Film Group is a series of films that encompasses the broad variety of movies that are generally not mainstream releases. Other terms used to describe this genre of film product are: independent, art, international.

O'Brien Theatres Renfrew offers Film Group. Different films between late September and April on alternate Wednesday nights. Memberships are sold at the beginning of the series; these memberships offer a discounted rate. In is not necessary to be a member to attend. Newsletters are published in September and December covering the early and later portions of the season. An extensive mailing list is maintained, and the information is delivered by post or e-mail.

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Arnprior Program


Renfrew Program
Meditation Park (English, Cantonese, Mandarin w/ English subtitles)
Rating PG
Showtimes Sunday, January 21 3:45 PM  Wednesday, January 24 7:30 PM  
Running Time 94 mins
Actors Cheng Pei Pei, Tzi Ma, Sandra Oh, Don McKellar
Director Mina Shum
Country Canada

In Meditation Park, Mina Shum (Ninth Floor, Double Happiness) returns to the themes that propelled her early work. The film opens with Maria (Cheng Pei Pei; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) hosting a birthday celebration for her workaholic accountant husband, Bing (Tzi Ma, Arrival). Maria reveres Bing and remains in awe of the sacrifices he has made for the family, so much so that she even respects his insistence that she not speak to their son after a long-ago slight. But when she finds evidence that Bing may not be the perfect person she believes him to be, she’s forced to consider her world in a radically different light. Maria embarks on a journey of self-discovery by engaging with the world around her, something Bing has always discouraged. She befriends a group of local eccentrics and a rather shady neighbour, Gabriel (Don McKellar; Window Horses, Trigger). Maria soon realizes that people’s lives are much more complicated than Bing has led her to believe.
Shum exhibits genuine compassion with her insight into the experiences of first-generation immigrant women (including showing how men control their wives by discouraging them from social interaction and learning other languages). Meditation Park is a charming and generous film, boasting fine performances by its leads and great support by McKellar, Liane Balaban (The Grand Seduction), and the star of Shum’s debut, Double Happiness, the phenomenal Sandra Oh (Window Horses, Blindness), as Maria’s daughter.
 
C'est la vie! { Le sens de la fête (original title)(French w/ English subtitles)}
Rating PG
Showtimes Sunday, February 4 3:45 PM  Wednesday, February 7 7:30 PM  
Running Time 117 mins
Actors Jean-Pierre Bacri, Jean-Paul Rouve, Gilles Lellouche, Vincent Macaigne, Suzanne Clément
Director Oliver Nakache, Eric Toledano
Country France

This effervescent comedy from celebrated French directing duo Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano (The Intouchables) invites us to an opulent château to attend a très extravagant wedding, where the groom is an obnoxious tyrant, the band is at war with the organizers, and the chief planner is looking for the exit.
Max (Jean-Pierre Bacri) is a battle-weary veteran of the wedding-planning racket. His latest — and last — gig is a hell of a fête, involving stuffy period costumes for the caterers, a vain, hyper sensitive singer who thinks he’s a Gallic James Brown, and a morose, micromanaging groom determined to make Max’s
night as miserable as possible. But what makes the affair too bitter to endure is that Max’s colleague and ostensible girlfriend, Joisette (Suzanne Clément; Mommy, Laurence Anyways), seems to have written him off, coolly going about her professional duties while openly flirting with a much younger server. It’s going to be a very long night… especially once the groom’s aerial serenade gets underway.
An ensemble work brimming with offbeat, lovable characters, and hilarious set pieces, C’est la vie! is a fiendishly smart, sprawling comedy as only the French do it. You will be laughing all the way down the aisle.
 
The Breadwinner
Rating PG
Showtimes Sunday, February 18 3:45 PM  Wednesday, February 21 7:30 PM  
Running Time 93 mins
Actors Saara Chaudry, Soma Chhaya, Noorin Gulamgaus
Director Nora Twomey
Country CANADA/IRELAND/LUXEMBOURG

Based on the award-winning, bestselling young adult novel of the same name by Deborah Ellis, The Breadwinner tells the remarkable story of Parvana (Saara Chaudry), a young girl who is forced to become the breadwinner for her family while living under the Taliban regime.
Executive-produced by Angelina Jolie and helmed by Irish filmmaker Nora Twomey in her solo directorial debut (co-director on The Secret of Kells; head of story and voice direction on Song of the Sea), The Breadwinner is a rare gem that will captivate both young and mature audiences. Living in a single room of a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul, 11-year-old Parvana is not allowed to attend school or leave the house without a male chaperone. Her father — a history teacher until his school was bombed and his health destroyed — sits on a blanket in the marketplace, reading letters for people who cannot read or write. However, when the Taliban arrests Parvana’s father for having a foreign education, the young girl disguises herself as a boy in order to shop for food and earn money for her family.
Sumptuously rendered with swirling hand-drawn animation that has become the hallmark of Cartoon Saloon, the film capturesthe colours, sights, and lights of the Afghan city. Featuring a voice cast of largely Afghan, Pakastani, and Indian actors, The Breadwinner is an antidote to the typical Hollywood version of princesses. Instead, it is a timely reminder of the millions of strong young girls and women worldwide who persevere in the face of oppression or conflict.
 
Call Me by Your Name {English, Italian, French, German w/ English subtitles}
Rating A14
Showtimes Sunday, March 4 3:45 PM  Wednesday, March 7 7:30 PM  
Running Time 132 mins
Actors Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar
Director Luca Guadagnino
Country ITALY/FRANCE/BRAZIL,

Adapted from Andre Aciman’s 2007 novel of the same name, director Luca Guadagnino
(A Bigger Splash, I am Love) drenches us with the golden heat of a Northern Italian summer in his new sensual masterpiece, Call Me by Your Name.
It’s 1983, and 17-year-old music prodigy Elio (Timothée Chalamet; Interstellar, Men, Women & Children) whiles his time away by the pool in a beautiful vacation villa along with his Greco-Roman professor father (Michael Stuhlbar; Arrival, Trumbo) and French mother (Amira Casar, The Forbidden Room), while the family reads German poetry to each other. Each year, the family welcomes an academic assistant for six weeks and this year’s guest is the broad-shouldered, cocky Oliver (Armie Hammer; Free Fire, The Social Network), who could easily stand on his own among the Greek statues he studies. At first ambivalent to each other, it’s not long before the mutual attraction between the wiry, hot-blooded adolescent and the Adonis in tiny shorts simmers beyond the bathroom they share.
This time around, Guadagnino eschews his usual splashy filmmaking with a less hurried pace and understated storytelling, at the same time offering ripe, glowing visual details to amplify and fill in the subtext. Ultimately, the director and his cast have crafted a movie that transcends its same-sex central story to tell a universal coming-of-age story. Reflecting on human nature, family, and first love, Call Me by Your Name joins the likes of Brokeback Mountain, Carol, and Moonlight in the essential queer cinema canon.
 
Don't Talk to Irene
Rating PG
Showtimes Sunday, March 18 3:45 PM  Wednesday, March 21 7:30 PM  
Running Time 82 mins
Actors Michelle McLeod, Bruce Gray, Anastasia Phillips, Scott Thompson, Geena Davis
Director Pat Mills
Country Canada

Irene Willis (newcomer Michelle McLeod) lives in a town deemed the most insignificant geographical location in North America. The cycle of life is predictable and bland, something 15-year-old Irene, “the fattest girl in high school,” might just be able to shake up. Fuelled by the dream of becoming a cheerleader, but constantly told by both her overprotective mother and society that she isn’t exactly a fit for the role, Irene turns to her confidante and all-around god: Geena Davis (Thelma and Louise, A League of Their Own). Speaking to Irene via the A League of Their Own poster on her bedroom wall, Geena provides the inspiration and tough no-nonsense motivation she needs to face her bullies and follow her passions. When Irene gets suspended and is forced to do community service at a retirement
home — run by discipline freak Barrett (Scott Thompson) — alongside her bullies and her new friend, Tesh (Andy Reid), an opportunity arises. If she can’t be a high-school cheerleader, maybe she can turn her new-found circle of elderly friends into an unlikely dance troupe.
Pat Mills established his off-beat humour with his dark comedy Guidance and brings his characteristic smart, sly, and sharp sensibility to Don’t Talk to Irene. This is an empowering comedy about acceptance on your own terms. Disarmingly honest, Irene goes through the world with no filter, quick repartee, and an underlying sense of potential achievement — she just needs a bit of a lift to soar.
 
The Leisure Seeker
Rating A14
Showtimes Sunday, April 1 3:45 PM  Wednesday, April 4 7:30 PM  
Running Time 112 mins
Actors Donald Sutherland, Helen Mirren, Christian McKay
Director Paolo Virzì
Country ITALY/FRANCE,

Canadian acting legend Donald Sutherland and Academy Award winner Helen Mirren star in this wise and witty road movie set in today’s divided United States. The English-language debut of Italian director Paolo Virzì (Like
Crazy), The Leisure Seeker makes an entire country its canvas and a couple of aging adventurers
its lovable heroes.
Living their twilight years under the close supervision of their adult children
and an array of doctors and specialists, John (Donald Sutherland; Milton’s Secret, Pride and Prejudice) and Ella (Helen Mirren; Trumbo, Woman in Gold) yearn for one last adventure. Escaping in a 1978 “Leisure Seeker” RV, the couple hits the road in an effort to reclaim some independence and spontaneity in their lives. However, the trip may not be as carefree as John and Ella anticipate; both are suffering from serious health issues, prompting their children and doctors to keep close tabs on them at all times. Yet Ella, the driving force behind the road trip down the famous Route 66, refuses to let these hindrances keep her and John from truly experiencing the world and living life on their own terms for as long as possible.
Based on the novel by Michael Zadoorian, The Leisure Seeker is a pleasure giver. Despite the sombre rationale behind Ella and John’s journey, the film brims with humour, affection, observation, and more than a little satire.
Featuring standout performances from both its magnificent leads, the film unflinchingly chronicles the challenges that seniors can face, while simultaneously saluting the adventurous spirit that inspires these two to throw caution to the wind and embark on an improbable escapade together. With great respect and genuine affection for its characters, and an impressively nuanced take on the aging process as a journey of its own, The Leisure Seeker is a road trip unlike any other.
 

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