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.

Both O'Brien Theatres, Renfrew and Arnprior, have film groups. Working in concert, each location offers fourteen different films between late September and April on alternate Wednesday nights. Memberships are sold in each theatre 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
Live at the Met, Tannhäuser-(Wagner)
Rating G
Showtimes Saturday, February 20 1:00 PM  
Running Time 260 mins

James Levine conducts Wagner’s early masterpiece in its first return to the Met stage in more than a decade. Today’s leading Wagnerian tenor, Johan Botha, takes on the daunting title role of the young knight caught between true love and passion. Eva-Maria Westbroek is Elisabeth, adding another Wagner heroine to her Met repertoire after her acclaimed Sieglinde in the Ring a few seasons ago. On the heels of his recent triumph in Parsifal, Peter Mattei sings Wolfram, and Michelle DeYoung is the love goddess, Venus.
 
Brooklyn
Rating PG
Showtimes Sunday, February 21 3:45 PM  
Running Time 112 mins
Actors Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters
Director John Crowley
Country Ireland/United Kingdom

Scripted by bestselling author Nick Hornby from the acclaimed novel by Colm Tóibín, the poignant and gorgeously realized Brooklyn has elicited a flurry of Oscar buzz.

On the southeast coast of Ireland in the early 1950s, the soft-spoken young Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Atonement), feeling stifled by the meagre opportunities that her homeland can offer her, makes the hard decision to leave her mother and beloved older sister behind to make the solo journey across the Atlantic to a new life in Brooklyn, New York. Alone in a strange land, Eilis begins to make a place for herself with the help of a kind Irish priest (Jim Broadbent, Le Week-End, The Iron Lady) and her stern but caring landlady (Julie Walters, One Chance, Mamma Mia!), and she even catches the eye of an Italian boy named Tony (Emory Cohen, The Place Beyond the Pines). When a family tragedy compels her to return to Ireland, Eilis surprisingly discovers that the hardships that previously seemed insurmountable inhibit her no longer.

Ronan gives an outstanding performance as Eilis transforms from a lonely young wallflower to an experienced, confident adult, and you won’t soon forget Cohen as the tough but tender Tony. Expertly directed by John Crowley (Boy A), Brooklyn is a beautiful, exquisitely crafted story about family, memory, and making a new home.
 
45 Years
Rating A14
Showtimes Sunday, February 21 7:30 PM  
Running Time 95 mins
Actors Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James
Director Andrew Haigh
Country United Kingdom

British acting legends Charlotte Rampling (The Forbidden Room, Never Let Me Go) and Tom Courtenay (The Legend of Barney Thomson, Quartet) star in writer-director Andrew Haigh’s much-anticipated follow up to his acclaimed indie hit Weekend, an immensely moving portrait of a long-term marriage that is suddenly disrupted by a ghost from the past.

Retired couple Geoff (Courtenay) and Kate Mercer (Rampling) pass their days quietly on their country property near a small Norfolk village. One day, Geoff receives a letter notifying him that the body of an old girlfriend of his has been discovered, perfectly preserved in the Swiss Alps where she fell on their hiking trip nearly fifty years earlier. As the news sinks in, hidden tensions begin to emerge between the couple: though not insensitive to his wife’s feelings, Geoff finds himself helplessly drawn back into the past, while Kate becomes consumed by jealousy and uncertainty. Outwardly composed as she sets about planning their upcoming forty-fifth wedding anniversary, Kate begins to contemplate the “what ifs” of her life — which gradually leads her to the realization that maybe it was she who made a mistake all those years ago.

Favouring small moments and telling details over contrived confrontations and dramatic high points, Haigh builds slowly and naturally to the film’s poignant finale, while Courtenay and Rampling deliver performances that can easily be counted among the best in their respective careers. At once restrained and powerful, 45 Years is a reminder of film’s ability to encompass a lifetime of emotion and experience within a mere ninety minutes.
 
Brooklyn
Rating PG
Showtimes Monday, February 22 7:30 PM  
Running Time 112 mins
Actors Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters
Director John Crowley
Country Ireland/United Kingdom

Scripted by bestselling author Nick Hornby from the acclaimed novel by Colm Tóibín, the poignant and gorgeously realized Brooklyn has elicited a flurry of Oscar buzz.

On the southeast coast of Ireland in the early 1950s, the soft-spoken young Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Atonement), feeling stifled by the meagre opportunities that her homeland can offer her, makes the hard decision to leave her mother and beloved older sister behind to make the solo journey across the Atlantic to a new life in Brooklyn, New York. Alone in a strange land, Eilis begins to make a place for herself with the help of a kind Irish priest (Jim Broadbent, Le Week-End, The Iron Lady) and her stern but caring landlady (Julie Walters, One Chance, Mamma Mia!), and she even catches the eye of an Italian boy named Tony (Emory Cohen, The Place Beyond the Pines). When a family tragedy compels her to return to Ireland, Eilis surprisingly discovers that the hardships that previously seemed insurmountable inhibit her no longer.

Ronan gives an outstanding performance as Eilis transforms from a lonely young wallflower to an experienced, confident adult, and you won’t soon forget Cohen as the tough but tender Tony. Expertly directed by John Crowley (Boy A), Brooklyn is a beautiful, exquisitely crafted story about family, memory, and making a new home.
 
45 Years
Rating A14
Showtimes Wednesday, February 24 7:30 PM  
Running Time 95 mins
Actors Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James
Director Andrew Haigh
Country United Kingdom

British acting legends Charlotte Rampling (The Forbidden Room, Never Let Me Go) and Tom Courtenay (The Legend of Barney Thomson, Quartet) star in writer-director Andrew Haigh’s much-anticipated follow up to his acclaimed indie hit Weekend, an immensely moving portrait of a long-term marriage that is suddenly disrupted by a ghost from the past.

Retired couple Geoff (Courtenay) and Kate Mercer (Rampling) pass their days quietly on their country property near a small Norfolk village. One day, Geoff receives a letter notifying him that the body of an old girlfriend of his has been discovered, perfectly preserved in the Swiss Alps where she fell on their hiking trip nearly fifty years earlier. As the news sinks in, hidden tensions begin to emerge between the couple: though not insensitive to his wife’s feelings, Geoff finds himself helplessly drawn back into the past, while Kate becomes consumed by jealousy and uncertainty. Outwardly composed as she sets about planning their upcoming forty-fifth wedding anniversary, Kate begins to contemplate the “what ifs” of her life — which gradually leads her to the realization that maybe it was she who made a mistake all those years ago.

Favouring small moments and telling details over contrived confrontations and dramatic high points, Haigh builds slowly and naturally to the film’s poignant finale, while Courtenay and Rampling deliver performances that can easily be counted among the best in their respective careers. At once restrained and powerful, 45 Years is a reminder of film’s ability to encompass a lifetime of emotion and experience within a mere ninety minutes.
 
Live at the Met "Les Pecheurs de Perles" (Bizet)
Rating G
Showtimes Saturday, March 12 1:00 PM  
Running Time 150 mins

Don’t miss the production the New York Times hails as “the sleeper hit of the Metropolitan Opera season... a dream cast... Sensitive and insightful production... Theatrical magic... Diana Damrau brings brilliant coloratura agility, radiant sound and charisma galore to the role of Leila. Mariusz Kwiecien is an ideal Zurga... Matthew Polenzani sang his haunting aria of remembrance with wonderful lyrical tenderness – if you think it is impossible for a tenor to cap phrases…with melting, pianissimo high notes, report to the Met to hear how this is done superlatively... If only [Bizet] could have seen this production.”

Bizet’s gorgeous opera of lust and longing set in the Far East returns to the Met stage for the first time in 100 years. Soprano Diana Damrau stars as Leïla, the beautiful Hindu priestess pursued by rival pearl divers competing for her hand. Her suitors are tenor Matthew Polenzani and baritone Mariusz Kwiecien, who sing the lilting duet “Au fond du temple saint,” which opera fans know and adore. Director Penny Woolcock explores the timeless themes of pure love, betrayal, and vengeance in a production that vividly creates an undersea world on the stage of the Met. Conductor Gianandrea Noseda brings his romantic flair to the lush score from the composer of Carmen.
 
My Internship in Canada (Guibord s'en va-t-en guerre)
Rating PG
Showtimes Sunday, March 13 3:45 PM  
Running Time 108 mins
Actors Patrick Huard, Suzanne Clément, Irdens Exantus
Director Philippe Falardeau
Country Canada

In this satirical look at the vagaries of Canadian politics from Academy Award nominee and Film Circuit favourite Philippe Falardeau (The Good Lie, Monsieur Lazhar, C’est pas moi, je le jure!), a Member of Parliament finds himself thrust suddenly into the spotlight, and it’s up to his young Haitian intern to help the hapless backbencher navigate the complexities and pitfalls of Parliament Hill.

A Conservative minority government trying to pass a bill that will enable them to go to war suffers a setback when one of the Tory MPs falls ill — leaving the key vote for the government’s warmongering initiative in the hands of independent MP Steve Guibord (Patrick Huard, Starbuck, Bon Cop Bad Cop), a former hockey player whose pro career fizzled. Feverishly courted by the Tories and subjected to a moral tug of war at home — his ambitious wife (Suzanne Clément, Mommy, Laurence Anyways) wants him to vote Yes, his peacenik daughter (Clémence Dufresne- Deslières) No — Guibord is unable to decide. As the vote nears and Guibord is beset on all sides, salvation arrives in the form of his new intern Souverain (newcomer Irdens Exantus), a young Haitian student who knows considerably more about the ins and outs of our parliamentary system than does his boss.

Not only a witty and incisive portrait of wheeling and dealing in Ottawa, My Internship in Canada also exposes Canadians’ tendency to focus on the regional and specific at the expense of the wider picture. As Falardeau’s gently skewering satire demonstrates, some- times it takes a person from another country to explain to us the workings — and the value — of the unique system that makes our democracy (sometimes) function.
 
Sleeping Giant
Rating PG
Showtimes Sunday, March 13 7:30 PM  
Running Time 89 mins
Actors Jackson Martin, Nick Serino, Erika Brodzky
Director Andrew Cividino
Country Canada

One of the most accomplished and exciting Canadian feature debuts in recent memory, Andrew Cividino’s Sleeping Giant is a finely observed, whip-smart study of the emotional extremes of adolescence, and their potentially catastrophic effects.

In an isolated cottage community during a bleak midsummer, teenagers Nate (Nick Serino), Riley (Reece Moffett), and Adam (Jackson Martin) deal with their boredom and idleness by getting drunk, playing video games, and engaging in dim-witted, invariably destructive shenanigans. The boys are a study in contrasts: Adam is wan and overprotected; Riley is more outgoing and socially adept, but his fascination with Adam’s upper-middle-class family (including the “open” way that Adam’s father talks to him) indicates something lacking in his own home life; while Nate is the most overtly troubled of the trio, a kind of pubescent Iago who talks an endless stream of smack and enjoys messing with people simply out of spite. Enter Taylor (Katelyn McKerracher), a pretty girl who has known Adam for years (though they’re only good friends), and who seems very drawn to Riley. As the summer goes on, Taylor’s actions begin to infuriate both Adam and Nate, and push the volatile dynamics of the makeshift group towards a dangerous imbalance.

If you’ve ever spent a teenage summer in a rural area with little supervision and nothing much to do, you’ll instantly recognize both the ennui and the creeping atmosphere of mystery and menace that Cividino’s film so expertly captures. Boasting fine performances by the young cast, a singular visual style and some exquisite and insightful writing, Sleeping Giant is a stellar debut.
 
My Internship in Canada (Guibord s'en va-t-en guerre)
Rating PG
Showtimes Monday, March 14 7:30 PM  
Running Time 108 mins
Actors Patrick Huard, Suzanne Clément, Irdens Exantus
Director Philippe Falardeau
Country Canada

In this satirical look at the vagaries of Canadian politics from Academy Award nominee and Film Circuit favourite Philippe Falardeau (The Good Lie, Monsieur Lazhar, C’est pas moi, je le jure!), a Member of Parliament finds himself thrust suddenly into the spotlight, and it’s up to his young Haitian intern to help the hapless backbencher navigate the complexities and pitfalls of Parliament Hill.

A Conservative minority government trying to pass a bill that will enable them to go to war suffers a setback when one of the Tory MPs falls ill — leaving the key vote for the government’s warmongering initiative in the hands of independent MP Steve Guibord (Patrick Huard, Starbuck, Bon Cop Bad Cop), a former hockey player whose pro career fizzled. Feverishly courted by the Tories and subjected to a moral tug of war at home — his ambitious wife (Suzanne Clément, Mommy, Laurence Anyways) wants him to vote Yes, his peacenik daughter (Clémence Dufresne- Deslières) No — Guibord is unable to decide. As the vote nears and Guibord is beset on all sides, salvation arrives in the form of his new intern Souverain (newcomer Irdens Exantus), a young Haitian student who knows considerably more about the ins and outs of our parliamentary system than does his boss.

Not only a witty and incisive portrait of wheeling and dealing in Ottawa, My Internship in Canada also exposes Canadians’ tendency to focus on the regional and specific at the expense of the wider picture. As Falardeau’s gently skewering satire demonstrates, some- times it takes a person from another country to explain to us the workings — and the value — of the unique system that makes our democracy (sometimes) function.
 
Sleeping Giant
Rating PG
Showtimes Wednesday, March 16 7:30 PM  
Running Time 89 mins
Actors Jackson Martin, Nick Serino, Erika Brodzky
Director Andrew Cividino
Country Canada

One of the most accomplished and exciting Canadian feature debuts in recent memory, Andrew Cividino’s Sleeping Giant is a finely observed, whip-smart study of the emotional extremes of adolescence, and their potentially catastrophic effects.

In an isolated cottage community during a bleak midsummer, teenagers Nate (Nick Serino), Riley (Reece Moffett), and Adam (Jackson Martin) deal with their boredom and idleness by getting drunk, playing video games, and engaging in dim-witted, invariably destructive shenanigans. The boys are a study in contrasts: Adam is wan and overprotected; Riley is more outgoing and socially adept, but his fascination with Adam’s upper-middle-class family (including the “open” way that Adam’s father talks to him) indicates something lacking in his own home life; while Nate is the most overtly troubled of the trio, a kind of pubescent Iago who talks an endless stream of smack and enjoys messing with people simply out of spite. Enter Taylor (Katelyn McKerracher), a pretty girl who has known Adam for years (though they’re only good friends), and who seems very drawn to Riley. As the summer goes on, Taylor’s actions begin to infuriate both Adam and Nate, and push the volatile dynamics of the makeshift group towards a dangerous imbalance.

If you’ve ever spent a teenage summer in a rural area with little supervision and nothing much to do, you’ll instantly recognize both the ennui and the creeping atmosphere of mystery and menace that Cividino’s film so expertly captures. Boasting fine performances by the young cast, a singular visual style and some exquisite and insightful writing, Sleeping Giant is a stellar debut.
 
Live at the Met, Turandot-Giacomo Puccini
Rating G
Showtimes Saturday, April 23 1:00 PM  
Running Time 195 mins

Nina Stemme takes on the title role of the proud princess of ancient China, whose riddles doom every suitor who seeks her hand, opposite Marco Berti as Calàf, the brave prince who sings “Nessun dorma” and wins her love. Anita Hartig and Leah Crocetto share the role of Liù, the faithful slave girl. Franco Zeffirelli’s golden production is conducted by Paolo Carignani.
 
Lady in the Van
Rating PG
Showtimes Sunday, April 24 3:45 PM  
Running Time 104 mins
Actors Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Jim Broadbent
Director Nicholas Hytner
Country United Kingdom

Based on Alan Bennett’s memoir and hit West End play, this brilliantly witty, “mostly true” story chronicles an unlikely friendship between a writer and an elderly eccentric.

“The writer is double,” playwright Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings, Belle, The Queen) explains early in the film: “There is the self who does the writing and there is the self who does things.” The Lady in the Van is a story about the self who, however reluctantly, does things — in Bennett’s case, opening his door (or at least his driveway) to Miss Mary Shepherd (Dame Maggie Smith, My Old Lady, Quartet), an ornery, impolite, and bullying homeless woman who claims to take advice from the Virgin Mary. Despite his private nature, Bennett takes pity on the elderly woman and agrees to let her park her rundown van on his property for three months. It’s likely, however, that curiosity has as much to do with Bennett’s decision as does charity. Where did Miss Shepherd find this van? Where did she learn French? And who is the strange man (Jim Broadbent, Brooklyn, Le Week-End) who keeps coming round in the middle of the night? While the questions are many, Bennett has plenty of time to discover the answers to them, as Miss Shepherd tests the limits of his hospitality by stretching the original three-month stay into 15 years.

Directed by veteran Nicholas Hytner (The History Boys), The Lady in the Van is a playful, inventive, and relentlessly funny film that reminds us of the value of taking a chance on strangers — and of the long road that gradually turns strangers into friends.
 
Rams (Hrútar)
Rating PG
Showtimes Sunday, April 24 3:45 PM  Monday, April 25 7:30 PM  
Running Time 93 mins
Actors Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Theodór Júlíusson, Charlotte Bøving
Director Grímur Hákonarson
Country Iceland

Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at this year’s Cannes festival, Grímur Hákonarson’s Rams tells the tale of two rival sheep farmers whose decades-long feud is interrupted by an unforeseen event that threatens to destroy centuries of tradition.

Despite the fact that they live on neighbouring farms, Gummi (Sigurdur Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) have not spoken to one another in forty years, their intermittent and grudging communications carried out via letters carried by Kiddi’s dog. Their rivalry reaches its height in the valley’s annual competition for best ram, which Kiddi has won several times. After once again losing the prize to the boastful, hard-living Kiddi, the stern and solitary Gummi spots a dead sheep in Kiddi’s field, and soon begins to notice symptoms of the lethal and highly contagious disease scrapie in his neighbour’s flock. As veterinary authorities arrive in the valley and decree drastic measures that may mean disaster for the entire region, the two men resolve to resist this incursion, each in his own distinctive way.

With keen observation and gently sardonic humour, Hákonarson offers an understanding yet incisively satirical take on the Icelandic championing of independence and self-reliance, and how those otherwise admirable qualities can turn into isolationism, short-sightedness, and unyielding recalcitrance. Driven by the stellar performances of its two leads, Rams masterfully mixes comedy and heartbreak in its portrait of an ancient, and endangered, way of life.
 
Lady in the Van
Rating PG
Showtimes Monday, April 25 7:30 PM  
Running Time 104 mins
Actors Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Jim Broadbent
Director Nicholas Hytner
Country United Kingdom

Based on Alan Bennett’s memoir and hit West End play, this brilliantly witty, “mostly true” story chronicles an unlikely friendship between a writer and an elderly eccentric.

“The writer is double,” playwright Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings, Belle, The Queen) explains early in the film: “There is the self who does the writing and there is the self who does things.” The Lady in the Van is a story about the self who, however reluctantly, does things — in Bennett’s case, opening his door (or at least his driveway) to Miss Mary Shepherd (Dame Maggie Smith, My Old Lady, Quartet), an ornery, impolite, and bullying homeless woman who claims to take advice from the Virgin Mary. Despite his private nature, Bennett takes pity on the elderly woman and agrees to let her park her rundown van on his property for three months. It’s likely, however, that curiosity has as much to do with Bennett’s decision as does charity. Where did Miss Shepherd find this van? Where did she learn French? And who is the strange man (Jim Broadbent, Brooklyn, Le Week-End) who keeps coming round in the middle of the night? While the questions are many, Bennett has plenty of time to discover the answers to them, as Miss Shepherd tests the limits of his hospitality by stretching the original three-month stay into 15 years.

Directed by veteran Nicholas Hytner (The History Boys), The Lady in the Van is a playful, inventive, and relentlessly funny film that reminds us of the value of taking a chance on strangers — and of the long road that gradually turns strangers into friends.
 

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