8:00 PM, 18th August, 2006
Its the end of the road for the Berkman family. No, they're not about die, but the family unit as they know it is. No longer content to live in a loveless marriage, Bernard (Daniels) and Joan (Linney) are headed for divorce and that's not something that their two boys know how to handle, nor something as common in the mid 80s (when the film is set) as it is today. The Squid and the Whale follows how the boys handle this change in their lives.The Squid and the Whale is as much about growing up and dealing with change in general as it is specifically about dealing with a parental divorce. The key to the film's success is that it doesn't over-dramatise anything and that the on-screen parents (Linney and Daniels) are happy for their characters to take a back seat to the kids' story. It takes a mature look at the sort of coming of age story usually reserved for those saccharine soaked kids' films that every parent subjects their poor children to. This is a rare, truly honest gem from a promising new film-maker.If that doesn't convince you to see it, it's pretty short...so if you don't like it, it will be over soon!
9:21 PM, 18th August, 2006
Set in Shanghai in the late 1930s, this film explores the lives of impoverished exiled White Russian aristocrats, the disillusioned, blind, former US diplomat Todd Jackson (Fiennes), and a dashing Japanese spy (Sanada) shortly before the Japanese invaded the city. Jackson was blinded in a terrorist bombing which killed his young daughter. Looking for an outlet he decides to set up the perfect nightclub; a cosmopolitan place where politics must be left at the door. Jackson finds the charming Countess Sofia (Richardson) to join him as his hostess. She had previously worked in shadier clubs as a dance hostess, and occasional tart, to support her young daughter and disgruntled members of her late husbands family, bringing shame on the family but at least paying the bills. Tensions rise as the Japanese invasion is poised to shatter the co-existential bustle that was pre-War Shanghai and the expatriots consider fleeing. Some reviewers panned Fiennes's performance but I think the film is well worth seeing... so make the most of your membership and enjoy it on the big screen. It's also your last opportunity to see a Merchant Ivory Production as the company's founder Ismail Merchant passed away last year.