The Lotterywest Film season for 2021/2022 runs from November 22 to March 27 with a new film being released each Monday and running for the rest of the week. This season includes a mix of 18 Australian and international films.
The Somerville is a magical experience. To make the most of your evening and also to get the best seats, bring a picnic rug, arrive early and enjoy something to eat and drink before the movie begins. On the warmer nights tickets tend to sell out early so plan ahead and buy online. Food and alcohol can be brought on site.
Book tickets here.
1. The Worst Person in the World
Nov 22 – Nov 28
Voted by the 2021 Cannes jury as one of the best of the fest and winner of Best Actress 2021, The Worst Person in the World is a comic drama about being far from perfect, navigating life as a ‘grown up’ and accepting reality.
Thirty-year-old Julie is having an existential crisis. Her older boyfriend wants to settle down but, as with most things in her life, she’s unsure. When she gatecrashes a party and meets the young and charming Eivind things start to unravel. Over 12 short chapters we follow Julie as she flips between career and romantic choices, eventually taking a realistic look at who she really is. The Worst Person in the World is a coming-of-age film that perfectly captures the feeling of never really feeling grown up.
2. The Velvet Queen
Nov 29 – Dec 5
High up on the Tibetan plateau, amongst unexplored and inaccessible valleys, lies one of the last sanctuaries of the wild world, where rare and undiscovered fauna lives. Here, two friends – an award-winning nature photographer and an adventurer – are searching for the mysterious and extremely elusive snow leopard. Throughout the two months of this hypnotic journey, Marie Amiguet films the two men up close and captures these suspended moments of the celebration of the world’s beauty.
Deeply moving images of pristine landscapes and the marvellous creatures populating Tibet are brought to life by a vivid score from Warren Ellis. The Velvet Queen is a poetic documentary and an exquisitely beautiful experience that leaves us questioning where humans belong in nature.
3. Lingui, The Sacred Bonds
Dec 6 – Dec 12
Effortlessly evocative and stunning in its weighted use of silence and reserved perspective, Lingui, The Sacred Bonds is an uplifting tale of determination and bravery.
Single mother Amina lives on the outskirts of Chad’s capital with her 15-year-old daughter Maria, eking out a meagre wage selling stoves she makes from scrap metal. When she discovers Maria has been expelled from school for being pregnant and wants an abortion, her already fragile world looks set to collapse. In a society where abortion is condemned by religion, Amina finds herself facing a battle that seems lost before it’s even begun.
Lingui describes the idea of community and people looking out for each other. In his latest film Chadian cinema pioneer Mahamat-Saleh Haroun takes us into the hidden lives of women and the often-secret networks they weave to survive.
Dec 13 – Dec 19
When self-destructive teenager Sam is suspended from boarding school he returns home to find his English grandmother, Ruth, has moved in. Ruth (beautifully brought to life by the legendary Charlotte Rampling) is a feisty ex-war photographer with a lust for life and a love of the bottle.
Their first meeting is awkward, their second violent, and things get worse when Sam finds himself stranded alone with this funny, rude, fearless and flirtatious woman who can drink him and his friends under the table. A battle of wills ensues which enables Sam to embrace life again, and Ruth to face her own mortality.
Filmed in West Auckland, Kiwi Matthew Saville’s first feature length film is an entertaining yet unsettling family drama that breaks down generational boundaries with humour and poignancy.
5. La Traviata, My Brothers And I
Dec 20 – Dec 24
A long, sun-kissed summer in their downmarket coastal hometown lies before Nour and his three older brothers. With their father passed away they must each take turns caring for their mother who is in a coma. Nour is 13, old enough to work and to become more of a man, with each brother offering a version of what that could mean – Mo the cheeky lothario, Heidi the wily criminal and the eldest Abel, the stern leader.
While cleaning at the local school Nour hears a singing workshop and is encouraged to join in. When the singing teacher hears his talent for opera she is desperate to nurture it, but finds herself clashing with his loyalty to family and his macho culture.
With an exceptional cast, lead by the extremely charming Maël Rouin Berrandou as Nour, La Traviata, My Brothers and I beautifully explores the intricacies of what it means to be a family, growing up too soon and learning to find yourself despite what others have planned for you. Warm and vivid, it conjures empathy for all types of ‘bro’.
6. How to Please A Woman
Dec 27 – Jan 2
Fremantle life and some of Australia’s finest filmmaking talent are front and centre in this holiday world premiere.
When her all-male housecleaning business spins out of control, a mature woman Sally Phillips) embraces her own desires to make a new life for herself. A beautifully handled comedy-drama that expertly balances intimacy and humour, How To Please A Woman takes a warm-hearted look at sexuality and vulnerability at all stages of life.
Jan 3 – Jan 9
Known for erotic sensations like Basic Instinct and Showgirls, director Paul Verhoeven is back with his steamy period melodrama that shook up Cannes and divided the critics.
In the late 17th century, with plague ravaging the land, Benedetta Carlini joins a Tuscan convent as a novice. Capable from an early age of performing miracles, she suffers from disturbing religious and erotic visions. When she begins a passionate affair with a newcomer to the convent, Benedetta develops stigmata and the church powers that be must decide if she’s faking it – and whether that even matters.
Benedetta mixes the serious and provocative with humour and self-aware outrageousness. It has all of Verhoeven’s trademark violence and shock factor sex scenes, but it’s also a sensuous, sophisticated and highly entertaining film exploring issues of power, dominance and faith.
8. Quo Vadis, Aida?
Jan 10 – Jan 16
Drawing on the true events of the 1995 fall of Srebrenica, this gripping, Oscar-nominated thriller tells the story of a United Nations translator attempting to save the lives of her family, whilst pandemonium and escalating conflict rages around them.
Without depicting anything more explicit than a slap in the face, writer and director Jasmila Žbanić masterfully delivers a film of universal urgency and power. Quo Vadis, Aida? is a heart-rending story of courage and resilience in the face of man’s terrible capabilities; of those who knew what was happening and those who looked away. At the same time it is a profoundly moving, intensely personal story of a mother fighting to keep her family together. As fierce and spellbinding as its lead performance, this unforgettable film is testament to the indomitable human spirit.
Jan 17 – Jan 23
Ben Sharrock’s melancholic comedy Limbo is a funny and poignant cross-cultural satire that subtly sews together the hardship and hope of the refugee experience. The film won Best Film of 2020 at the Cairo & Macau Film Festivals.
Omar is a promising young musician separated from his Syrian family and stuck on a remote Scottish island. Barred from working and forced to take ridiculous cultural-awareness classes, he awaits the fate of his asylum request.
The limitless landscape of the Scottish islands is expertly juxtaposed with the lack of options for oud-playing new arrival Omar. With pitch perfect wit and crisp observation, Limbo shines a light on the hearts and lives of those at the centre of a refugee crisis that most of us only experience through headlines.
Jan 24 – Jan 30
Visionary Thai artist and director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul comes together with the always striking Tilda Swinton for his latest masterpiece, the 2021 Cannes Jury Prize-winning Memoria.
Jessica (Swinton), a Scottish botanist living in Bogotá, Colombia, wakes up one morning from the sound of a loud reverberating bang in her dream. Loud noises repeat at odd moments during her day, but only she can hear them. Determined to find out why, Jessica goes on a quest to the sound recording booths, university quarters and mountainous landscapes of Colombia, as the lines between past and future, reality and death, blur into one big bang itself.
Unique, deeply mysterious and with a twist that will make you question everything, Memoria is a languid, calm and patient narrative woven into a meticulously designed land and soundscape. It’s 100% cinema and 0% like anything else.
Jan 31 – Feb 4
Winner of the Caméra d’Or for Best First Feature Film at Cannes in 2021, Murina is a psychological drama and a coming-of-age tale of a young woman’s struggle for independence.
On the surface, 16-year-old Julija’s life looks like paradise, but a deeper dive shows she and her mother Nela must carefully navigate the oppressive rule of controlling father and husband Ante. Tensions rise when a charismatic and wealthy family friend arrives at their Croatian island home. For Ante he offers the change for a life-changing deal. For Nela he’s a reminder of a different life she could have had. For Julija he’s a getaway plan.
12. To Chiara
Feb 7 – Feb 13
Winner of Best Film at the Zurich Film Festival 2021, To Chiara is a gripping character study of a teenager who gradually comes to discover that her close-knit family is not all that it seems.
Chiara’s world is about to turn upside-down. After all the fun of her sister’s 18th birthday party, she wakes up to discover her father has disappeared. She decides to investigate and her search takes her into the dark underbelly of the Calabrian mafia (‘Ndrangheta). Here she faces a momentous decision that will force her to decide what kind of future she wants for herself.
Rising star of a resurgent Italian cinema, Jonas Carpignano, continues his deeply felt project of observing life in contemporary Calabria. What begins as a portrayal of adolescent bliss, becomes a sinister thriller about a young girl losing her innocence. Told with documentary-like authenticity, To Chiara is a touching, powerful film.
13. Compartment No.6
Feb 14 – Feb 20
It’s the early 1990s and a Finnish grad student in Moscow has planned a trip to a remote city in the Arctic circle to see some rock paintings. Awaiting her in her second-class train compartment is a traveller from hell, a heavy drinking Russian skinhead who is about the last person you’d want to be stuck with in close quarters on a long journey. Although at first the two strangers couldn’t seem to be more different, they form an unexpected bond, both coming to face the truth about their yearning for human connection.
Compartment No. 6 is the winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival 2021.
14. After Love
Dec 21 – Dec 27
Joanna Scanlan (No Offence, The Thick of It) gives the performance of her career as Mary, a British Muslim convert who is devastated by the sudden death of her husband Ahmed. Sorting out his personal effects, she discovers a terrible betrayal – he was leading a secret life over the channel in Calais. Still numb she heads to France to learn the truth. As she grapples with her shattered sense of identity, her search for understanding has surprising consequences.
Aleem Khan’s stunning debut feature brings together two very different women united by their extraordinary resilience. With sensitive, insightful direction it asks important questions about identity, culture and sacrifice.
15. Clara Sola
Feb 28 – March 6
Clara, 40, lives a sheltered life with her religious, repressive mother and teenage niece in a remote village in Costa Rica. She is believed to have a special connection to God and as a ‘healer’ she sustains a family and a village in need of hope, while she finds solace in her relationship with the natural world. When a newcomer arrives in town, Clara experiences a sexual and mystical awakening that has disruptive effects on her family but sets her on a path to self-discovery and ultimately freedom.
Nathalie Álvarez Mesen’s mesmerising debut is deeply immersed in nature and the sensory world, offering a defiant challenge to prejudice and repression.
March 7 – March 13
Amin Nawabi (a pseudonym), a 36-year-old academic in Denmark, grapples with a painful secret he has kept hidden for 20 years. He opens up to his close friend, director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, telling for the first time the story of his extraordinary journey as a child refugee from Afghanistan. Told mostly through animation, with some additional archival footage, Flee weaves together a stunning tapestry of reflections to tell the deeply affecting story of a man grappling with his traumatic past in order to find his true self and the real meaning of home.
Despite the harrowing stakes, the film finds many moments of light and humour, revelling in the joys of pop culture, young romance and small acts of kindness. Amin’s courage in confronting his deepest fears is a powerful act to experience in this artful telling.
Pushing the boundary of the documentary hybrid form, this Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner breaks bold new ground in animation and confessional narrative with an extraordinary true story that is heartbreaking, moving and impossible to forget.
17. One Second
March 14 – March 20
After escaping from a prison labour camp, a fugitive sets off to catch a screening of a newsreel film that contains a glimpse of his beloved daughter. Along the way he teams up with a scruffy orphan who has her own reasons for wanting the film. The latest touching drama from giant of international cinema, Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers, Ju Dou), celebrates the may powers and uses of cinema.
Winner of Best Director and Best Newcomer at the Asian Film Awards 2021, One Second is thoughtful entertainment with elements of classic silent movie slapstick set against a striking Gobi Desert landscape.
18. Hit the Road
March 21 – March 27
You’ll fall in love with this chaotic, loving family driving through the rugged Iranian countryside. But it soon becomes clear that this is no ordinary family outing.
A lively young boy, a grumpy dad, an emotive mum, a taciturn older brother, a soulful dog. A family is on a road-trip across Iran to a mysterious border destination. On the way there is much hilarity, much scolding, and much chatting about pop music and Batman. But there’s also pain, of a kind that we can glimpse occasionally but which only comes fully into view in this film’s beautifully transformative final stretches.
Riotously funny at times and quietly devastating at others, this deeply human film has already been hailed as a masterpiece.