GERMAINE
GROENTEN UIT BALEN
2011, Skyline Entertainment, 110 min, Belgium, Dir: Frank van Mechelan

It's 1971 and 18-year-old Germaine (Evelien Bosmans) trudges through a typically bland existence, living at home in the small town of Balen and keeping a day job at the local supermarket. When the workers from the town factory, including Germaine's own reluctant father, decide to go on strike - which stretches on for an unanticipated three months - the citizens of Balen find their lives irrevocably changed. Based on true events. In Dutch with English subtitles.


THE HELP
2011, Walt Disney Pictures, 146 min, USA, Dir: Tate Taylor

In the summer of 1963, recent college graduate and aspiring author Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns home to Jackson, Mississippi for the summer, only to discover that the friends she left behind (a fire-breathing Bryce Dallas Howard among them) have become malignantly conformist housewives-in-training, with nasty racist opinions suddenly in full swing. Stunned by how the same young girls who were so lovingly raised by black domestics could grow up to be such biggots, Skeeter suddenly realizes the book she wants to write: a collection of interviews with black maids in her community. Particularly hesitant is Abileen Clarke (an excellent Viola Davis), who doesn't want to stir up trouble, but when the racist atmosphere of Jackson reaches a dangerous fever pitch with the assassination of Medgar Evers, she knows her story must be shared at any cost. With an impressive supporting cast including Jessica Chastain as the good-hearted, bottle-blond outsider in town, Octavia Spencer as Abileen's smart-mouthed friend and fellow domestic and Allison Janney as Skeeter's cancer-stricken mother. Nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Davis) and two for Best Supporting Actress (Spencer and Chastain).


THE EXTRAORDINARY VOYAGE
2011, Lobster Films, 78 min, France, Dir: Serge Bromberg, Eric Lange

This fascinating documentary chronicles the recent restoration of Georges Méliès’ fantastical “A Trip to the Moon” to its original 1902 colors - from film archivists Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange of Lobster Films acquiring a severely damaged color print in 1999, to the tedious task of peeling off and unrolling the nitrate prints in order to digitize them, to the two-year process of discovering the images on those fragments, to the eight-year wait for technology to become available for Lobster Films to access the images on the digitized hard drive. Includes interviews with contemporary filmmakers such as Costa-Gavras, Michel Gondry, Michel Hazanavicius and Jean-Pierre Jeunet on Méliès’ enduring significance to cinema.


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