Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

March 6, 2014

Film Society announces spring movie season


CROSSVILLE — The Cumberland County Film Society has picked another great group of movies for your enjoyment and enlightenment. They will start and end with comedies that are so different in tone and mood that even that is entertaining in itself. In the middle, two dramas, one in late March that will transport us to the beautiful sunny south of France. One to England, so of course, some rain. And smack dab in the middle a very inventive, cleverly edited American documentary on what makes people happy, all over the world, from the very rich to the very poor. Join the CCFS for more "movies worth talking about."

In addition to the dates below are the dates for the fall season. Please mark your calendars now: Sept. 9 and 11, 23 and 25; October 7 and 9, 21 and 23; and November 11 and 13 (election day week is skipped), Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1 p.m. at the Rocky Top. At this writing, they are not sure which movies will also be shown free to the public on Tuesday nights, but they are recommending the last two, both in English.

Tuesday, March 11, and Thursday, March 13: Elling in Norwegian, with subtitles. 89 minutes, rated R for some language and sexual situations but no nudity or explicit sex scenes. Cathie Swanson, discussion leader. Two gaining-on-middle-age men, an odd couple if ever there was one, grow to be friends at a Norwegian state home. When forced to go to Oslo to their own apartment, dealing with the "real world" is fraught with danger — like answering the telephone. You will come to love these gents as they learn about themselves and  find their true loves and destinies. You will see what friendship means with all its ups and downs,  sometimes found when least expected. This movie and stars were so popular in Norway, both a prequel and a sequel were made. Shy Elling, a self-described "mama's boy," and gentle giant Kjell Bjarne are unforgettable characters.

Tuesday, March 25, and Thursday, March 27: The Well Digger's Daughter, in French with subtitles. Not rated (no sex or profanity) 107 min. Bill Macchio, discussion leader. This is a heartwarming, family drama that must not be missed. Set in the pre-World War French countryside, a poor, widowed well digger raising five young daughters on his own, struggles with his family's  reputation when his charming and lovely eldest daughter begins an affair with a dashing air force pilot. When the pilot is called to war, the girl's father must face tough decisions that could break up the family. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will leave the theater feeling really good. With its beautiful cinematography of the French countryside, there is no doubt that you will be totally delighted with this film. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded it four and a half stars, calling it "a success!"

Tuesday, April 8, and Thursday, April 10: Happy, in English. 76 minutes, not rated. Margie Buxbaum, discussion leader. So how do you define happiness? Here's one of many great quotes from this intriguing documentary: "Happiness is a skill." Five years of traveling the world, interviewing the low born and the high achieving, from the swamps of Cajun Louisiana to the slums of Calcutta, this film "explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion." Did you even know there is now a very active academic field of study on happiness? And why not? Which country is more concerned about their Gross National Happiness than their gross national product? Which country is judged  the most unhappy in the world? Cleverly edited with a variety of techniques, the answers surprised the directors; it is more enlightening exploration than "lecture."

Tuesday, April 22, and Thursday, April 24, Unfinished Song in English, PG-13, 93 minutes. Diane Treanor, discussion leader. Vanessa Redgrave in a touching and brave performance and Terrance Stamp, curmudgeon defined, are a married couple wading through the later years of their marriage. Together they learn and share the healing power of music and friendship, of joy and sadness. Grouchy old soul Arthur is almost dragged into a young-at-heart singing group which bravely enters a big competition. Through the friends he finds there and especially the young volunteer leader, he tries to mend years of a strained relationship with his son and granddaughter. You will laugh, you may cry, but this is an uplifting movie for all ages. This film won the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature in Nashville's Film Festival last year.

Tuesday, May 6, and Thursday, May 8: Take Me Home, in English PG-13, 97 minutes. Marian Irvin, discussion leader. This independent film is a true gem, made on a shoestring budget, with its writer serving as its director as well as its leading man—and with his wife playing his co-star. “Once in a while, a film comes out of nowhere and knocks your socks off (with) a great cast of actors, a surprising script, and a lot of heart. What unfolds is a touching, funny, and refreshingly original comedy/drama . . . that is funny without ever trying to be funny and heartwarming without ever becoming cheesy.” Come, enjoy the film, and see why it won audience awards at several film festivals throughout the U.S., including the one in Nashville, TN.