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Cranleigh Film Club – January 2020

Cranleigh Film Club is showing The Guardians (15) on Thursday 30 January 2020 starting at 7.30pm; doors open at 7.00pm. As usual our film will be shown in the Band Room, GU6 8AF, and there is ample parking in the adjacent Village Way car park.

Refreshments are available.

The Guardians (15)

Director Xavier Beauvois made the unforgettable Of Gods and Men, which we showed most successfully in 2011. It’s a drama set during the First World War: two sons and a son-in-law have left for the front, the women left behind to work the family farm. Hortense, a widow, (Nathalie Baye) and her daughter Solange (her real-life daughter Laura Smet, who was in Yves Saint Laurent) hire a young orphan, Francine (Iris Bry), to help out. The trio work well, until one day one of the men, Georges, Hortense’s favourite son, returns.

The only positive from this ‘war to end all wars’ is the film’s strong women taking the reins of a farm, modernising it and making a profit. The Guardians has been called one of the most beautifully photographed and quietly told stories of women abiding the tyranny of war in the modern cinema. A minimalist epic, one of the year’s best films, an example of the French ability to make art through cinema. A reviewer said, “it’s an unexpected take on World War I. Though it has subtlety and restraint, it’s also a work of compelling emotional force. The feeling of just how good it is builds, and near the end it hit me like a strong wind. I loved watching and listening to Francine sing so happily, despite her pain. The Guardians has fantastic cinematography, wonderful wardrobes, stellar performances.”

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote, “the gender divide is clearer in its original title, Les Gardiennes. This richly compassionate, fiercely acted and beautifully shot period drama is about the second conflict, the battle of wills on the home front, as its characters struggle to maintain a family farm in western France.” “The Guardians maintains an underlying focus on humanity, in all its complications, in a time of distress. You think people are decent but then they mess something up and the rules no longer apply. Bry has a consistently beguiling screen presence: with expressive looks reminiscent of a silent film star, she has a hugely appealing directness. You know her character will find her way in the world,” Roger Ebert.

As with Of Gods and Men, The Guardians is full of quiet dignity and humanity, and it gets the emotions just right. There are so many films about the battlefront, it’s great to see one focussed on the scene back home and on women’s work, their hopes, their endurance, their grief, and even their betrayals. The pace follows the events of the narrative as much as the seasons and the labour they entail.

Come and join us!

Membership costs £30 per year, covering all 12 films. To join please email your details to the Membership Secretary, Sara Lock, at . We make a £5 charge for guests at each film. Do come along and enjoy the atmosphere!

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