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The real-life story of one working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II.
World War II was the source of dozens of instances of benevolence and bravery. But few top the actions taken by the Polish couple who risked retaliation from the Nazis for hiding 300 Jews at the Warsaw Zoo. In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabińska (Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh) have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under their care. When Poland is invaded by the Germans, Jan and Antonina are forced to report to the Reich's newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl). To fight back on their own terms, the couple covertly begin working with the Resistance - and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto. Director Caro (‘Whale Rider’) seems unbound by her audience's expectations of a WWII film, delivering a singular, thrilling portrait, filled with surprises and moving performances.
Czech Rep/UK 2017 Niki Caro 124m
This is the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) -brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. Known as "human computers", we follow these women as they quickly rose through the ranks of NASA alongside many of history's greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of the pioneering astronaut, and guaranteeing his safe return. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big. Also stars Kevin Costner and Kirsten Dunst.
USA 2016 Theodore Melfi 127m
This 19th-century period drama (screened to two sell-out audiences in our French Film Festival in Nov 16) stars Guillaume Gallienne as post-impressionist painter Paul Cezanne and Guillaume Canet as Emile Zola.
This beautiful film which features Provence as one of the main characters, charts the decade-long friendship and eventual fallout between Cezanne, who was born into a wealthy family but struggled to make a living as a painter, and Zola, who came from a family of more straitened circumstances but achieved fame and prosperity as a politically-engaged novelist. Directed by Daniele Thompson (‘Avenue Montaigne’) and co-starring Alice Pol, Déborah François, Sabine Azéma and Gérard Melan. (Subtitles)
France 2016 Danièle Thompson 120m