney fare. (Japanese language with English subtitles.)