FIRST REFORMED
2018, A24, 108 min, USA, Dir: Paul Schrader

Writer-director Paul Schrader’s gripping thriller tackles a crisis of faith that is at once personal, political and planetary. Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the church is now a tourist attraction catering to a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by its nearby parent church, Abundant Life, with its state-of-the-art facilities and 5,000-strong flock. When a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks Reverend Toller to counsel her husband, a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past and equally despairing future, until he finds redemption in an act of grandiose violence.


CAROL
2015, The Weinstein Company, 118 min, USA, Dir: Todd Haynes

Two very different women fall in love in 1950s New York in this striking adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's The Price of Salt. As a woman stuck in a loveless marriage and a young department store clerk, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara vanish into their respective roles with an intriguing balance of desire and caution. “CAROL’s lush but controlled visual look is completely intoxicating. This is filmmaking done by masters, an experience to savor.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times.


FAR FROM HEAVEN
2002, Focus Features, 107 min, USA/France, Dir: Todd Haynes

Two relationships challenge convention in a 1950s Connecticut town in this insightful drama that recalls the best work of Douglas Sirk. After Cathy (Julianne Moore) discovers her husband (Dennis Quaid) in the arms of another man, she grows closer to the couple’s black gardener (Dennis Haysbert). Winner of five Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature and Director.


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