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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Click here for the latest edition of our Film Group Newsletter.

Arnprior Program

Renfrew Program
Captain Fantastic
Rating A14
Showtimes Wednesday, September 21 7:30 PM  
Running Time 119 mins
Actors Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler
Director Matt Ross
Country USA

The sophomore film from actor-director Matt Ross (best known for his roles on TV’s Big Love and Silicon Valley), Captain Fantastic offers a delightfully offbeat and heartwarming tale about love, duty, and family. Ben (Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method, Eastern Promises) and his wife are non-conformists who have chosen to raise their six kids deep in the forests of the Pacific
Northwest, where they have been taught to live off the land, trained to have the endurance of professional athletes, and instilled with advanced knowledge of philosophy, literature, and geopolitics (they consider soda “poison water” and celebrate “Noam Chomsky Day” in place of Christmas). When tragedy strikes and the delicate ecosystem of their counterculture paradise is thrown into disarray, Ben and his clan are forced to take a trip across the country in their camper van, which is affectionately named “Steve.” Both heartbreak and hilarity ensue as the kids face some of their first social interactions with the wider world — and discover hot dogs. As his children see more of the world — and as his rebellious eldest son becomes determined to march to the beat of his own drum — Ben begins to question whether shutting them off from it is the right decision.
Best known for his heavy-duty dramatic roles, Mortensen reveals a wonderful gift for comedy as the back-to-nature patriarch Ben, and his interactions with the young actors playing his children yields some truly laugh-out-loud moments (particularly when he doles out hunting knives to the older kids as presents, and bestows a copy of The Joy of Sex upon his six-year-old son). Boasting a stellar supporting cast that includes veterans Steve Zahn, Kathryn Hahn, and the great Frank Langella, Captain Fantastic is an irresistible comedy-drama that asks what it is that truly makes a family.
Dark Horse
Rating PG
Showtimes Sunday, October 2 3:45 PM  Wednesday, October 5 7:30 PM  
Running Time 86 mins
Actors Jan Vokes, Brian Vokes, Howard Davies
Director Louise Osmond
Country United Kingdom

A story of dreams, determination, and class consciousness set in the world of horse racing, this inspirational documentary from director Louise Osmond (Deep Water) follows a group of friends and neighbours in a small Welsh town who find themselves breaking social barriers by competing against some of the wealthiest racehorse owners in the UK.
In the beleaguered former coal town of Cefn Fforest, South Wales, a middle-aged barmaid named Jan Vokes rallies a syndicate of friends to pool their £10 per week towards breeding, raising, and training a racehorse they call Dream Alliance. Unexpectedly, Dream Alliance shows great promise, and the Welsh townsfolk are soon competing against the sport’s elite. Though their gamble is the furthest thing from a sure bet, and requires years of perseverance through a multitude of factors outside of the stakeholders’ control, for the team behind Dream Alliance it’s not all about money: in the words of one backer, “Dream took us to places you couldn’t even imagine.”
Osmond elicits warm and funny interviews from the participants, particularly the plucky Vokes, who fondly recalls how she first pulled her underdog syndicate together back in 2000. Illustrating the team’s anecdotes through carefully chosen archival footage and artful re-enactments — with cinematographer Benjamin Kracun capturing the horses so beautifully you’ll want to reach out and touch them — this remarkable true story about a long shot is a sure winner.
Dheepan ***Some Subtitles***
Rating A14
Showtimes Sunday, October 16 3:45 PM  Wednesday, October 19 7:30 PM  
Running Time 114 mins
Actors Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinasithamby
Director Jacques Audiard
Country France

In A Prophet, Jacques Audiard pulled his audience deep inside a powerful prison drama. In Rust and Bone, he brought the same intensity and authenticity to an un-likely love story.
In Dheepan, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, Audiard turns his piercing focus to a story so ubiquitous it practically hides in plain sight. What happens to the millions of migrants who flee conflict zones to find new homes in the cities of the west? In the case of the Tamil family at the centre of this searing film, conflict is never far behind.
The film begins in Sri Lanka at the end of the civil war, as a Tamil soldier (Jesuthasan Antonythasan) burns the bodies of his fallen comrades. The guns are silenced, his family has been killed, and he seeks a way out. He and Yalini (Kalieaswari Srinivasan) are strangers in a refugee camp, but they cobble together a fake family with young Illayaal (Claudine Vinasithamby), fool the aid workers, and are able to obtain passage on a boat for France.
Once in the outskirts of Paris, they must use their hard-won survival skills to navigate a crime-ridden housing complex. Securing their position in France means making their false family real, but past violence and present threats create a volatile combination that is bound to explode.
Closet Monster
Rating A14
Showtimes Sunday, October 30 3:45 PM  Wednesday, November 2 7:30 PM  
Running Time 89 mins
Actors Connor Jessup, Aaron Abrams, Joanne Kelly, Aliocha Schneider, Sofia Banzhaf, Jack Fulton, Mary Walsh, Isabella Rossellini
Director Stephen Dunn
Country Canada

The coming-of-age (and out-of-the-closet) story gets an imaginative twist in the first feature by writer-director Stephen Dunn.
Winner of the Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2015 Festival and selected as one of the ten best Canadian films of the year at the 2016 Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival, Closet Monster is ceaselessly inventive in its chronicle of an East Coast teen wrestling with his sexuality and learning to
find his own way in life.
High-school student and aspiring special-effects makeup artist Oscar Madly (Connor Jessup, Blackbird) needs out: out of the Newfoundland town that is stifling his budding creativity, out of his restrictive home life, and out of the closet, where he has fearfully remained after witnessing a brutal hate crime as a young boy. While he finds much-needed support from his best friend Gemma (Sofia Banzhaf ) and his pet hamster, Buffy (who talks to him via the voice of the great Isabella Rossellini, Enemy), Oscar is haunted by horrifying visions of the consequences of revealing his homosexuality — a fear that is compounded by the presence of his increasingly judgmental and erratic father (Aaron Abrams, TV’s Hannibal, Republic of Doyle). When Oscar meets the handsome Wilder (TIFF Rising Star Aliocha Schneider, Ville-Marie), he is immediately attracted and utterly terrified. With his fantasies becoming darker and ever more vividly real, Oscar finds that he must break free of the chains that bind him and live a life that is true to who he really is. Impressing his unique sensibility on every frame of his remarkably accomplished debut feature, Newfoundland native Dunn establishes himself as one of Canada's brightest young talents. Striking, sometimes shocking and often unexpectedly funny, Closet Monster is simply a stunner.
Last Cab to Darwin
Rating A14
Showtimes Sunday, November 13 3:45 PM  Wednesday, November 16 7:30 PM  
Running Time 123 mins
Actors Michael Caton, Mark Coles Smith, and Emma Hamilton
Director Jeremy Sims
Country Austrailia

In a moving, deeply spiritual film about an aging taxi driver dying of stomach cancer, the protagonist sets out on a drive across Australia to an ocean-side part of the country where euthanasia is legal. Is he frightened of dying? “Everyone is scared of doing things you’ve never done before,” says Rex Macrae, played note-perfect by Michael Caton as a man who lived alone and wishes to die the same way. Adapted from a stage play by Reg Cribb, Last Cab to Darwin is a scenic drama evocatively shot, with shafts of sunlight here and gritty blue-collar rurality there. Director Jeremy Sims probably uses a setting-sun metaphor more than necessary, but otherwise his decisions are immaculate and his film should hold audiences in thrall. On a journey of self-discovery, the metre keeps running. Might as well, Last Cab tells us, get your money’s worth
Love & Friendship
Rating G
Showtimes Sunday, November 27 3:45 PM  Wednesday, November 30 7:30 PM  
Running Time 92 mins
Actors Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel
Director Whit Stillman

Writer-director Whit Stillman departs from the milieu of the contemporary New York upper crust that he so memorably explored in such films as Damsels in Distress, The Last Days of Disco and Metropolitan for this sharp-tongued and riotously funny examination of 18th-century polite society. Adapting Jane Austen’s long-unpublished epistolary novella Lady Susan, Stillman creates a period piece whose spirit is unmistakably modern.
Love & Friendship revolves around the beautiful and cunning Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale, The Aviator, The Last Days
of Disco), a recent widow who engineers all manner of wonderfully devious plots to bend the world to her will and land herself a wealthy new husband. Taking up residence at Churchill, her in-laws’ estate, she sets her sights on the dashing Reginald De Courcy (Xavier Samuel, Fury, Anonymous), and soon has him wrapped around her little finger. However, her plans are derailed when her beautiful daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark, Madame Bovary) turns up at Churchill after being dismissed from boarding school. Fearing that Frederica will turn Reginald’s head, Lady Susan sets out to obtain her daughter a suitor of her own. Enter Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett), a well-meaning but witless older man who is utterly confounded by the fact that there is neither a church nor a hill at Churchill.
Brilliantly played by Beckinsale, Lady Susan possesses a confidence, audacity, and unapologetic dishonesty (“Facts are horrid things,” she laments after being caught in a lie) that paradoxically endow her with a winning charm, and make her an Austen heroine to rival Elizabeth Bennett and Emma Woodhouse. If you’re looking for a smart, fun, and scruple-free romp, Love & Friendship is definitely your cup of tea.

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