Room 237

Playing April 26th to May 2nd

Many movies lend themselves to dramatic interpretations, but none as rich and far ranging as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. In LA filmmaker Rodney Ascher’s ROOM 237, we hear from people who have developed far-reaching theories and believe they have decoded the hidden symbols and messages buried in the late director’s film. Carefully examining The Shining inside out, and forwards and backwards, ROOM 237 is equal parts captivating, provocative and pure pleasure. It gives voice to the fans and scholars who espouse these theories, reworking the film to match their ideas and intercutting it with layers of dreamlike imagery to illustrate their streams of consciousness. Sometimes outrageous, always engaging, the words of the interviewees are given full force by Ascher’s compelling vision.

The Gatekeepers

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Playing April 26th to May 2nd

 

Charged with overseeing Israel’s war on terror-both Palestinian and Jewish- the head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret service is present at the crossroad of every decision made. For the first time ever six former heads of the agency agreed to share their insights and reflect publicly on their actions and decisions. The Gatekeepers offers an exclusive account of the sum of their success and failures. It validates the reasons that each man individually and the six as a group came to reconsider their hard-line positions and advocate a conciliatory approach toward their enemies based on a two-state solution.

Eslmeralda from the Bolshoi Ballet

Paris, at the end of the 15th century.

Act I
Scene 1: The Cour des Miracles. A Small Square.
Sunset. Tradesmen, members of the bourgeoisie and the common folk make haste to leave the market square which, as darkness falls, turns into the Cour des Miracles – a kingdom of tramps, gypsies and beggars. Gringoire, who has ended up here by force of circumstance, falls into the hands of thieves. Not finding any money on the impoverished poet, the tramps sentence him to death. However, according to their law, a victim’s life will be saved if a woman agrees to marry him. No one though wants to, and Gringoire is to be hanged. At this moment, the charming Esmeralda arrives. Learning what is up, she immediately consents to save the unhappy man, by becoming his wife. Gringoire is in his seventh heaven. They are wedded for four years, the number of shards from the jug Gringoire has broken in accordance with the custom of the tramps, and general merrymaking starts.

The cunning archdeacon Claude Frollo, who burns with desire for Esmeralda, incites Clopin to abduct her and orders the hunchback Quasimodo to take part in the operation. The villains are stopped by a patrol. Captain Phoebus orders the arrest of Quasimodo and that assistance be given to the beautiful Gypsy-girl. Esmeralda is charmed by his nobility and good-looks and profoundly grateful to him. Phoebus gives her his scarf as a memento. He frees Quasimodo at the request of the kind-hearted girl and tries to flirt with her, but Esmeralda slips away.

Scene 2: The Newlyweds. Esmeralda’s chamber
A pensive Esmeralda admires the scarf Phoebus has given her. Picking out the letters of the alphabet which form his name, she dances before this word which is dear to her heart. Enter Gringoire; he tries to embrace her, asserting his rights as husband, but Esmeralda tells him that she only wished to save him from death, and that she will never be his wife. The unhappy ‘husband’ accepts his fate and agrees to partner her in the dances which she starts teaching him. Esmeralda shows Gringoire to his chamber and remains alone.

She dreams of Phoeoebus. Upstage a door slowly opens, and the sinister figure of Claude Frollo appears. A horrified Esmeralda orders Frollo to leave but, throwing himself on his knees, he begs her to accept his passionate love. Esmeralda scornfully rejects him and, pointing to the name of Phoeoebus, says: “Here is the man whom I love!”. Undeterred, Frollo continues to make advances and Esmeralda pulls out a dagger. Quasimodo stays the Gypsy-girl’s hand but, mindful of the kindness she has shown him, he helps her to escape. “Woe to you and a curse on him!”, Frollo threatens and he picks up the dagger dropped by Esmeralda.

Act II
Scene 3: Fleur-de-Lys. A splendid mansion, brightly illuminated for the celebration.
Preparations are underway for the betrothal of Phoeoebus and Fleur-de-Lys. Fleur-de-Lys’s companions gather flowers into garlands and do their embroidery. Enter Phoebus. He is oblivious to everything, the memory of his meeting with Esmeralda gives him no peace. Noticing he is not wearing the scarf she gave him, Fleur-de-Lys is about to reproach Phoebus when he presents her with a ring, and her suspicions vanish. She shows her ring to her mother. Aloise de Gondelaurier announces that she too has prepared a present to mark the happy occasion and gives a sign that the allegorical ballet, Diane and Acteon, should start.

Enter Esmeralda, accompanied by Gringoire and her friends. She tells Fleur-de-Lys’s fortune, and then dances for the guests who admire her gracefulness. At the height of the festivities, when all the Gypsy-girls start dancing, Esmeralda catches sight of Phoebus and realizes he must be Fleur-de-Lys’ betrothed. Devasted, she decides to leave and puts on the scarf. Seeing her present on the Gypsy-girl, Fleur-de-Lys is unable to restrain her tears and flings Phoebus’s ring on the ground. General confusion. Esmeralda leaves and Phoebus hurries after her – the person to whom his heart belongs.

Act III
Scene 4: Love and Jealousy. A chamber in an inn.
Clopin leads in Claude Frollo and shows him a hiding place, from which he will be able to observe the meeting between Esmeralda and Phoebus. Unable to stand the lovers’ sweet nothings and kisses, Frollo throws himself at his rival, Esmeralda’s dagger in his hand. Phoebus falls lifeless to the ground.

A crowd gathers and Frollo, not showing any agitation, mixes with it. He informs the judge that the dagger belongs to Esmeralda and the judge accuses her of murder. Esmeralda protests, swearing her innocence. “I will save you, if you will be mine”, Claude Frollo whispers to the desperate girl, but the latter indignantly pushes him aside. The judge breaks his staff over Esmeralda’s head and throws a veil over her, which signifies the death sentence. Frollo is triumphant.

Scene 5: The Festival of Fools. Square. To the right is the prison. Upstage is the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.
A procession appears headed by Claude Frollo – they are taking Esmeralda to prison. A curious crowd follows them, they are all eager to know what will happen next. A panic-stricken Gringoire runs in. Falling over by the prison window, he sees with horror that the unhappy girl is being tortured.
The square is invaded by a crowd of beggars and tramps who are celebrating the Festival of Fools. Having been elected their king for one day Quasimodo, dressed in royal robes, holds court on a stretcher. An indignant Frollo, tears off Quasimodo’s blasphemous attire.

Esmeralda is brought out of prison and led to execution. She bids farewell to everyone and asks Gringoire to bury her with Phoebus’ scarf. Claude Frollo again offers to save her in exchange for her love. “May God be your judge”, is Esmeralda’s answer to him. She is ready to die and prays zealously. At this moment, Phoebus appears, who has recovered from his wounds. He reveals the real culprit to an astonished crowd – it was Claude Frollo who had tried to kill him, and the condemned Esmeralda is innocent. Esmeralda throws herself into the arms of her lover. The enraged archdeacon whips out the dagger – but Quasimodo, forcing it from his hand, makes short work of him by throwing him off the bridge.

Il Trovatore

“Il Trovatore,” or “the troubadour,” is the story of star-crossed lovers, mixed-up infants, and acts of vengeance. Count Di Luna and Manrico, the wandering minstrel or “troubadour” of the title, are rivals for Lady Leonora’s love. When Leonora declares her love for Manrico, the two men duel. Although Manrico has the chance to kill Di Luna, a mysterious force from within him stays his hand and allows Di Luna to live. Later, Manrico listens to his aging mother, the gypsy Azucena, describe the death of her own mother, who was burned at the stake after being accused of hexing a nobleman’s son. Azucena vowed revenge, and tried to kill the nobleman’s second-born son, but accidentally killed her own child instead. She raised the younger son as her own. That younger brother was Manrico. Azucena assures Manrico that although he is not her biological son, she still loves him as a mother. Word comes that Leonora, thinking Manrico dead from the duel, will be entering a convent. Both Di Luna and Manrico try to intercept her on her way, leading to another fight, and the escape of Manrico and Leonora together. Di Luna and his men follow them and set up camp. A guard discovers Azucena hiding. As she describes her sorry life, Di Luna recognizes her—the gypsy who kidnapped and killed his brother, and the daughter of the gypsy who cursed him! Di Luna orders her burnt at the stake as revenge. Meanwhile, Manrico and Leonora are about to be married, but one of Manrico’s aides arrives and alerts them that Azucena is about to be executed. Manrico immediately leaves to save his adoptive mother. Both he and Azucena are then imprisoned by Di Luna’s men. Di Luna agrees to let them live—but only if Leonora will give herself over. Leonora agrees, but secretly swallows poison. Leonora bursts into the prison cell to tell Manrico that he has been saved. He realizes the terrible price of his freedom and denounces her, but very quickly the poison takes effect, and Leonora dies in his arms. Angry at losing his ransomed bride, Di Luna orders Manrico executed immediately. Azucena sees him killed and cries out that her mother has been avenged: Di Luna has murdered his own brother!

Ginger & Rosa

London, 1962. Two teenage girls – GINGER & ROSA – are inseparable. They skip school together, talk about love, religion and politics and dream of lives bigger than their mothers’ domesticity. But the growing threat of nuclear war casts a shadow over their lives. Ginger (Elle Fanning) is drawn to poetry and protest, while Rosa (Alice Englert) shows Ginger how to smoke cigarettes, kiss boys and pray. Both rebel against their mothers: Rosa’s single mum, Anoushka (Jodhi May), and Ginger’s frustrated painter mother, Natalie (Christina Hendricks). Meanwhile, Ginger’s pacifist father, Roland (Alessandro Nivola) seems a romantic, bohemian figure to the girls. He encourages Ginger’s ‘Ban-the-Bomb’ activism, while Rosa starts to take a very different interest in him. As Ginger’s parents fight and fall apart, Ginger finds emotional sanctuary with a gay couple, both named Mark (Timothy Spall and Oliver Platt), and their American friend, the poet Bella (Annette Bening). Finally, as the Cuban Missile Crisis escalates – and it seems the world itself may come to an end – the lifelong friendship of the two girls is shattered. Ginger clutches at one hope; if she can help save the world from extinction, perhaps she too will survive this moment of personal devastation.Buy Tickets

Amour

Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple’s bond of love is severely tested.

FASTER, HIGHER, STRONGER: THE OLYMPICS ON SCREEN

With the London 2012 Games around the corner, The Picture House is proud to offer “Faster, Higher, Stronger: The Olympics on Screen,” a series celebrating and exploring the on-screen legacy of the Olympics. The Games have evolved to become much more than simply the world’s foremost sports competition, with issues involving global politics and nationalism often vying for attention with the events on the field. The series will examine all that the Olympics represent – a forum for athletic and physical achievement, a grand spectacle and mass media event, and a reflection of global politics and national identity.

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